Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Camp Cancelled? Some Other Ideas for Summer Fun

Day camps and sleepaway camps have been slowly announcing that they will not be able to open for the summer. With school over and camps closed, many parents are concerned about how to keep their children happy and busy this summer. I’ve included a few suggestions here:

  • Backyard camp. Consider getting together with 2 other families in the neighborhood and either hiring a counselor or taking turns running the camp from your backyards. Maintaining “pods” of only 3 families can allow you to remain relatively safe but can split the work (and cost) three ways.
  • Join a book club. Many public libraries are offering book clubs, but you can organize your own if you would like. These book clubs can meet virtually or in person. The social interaction that is involved in book clubs is the main reason that people join them – to be connected to others.
  • Change your scenery. Not everyone can afford to do this, but if you are able to rent a house somewhere remote that has a large backyard, outdoor space, or a private pool, you and your family can benefit from a change of scenery for a few days or even a month. You might also consider a house swap (with some serious cleaning before and after) with another family just so you can get away without breaking the bank. Regardless, make sure the rental has a flexible cancellation policy in case restrictions change after you make the reservation.

If none of these options are appealing or feasible, there are virtual camps and other inventive ideas specifically for this Covid-19 affected summer. After all, we are all in the same boat!


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How To Approach Summer Reading 

With remote learning and school closures, It might feel like school has been out for months already, but very soon school will be officially over for the summer. When classes end, it is incredibly important to get your kids reading, especially if they struggle with reading during the year. What are some ways to encourage reading in the summer?

  • Choose “easy reads.” Comic books, choose your own adventure stories, and other light reading are still reading! If your libraries are open, take your children to the library and allow them to choose books and magazines that are appropriate and appealing to them.
  • Read aloud. If you are outside with your children – there are always opportunities for reading. Read road signs and directions. Read menus and instruction manuals. If you read aloud to your children while they have the text in front of them, they too will be practicing their skills.
  • Model reading. On Shabbos, spend some time reading in the living room. In the evenings when it’s quiet, spend some time reading in the living room. If there is not a scheduled activity during the week, spend some time reading in the living room. The more your children see you read, the more likely they will be to pick up a book.
  • Use recorded books. It is hard for some children to continually focus on reading. Therefore, find audiobooks that can allow children to follow along while turning pages or even just simply listen. Their vocabularies and imaginations will expand.

This summer, more than ever, it is important to create a learning environment so that our children can continue to grow and can be ready for what school brings next year.


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An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at