My friend Ginny has ten kids, and she told me that she tends to divide them into two sets—the older set, and the younger set—in her thinking and her expectations of them. Well, I tend to do the same thing with my kids even though I “only” have four. My older two kids have similar responsibilities and privileges, and my younger two kids’ activities—and my expectations of them—align more often than not as well.
The problem with this is that my second child often ends up getting more mature privileges than my first born did at her age. For example, sleepovers started much earlier with her. And my third child often gets away all kinds of laziness, because she gets lumped-in with my three-year-old. She definitely has a princess complex. Her big sisters whiz around the house, cleaning up quickly because they want to be done, while she whirls and daydreams and watches. This is a problem.
In accordance with this tendency of mine to lump my kids into two groups, when I researched day camp opportunities for my sixth grader this summer, I decided to let my second daughter, a fourth grader, attend as well.
During the whole week of JA “Biztown” Camp, there was a definite dichotomy. The two “big kids” went to camp and the two “little kids” got to hang out with mom all day.
This particular camp was all about entrepreneurialism, business skills, and philanthropy. My girls had to come up with a business plan and present it to potential investors. They learned about financing, marketing, insurance, fraud, check-writing, and many other topics. They worked for different faux-companies and had different roles in their respective companies each day. They had to operate inside a town filled with other companies and a government. Politics also came into play, and they got to elect a new mayor each day of camp.
At camp, my oldest daughter ended up in a 3-D printing shop, which was perfect for her skill set because she loves to create things, although they made her work in sales and as a CFO, as well as in production. My second daughter ended up working at a children’s hospital. She wasn’t sure she’d like that at first, but ended up enjoying many aspects of the healthcare business.
This JA “Biztown” Camp was truly awesome and helped to expand the kids’ world, taught them basics of financial literacy, and got them thinking about ideas they might have for solving problems in their community and possibly starting a business someday.
That’s what the older half of my brood did last week. The younger half mostly putzed around the house with me and we also ran errands. But I did squeeze in some times to have fun with just them, doing things that they enjoy. We went to the children’s museum one day and fed ducks at a canal one day. We also got doughnuts twice, which was a big hit.
By far, the absolute favorite thing the younger kids enjoyed doing last week was visiting a pet store. It’s the simple things in life that really excite little kids. Right?! [And, if you remember my post from last week, we don’t have pets yet, so they are enamored by the novelty of it.]
We first drove to PetCo, but it was closed, so we drove a few miles down the road to PetSmart. Now my younger two kids both can identify these pet stores’ logos, and whenever they see them on the road, they squeal with excitement and ask if we can visit the pet store.
Note to self: Save money on a zoo membership and just browse the local pet store instead. The kids will love it just as much!
Life is clipping by at a pretty fast pace, it seems. Last week, I enjoyed seeing my older kids grow at camp. And I enjoyed hanging out with my littles and having some time to spend with just them.
Two sets of kids to love. The older set and the younger set. It’s the best job there is.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images by Amy Koons.