How seven Toronto kids are coping with the most boring summer ever

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“I wrote a book and my mom helped me publish it on Amazon”: How seven Toronto kids are coping with the most boring summer ever

For kids, summer 2020 means the cancellation of a lot of highly anticipated plans (sleepaway camp!), but also a chance to get creative, get cooking and, in some cases, get perms! We asked a bunch of resourceful rugrats to tell us what they’ve been doing to keep busy, what they’ve learned about their parents’ jobs and what they think about going back to school. Here’s what they said. Warning: cuteness ahead.

Tristan, 7

West Rouge

How have you kept busy during the pandemic?
I’ve been building a lot of Lego stuff—like a helicopter, a house, trucks. I’ve been at home a lot more with my mom and my dad and my little sister. She likes to try to play Lego with me, but it doesn’t always go that well. She fights and she lies. And I’ve started swimming lessons with a teacher who comes to my house. It’s good. Maybe in a week we’ll go visit my grandpa. We watch movies and I like to help him fix things.

What are you missing out on this summer because of Covid?
I was supposed to go to drama camp. I was excited for that because I want to be an actor when I grow up. But it’s okay because instead I’m starting tennis lessons and I’m going on a lot of long bike rides with my family. They’re fun. But they’re long.

What do your parents do during the day? 
My mom works for the government, which means she does a lot of talking on the phone and a lot of typing.

What is Covid-19, exactly?
It’s a germ and it could spread. Especially if you cough and you don’t have your hand in front of your mouth.

Are you looking forward to going back to school?
I’m excited to play with the toys in my class if I’m allowed to. I can’t wait to see my friends. We’re called the Boys Team and we have meetings. I don’t want to miss out on any of those.

 

Gabrielle, 11

Thornhill

How have you kept busy during the pandemic?
Last summer, after I finished Grade 4, I started writing a book. It’s called The Defenders. It’s about a wolf named Cinder who has to complete a mysterious prophecy. I worked on it for most of the year, but I didn’t have a lot of time because of school and everything else. When we went into quarantine, my mom and my brother and I went up to our cottage, and I had nothing to do but work on it. It was definitely inspiring to be able to see the forest from my window. I finished the book and my mom helped me publish it on Amazon.

What are you missing out on this summer because of Covid?
For a long time, we were up at my cottage, and I was missing seeing my friends. Now we’ve been home a couple of times and I’ve seen them. I’m hoping some of my friends have time to read my book. So far one says she has other books that she has to read and another friend has barely gotten into it. It’s a bit disappointing, but I understand.

What do your parents do during the day?
My mom is a professional photographer, and I have learned that her job is not easy. I used to think it was, and then she needed me to take a photo of her for some reason. I did and it turned out terribly!

What is Covid-19, exactly?
Covid is a virus that started in China and now somehow the whole world has it. Kids don’t tend to get it as much, so I’m not really scared except that I am scared for my parents and other people who are old.

Are you looking forward to going back to school?
I am so excited. I miss my friends and I want to go back to school no matter what. Doing school online was too hard.

 

Parker and Cooper, 7

Ajax

How have you kept busy during the pandemic?
Parker: We’ve been going to the chipmunk park for jogging and we saved a bird and a frog. I mean, four frogs. We ride our bikes, we went to the beach, we are building Lego, we watch YouTube videos. I think that’s all.
Cooper: And we see our family. Our grandma, who we call Ma Ma, used to be a hairdresser, so when we went to her house she gave us a perm. I like it. I think I look like a lion!
Parker: I think it’s too puffy. I asked my mom to cut the sides down.

What are you missing out on this summer because of Covid?
Cooper:
I miss playing with my friends.
Parker: I miss going to school.
Cooper: I miss going to the park.
Parker: I miss hugging people.
Cooper: I miss watching TV at school.

What do your parents do during the day?
Parker: My dad fights fire for work and mom takes pictures.
Cooper: All day they work.
Parker: I see them sleeping and eating, and my daddy is building a tree house for my birthday, but it’s already passed.
Cooper: My dad does exercise: pull-ups, jogging, squats, jumping jacks and all sorts of workout things.

What is Covid-19, exactly?
Parker: Covid is a thing that can make you very sick and if it catches you too much you can die.
Cooper: We wash our hands and stay at home to stay away from Covid. We don’t hug and kiss people and we wear masks.
Parker: We wear masks to the store!

How are you feeling about going back to school?
Cooper: We are feeling great, great, great.
Parker: I want to see my friends.

 

Nyla, 9

Midtown

How have you kept busy during the pandemic?
I have been doing a lot of baking. When we were still doing school, I would finish my work really early so that I could bake, and now I have even more time. I have done cupcakes, cookies, cakes, cheesecake, doughnuts. Well, those are frying not baking. It’s fun and I have gotten a lot better at it. At first I couldn’t do piping and my cupcakes looked terrible, but now they look great. My family loves to do the eating. My brother always wants to know when it’s going to be ready. He will bug me while it’s still in the oven. And my dad likes to eat things in the middle of the night. I come down in the morning and I have to count.

What are you missing out on this summer because of Covid?
My best friend and I were signed up to go to sleepaway camp for the first time, and they have horseback riding there. I was mostly so excited and maybe a little bit nervous because I have never gone to sleepaway camp before.

What do your parents do during the day?
My mom has a restaurant, so she is always going there during the day. My dad works in the basement on his computer and doing calls. I don’t know what he does. I think it sounds important.

What is Covid-19, exactly?
It’s a virus. Old people die from it.

Are you excited to go back to school?
I am so excited to see my friends, but not that excited to wear a mask. My mom says that she has to wear one every day and that you get used to it.

 

Eleazar, 10

Thornhill

How have you kept busy during the pandemic?
I’ve been playing video games with my friends online—mostly basketball. My parents have been less strict about screen time because we have to be at home so much. I have also been to a few Black Lives Matter protests with my family. It’s because Black kids aren’t treated equally so we are protesting. It makes me feel happy to be there and also it makes me feel really proud of my mom. I wear a mask to be safe. It’s okay, but it makes my mouth sweaty.

What are you missing out on this summer because of Covid?
I turned 10 and normally I would have invited some friends over for a birthday party. Instead my family ordered dinner from Romano’s. We got pasta and chicken parmesan and chocolate pizza. I also got to see my Nana for the first time since Covid, so that was really great. I missed seeing her.

What do your parents do during the day?
My parents have spent a lot of time organizing protests, so they talk a lot on the phone. They also run a basketball camp called Skillz Basketball Camp. It’s smaller groups this year, but I have been able to go. It’s fun to get to play outside.

What is Covid-19, exactly?
It’s a pandemic. I don’t really know what that is, but it is really serious.

Are you looking forward to going back to school?
I think I’m going to be doing school at home. I’m excited for learning, but I miss seeing my friends.

 

Mia, 7

Etobicoke

How have you kept busy during the pandemic?
I have gotten really good at skipping. My mom holds one end and we tied the other end to a pole. At first I tried to get my little brother to hold one end, but he wasn’t very good at it. We do, “Apples, peaches, pears and plums, tell me when your birthday comes.” Another fun thing is our new waterslide, which our parents got us as a surprise. My mom says we needed something to keep us occupied.

What are you missing out on this summer because of Covid?
We can’t go to Canada’s Wonderland, which I’m pretty sad about. I was excited because I’m taller than I was last year so I was excited to go on the bigger rides.

What do your parents do during the day?
My dad does some kind of sales stuff. He does a lot of phone calls with his friends and he laughs really loud. Sometimes a bit too loud.

What is Covid-19, exactly?
It’s been going on for a couple of months and you have to wear a mask in stores. It can be a bit uncomfortable and hot, but I’m excited because I really like my new tie-dye mask.

Are you looking forward to school in September?
I am because I got a new backpack and matching lunchbox and a pencil case.

 

Wilt, 7

Hillcrest

How have you kept busy during the pandemic?
At the beginning of Covid, I couldn’t really see any friends, so it’s really fun to see them now. We have a laneway behind our house and my dad painted in a basketball court to go with our net. The kids like to come to play at my house, so that’s usually fun. I also have my older sister, so even when I don’t have friends, I still have someone to play with. She is good because she taught me how to play Minecraft, but she is bad because last night when I was sleeping she did a marker moustache on my face and now it won’t come off.

What are you missing out on this summer because of Covid?
I was supposed to go to a lot of the camps that got cancelled. Instead my mom helped organize a camp with kids in our neighbourhood, and our counsellor is a babysitter. We go to the park and play sports and water guns.

What do your parents do during the day?
My dad does his job from home now, so I see how much he feels stressed. He works at a toy company, so usually he brings us home toys and cool stuff, but now that I see his job is doing Zoom meetings it seems a bit more boring.

What is Covid-19, exactly?
It’s a disease. It’s kind of obvious because it’s everywhere.

Are you looking forward to back to school?
I’m not feeling very good about it. I’m worried about my friends forgetting me.