7 Tips for Summer Camp Planning
As school wraps up, many parents are scrambling to find their children camps and activities to keep them busy during summer break. However, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the diversity of camps in your area and all of their complicated logistics, especially when all other parents are in the same boat and spots are filling up quickly.
How do you know which camp is right for your child and how can you be sure your child will have fun at camp? Here are our best tips to ensure that your summer camp planning goes smoothly this year:
Do your research on summer camp offerings and get all the details.
When you first start looking at summer camps, read all descriptions and reviews thoroughly. Websites like ActivityHero allow you to easily view information about hundreds of camps in your area, all in one place. You can quickly evaluate a camp’s listing: Do they have the variety of activities, experienced staff, and inspiring mission that you’re looking for? Talk to other parents about their experiences with specific camps and see if they have any recommendations for options in your area.
Include your child in the summer camp decision making conversation.
Despite their good intentions, parents sometimes choose camps they want their child to like, instead of ones their child will actually enjoy. Having a conversation with your child about what hobbies or topics they want to learn more about this summer can help you decide which camp to choose. There are a plethora of summer activities to choose from in all types of categories. Popular summer camps are often designed and created around art, science and sports. There are also pirate camps, princess camps and play-all-day camps that may be perfect for younger children. Reading camp descriptions with your child, watching a few camp videos and picking your favorite ones together will ensure that your child is excited and ready for what you’re signing them up for!
Accommodate your child’s personality and learning style by choosing appropriate and engaging summer camps.
If your child is more shy and tentative, look for camps with smaller camper group sizes and smaller camper-to-counselor ratios. Finding a familiar friend to join your child at summer camp can also help them be more confident and outgoing in a new environment. Older kids may have no problem with going to a new camp every week, but younger kids might have an easier time settling into the same location with the same group of friends a few weeks in a row. Many camps will provide sample schedules of a typical day at camp. Consider if your child has the attention span to sit through four hours of math camp, or if you should look at more relaxed options.
Realistically consider what skills your child will gain during their time at camp.
If your daughter attends a robotics camp, it’s inevitable that you are going to want to see the robot she built as proof that she learned something in the past week. However, she’s definitely not going to emerge from summer camp as a full-fledged engineer building drones with her bare hands. Instead, what they will gain from the camp will be inspiration to continue to build, create and explore. Your child will have better communication and teamwork skills from working on experiments with her new friends, as well as the opportunity to learn in a different, fun way that’s more engaging than many classes at school.
Be smart about camp registration.
Signing up early can come with many advantages, including discounts and savings, more options for dates and overall less stress. You may also receive special promotions or information about new programs if you join camp email lists. Don’t wait too long! Summer camps typically book up fast, or may end registration a few days before the start date to prepare for kids’ arrival. Book on ActivityHero with code BABYQUIP for a $25 off a $250 camp. Valid for first time purchasers, until July 31, 2019.
Talk to your child about what to expect at summer camp.
Look over camp agendas together, and make sure your child is clear on pick-up times. Your child should have a solid idea about what kind of activities they’ll do, where a bus will take them on a day trip and if they need to stay past the end of summer camp hours for extended care. Providing your child with this information will help to ease any potential nerves and avoid panicking or confusion when you don’t pick them up at the same time as everyone else’s parents. If your child is attending an academic camp, making sure that he/she is prepared for the material by reviewing past school lessons can also be extremely helpful.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Call or email the camp director or staff to clarify important questions: Does the camp offer more free time or is the schedule very structured? For skill-based or academic camps, how much prior experience does your child need and how does the camp accommodate for different levels? How does the staff handle emergencies? Summer camp directors can also let you know if they feel your child is ready for their camp or not if you share a bit about your child’s personality. With great communication, all parties can feel confident about your child having a great time at camp.
No matter what activities your child loves to do, you’re sure to find a camp that fits their personality and needs well. Thoroughly preparing both your child and yourself will help things go as smoothly as possible when it’s time to drop them off for their first day at camp.
**Don’t forget to use code BABYQUIP when you book your summer camps on ActivityHero for $25 off a $250 camp. Happy planning!
Leia Chao is an intern at ActivityHero.com. She is a student at Northeastern University majoring in Business & Design. She has taught art classes and tutored younger children and often gives advice to her aunts and uncles about activities for their children!