Schools Out For Summer…Now What?
For many parents, the hunt is on to keep routine and structure for the children through the summer. And for others, it might mean they want to find some sun and fun things for theirs.
Here we talk about the importance of the various types of structured summer activities and camps, how to choose the best fit for your family, and certain mistakes to avoid when choosing a camp. We also have a long list of local list of camps and activities that might just be the perfect spot for your child this summer.
“With proper planning, summer activities can build a child’s self-esteem and autonomy.” Dr. Stick and Dr. Jellinek (Pediatric Doctors)
There are several supporting reasons to keep your children active and engaged in the summer. During the summer months, children tend to be far more sedentary chick resulting in faster weight gain than during the academic year. Children if not challenged and engaged can also have learning loss. Additionally, participation in enriching summer activities learn to practice skills that will set them up for more successful futures. Finding the proper summer activity for your child might also help them mature emotionally. Summer is the perfect time to find a camp or activity to help build peer dynamics and friendships, develop higher-level skills in a particular sport, explore an interest like art, or encourage a healthy lifestyle with exercise while outdoors.
Benefits of Camp
Increased activity: Summer camps whether day or overnight provide the perfect opportunity to keep your child active. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children ages 6-17 have at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. Camps and structured activities are a great way for your child to be active in an enjoyable and fulfilling manner.
Time Outdoors: Sadly Americans spend only about 8% of their time outdoors. There's a clear link between being in nature and having less stress and anxiety, according to research.
New Connections: Between the tween to teen years, it is crucial for kids to grasp and practice different social situations. A camp can be a safe setting to practice and master various social scenarios.
Skill Development: At many camps, the counselors are teens working for the summer and become role models for the kids at camp. These teens who aren't that far removed in age from the campers demonstrate responsibility, knowledge, and the ability to follow job tasks.
Confidence Booster: Meeting new peers and working together in a camp setting builds confidence in your child's ability to navigate their world. If your child has a bad day at camp, their new friends can help support and this builds trust and confidence too.
Resilience and Responsibility: If your child participates in a sports camp, the structure will help with time management and give them applicable skills to balance different priorities. This will help your child to become more organized and focused.
Fun: For children, the most important advantage of camp is fun. Summer camps allow children to be children. There they can relax, laugh, and walk away with momentous memories.
At the end of the summer, a camp experience will help your child to improve social interaction skills, build self-esteem, learn how to work with their independence, and participate in activities that might not be available at home.
How to choose the right one?
With so many options, picking a camp might be difficult, so we've put together some pointers to guide you in making your decision. Talk with your child to help find a camp that aligns with your child's interests and will help them to develop a deeper knowledge of the things that interest them.
Budget Without Breaking The Bank
Camps can range from $25 a day for day camps to $50 per day for an overnight option. The cost will be determined by demand, facilities, and activities. Optional activities and money for fun spending should also be factored in. However, don't let the initial sticker shock steer you from the perfect camp for your little one. Many camps offer a scholarship.
Plan With a Purpose
Are you looking to help them hone their acting skills? Is a Christian-focused camp a family tradition for your family? Before selecting the camp, narrow down what you want the end result to be for your child and let that guide you. In addition to the needs of your child for camp, do not overlook what will and will not work within your schedule. If it is a day camp, transportation must be considered.
Determine Time Frame
Is your child ready to be away from home for more than a few days? If not, a day camp is a great way to experience many of the same benefits of camp without the sleep away aspect.
Research and Reviews
A high price ticket does not mean that you are guaranteed the best camp experience. Read reviews. Ask friends and family who have also attended the camp to determine if the came qualifies and fits your needs.
There is an exhaustive amount and types of camps that you can seek out for your child. Below are the most sought categories of camps parents are looking to sign their child up for.
Academic and Educational Focus: Academically oriented summer programs and camps are an excellent approach to counteract the impacts of summer learning loss. These camps can help foster a healthy relationship with learning for those that do not excel in traditional learning environments. Many of these camps work with a subject-oriented goal like math, writing, or even STEM.
Athletic Camps: Sports and fitness camps offer opportunities for sporty kids to learn new skills or develop their already basic skill set.
Special Needs Camps: The entire camp experience is built around and developed for children with special needs with physical, mental, or emotional challenges that might make participation in a traditional camp, not a viable option. Staff to camper ratios are lower to provide a more customized individual experience that is conducive to a great camp experience.
Personal Interest Camps: These camps focus on your child's specific interests. Art and theatre camps are the most popular. Outside of the academic year, campers can delve deeper into their artistic interests.
Faith-Based Camps: These camps are centered on instilling positive ideals. The majority of these camps will have religious origins. The level of faith practiced at these camps varies as well; some may engage in building and developing spiritual relationships. At the core of the camp, is a clear emphasis on cultivating good values.
We have highlighted only a few of the Harnett county local options below that are worthy of checking out with links to their website when available.
Cape Fear Adventure
Coble Ski School
Sport and Competitive Activity-Based
Studio 5 Dance Company
Academic and Educational
The Organized Mind
General and Fun Day Camps
Main Street Dance
Arts Inspired Dance Academy
While this list is nowhere comprehensive or fully representative of the offerings in our area, it will give you some places to start your search. It is a good idea to research and makes your choices sooner rather than later since many of these have limited spots and will fill up once registration opens up. If you don't see the type of camp you would like to find for your child, there are many many more options… really too many to fit into this. The best solution is to google the type of camp you are looking for and your area or area close to you.
Summer camps are a great way to keep kids busy and with a routine while providing them opportunities to make new friends and have new experiences.
Camps both day and overnight are a terrific way to provide some structure to the otherwise unstructured summer months. They're exciting, promote character development, and provide opportunities for campers to meet new people and reconnect with old ones. Summer is, after all, about sun, enjoyment, and building memories.