Let the Summer Fun Begin
Summa Summa Tiiiime!!!!…. And here comes all the flyers, emails, and newsletters for all the variety of summer camps for the kiddos to have a fulfilling summer vacation! If you’re anything like me I procrastinate a bit and don’t start browsing until right before summer. With that being said this will be the bonus tip; DON’T wait until a week or two before camp! You’re likely to miss out on the camp of your choice or the dates that work best for your schedule, believe it or not camps are in high demand and Parents are actively signing their children up early! I had to learn the hard way. I love the idea of summer camps for kids because it keeps them occupied during the summer while on school break. Their brains are still active and they are given opportunities to meet new friends and build relationships outside of their schools. Not only are they learning in some capacity, they are not sitting around being couch potatoes or glued to an electronic device. Summer camp gives children something to look forward to after school ends, after having the restrictions of the traditional classroom daily routine. There are so many different camps to choose from and there are different things to consider while choosing, I put together 5 Tips to consider when choosing a camp for your child.
Day Camp or Sleep Away Camp
Choosing which type of camp best fits your child and what you’re comfortable with starts here. So day camp would obviously be a camp that only lasts through some portion of the day whether it be half of the day like 9am-12pm, or a full day like 9am-5pm. Sleep away camp your child stays over night for a period of time. They can range from a 3 day sleep away camp to a full month, or even longer. It’s important to know the length of time you’re looking for because that will eliminate and filter your search. I personally have not enrolled in a sleep away camp for my daughter, because I honestly don’t think we could deal with being away over night that long. lol Yes, we both suffer from separation anxiety, don’t judge us. But it’s important to know your and your child’s limits. Maybe as she gets older we may try to incorporate a sleep away camp at some point, but for now we stick to the day camps, these work best for us!
Educational based vs Fun
As we know there are hundreds of camp categories and themes, some are based on academics, others are based on learning new skills, and some are strictly fun based. Knowing what interests your child will help you decide which type of camp is best for your child. I know that I love for my daughter to continue learning throughout the summer but I also want her to have a break and tap into her creativity because she thrives when she’s able to create something. Personally, I like her to have a little mix of both, a learning based camp as well as something more fun and interactive. I feel that either way they are learning something! This summer for the first time, she participated in an Acting Theater Academy Camp, I’ve wanted to enroll her in this type of camp because she is quite the theatrical type. She loves to sing, dance, and pretend, and she is very expressive and not very shy. She has a great speaking voice and she isn’t afraid to be front and center on stage. I want to nurture these unique skills and so I felt this camp would be a perfect fit, and she enjoyed every day of her two weeks there! So although she wasn’t learning a standard curriculum, she was learning new skills in the Arts; she was learning to project her voice, compose a script, and learned what takes place backstage and on set. We will continue to do this camp each summer because she is learning something she loves!
So after choosing the camp that fits your child, the least fun part of the process is determining cost, at least for me anyway. Lol I live on a BUDGET so everything has to be budgeted and planned out for it to work in our world. Summer camps can range in price but most that I’ve found that we are typically interested in are usually at least $100 per week, and that’s for half-a-day camps ranging from 2-4 hours. Full day camps can go up from there. So like with anything cost plays a big part of choosing which one to go with, or if you would want to do multiple camps. I like to to choose 3-4 day camps per summer because they usually range in 1-2 weeks per camp, so I think this is enough to keep my Daughter busy throughout the summer without her getting too boggled down and her not feeling she has an adequate time for a “summer break.” It also leaves us time to take a beach trip or two which we like to do each summer. If you prefer sleep away camps those are usually more expensive because they’re a lot longer and they have to provide more for the children from supplies, food, and round the clock staff. In my opinion the cost for camp is pretty reasonable and doable. The camps that we have done so far we usually go back the next summer, we have had great experiences with them so the cost is very much worth it.
Scheduling & Transportation
I think the biggest factor for a working Mom is scheduling days and activities around the busy daily schedule. I work full-time so I lean on my “village” to help me transport my child to and from camp and activities. My Mom has become more flexible with her schedule so she has been a tremendous help with picking up and dropping off my Daughter, I know that some families don’t have that extra help so I count my blessing everyday! If I didn’t have that help I would only be limited to picking camps in the evening after I get off of work and there aren’t many to choose from with that time frame. I have found that there are a variety of times throughout the day, so there are definitely options. If the camps start at 12 or 1 I choose that time so that I can take my lunch hour to take my Daughter to camp, and then I’ll have my Mom or her other Grandma pick her up or vice versa. Either way I try to work it out so that things run smoothly for all involved. Sometimes its a sacrifice, but as long as she is enjoying it, its worth it. So while scheduling is not a huge problem for me due to my Parents who are heaven sent, I know for most people it is the determining factor.
The 5th and final tip I think is very important is being aware of the camps facility safety guidelines. The last thing you want to do is pay to place your child in an unsafe environment. I know we think safety is a no brainier because, of course we would never put our kids in harms way, but this friendly reminder just brings a little awareness to what you may not think about in the moment. I always look for how long the camp has been established, their pick up and drop off procedures, if they will be leaving the premises at all during the camp hours, and making sure they have all emergency contact information in place. A camp that has any type of swimming involved I would double check to ensure there will be an adequate amount of lifeguards on duty and that life jackets will be worn and proper water safety is taken seriously. Every summer we hear an insane amount of child drownings so this is so important that we as Parents take extra precautions. Talking to other Parents and reading reviews also help to identify possible problems that could arise. I wouldn’t say to look for problems but I do encourage awareness and being very cautious, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially with our children! Remember, safety first!
At summer camp our children make magical memories and explore in ways they can’t at school. The freedom and creativity you get from camp makes your child look forward to going back each summer. I encourage trying different camps and finding the ones you and your child loves so they will keep wanting to return each year. With there being many different camps to choose from I hope this list will help you choose by considering these 5 easy tips! If you’re not feeling the whole summer camp thing check out this cool guide to some summer camp ideas to do at home with your kids! Are you a camp Parent? What types of camps have you enjoyed for your child. I will tell you that each summer I enroll Chandler B. who is age 7, into a dance camp usually a Princess or Disney themed one because she loves to dance and play dress up. We also do a learning interactive camp at the local University here in my city, and we also have incorporated a Theater camp as well this year! These are 3 that we will definitely stick with for now! Thank you for reading and let me know if this has helped you! Have a safe and fun filled summer!