words :: Laura Raimondi.
In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv writes: “The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” In our age of ever-expanding technology, we can rely on smartphones and tablets as summertime sitters for the kids. But parents, caregivers and educators need to be aware of the widening gap between young people and nature and the implications on everyone’s health and well-being. We are fortunate to live in a place with unlimited opportunities to experience the outdoors all summer long. As we find ourselves swapping skis for mountain bikes, it’s time to start crafting plans on how to keep the kids entertained and happy all summer.
Blue Mountain Resort offers summer activities for all ages, interests and budgets that get kids and adults outside and active. The Village hosts activities throughout the summer including festivals, concerts at the open-air Coca-Cola Village Stage, scavenger hunts, Movies Under the Stars and fireworks. My personal go-to activity with young kids on a hot summer day? The Mill Pond playground and splash pad. Start the day at the playground to let the kids slide, climb, hang, jump, build with sand and shake out their sillies. Once the heat starts to crank up, head on over to the Village fountain and splash pad, located next to the Coca-Cola Village stage, for a cool-down.
Basecamp attractions including the Ridge Runner mountain coaster, Cascade putting course, the rock-climbing wall and paddle boating at the Mill Pond always have high entertainment value. Older kids will have a blast on the Timber Challenge High Ropes course, Wind Rider Triple Zips and Apex Bag Jump. Everyone enjoys a trip to the top of the Escarpment, whether it’s a hike up one of Blue’s well-marked trails or via the open-air gondola. Once you reach the top there’s an easy walking path and lots of greenspace for kids to roam around and explore, including connections to the Bruce Trail. For those who also have wee ones, they can ride the gondola with a parent or care-giver when secured in a carrier or stroller. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, pack them up in a baby or toddler carrier for an extra challenge on your mountain expedition. Don’t forget a good pair of running or hiking shoes and a bottle of water.
Mountainside and beachside summer camps are offered for kids aged 6 and up with modified programming available for kids aged 4 and 5. The mountainside camp schedules a morning swim lesson and supervised free swim with afternoon activities such as hikes, Woodlot Low Ropes, climbing wall, mini golf, kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking. Arts and crafts are offered for a bit of downtime. Beachside camps take place at Blue Mountain’s private beach located on the shores of Georgian Bay, just a 10-minute drive from the Village. Kids will have the chance to spend the day stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing, snorkeling and swimming. Beach-themed activities include capture the flag, sandcastle-building competitions and beach volleyball.
Growing up, I spent my summers biking the neighbourhood, catching critters in the creek and swimming at the local pool. I explored forests and lakes. And I instinctively knew that summers were short, and precious, and meant to be spent outside. I think our children realize this too. —ML
No one will look back at the summer of ’19 and wish they had spent more time on screens. For details on basecamp attractions, summer camps and village activities, check bluemountain.ca