When summer holidays roll around, we do what other dual working parents do, we turn to the offering of city day camps. Let’s take a moment to note that Toronto has some of the coolest day camps! This is a city where kids have access to full sailing, canoeing and water sports at Harbourfront Centre, film camps at Ryerson film school and TIFF, engineering and maker camps at the Science Centre or various Maker Spaces across the city, sports camps that are incredibly diverse with top notch facilities, and even things like a Rock Band camp or nature camps at Evergreen Brickworks. We’re really very very lucky.
Many parents feel obliged to drive their kids to camp, but aside from the obvious ‘its better for the environment reason’, here are 4 reason’s why you shouldn’t drive your kids to camp:
1. You Are Traffic.
As the saying goes, you are not stuck in traffic, you are traffic. Driving just puts you in traffic because you are traffic. Rather than making congestion worse and stressing yourself our, let’s consider car-free ways to get to where you need to go.
2. Transit is fun for kids!
Ok, so, true many a TTC commuter finds little joy in taking transit to work. But to kids, this is a special event, a magical way to start their day. The love of all things that move (trains planes, buses and streetcars) seems to be a universal constant for young kids. They get to start their morning taking a cool train or bus? Excitement! Paper transfers? What a day! Pushing the button for your bus stop … heaven! Parents know this, kids LOVE pushing buttons. These mundane things are so incredible to little kids. We’ve experienced first hand that the part of summer camp our kids have sometimes loved most has been the bus ride to the science centre (which by the way was 45% faster than the one time I drove the trip with an autoshare car). It is an awe inspiring way to start their day.
3. Transit with kids is fun for parents
Solo TTC commuters are a surly bunch. But with kids you get a completely different experience. You actually get to spend real quality time with them, talking to them and engaging with them. All that concentration you put into driving in stop and go traffic, trying to beat that traffic, and trying to suppress your road rage in front of little ones with their sponge-like ears, that all goes towards interacting your kids. There is such a deeper interaction you get with kids when you don’t have your attention focused on the activities happening outside your windshield.
4. Active transportation feels so good
Biking to camp or walking to camp it’s such a healthier way to start the day. This is where living in denser urban areas really benefits you. Our local park for instance runs 2 city of Toronto parks and recs camps, and private run ball hockey, tennis and soccer combo and multi sport camps. And that’s just one park 4 blocks away. The other park one block away also does a multi sport, and a few more blocks south of us no more than 10 min away on foot are dance, rock climbing and karate camps. We chose a neighbourhood with high walkability, and come summer time we take full advantage.
* Bonus if your kids can bike themselves to camp, they arrive energized and ready for the day.