It’s a time-honored ritual enjoyed by kids and adolescents across the country: heading
out to a sleepaway summer camp for a week (or more) of reconnecting with nature, bonding with others, and trying activities that might take them outside their comfort zone. In recent decades, summer camps have evolved to cater to a variety of issues that children might face—including medical ones, ensuring that all kids have the opportunity to embark on this fun rite-of-passage experience.
At overnight camps geared toward kids with epilepsy, campers are cared for by trained counselors and adult volunteers, many of whom have epilepsy themselves—making them “great role models for the kids to see,” says Kelly Knupp, M.D., M.S.C.S., associate professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Colorado, who regularly works with epilepsy summer camps in her state. There are also medical professionals on-site, and staff trained to recognize and respond immediately to seizures. Camp schedules are also adjusted to allow for longer sleep periods and breaks during the day, as there’s often a link between fatigue and seizures.
Thanks to travel restrictions and, oh, general uncertainty about life, many people will be considering staycations this season. The bright side: These can entertain and bring your loved ones together in a totally different way, whether you’ve got kids at home or are staycationing with friends and family virtually. Here’s a week’s worth of ideas from Meredith Sinclair, author of Well Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family’s Playful Spirit.
Saturday: Set a vacation-y backdrop
Where would you be if you could be anywhere? Whether it’s Florida or Colorado, look to YouTube for an extended video of the locale. (Search “6-Hour Real Time Hawaii Nature” for an idyllic example.) Pick a dream destination, and keep your computer screens set to a different scene each day.
Sunday: Prep for “crafternoons”
Search Pinterest or Michaels.com for DIY crafts you’d like to try. Each person gets to pick one or two projects. (Bonus: A holiday-themed craft can help refresh your seasonal decora- tions!) Prep work is key: Gather the supplies and place them in separate bins for each project so you’re ready to roll when the crafting begins.
Monday: Find the fun
Motivate the fam to get outside by creating a “Find the Fun” poster, a family-generated list of any and all things you want to do out of the house during your staycation. See how many you can cross off by break’s end.
Tuesday: Declutter—in a fun way
Clean out the attic as a team, but leave plenty of time for going through those old photo albums and craft projects before you decide what stays and what goes. It can be fun for older family members to share some memories with younger generations.
Wednesday: Cuisine theme night
Watch a food- or travel-focused film together, then use that inspiration to cook a meal evoking the culture. You might watch “Big Night,” the classic movie about the inner workings of an Italian restaurant. Or the acclaimed documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” or “Nothing Fancy,” the true story of famed Mexican chef Diana Kennedy.
Why is it always “Game Night”? Make it a “Game Day” with Break the Board (ages 6+), an electronic game that has you chopping at a karate board; Poetry for Neanderthals (7+), a monosyllable word-guessing game; or a good old-fashioned game of poker, which, like many other games, can be played in person or online.
Friday (and through the weekend): Edutainment for all
One good thing to come out of 2020: an explosion of cool online classes and virtual concerts, tours and field trips. To wrap up your staycation, try Duolingo, for free foreign-language lessons; Nikon online photography classes; Hogwarts Is Here classes for the Harry Potter-obsessed; and virtual field trips to places like NBA headquarters and the Johnson Space Center.
EpilepsyAdvocate Fall 2020