The trunks are packed and the duffels fully stuffed. Ten days of clothing for a 7-day expedition have been ceremoniously tagged with name labels, and daily outfits complete with underwear and socks have been placed in easy-to-grab Ziploc bags. Seemingly unending amounts of insect repellant and sunscreen find their place amid the themed costumes, card games, and letter-writing supplies that will hopefully reappear as notes in my mailbox, while Washi-taped family pictures line the pine boxes that serve as my boys’ primary connection to home for the next week. For the two eldest Miller children, summer camp has arrived.

Now that the boys are gone for the week, you can practically hear a pin drop with all the single-childness happening around here. The day of her brothers’ departure, the little sister of the family bid her bros a half-hearted adieu, gave the obligatory hugs, and quickly took to running the roost as the only child. And although she is still at least a year away from sleepaway camp, her 6-year-old self still loves a full day of mom-free activities. During summer, that usually means day camps.

I love a good day camp. Camps offer a chance to check out an activity that we may not do on the regular without the weekly commitment and gives us enough exposure to maybe spark a passion — if not only a quick summer fling.  

Sports are an obvious camp choice and in Edmond, the pickings are plentiful. All my offspring started summer with a week-long tennis camp that had me dreaming of being a Wimbledon Mom and even though none of them are regular racket-grabbers yet, they all loved it. KickingBird Tennis Center (kbtenniscenter.com) offers summer options for lessons and clinics and Kicking Bird Golf Club (edmondok.com) has a swinging junior golf program. My middle child loves basketball and we’ve had great luck with Solid Rock (solidrockbasketball.com) or The Hive (hivehoops.com) with both offering camps like beginner clinics, 3-on-3, and ball handling. Area baseball and football camps seem to mostly happen in June, but the Edge Sports Fitness (edgesportsfitness.com) and Knight Sports Performance (knightsportsperformance.com) hold sports and agility camps all summer long. On the last Saturday of the month, you’ll find my crew at the same place I burn calories — True Grit Fitness (truegrit-ok.com) — for the monthly Gritty Kids Camp that will have youngsters 5-to-13 doing burpees and box jumps with the best of them. 

Our mini-Michelangelo loved every minute of her paint-slinging arts and craft camp she took in June and the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond (edmondfinearts.com) has similar options that can be the muse for your munchkin. They offer a monthly Little Artist Camp and an Art Escape Camp in August for first through fifth graders with a focus on drawing, painting, clay, and mixed media. The Edmond Parks and Recreation Department (edmondok.com) has art options as well, in addition to camps that cover topics including photography, music, sewing and acting. 

My daughter adores all things cheer and dance and I frequently find my little lady creating dance routines in her room while she talks to an audience that only she can see. She’s already one cheer camp deep this summer but we have another planned with Twist & Shout (shouterspirit.com) later this month. There’s an appropriate camp for every skill level — novice to advanced. Similar camps in tumbling and cheer are offered at Oklahoma Gold Gymnastics (oklahomagoldgymnastics.com) during July and August.

Speaking of somersaults, in our world, prime time television provides the inspiration to treat the house like an obstacle course. Edmond Ninja Warriors can find an alternative for living room Olympics at Phamily Fun Fitness (phamilyfunfitness.com). We started visiting this jungle gym deluxe last fall when our boys enrolled in the beginner ninja warrior session and I love the group setting and attention to safety in all the classes. Take to the ropes, boxes, and even the notorious “warped wall” at camps that continue each week through July for ages 8-15, with regular classes — even for adults — held year-round.

With more options than weeks, I find myself pumping the breaks on picking too many camps, and it can be hard not to fill our summer with dribbling, swinging, photo-taking, and crafting. In a few days, our boys (and their laundry) will return home and the sounds of silence will be replaced by the rambunctious noise of my three free spirits enjoying Camp Hang-Around-the-House — maybe my favorite camp of all.