SUMMER is coming. What are your PLANS??

This is the question I keep hearing among moms. And for the first time in years, I don’t have a concrete plan (mostly because I’ve been busy with book events and other ambitions).

A Trip?

Usually, we visit my folks and friends in Michigan. But the plane tickets aren’t booked, and our camper isn’t loaded for the road. Still, I’d like to make the trip if possible. Because once we mark the calendar, my mom starts gathering goodies for her grandkids. Part of the joy lies in the potential: the meals we might eat, the activities we could do, the promise of our return.


Meanwhile, stay-cation possibilities are tucked into my mom folder.  Inside a bulging blue binder, I have lists of local options…plus gear we could put to use, creative opportunities, and things we don’t normally get to do during school and sports.

Mom Camp?

Maybe this summer I will create my own mom camp where we enjoy different local activities.  I am sharing my own “Mom Camp” ideas by category.  I have also included several specific Ventura County links. So, when the kids are saying “I’M BORED,” you are ready with some fun ideas.


Rollerblading/skating, biking, boogie boarding, archery, golfing, tennis, bowling, shooting hoops, rock climbing, swimming, setting up a slackline, doing yoga.


Utilizing a metal detector, geocaching, kayaking, paddle boating/boarding.

Quiet Time:

Journaling, writing poetry, reading, coloring (in case you can’t tell, I’m a teacher by trade).


Learning Spanish, practicing multiplication, mastering magic tricks, having a talent show.


Painting, building Lego structures, making origami, cooking, crafting, designing comic books, baking, constructing puppets, drawing/sketching, using chalk, clay-mation, making jewelry.

Kid Approved Entertainment:

Playing board games or cards, going to a drive-in (or regular) movie theater, playing laser tag or Nerfs, assembling puzzles, hosting a corn-hole tournament, setting up dominoes, racing RC cars, assembling a train track.

Local Interests:

Driving to a “jumpy” place, picnicking at a playground, going to a waterpark, checking out botanic gardens, visiting an aquarium, touring a zoo, seeing a museum, finding clues inside an escape room.


When we are home though, we also do chores.  My kids have to earn screen time (each household has its own rules). So, we employ a “work before play” type schedule, and limited screen time is the incentive (in addition to a weekly allowance). It works. I’m a fire-wife, and when my husband is gone (sometimes for weeks on end during fire season), I can definitely use help around the house.

My kids do not have their own phones or tablets. So, before the 9 and 11 year-olds can apply for screen time (which doesn’t mean they get it right away), they have to:

  • Get ready
  • Make their beds
  • Feed and care for their pets
  • Put clean dishes and laundry away
  • Take out the trash, compost, and recyclables as needed
  • Vacuum
  • Attend to additional assignments on occasion
  • Engage in enrichment (exercise, music, art, books)

And then, after the essentials are taken care of (and the applications have been submitted), we can venture out!

We’ve tried different approaches to chores, schedules, and behavior monitoring: star charts, must-do lists, focus points, and reminders.  We have found though that developing a seasonal and weekend routine provides structure. And as they age, we adjust.

Enjoy The Summer

As summertime approaches, I know part of the joy lies in the potential of summer. It is exciting to think about the  places we might go, the activities we could do, the promise of our togetherness.

And maybe it all can happen at Mom Camp. 

mom camp


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