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So you want to keep the kids busy this summer?

If you want to keep the kids off the couch this summer, there are plenty of activities available. - Andrew Leong/file
If you want to keep the kids off the couch this summer, there are plenty of activities available.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Is it truth or urban myth that students spend the first day of school writing about what they did on their summer vacations?

If you want to give your children something to talk and write about, check out the great summer camps being offered locally.

While parents might have attended basketball and volleyball camps, today's kids have a greater selection to choose from. There's mini-triathlons, British soccer camps, technology classes and baby sitting and first aid courses.

And more. Much more.

If your child is a fan of the Bond films — Bond, James Bond — check out the Secret Agent in the Field summer camp program. Kids age 6 to 12 will learn about the secret world of espionage and how to use science to sniff out their suspects and uncover their secrets. From decoding messages to metal detectors and night vision, they'll have the opportunity to check out some spy equipment and sharpen their surveillance skills.

Or maybe they're fascinated with the TV show CSI, and thinking along those lines career wise? Then send them to Mad Science Secret Lab, for kids age 6 to 11. Camp day themes include: at the scene of the crime, organ trail, chemical counting, cell city and radical reactions. Participants will track down an elusive thief by using forensic techniques.

Got a child who's showing all the signs of being a famous scientist, like Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist? Then enroll them in Science Sleuths. This camp explores the wonders of gravity, balance and how science can save our threatened planet. Camp day themes include: mad messages, earth awareness, the science of sport, nature and space.

For the aspiring Steve Jobs in your family, or future employees of Pixar, there's 3D Animation Byte Camp. Participants at this camp will learn how movies like Shrek, Toy Story and The Incredibles were made. Using 3D software, participants will learn how to design characters that jump off the screen and then make them come alive by adding voices, sound tracks and completing their own animated short film. Final projects will be hosted on-line and handed out on USB sticks so they can be shown off to friends and family.

For nine- to 12-year-olds, there's 2D animation on a tablet. Participants will learn how to create stories, draw and edit their very own animations, all by themselves.

For the gamers in the group, there's 2D video game design. Students start the week making short animated films and by the end they'll have completed their own video game. Check out www.bytecamp.ca to seen the hundreds of games created in years past.

Got a little Mozart in your midst? Then enroll your 4 to 6 year old in the Music for Little Mozarts' program. Sessions include colouring, singing and time at the piano.

For the tween and teen set, there's the Youth on the Move program. Thursday evenings will be spent geocaching, blueberry picking and beach combing.

Students who want to spend part of the summer babysitting but don't have the credentials behind them can enroll in a one-day training that takes place July 26. Topics covered will include: first aid, dealing with emergencies, injury prevention, handling babies and planning activities for kids.

And the Jamie Oliver wannabees can check out Thrifty Foods Young Chef course. Participants will learn how to make nutritional snacks and at the end of the program, leave with their own customized recipe book.

So urban myth or not, there's no reason why your child can't hit it out of the park when talking or writing about what he did on his summer vacation.

All the programs above are being run out of either the North Cowichan, or Cowichan Valley Regional District parks and recreation departments.

Dates, times and registration details for camps are available at: http://www.northcowichan.ca/EN/main/departments/parks-recreation/guidesandpamphlets.html  and http://www.cvrd.bc.ca/index.aspx?nid=91

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