Summer Learning Activities For the Whole Family

Do you remember those times last summer when the relentless sound of “I’m bored.” made you count the days until the start of the new school year? Most kids celebrate the beginning of summer vacation but, too often, run out of things to do before the summer ends. The resulting restlessness and boredom can lead to fights among siblings and way too much screen time. A clever parent who has good survival skills knows that having a plan in place at the start of vacation is the key to a peaceful summer. I recommend you include family activities that are local, inexpensive, and educational. Reading and local trips are available that entertain and educate all family members.

Reading is an inexpensive way to involve children in new learning experiences. Library books are free and attending library activities provides opportunities for children to learn while socializing with other children. The act of reading expands one’s knowledge base, increases fluency and vocabulary, decreases screen time, and develops a broader understanding of the world outside our local environment. Reading a good story aloud to siblings can be the foundation for dramatic imaginative play activities, art, and discussions.

We are fortunate to live in a community that provides many opportunities to learn more about history, nature, and climate. We have Vasquez Rocks just down the road where families can hike and learn more about California history, geology, and view the clear night time sky through telescopes. We have an abundance of local nurseries where families can learn about our weather and climate by studying the growing habits and temperature requirements of the various trees, flowers, and shrubs. In addition, there are many hiking trails in the surrounding green belt areas that provide additional opportunities for studying nature while getting some physical activity. Our city also provides very low fee park and recreation activities that provide opportunities engage in art, music, and sports classes.

Just remember, in the end, it’s all about learning while you are having fun. The ultimate goal is to make time for the whole family while reducing sibling squabbles and reliance upon television and computers for entertainment. So get the family together, involve everyone in the decision making, and beat summer boredom by learning together.

Summer Camp for Any Age

Whether your child is still in preschool, or if they are in their high school years, you can find a summer camp which will fit their needs and provide them with a summer filled with good memories. If you went to summer camp as a child, you may or may not have fond memories of your time there. But you will find that today, there are many more camp choices for your children-not only with the activities that the summer camp offers, but also the length and age of the participants.

The first thing that you should really think about when choosing a camp for your child is the age and maturity level of your child. Most children that are younger than 9 years old are not old enough for a sleep-away camp yet. They may be able to handle one or two nights away, but longer than that could be difficult. After age nine, the summer camp length can gradually increase to anywhere from a week to a few weeks. In order to prepare your child for their first experience sleeping away from home at summer camp, you may want to have them spend a night or two with a close friend or relative.

The next thing that you will need to decide is what type of camp. You may be in an area which offers a summer camp program through the city and school district which offer a wide selection of activities. You may also be able to find music, drama, sports, or computer camps that are only day camps. A sleep away camp may have a focus on anything from horsemanship, to surfboarding, to weight loss. You can find a lot of information about different camps by looking on the internet.

Before your child attends any camp you will need to do some very intensive questioning and research. You should find out what a daily schedule looks like, how free time is spent, what the menu is, and what the ratio of staff to campers is. You will also need to find out what kind of medical training and facilities the camp offers and what the emergency notification procedures are. Ask how you will be able to contact your child. You may even want to find someone who has had a child at that particular camp and ask them questions. Give your child a lifetime of memories from camp.

Music Industry Insider: Tess Taylor of NARIP and LAMN

Members of LAMN (founded in 1988) and NARIP (founded in 1998), are able to more quickly gain the insight, knowledge, and contact information they need for career development and career enhancement.

The success of both organizations extends well beyond their names – both LAMN and NARIP have members across the country and around the globe. Offices have opened in Canada, New York, and London, with additional cities getting in line.

Prior to Taylor’s development of these influential organizations, there was no formal entity that addressed the educational, networking, or mentoring functions necessary to nurture a new generation for the music industry. Each of these factors is important, but there is no doubt which one Taylor values most: “Networking is what this business – all business, really – is about,” she states. “If you want to get ahead, you’ve got to know people. You can be a genius but remain entrenched in obscurity and poverty unless you get out there and let people know who you are.”


LAMN is a multifaceted resource for newcomers to the music business, as well as an avenue for students to learn more about the industry and how they might break into it. LAMN sponsors industry gatherings, workshops and seminars with top executives from all areas of the music business.


To qualify to become a member of NARIP, you must be a professional in the record industry. “I realized that, beyond organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) which is a lobbying body that focuses on legislation, there wasn’t an organization that served the needs of those whose careers are completely in the record industry,” Taylor stated.

The Beginnings.

“The idea for the Los Angeles Music Network goes back to my first job in the business, with Avalon Attractions, a big concert promoter in Southern California,” says Taylor. “Every spoke of the music industry wheel comes together to make a concert happen. Here I was, fresh out of college, and I had access to just about every possible type of professional – from radio to press to record company personnel, from artist managers to the artists themselves.”

Taylor looked around for an association through which she could meet the people she interacted with on the phone. “I was very surprised not to find anything of real value, so I started putting together little meet-and-greets among the people I was dealing with,” she says. “At first, there were only about three or four of us, but it grew. That was the seed that led to my building the professional relationships I have today, not to mention the Job Bank and my mailing list. It’s the best in the business.”

Some of what LAMN and NARIP do overlaps, and Taylor regularly employs NARIP members for LAMN panels and other functions, and to mentor LAMN members. However, she is keen to provide the right kind of experiences for each group.

For NARIP members, her approach is to take on a continuing-education role. “We should never stop learning and, no matter how much experience we may have, there’s always something else or another point of view that we can absorb and appreciate,” Taylor says.


A classically-trained pianist, Taylor is also is an instructor, music business lecturer and speaker at institutions such as the Harvard Business School, New York University, the Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum, Berklee College of Music, University of California Los Angeles (Entertainment Studies & Performing Arts), University of Southern California, Academy of Contemporary Music (Guildford, London), California State University at Chico, Middle Tennessee State University, Music and Entertainment Industry Educator’s Association International Symposium (2000 and 2002), University of Hawaii, California State University at Pomona, the Pepperdine University School of Business and others. A popular guest speaker and participant in industry conferences internationally, she served as Conference Chair for Musicom4, a music technology symposium (1998), and as keynote speaker for Berklee College of Music Summer Conference (2003)

She is a consultant to InsideSessions, a joint venture between the Universal Music Group and Penguin Putnam, and sits on numerous international charity and industry boards of directors. She is a frequent talent judge at US and international talent competitions and has recently participated on panels for Universal Talent Prague (Czech Republic 2003) and for the Golden Magnolia International Song Festival (Baton Rouge 2003).

As a writer and contributor, her analyses have appeared recently in Billboard Magazine, Radio & Records, USA Today, Newsweek, Source Magazine, the Chicago Sun Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, Daily Variety, Musician Magazine, Wired, Lip Service Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and wire services such as Reuters Ltd., and in international business press (Capital Magazine [Spain], Challenges / Le Nouvel Observateur [France]). She has been a featured expert on National Public Radio’s “Hollywood Wrap,” the Fox News Channel, Samm Brown’s “For The Record” on KPFK 90.7-FM, Ira Fistell’s talk radio program on KRLA 1110-AM and in other news media.


Tess Taylor can be reached at (818) 769-7007 or via email at [email protected].