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8 Ways to Spend Your Time When the Kids Are at Summer Camp

Parent Activities When Kids Are at Camp

You pull into the driveway after dropping off your kids at camp. You know all the benefits of overnight camp (gaining independence, spending more time with friends, etc.), so they’ll both be staying the night, learning about technology and having a blast while doing so.

You enter the house and everything is strangely calm and quiet. You breathe in the silence. Now to decide how to spend the next week. Whether you only gain an extra hour of free time or have an entire week that needs to be filled, here are some creative ways to spend your time when the kids are at camp:

1. Reminisce Over Fun Times

Over the holidays, my mother-in-law and I sifted through a massive box full of photos and memories. The longer we spent sharing photos and telling stories, the more people congregated in the room, until finally the whole family had gathered, telling and retelling stories from the past few decades. It was magical.

Life grows increasingly busy, and sometimes we’re so caught up in looking forward and staying caught up, that we forget to look back and remember all the good times. As your child is at camp making memories and learning awesome new skills this summer, pull out some old photo albums (remember when people actually printed photos) and take a trip down memory lane. Bring on the warm fuzzies!

2. Tackle That Project You’ve Been Putting Off

Okay, completing a project doesn’t sound like the most enjoyable use of free time, but accomplishing a task that you’ve been putting off—especially one that you’ve been putting off for weeks—can be truly rewarding. So whether it’s scheduling an annual appointment, taking the dogs to the groomer, or planning your summer calendar, take advantage of your free time and just do it! Bonus tip: Do this task first, and the rest of your week will be a breeze.

3. Get Outside

We spend too much time indoors: at work, shuttling kids around in cars, at home doing housework, and then glued to the couch (or bed!) after the kids fall asleep. In addition to giving you a healthy dose of vitamin D, going outside will provide a bunch of mental and physical benefits. Sunshine helps regulate your circadian rhythm (meaning better sleep!) and might even provide you with an immunity boost. A study published in Psychological Science found that being in nature can restore your focus more than spending time in an urban setting.

We know that outdoor time is important, that’s why we incorporate outdoor activities at our tech camps. Now you can reap the benefits, too. Go for a walk, take a hike, or sit in the backyard with your favorite book. That’s what summer’s for!

Where Will You Go?

  • Spend the day at a national park. Celebrate 100 years of national parks! Go to the National Park Service’s website to find the park nearest you. You’d be surprised by how many breathtaking landmarks are hiding just a few hours from the country’s largest metropolitan areas.
  • Visit a nursery. If you’re looking for a happy medium between city life and the outdoors, touring a nursery might be the perfect outdoor activity. You’ll meander through different plant varieties and look for the perfect plant to bring home.
  • Pack a picnic. Get ready to go old school. Make sandwiches, cut up some fruit, pack a bottle of wine or grab a cold brew, and go for a picnic. Choose a nearby park or green space. During summer, many parks offer free or inexpensive movie nights out on the lawn. If you’re working during the day, make it an evening picnic and catch a flick at the same time. Don’t forget—the more friends the merrier!

4. Watch a Fun Series

The only thing better than spending an evening at home watching your favorite show, is being able to catch up on the last four seasons of your favorite show without being interrupted by the kiddos. What’s on Netflix breaks down top Netflix movies and shows so you don’t have to flip through endless categories trying to decide what to watch. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show—all week long. (We won’t tell!)

5. Learn a New Skill

Your child’s at tech camp learning new skills, so why not do the same? Even as an adult, acquiring new skills can build confidence, expand your interests, and help you feel accomplished—even if you’re just learning for fun. Trying to decide what to learn? Consider these options:

  • Start learning a new language. Apps like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone can help you pick up a new language quickly. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
  • Learn to code. We’re all about showing kids and teens how fun programming can be. But students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from learning to code. While the kids are at camp, spend an hour completing an online programming course using a free resource for adults like Codeacademy. At the very least you’ll be able to impress the kids with your techie lingo.
  • Craft a complicated, Pinterest-worthy project. You know that incredible succulent centerpiece you pinned last week? Or that DIY pallet coffee table that you’ve been eyeing? Silence that little voice in your head that says you don’t know how to saw wood pallets or drill perfect holes. Find a project that interests you, and go for it. For complicated projects that require sawing, nailing, and drilling, ask your local Home Depot store for advice on what to buy. Many stores offer free workshops that can teach you all kinds of new construction skills.
  • Try something totally unique. Take a glass-blowing class. Try stand-up paddleboarding. Register for a digital photography lesson. Or read a book about a historical time period you’re unfamiliar with. There are so many niches just waiting to be discovered.

Tip: Choose a new skill that’s vastly different from your 9–5 job to make sure the learning process doesn’t feel like work.

6. Summertime Spring Cleaning

Although it’s called “Spring Cleaning,” let’s be real—few people have the superhuman strength and determination to actually finish their cleaning in spring. Like completing a project you’ve been putting off, cleaning that drawer or going through that closet (we all have at least one place where everything seems to congregate all at once) can bring you happiness, order, and relief. Plus, cleaning at the beginning of the week might be your only chance to keep things clean—for the week, that is.

7. Spend Time With Your Favorite People

The older we get, the more obvious it is that time is our most precious resource. So spend the time that would be spent making dinners, directing bedtime routines, or racing to pick up the kids after work wisely. Invest your bonus time in the people who you love the most. Here’s how:

  1. Stage a special “date” with kids who are at home. Having a kid (or kids!) at camp can change the family dynamic. It can also mean that you have extra time to focus on younger siblings or older teens. Plan a special outing—even something as simple as going to Cold Stone—with your kids and enjoy the alone time. You’ll cherish these moment more than you can imagine.
  2. Plan a real date with your special someone. I mean, ‘nuff said. With the kids at camp, you won’t have to worry about coordinating a babysitter. Just go out and enjoy yourselves!
  3. Spend quality time with your BFF. Buy tickets to your favorite sporting event. Catch the latest blockbuster film. Hit up a local farmer’s market. Or grab drinks with a coworker. Time with friends is time well spent.

8. Schedule a Staycation

Vacations are wonderful, but they’re also expensive and time-consuming to plan. That’s why staycations (a mini vacation where you stay close to home) can be the perfect way to enjoy a couple of child-free days. Staycation ideas:

  • Search airbnb for local accommodations in a nearby neighborhood and see what it’s like to live on the other side of town.
  • Wake up early and spend the day road-tripping somewhere 3–4 hours away. As you drive around, look for all of the local establishments (like fruit stands, viewpoints, and family-owned, highway restaurants) that you usually drive past, and actually stop to check them out. You’ll feel like a tourist without ever really leaving home.
  • Plan an overnight trip at a nearby hotel, and enjoy a break from the daily grind. Spending even one night away can help you recharge and forget about the 10 billion things you have to do back at home. Bonus points if you stay somewhere with an awesome view.

Book Your Child’s Overnight Camp Session

Our summer camps run June through August (depending on the location), so there’s still time to give your child an unforgettable summer technology experience. Whether you choose day or overnight, a one-week program or our two-week teen academies, your child is sure to have a blast and learn tons of new skills. (And you can do all of the fun activities we just mentioned!) Find a camp near you >