I Forgot to Sign My Child Up for Camp! Now What?

Krista Anderson-Hill, Senior Summer Camp Correspondent

April 1, 2019 

Most of us have been here. We have great intentions of planning our children’s summer in January. We dream of a beautifully filled-in excel spreadsheet with dates, and camps for each child, envisioning our summers working like clockwork and, of course, everyone having the best
summer ever.

 And then life and work enter the picture, suddenly it is April and that glorious plan of summer camps is a thing of the past. But, do not fear, whether you need full-time care or enrichment experiences, there is still time and some creative ways to help care for and entertain your children during the days of summer.

Hire a Summer Nanny
Many older high school students, college students, and teachers are looking for ways to make extra income in the summer. And, most people who want to nanny in the summer enjoy children
and want to make summer super fun. Nannies can care for your children where they feel most comfortable, in their own home, and engage in local summer outings: swimming, museums, libraries, finding the city’s best snow cones. A successful summer nanny experience includes having clear guidelines about how the days will go and what activities you feel are appropriate for your children. Also, stock the fridge and pay decently. Taking care of your summer nanny will help ensure quality care and happy children. Our HappiYoungstr site has resources to help you through the nanny process. 

Create a Summer Child Care Co-Op
A childcare co-op is a pair or more of parents who agree to take turns watching each others children free of charge. Parents get regular time off and children get regular playdates with friends. Things to keep in mind when considering a child care co-op: choose parents that you feel are reliable, can make the proposed time commitment, have similar parenting styles and whom you can be honest and open about expectations and possible concerns.

At this stage of the game, you might be thinking that all quality day and overnight camps are full. But, that is not always the case. Check out our HappiCampr site to make searching for camps easy and efficient. Also, look to your local schools for summer childcare and camp options. Childcare organizations that offer before and after school programming during the school year, often offer full or part-time summer programming. These programs meet in the school setting and have daily field trips and swim time. High school sports and clubs usually offer summer camps too that are relatively easy to get in to and are cost-effective: cheer camp, drama camp, sports camps.

Hire A Tutor
When we hear the word tutor, most of us think of an academic tutor. But there are tutors for almost everything our children are interested in. If that music camp your child wanted to attend is full, consider hiring a voice or instrument tutor. Examples of tutor subjects include foreign language, sports, video games, cooking, art. The beauty of a tutor is it can be on your schedule and specialized for your child’s passion and learning style.

Tweens can be a tricky age for summer; some feel they are too old for camps but they may be too young to stay at home alone for long periods of time. And, tweens need to be active and engaged too. Volunteerism can be a wonderful solution to the tween dilemma. Many camps have junior counselors in training programs, and April is the perfect time to apply for these opportunities. Also, local libraries, YMCA’s, parks and recreation organizations and church often have summer volunteer opportunities for children ages 12 to 15. 

Get Out and Explore! Even in the blistering heat of summer, Austin is a great city for children and their families; there is so much to do. Here is just a sample:

Austin’s children’s museum, The Thinkery, thinkeryaustin.org provides lodes of hands-on, play-based learning and fun. The museum’s target age group is newborn to 11 years old. And, a
helpful tip is to bring extra clothes. There is a good chance young Thinkery goers will get wet in the water science exhibit, Currents. The Blanton Museum of Art is a wonderful place to introduce children to the world of fine art and every Thursday is FREE.

Bowling and Roller and Ice Skating
Oldies but goodies, kids love to bowl and skate. A big plus for parents:  these activities are indoors with air conditioning and relatively inexpensive. 

Local Swimming Holes
Austin and its surrounding areas have beautiful swimming holes. Taking the family to a swimming hole is a wonderful way to enjoy a picnic, cool down and explore nature. Many swimming holes require reservations before your visit. A favorite for kids of all ages is Blue Hole in Wimberly.