posts tagged with 'day camp'

squeezing the summer

While we're starting to think about fall and school around here, we aren't ready to let go of summer yet—and the last couple days we've been working on enjoying it to the fullest! On Thursday we took a picnic up to the playground and relished in the cool evening breeze after a hot humid day. Then at the library we were delighted to stumble upon a party celebrating the end of the summer reading season, and got to enjoy a popsicle dessert—several popsicles!—and some loud crazy family entertainment from the Toe Jam Puppet Band.

the boys watching the antics of Toe Jam's Vinny

grippingly entertaining

I was impressed with Harvey, who raised his hand at almost all of the (many) volunteer opportunities but never got picked; with Lijah, who despite the volume and zaniness gradually moved off my lap into the second row with his brothers; and with myself when I volunteered to go up front and try hula-hooping. At least I had Lijah there to help me. Zion was cool too.

Lijah, still, surrounded by kids trying to catch bubbles

still amidst the craziness

It was a beautiful cool evening, and besides the music it was super fun to hang out with lots of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. After the show lots of the families drifted over to the playground, and Harvey continued to show off his confidence as he jumped right into the game the other kids were playing. It was dark and we were tired as we biked home, but I couldn't imagine a sweeter evening.

kids jumping for big bubbles against the evening sky

setting bubbles, day is done

Then yesterday we got to be part of the last day of summer camp for the year: the traditional group ride to an ice cream place. Despite the staggering humidity it was fun to ride on an urban bike path through Cambridge and Somerville, and we enjoyed delightful stops at a grassy embankment and a playground, where we had lunch.

kids and a parent rolling down a steep grassy bank

1, 2, 3, roll!

Harvey, Zion, Ollie, and Eliot on a bench having lunch

hot lunch

Of course, the best stop was the last one, at JP Licks in Davis Square for ice cream. They boys said it wasn't as good as Bedford Farms, but it was still nice to share the moment with friends.

kids eating ice cream in Davis Square

ice cream party

Then after a long rest time to recover we closed out the day with a lovely pizza picnic dinner with friends here on our lawn. We took the opportunity to make some farm-school co-op plans for the coming year, because there's no mistaking but that fall's around the corner; but we're loving summer while it lasts!

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the other camp

Lijah on the shore of Spy Pond, the other kids in the background

idyll in the heart of the inner suburbs

We're not running day camp this year, but friends of ours are taking up some of the slack and putting on a once-a-week camp out of their house in North Cambridge. We missed the first session last week, but we were happy and excited to be there this morning!

the kids on their bikes ready to go

always a good scene

It was a biking day, and while I was disappointed not to have a way to bring the blue bike in the car Zion and Lijah were happy enough with the trailer and seat. And of course Harvey was raring to go. The group rode well together, though there were lots of stops—for repairs, drinks, and just to take in some of the beauties of the natural world.

Zion and Matthew climbing a fence to look at a pond

eager observers

It was a fairly short ride (by our recent standards), and it didn't take us long to get to Spy Pond, where the kids could have played for two or three days. Especially once they found a tree they could all climb at the same time, "even Zion!".

lots of kids in a tree with plenty of room for them all

it's a party up there

Of course, Lijah was a little left out (though I did help him up it and leave him there for almost three seconds) so he was happy a couple minutes later to find his own tree to climb... sort of.

Lijah sitting in the tiny branches of a small tree

I think he's stuck

It was all lovely, and we look forward to another adventure next Friday... after we get back from "real" camping, that is!

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almost summer camp

We're not doing our day camp this year, which is both a relief and a disappointment to all concerned. Since we miss a lot about the things we did the last two summers, it was nice to get together last week to reprise the fun with a slightly more manageable crowd.

boys and friends walking across the Old North Bridge

out and about

Well, I say reprise; but with fewer kids—and each of them a year older—we actually blew any of our previous camp adventures out of the water with a cycling trip down the Reformatory Branch Trail to Concord to visit some of the historic sights. I figured it would be a tough ride for the kids (though I knew it was possible, since Harvey rode it a couple weeks ago)—but as it happened they just about rode away from Bridget, Leah, and I! We were plenty hot and winded by the end... though in our defense, we were all carrying the weight of at least one other human. Zion very much enjoyed the ride.

Zion smirking at the camera

that's his camera smile

The Old North Bridge is always a nice stop on an outing—there's the history and the water and lots of space to run around.

Leah and Bridget with the kids up on the bridge

Old North Gang

And room to chill and relax with friends too.

Zion, Lijah, and Nathan sitting on a stone wall above the river

outing buddies

Actually, we didn't plan for the day to be like a summer camp adventure; we barely planned it at all. Nathan was the first one to point out how much it felt like "Camp Archibald", and then we all went with it.

Since the kids rode so well on the way out we took a longer route home, with stops to check out an old cemetery (oldest grave we found, 1726) and Louisa May Alcott's childhood home (where we worked really hard to learn the maypole dance). They weren't unstoppable though—when I offered the choice between yet more distant adventures and a shorter way home, most of them definitively chose the latter. Zion and Eliot's votes to the contrary didn't count. The revised route—for 11 1/2 miles in total—led through some agriculture.

a tractor at work in field as we ride by

scenic Concord

To be as much like camp as possible, we ended our adventure by turning on the sprinkler (also because it was super hot). But there were only two takers among the kids—without twice a week camp they don't get to see each other enough, so they wanted to use all the time they did have at home doing important things like building with legos! The adults went in the sprinkler, though; we can cool down and talk at the same time.

It was fun; we'll have to do it again soon!

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another kind of camp

I need to pause from my series on our recent camping vacation to acknowledge another kind of camp: our day camp just finished up for the summer, with a bike ride up to the ice cream store to celebrate.

lots of kids on bikes ready to go

ready to go

We did a lot of cycling over the course of the summer—more than most of the kids had ever done before. Sometimes they didn't like it and wished that it was over, but I made sure that in the end it always felt fun and worthwhile (that's what careful route planning will do: I put all the hard parts first!). And as the kids were stretched, so were the parents: some of them were nervous about sending their kids out on the roads (or at least the sidewalks) but everyone did great—I'm happy to report that we didn't lose a single one all summer. And at the end, I think both kids and parents ended camp today with an expanded view of what they and their kids could do on bikes—and maybe in general!

The kids also ended it covered in ice cream...

Nathan eating a giant ice cream cone, which is melting badly

a lot of ice cream

... and happy to be cycling together!

Zion hugging Lijah in the back of the blue bike

aw

It was fun; maybe we'll do it again next year!

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family time

With all the other kids at our house Mondays and Thursdays for day camp, life can feel kind of squeezed and stressful for our own boys. So we try and make sure they have quiet time to decompress, and also that we have time to do fun things together just as a family. On Monday evenings, that often means Springs Brook Park.

Lijah playing with the little fountains in the spray park

the shallow end of the spray park

We're members there now (and without Leah even having to sell an organ!) so we feel like we can stop by whenever. Leah swam laps while the boys and I played in the pond and the spray park; only the latter is pictured since I was having too much fun with them in the pond for photography.

Harvey running under a heavy spray of water

more serious flow

We brought a picnic supper to have on the grass, but no desert—so we were forced to treat ourselves to popsicles from the concession stand. Happy summer everyone!

Lijah working on a popsicle

the good stuff

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more moments

Besides Lijah hanging out in the wheelbarrow, this week saw a few more moments worthy of note. Harvey's been very aware of his teeth.

Harvey grimacing to show his bloody tooth and new gap

you should see the other guy

He had two that were a little bit loose, and when he fell on a rock he knocked one out and loosened the other a whole lot more. He's praying every night that it doesn't fall out when he's asleep.

On Tuesday we celebrated cousin Nisia's birthday. The boys have a great time whenever they see her... about once a year. We took a picture of all the Archibalds together to commemorate this year's meeting, and demonstrate that we're all equally awkward in posed photographs.

ten Archibalds collected in front of our corn garden

family reunion

Camp continues apace.

camp friends sitting on the hammock weaving baskets

happy basket-makers

It's all great fun but a lot of work, and we're not at our best all the time. We're working on getting what rest we can, where ever we can find it.

I held the camera out facing me to show Zion lying in my lap

worn out boy

Yay for summer.

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this moment

lots of kids eating lunch at and around a picnic table

community garden lunch

day camp 2015

Our family day camp started yesterday. We had 21 kids—26 if you count the babies and toddlers who came along—and it was a little overwhelming.

many backpacks lined up along the edge of the porch

lots of stuff for lots of kids

Despite a little blood, a few tears, and a lot of asking about when we were going to eat next, I think everyone had a fine enough time. I expect most of them will be back again, so we'd better start planning for what we're going to have them do next!

There were lots of similarities between this year and last year. The main difference, besides having about three times more campers, was in Harvey and Zion's energy level afterwards. Instead of taking a mid-afternoon nap the boys powered through three more hours of playing with the next-door neighbors, and then we finished the day by biking up to the library after supper and hanging out there until 8:00.

Harvey and Agricola in the kids room at the library

board gaming at the library

I guess those boys are growing up!

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day camp

Did you know we're running a free, unaccredited day camp? We are! Today was our first day. We had eight kids (and one additional parent to help out), and after some playing, a snack, and a lesson on identifying poison ivy, we went for a walk in the woods.

kids running down a forest path

and away they go

The kids all carried their own backpacks with lunches, water, and other supplies; well, most of them. Zion didn't manage to make it to the end of our street with his on, but no worries, we had strollers along to portage any cast-off gear and tired kids (and despite dumping the backpack Zion needed to be in the stroller himself most of the way—but that's fair, he was the smallest one there).

Besides getting tons of exercise the kids also did some naturalizing. Harvey even brought his new magnifying glass along, and was very interested in the dragonfly larvae he noticed in the horse trough.

Harvey looking in the horse trough

curious explorer

The walk was probably close to a mile, and Harvey walked—and ran—the whole way, so he was tired out after all the campers left mid afternoon. I don't know what Zion's excuse was; I guess fresh air itself can be powerfully soporific.

Zion, Elijah, and Harvey asleep in our bed

rest time

All in all it was a great time, and we're looking forward to doing it again next week! Let us know if you want to be part of the fun: there are still spots available!

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