Every year, thousands of children go to camp.
From meeting new friends to developing new skills, summer camp is a great way to help your child break out of their comfort zone and grow as an individual.
It’s also much more than that. Studies have shown that camp can also help better prepare children for the future.
Regardless of their age, the right summer camp can help fill the gap between school years, filling that time with education, physical activity, spiritual growth, and more.
But finding the right summer camp for your child is a must. Every child has their own unique set of needs, fears, and interests that need to be met. Choosing the wrong camp can leave your child miserable, or lead to you having to pick them up early.
That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to outline the steps you need to take to choose the best summer camp for your child. Keep reading to learn more.
Decide How Long Your Child is Comfortable Being Away
Summer camps come in a variety of styles and lengths of stay. Deciding how long your child is comfortable being away from you and your home is the first step to choosing the best summer camp for your family.
If your child is young, has never been away from home for long, or has experienced separation anxiety in the past, then a day camp might be a good choice. Your child will still get to experience much of the fun and learning that comes with a summer camp, but won’t have the chance to get lonely or upset because he or she will return home each evening.
Another option would be to choose a short overnight camp session. Many summer camps offer a mix of different session lengths. These could range anywhere from a night or two to several weeks in length.
If your child has already proven to be comfortable being away or is older, a longer summer camp session might be a better choice. A longer camp means more opportunities to build friendships, experience their favorite activities, and learn new skills. These are all things that are tough to do if a camp session is less than a week in length.
In addition to choosing how long your child is comfortable being on their own, you should also consider other conflicts. If your family will be taking a vacation or if your child plays a sport that will have practice or games during the summer months, a shorter session may be necessary.
Consider Their Interests
The next step to choosing the best summer camp for your child is to consider his or her interests.
If your child loves to be outdoors, then a camp with plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, or horseback riding, might be a good choice.
If your child is very creative, a camp that specializes in or at least offers sessions for arts and crafting is a good choice as well.
For older children, there are also summer camps available to prepare them for college or to teach them specific skills. You could choose to enroll your child in an engineering or other science immersion camp, a language camp where they can practice a second or third language, or another type of camp focusing on specific skills.
Another way to choose a summer camp is to consider your child’s unique needs. There are summer camps that are designed for children with learning disabilities, for those with behavioral problems, and more.
These camps can help fill the gap between school years to keep your child learning and growing rather than losing any progress they made during the previous school year.
Set Your Budget
Summer camps come in a range of prices and options. These prices vary depending on the quality of the camp quarters, the activities that they offer, how long the camp is, and other details.
Before you start narrowing your search for the best summer camp for your child, it’s important to be mindful of your budget.
If a more expensive camp has everything that your child would want, consider a shorter session, if it is offered, to help reduce your costs.
Do Your Research
Once you’ve decided on the length and type of summer camp that’s best for your child and determined your budget, it’s time to start researching individual camps.
Researching each camp and what they have to offer, when their sessions are, and what the cost to attend is will help you compile a list of possible options for your child.
Creating a pros and cons list for each camp and then talking with your child about which options they like best is a good way to narrow your list.
While researching possible camp options, it’s also a good idea to call the camps and check on their availability. Many popular summer camps have waiting lists, and you’ll need to register early to increase your odds of landing a spot.
Once you’ve chosen the best summer camp for your child, it’s time to check for deals or special sessions.
Some summer camps offer discounts during certain weeks of the summer. Others offer a special rate if siblings will be attending the camp together.
Many camps also offer special interest sessions throughout the summer. For instance, a horse camp might offer a session designed for new riders or an outdoor camp might offer a special activity during one specific week.
Knowing when any special interest sessions are occurring or discounts are available can help you choose the right week for your child to attend your chosen camp.
Choosing the Best Summer Camp for Your Child
Choosing the best summer camp for your child doesn’t have to be a challenge.
By considering your child’s experience with being away from home, his or her interests, and the summer camp options available can help you narrow down your search. Setting a budget and checking for deals can help you make the most of your money as well.
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect summer camp for your son and daughter, it’s time to start preparing them for the actual session. Check out this guide to learn exactly what they need to pack to be ready for their overnight camp this summer!