Summer is around the corner! In other words: school will be out and it is once again up to the Supermom in all of us to schedule engaging, educational, enhancing and perhaps even enchanting activities for our kids – especially the school-aged ones. Personally, I find it really hard (read: expensive and stressful) to strike the right balance between scheduling camps/ activities and giving my kids the breathing room they deserve – AND NEED after a long school year.
This year will be different. This summer I will be the best mom in the Universe (sorry – I am sure you wanted that title all to yourself, but I will gladly share it with you!) Last year I put Jacob (then 6) in four different camps, all of which he enjoyed moderately. This year I am putting him in fewer camps, but I already know that one will be a huge success – a home run, actually!
Bricks 4 Kidz – the “New Kid on the Block”: (what a great pun – totally intentional)
Like most of their peers, Jacob and Jordan have a long list of toys that they play with, wish for, absolutely need in their lives. The list is always evolving, growing, and changing as they grow and mature. There is one common toy on their lists, regardless of their ages or interests – LEGO! The little colorful plastic brick is the common theme in all the activities that truly captivate my kids’ interest. So imagine our excitement when we learned that a local company called Bricks 4 Kidz is offering after school programs, spring break and summer camps.
Bricks 4 Kidz seemed to be new to the local camp circuit when I signed up both Jacob and Jordan for their spring camp program. None of my friends had attended their programs before, so I had to throw caution to the wind and pray that their program was as cool as it sounded. After all, I had the boys’ spring break success riding on this camp!
The program they attended was daily for a week from 9:00am – 12:00pm. This was going to be Jordan’s first experience at camp, so my level of stress and concern was rather high, as I am sure you can understand. The camp promised, that the kids would through their play with Lego pieces, learn about gears and motors by using Lego’s Technic line of bricks. The goal of the week was for the kids to build an entire city of buildings and vehicles. So all in all – the camp set the expectations high for the week, but the question was – would they be able to entertain, engage and educate the kids with their planned activities?!
The First Drop Off:
I brought the kids to the camp location – a local community center. The room quickly filled with excited kids and anxious parents. Tracey, the camp director, greeted everyone at the door with a big smile. She introduced herself to the parents and the kids, and most importantly made the kids feel comfortable. Jordan’s biggest concern had been if they would have a potty at the camp – which we quickly located, just to ease his worried mind.
Tracey informed me that she would provide nut & sugar-free snacks and serve fruit juice during their break. Our kids do not have any dietary restrictions, but I know it is a real concern for many parents. Her attention to that detail gave me a good indication that this was going to be a successful week for the kids.
I reluctantly left Jacob and Jordan in a room filled with 10 other little boys around their age. “Good luck Tracey” I whispered as I walked backwards out of the door – feeling a little slighted that Jordan didn’t need his usual “hug and a kiss” before we parted ways. He did come running up to me as I was leaving – with a huge smile and a relieved look on his face “mama, their Lego bricks look just like the ones we have at home!” – and then off he went to join Jacob in “free play” with a big pile of bricks, wheels and other little boys.
The Moment of Truth, Success or Failure?:
I returned promptly at noon to retrieve my big campers. I am not sure what I was expecting, but knowing that a total of 12 boys had been inside for three hours I was already feeling sorry for Tracey. I walked into the community center and you could hear a pin drop! The room was silent! All 12 boys were deeply engaged in an activity – either at a table, on the floor or up in the “free play” area. Jacob and Jordan were so engrossed in their creation that I had to compete with the Lego for their attention. They had built two motorized tools and were so excited to show me the motors, the inner-workings and the instructions. Their faces were gleaming with pride. I literally had to pry the boys away from the Lego tools to get them to come home with me. Both announced in the car that they NEVER EVER wanted to go back to school – they wanted to ALWAYS go to Lego camp. If that is not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is!
Both Jacob and Jordan, who normally have to be dragged out of bed on a regular school morning, were up, dressed and very ready to get on the road in the mornings for the rest of the week. Their excitement didn’t wane as the week went on. They never grew tired of building with the gears, motors and battery packs – but they did get tired FROM it! Their little brains were so exhausted after three hours of intense thinking that both of them rested and napped for several hours after they came home.
Service After “the Sale”:
Tracey sent me daily emails with pictures she had taken throughout the day. During pick up she gave me a wonderful synopsis of how each of the boys faired during the day. She told me how Jacob had finished his projects quickly in order to have enough time to help his younger brother with his Lego projects. I left the Bricks 4 Kidz camp every day feeling like Tracey and her assistants really cared about and cared for our kids. The boys were so engaged in the projects that there simply was no time or energy left for them to misbehave in any way.
Since our spring break camp experience, I have enrolled Jacob in the Bricks 4 Kidz after school program at his elementary school, which he starts this week. He is so excited, especially because this time he will be able to focus on his own projects and not have to worry about watching out for his younger brother. (He is the best big brother Jordan could have). Both boys will also attend one or two of the Bricks 4 Kids camps this summer.
I look forward to watching the Bricks 4 Kidz programs evolve as the support from the community increases. Feel free to contact me with any questions regarding the programs offered by Bricks 4 Kids.