Picking the Right Summer Camp

By Jill “Mamabug” Frier

The summer months are coming and parents are looking for ways to keep their kids busy while they’re out of school. One solution is summer camp. Here are some tips for finding the right one.

Why Summer Camp is Important

Camp is a place where kids can safely roam and play in a way they often aren’t allowed to in their own neighborhoods. In a virtual environment, summer camp provides kids with entertainment, learning, and stimulation outside of their routine.

Whether they’re at day camp all summer, specialty camp for a week or two, online camp, or overnight camp, kids can let loose and have fun with other kids outside of a school or home environment. Summer camps are a great way for your kids to have fun and stay active during the months they’re out of school, they also teach kids important life lessons like how to make new friends and gain independence.

How to Pick the Right Camp for Your Kid

There’re many options for parents and kids to choose from when deciding which type of camp to pick. You can choose anything from traditional overnight camp, to science camp where kids go daily to conduct experiments and learn about different STEM-related topics, to soccer, art, gymnastics, theater, karate, basketball, and more.

Some things to consider:
• Know Your Goal: Do you need ongoing care for your child every day, or do you just want to get them out of the house for a while to have fun with other kids? Do you want them to get plenty of exercise? Learn a new skill? Grow academically? Improve their musical or artistic abilities? Pick a camp that meets the goals you have for your child.

• Know Your Child’s Interests: Discuss the different camps available with your child and see what things interest them. Understand the age range suggested by the camp and any skill sets your child may be required to have. You can broaden their horizons by letting them try new things, but be aware of their limitations and the things they don’t like.

• Know Your Budget: Summer camp can cost a lot of money. Be sure that you consider all of the expenses involved, including equipment, meals, and extras. There are also a variety of options that you can make work to fit your budget. Look for nonprofit organizations, public parks and recreation venues, community centers and libraries, and online offerings for lower cost options for summer camp.

• Be Aware of Time Constraints and Locations: Summer camp can be a big help to working parents who need a place for their kids during the summer break, but note the drop off and pick up times to make sure they work with your schedule. Also be sure to plan around any known vacation or time off you have.

• Start the Search Now: The time to start doing homework for the right camp for your kid is now, before camp schedules get booked up and vacation time is planned. Do your research, read the fine print, talk to your child, and make sure that the camp or camps you pick work best for everyone in your family.