I can’t believe that school is over in a few weeks! Are your kids going to summer camp this year? Summer camps are important for creating friendships, exposing your kids to new interests, keeping their minds and bodies active during the summer, potentially exploring nature, and serving as childcare for working parents. Even if budgets are tight, you can send your kids to a few day camps during the summer to keep them active.
There are so many amazing options for summer camp and summer activities that we never had. It makes me want to be a kid again. Space camp, art camp, lego robot building camp, Math camp, and even Harry Potter Wizard camps are all available to meet any interests. There are even some wonderful special needs camps, just search online or ask your pediatrician for recommendations. My daughter went to Type 1 diabetes camp one summer after she was diagnosed to meet other kids and learn about caring for her body. But how do you choose which camp is right for your child?
What was important to me in choosing a summer camp was:
Trust – Did I feel comfortable leaving my child with the counselors? Ask around your neighborhood to get recommendations. See if your kids’ teachers are going to be summer camp counselors anywhere. Or, ask to meet some of the counselors before you register.
Mingling – Are young and older kids lumped together? We had an issue one year where my younger son was hanging out with the older kids at camp in an unstructured play area. Even though there were counselors supervising, he was learning a lot of inappropriate behavior and language. We also had some issues with bullying from older kids. The counselors were great once I brought the issue to their attention but it created some unnecessary stress.
Fun – Are my kids going to enjoy this experience and were there enough interests for both my son and daughter to go to the same place? Even if your child is going to a summer camp to help them with reading or math, what fun activities are planned to keep the kids interested?
Size – Would the kids be broken into groups so it wasn’t overwhelming and they wouldn’t get lost in the crowd? Some kids do great in large crowds but some don’t. See how the kids are divided up during the activities, lunch and even free time.
Location & timing – With two working parents, is it easy for one of us to drop off and pick up the kids? Do they have extended care hours before and after camp, if you need it?
Familiarity – Ask your neighbors or your childs’ friends if they are going to summer camp. If you can coordinate it, sometimes it’s nice for kids to see a face they know on the first day of camp. If they know a fellow camper, a counselor, or even the building it can make it easier for them to jump in on the first day.
How do you choose the right summer camp for your child?
I hope this helps you choose the right summer camp for your kids. We all want to be Happy Campers! Check out my Summer Camp Checklist, with some ideas for everything you and your kids need before starting summer camp.
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