It’s February vacation. The kids aren’t old enough to leave them at home alone. Their aunts and uncles work nine to five, like you, and they already have your nieces and nephews to worry about. Could we put them all in a room with a TV and a fridge and tell them to stay there while we’re at work? Why don’t they just have school year-round, maybe forty hours a week, like us? What if we quit our jobs and traveled the country in an RV, a family of vagabonds?
Hold on a minute. Don’t go crazy. For a couple bucks, there are some great February vacation camps for kids, right here in Portland. Enriching ones, at that. Try one of these three:
It’s Winter in Narnia, at Portland Stage Company (25A Forest Ave). This is a theater-immersion camp that runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday the 20th to Friday the 24th, for $280 per child, grades 3-5. Register at http://www.portlandstage.org/education/vacation-theater-camps/ or call 207.774.1043 x104. Students will travel through to a magical land and participate in games, artwork, and performances, all having to do with C.S. Lewis’ classic tale, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. On the final day of camp, parents and caregivers will be invited to an open-classroom show by the kids, to demonstrate what they’ve been doing during the week.
Or, if your progeny is a little chef, send him or her to TIQA Pan Mediterranean’s Vacation Cooking Camp for Kids (327 Commercial St). This camp costs $350, and it’s for kids aged 11-14. It runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a snack and lunch each day. Learn more at http://tiqa.net/restaurant/news-events/cooking-classes/ . Students will learn kitchen safety, knife skills, how to make an emulsified salad dressing, how to blanch and shock vegetables, how to make homemade stock, slow stirring and cooking, seasoning and sauteing, and more. The culmination of the week is a meal where campers will be asked to invite two people apiece to enjoy the three-course meal prepared and served by the campers. A snazzy TIQA Camp T-shirt is part of the deal, as well. TIQA’s number is 207-808-8840.
Finally, for burgeoning scientists and engineers, there’s Eureka! The Inventors Camp, at East End Community School (195 North St). This camp runs Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with available aftercare until 5:30 p.m. The price is $54 per day, or $200 for all four days. Students aged 5-12 will use basic materials, simple machines, tips from famous inventors and, most importantly, their own ingenuity, to create fun inventions like mini-catapults and working circuits complete with batteries and light bulbs. Register your child at http://maine.madscience.org/february-april-vacation-camps.aspx and help Mad Science of Maine inspire local youths to pursue their interests in science.
Come on, you weren’t just going to let the dog watch them, were you?