Kelly Pearson is mom to three kiddos ages 4, 11 & 14.  She is in charge of planning the fun special events & vacation weeks at Cowabunga’s!

She is constantly analyzing what children love & how families play in the space to improve their space & customer experience.

In 2021, Cowabunga’s switched to a lower occupancy model & hourly play times to accommodate restrictions during the pandemic.  Since kids, guests & staff enjoy playing in a less crowded setting, we have continued this trend.  

Thriving During School Vacation Weeks!

Vacation weeks are so exciting for kids but can also create so much stress for parents.  Whether you’re traveling, planning a staycation or sending your kids to vacation camps, here are some great tips to make your week a little less stressful.


Very few things in life just magically turn out amazing with little effort!  Planning is always the key to success!  Start a couple week before coming up with a plan for vacation week & start to discuss it with your children so they can start to process the change in routine.

If you’re going on vacation, have them be part of the packing & planning.  This will make them involved in the fun!  I always try to simplify choices for my younger kids by giving them a pile to choose from instead of their whole closet.  I make a simple list of things they should pack and take time to have them try on clothes to make sure they fit.

For children attending a vacation camp, take extra care if this is a new camp for them.  Reach out to the director to get details about check-in & check-out procedures and ask for a schedule for the day. Share this information with your child & discuss some of the fun things they will be doing during the week.  Have them help with packing their backpack & labeling their items.  The weekend before, talk about the morning routine & try to limit what needs to be accomplished in the morning by prepping the night before!

The family staycation is definitely a family favorite & allows for so many fun day trips.  Make sure to plan your week out with your child and ask about the activities they want to do, as well as the friends they want to see.  You can give older children more responsibility in planning & budgeting for the week.  Give them a budget and have them research day trips they’d like to take and price out activities.


Make sure to prepare your child for what the schedule will look like for the week.  Write it down together and discuss what the plans are for each day.  Talk about bed times, what time they need to wake up & what morning things they’ll need to do.  If your schedule is different each day, end the night with a quick reminder of what the schedule is for the next day.  


Focus on the basics — Well fed & well rested!  If a meltdown occurs, always offer a drink or a snack, as emotions are much harder to control when the basic needs aren’t met. 


Being flexible is hard for both adults & children.  Even with the best planning, things can drastically change in a moment’s notice.  Keeping a positive outlook during any hiccups in plans is the best medicine for keeping everyone happy.  If you find yourself melting down, like I do sometimes, take a moment to recognize your feelings with your child and offer words of reassurance.  

It can sounds something like this … “Wow! I’m really disappointed that we traveled all this way and this place is closed.  But, I betcha we can find something else around here that’s just as fun!” 

Take every bump as it comes and let remind yourself that it’s ok to change plans to fit your child’s mood or wants.

What other tips or tricks do you have for thriving during school vacation weeks?

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