With two kids ripe for summer camp age, and almost 80 days to fill with summer activities, you would think that we would be on board for loading up on summer camp days, to fill the kids days up with fun, right?
Nope. This year, we’re not doing summer camps. As we browsed through camps and talked about how much Violet would love the Superhero camp, and Olivia would love the circus camp, and registered Olivia (then un-registered, planning a family vacation that week) we talked about how boredom is a good thing. Boredom begets innovation. Boredom begets learning. Boredom begets experiences.
So, this year, we’re not doing structured camps that are filled with activities, crafts and scheduled moments. This year, we’re going on weekend trips, exploring the community around us, spending time doing fun things in the back yard, and making sure that the kids have ample opportunity to be bored.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m crazy. Why would I want the kids to be bored this summer? When the kids are bored, it’s when they come up with magical things, like creating sculptures from tires in the garage that they’ve worked hard to haul into the backyard. It gives them the opportunity to create a fort (you know, the kind you used to when you were a kid) on a visit to the forest where I bring along a blanket, a book and relax. It gives them the chance to create, to find their imagination, to find something to do instead of being given something to do.
We only get a handful of summers when they’re old enough to play on their own an direct it with imagination, before they feel like they’re too old and they don’t want to anymore. It’s those summers that I am using to give the kids the gift of being bored, of having to get creative, and develop those skills to discover, create and find something new to do in the backyard, or where ever we may be exploring.
As of now they don’t really know how to be bored. I’ve been a great activity-providing mom, getting them started with activities and letting them play it out. This summer is going to be the summer of honing this boredom, without the screen time, and is going to be as much of an exercise for them, as it is for me.
My friends think I’m crazy. Maybe I am – but I think something great will come of it.