Forget the Same Old Boring Summer Camps – This Year, Try Culture Camp!

I have two inquisitive little boys, ages nine and seven, who are already over the novelty of the typical summer camp experience.  Like most kids, they are super interested in seeking out new and unique summertime adventures.

The boys inevitably report less-than-stellar ratings of the generic camps where kids swim, play games and run around outdoors in the unforgiving Florida heat.  Typically, those camps are overcrowded and run by camp instructors (usually bored teenagers) who lack enthusiasm.

So, we’re doing culture camp

A culture-focused camp featuring music, food, dancing and art!

The kids will be with a smaller group of children, and led by instructors who actually have a passion for the subject matter!

I first became aware of these types of programs when the kids and I attended the Festa Italiana in Ybor City, Tampa.  It’s an annual multi-day event that benefits The Italian Club of Tampa seen here:

While there, we made a visit to the beautiful Italian Club where the boys roamed around and enjoyed checking out the intriguing Italian artifacts on exhibit.

I pulled up the club’s website online to find out if they offer any children’s programs and learned that they host a summer camp called Campo Italiano!

Check out this super fun curriculum:

Music: O Sole Mio, C’e La Luna, and other authentic Italian favorites.

Dance: Folkdance.

Language: Animals, actions words, household items, and time. Professor Toto will be used as a learning tool.

Storytelling: Pinocchio, Strega Nonna Zoe Sophia, An Adventure in Venice, Tony’s Bread, Old Befana.

Traditions: sports, A visit from “Christopher Columbus”, games (Scope and  Tombola), holidays in Italy, and Andiamo in America.

Cooking: Italian Pacatini, sphingi, arrancini, Italian soda, and guest Chef Waylon  and a surprise lesson.

Arts and Crafts: crochet, mosiac picture frames, Venetian Masks, and stained glass.

According to the director, the lessons are designed to be fun and educational and emphasize Italian customs and language.

If international travel is not an available option for your family, but you want your children to become familiar with world geography and other cultures around the globe, culture camp is the way to go!  It’s a wonderful (and affordable) way to bring the world to your child and to help develop the child’s appreciation for other cultures’ languages, history, arts and traditions.

To find programs like this near you, start by looking into local chapters of cultural organizations to see if they offer any educational classes and/or camps.

Below are links to some of the many summer camp programs I found online:

The Main Line Chinese Culture Center just outside Philidelphia, Pennsylvania offers camp curriculum on Chinese-American culture with a focus on developing productive future relationships with the people of China.

The camp is designed to broaden the children’s understanding and appreciation for Chinese language, culture, history, arts and customs.

If it’s French summer camps you’re looking for, check to see if your local chapter of L’Alliance Française offers one.  L’Alliance Française of Greater Orlando offers this wonderful camp.

Also, look to your local university language departments for language & culture-themed summer camps.

Like this German-themed summer camp sponsored by University of Arizona.

Do you have tips on finding fun and engaging summertime experiences for your global kids?

Please share your ideas in the comments section.

Thank you!

Jill

About

My name is Jill and I am a thirty-something part-time attorney, and full-time mother of two wonderful and delightfully engaging little boys, ages 6 and 4. Over 6 years ago, I was a full-time attorney and very much enjoyed the working world with all of its perks and pleasures. Then, came baby. Never, before giving birth, had I even considered tossing aside the benefits of my hard-earned law degree and employment status for a life strictly defined by feeding intervals, diaper inspections, and the continual and mesmerizing exchange of gazes and coos with my new little one. Seeing and holding my new baby for the first time triggered my nurture and protect mode, and it has been in full force ever since. I began my incredibly exhausting, yet amazingly gratifying parenting journey that day, and haven’t looked back. Now with two little ones, I feel very thankful for every moment I get to share with my boys and my husband as we take this voyage through life together. My passion is parenting and my parenting philosophy is based upon the commitment to raise my children in ways which encourage an appreciation of the world as a whole, a genuine sense of compassion, and an ongoing feeling of gratitude. I strive to bestow upon them the opportunity of a multi-lingual education, and to expose them to diverse cultural experiences which they can appreciate and enjoy. I believe that this will enhance their brain development, as well as encourage a cultural sensitivity and the insight necessary to be well-adapted to, and to thrive in the ever-increasing globally connected society in which we live. Although my husband and I no longer travel to the extent we did before we had children, and thus far have not had the opportunity to travel with our kids outside the U.S., we strive to create for them global adventures and discoveries about the world through cultural studies, and by the exploration of diverse food, music and festivals. Speaking of the hubby, he is the most well-mannered person I’ve ever met, (thank you, dear mom-in-law), a fantastic father, and a passionate foodie with mad skills in the kitchen. I am quite proud to announce that he is currently working with partners to develop a brand new and exciting Mediterranean-themed restaurant concept. I can’t wait to blog about the delicious details! The idea for this blog was primarily conceived through many chats with good friend and like-minded mom, Kim, (see Kim’s about me page). We have similar parenting philosophies and have joined forces to launch this blog and produce its content. Kim will be blogging from a small village in France where she and her family have recently settled. I will be blogging from my home in Tampa, Florida. Our goal is to stay in close contact with each other and to connect with others around the world by sharing ideas, stories, photos and videos about raising, healthy, happy, globally-enlightened children. My little ones are best buddies with Kim’s five-year-old son and they look forward to keeping in close contact with Kim and her boy on their adventure in France. Our blog will provide the children with many opportunities to share and compare their life experiences from their perspectives in two different parts of the world. They are excited to exchange stories on Skype and email about school, local museums, food, theme parks, and much more! For me, this blog will serve as an exercise in creativity and an invaluable opportunity to challenge myself, daily, to become more open-minded, and to set a great example as a parent by helping my children develop a true feeling of appreciation and optimism about the global community in which they live. It should be noted that I am a research junkie. Always an inquisitive individual, I honed my research skills in law school. Now, with the answer to virtually every conceivable question at my finger tips, I get online every day to attempt to quench my insatiable thirst for knowledge. This blog will enable me to pass along any and all information which I find valuable in terms of parenting, education and global issues. I plan to tweet about these tidbits of significant information upon which I stumble, so please follow us Twitter! We encourage readers to share their stories and photos and look forward to hearing about global parenting experiences from around the world. Please click on our share your story page and connect with us! Jill
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