Tips for Choosing the Best Summer Camp for Kids
May 14, 2014
The “official” start of summer may be Memorial Day Weekend, but parents with school-age children need to begin now to think about summer camp programs. Kiddie Academy®, a leader in education-based child care, reminds parents that popular camp programs fill up quickly, so for the widest choice of programs that fit your children’s and your family’s needs, the time to start the search is now.
“Parents want their children to be safe, active and happy at camp,” said Richard Peterson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care. “Kids want to have fun, spend time with friends, and feel like they are on vacation. With a little research, family discussion and give-and-take, both parents and kids can discover a summer camp program that works. But the key is to start the search early, while many programs are still accepting new registrations.”
With so many programs to choose from, it makes sense to narrow down your choices with some practical criteria. Peterson suggests using the following tips to find a program that fits with the family schedule and their children’s interests:
- Keep your needs in mind. If yours is a busy two-working-parent family, you may have to rule out some camps that don’t offer extended hours or simply don’t fit with your work schedule.
- Team up with a friend. Talk to the parents of one or two of your child’s friends, and choose a camp that works for both families. The children will have a built-in buddy at camp, and you’ll have someone to share pick-up and drop-off duties.
- Take an informal survey. Talk to your child’s friends directly about their favorite camps. They may help you add new possibilities to your list.
- Consider childcare providers. Some childcare providers boost their programs with traditional camp activities over the summer. This is a great choice if you have more than one child, as they accept more than one age group.
Once you have identified the programs that will work for the whole family, it’s time to consider – and talk to your child about – the program itself. Peterson suggests that parents weigh the merits and benefits of different types of programs, like the ones listed below:
- Sneak in continuing education. Good camp programs combine educational enrichment with fun activities. At a great camp program, your kids won’t even notice they’re building on school skills.
- Try something new. Summer camps are a great opportunity for children to explore their abilities and learn new skills. Your child can sample a new activity like dance, music, or martial arts at camp before you make a commitment to six months of lessons during the school year.
- Consider the kids’ perspective. For your kids, summer is vacation time, so get their input on camps you are considering. This way, they will know you are keeping their interests in mind when you choose a program.
“Summer camp programs can help your children test their boundaries socially, physically, mentally and emotionally,” said Peterson. “The more relaxed atmosphere of a summer program helps open children up to new experiences. The right program can help a child develop leadership skills and a sense of independence, which are important building blocks for future academic and personal success.”
Structured around Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, the Camp Adventure program at Kiddie Academy offers fun-filled events, special guests and field trips along with physical and creative activities. Camp Adventure is designed to help build character, grow self-confidence and reinforce school skills.
Kiddie Academy offers full- and part-time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs to families and their children.