Ah, the time of year when parents are really scrambling to entertain and care for their little ones. Cambria has gone through cycles where there are more and less options, to be sure. Once upon a time, I used to be in charge of youth programs in town, so I know. Oh, wait; I had little ones, too!
By now, most people have any “real” vacations planned and booked, summer league sports figured out and maybe even signed up for College for Kids at Cuesta College or even summer camp some where. I, myself, lived for camp as a kid.
Here are some opportunities, if you haven’t made your plans or plans for your kids:• Check out the offerings at Camp Ocean Pines right here in town! http://campoceanpines.org/summer-camp
• Littler kids? The YMCA program has summer hours for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Games, learning, supervised playtime, crafts (yours truly will be doing a tie dye class with them in July!) and all manner of fun can be had if you sign up quickly enough to get in this popular offering. Call Stephanie Stacy at 927-8007.
• Speaking of the YMCA, pre-teens and teens should check out what’s going on down at the Cambria Recreation Center, 870 Main St. Supervised gatherings, organized classes and special events are the norm. Call 927-8007 for more info — or, better yet, drop in!
• So, you’ve got an afternoon or weekend to fill? What about playing eco-tourist right here in town? Pack a picnic lunch, an extra sweatshirt, drawing pad and pencils or crayons. Integrate art and exercise while getting acquainted or reacquainted with the coast or Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.
• Have you ever built a driftwood hut on the beach? Seaweed, taken home and dried thoroughly, makes a lovely collage. Or, braid strands into “belts” or baskets. Check out the local library for books on basket-weaving which is easy and fun to do with the endless supply around here of pine needles, tall grasses and seaweed.
• Pad and maybe clipboard in hand, encourage kids (and yourself!) to make quick, close-up sketches of rocks, waves, birds or whatever they notice. The Ranch is also a wonderful spot for this. While up on the forest trail, perhaps, use crayons to take rubbings on tree bark or rough trails, etc. (You know, put the paper over found object and use the side of a crayon to rub over surface to pick up the pattern.)
• Once you’ve made a collection of beach sketches and Ranch rubbings, cut or tear them up to make your own nature scene at home. Use cheap-o watercolor sets or markers to add different colors to some areas or all until you’re satisfied with your work.
• When was the last time you had a picnic? Do you know what those birds are out there at the shoreline? Check out the Morro Bay Natural History Museum, http://www.slostateparks.com/natural_history_museum/, and make a day of learning fun by studying the wonderful exhibits they have there. Take a sack lunch and hike the trails around there to followup your new-found knowledge.
So, whether they’re your own kids, grandkids or you find yourself “borrowing” some kids, there really is much to do around these parts. Just think like a kid and you’ll be busy in no time.