We had a lot of fun this semester playing at the park, at the house, and on our “adventure walks” in between. I say “adventure” because that’s what it is when kids are be able to go somewhere at (more or less) their own pace, focusing on their own imaginative imperatives and play instead of on the adult shepherding them along. I call for them to pick up the pace if we need to be getting home, but otherwise I let them mosey along, allowing them to stop and smell the flowers (literally and figuratively), chat up the neighbors, or continue a game begun at the park.
This is not just free play–of which kids cannot get too much–it’s free play in movement from one place to another. This enables them to think on their feet, greeting the people they encounter (and the dogs!), noticing changes from previous days (like the construction on Justin Lane), and generally asking and answering their own questions: Should I climb in that recycling bin? Should I take that thing lying on someone’s curb? (I like to let them pick up freebies because it’s a thrill for them to snag free stuff–kids need to hear the word “Yes!” in such contexts more–but it’s also a great lesson in perserverance in getting such stuff home single-handedly or by talking a friend into helping. It’s a perk for me that I get to see every day what they consider to be treasures, a nice break from adult metrics.)
So the opportunity for free play offered by the Camp Vamonos! After-School Care program is nicely supplemented by the simple yet very rich walk home my kiddos get every day. If the adventures my sisters and I had on our mile walk from school to home in our elementary years are any indication, these walks will long be remembered by my young friends.
The bounty of our tiny baking session with Austin baker extraordinaire, Pascal Simon.
Bungee chair grins.
Sharing a hug with Greta, the beautiful mascot of Camp Vamonos!
Camp Vamonos! After-School Care kids painting over graffiti in the neighborhood with Megan.
This is Luggard, the elephant my after-school care kids and I adopted through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. We raised money by selling crafts and cookies we’d made at Arlan’s. Isn’t he beautiful?
We’re into our third week of camp, and we’re having fun! We went to City Hall the first week and to the Blanton Art Museum last week. Today we have a tour of Central Market and play time there, and on Thursday we will go to the turtle pond at UT, with a tour of the greenhouse also planned. I have gone into the greenhouse with my campers once before and it is a very cool place!
There are a number of spots still available this session for the weeks of June 27, July 4 and one spot just opened up for the week of July 11. Let me know if your children would like to play with us this summer by calling (512) 453-8382 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Vamonos!
You can’t fight City Hall but you can play there!
Usually getting all these kiddos facing the same way is a pipe dream.
Hamming it up downtown.
Some of the beauty at the UT greenhouse.
Ooo. What are these exotic creatures?
One of my favorites at the greenhouse. Amazing leaves!
Two beautiful irises.
There’s something magical about turtles. This truly is a wonderful Austin spot.
This gallery contains 13 photos.
This year I am raising the cost of my camp to $185 per week. Returning families will receive a discount at $175 per week. If you have used Camp Vamonos! before, you know that I do not have extra charges or fees; when I take public transit with the kids, it comes out of my pocket. I feel the new rate is still reasonable, and I hope my camp families will understand the need for the increase.
For an additional $15 per week, parents may drop their children off at 8:00 am and pick them up by 6:00 pm.
An activity for every pair of hands. Here the campers are creating to their hearts’ content and making memories, as well as friends. A good day…
Artists of the Rectangular Table
They don’t look like mad scientists, but that’s only dry ice. Super fun…
And Now From The Laboratory…
Stack ’em high, and stack ’em giggly! Campers having fun at the house.
There are still spaces in July and August. Get in touch to reserve one before they’re gone!
“New research from Germany suggests [that] people who recall having plenty of free time during childhood enjoy high levels of social success as adults.”
Read the full article from Pacific Standard magazine titled “The Value of Unstructured Play Time for Kids”.
Camp Vamonos! will host a kid’s activity table again this year at the Violet Crown Festival in Brentwood Park on Saturday May 2, 2015, from 10am-5pm. Stop by for some fun activities!
Stop by Camp Vamonos! on Saturday, April 19th, 2014 between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm to see the camp.
Contact me for location, for more details, and to RSVP.