Summer camp is a chance for children to grow, explore, and learn in a safe environment while parents continue their daily routines of working either inside or outside of the home. Because of the opportunity it provides for parents to retain that sense of normalcy, and for children to keep active and bright, it is a popular choice of summer activity.
However, not all summer camps are a good fit for all children, and sadly, in the wrong environment, a child can miss out on what can otherwise be an engaging, nurturing experience that will stay with them throughout the year. By paying attention to the unique interests and learning abilities of individual children, parents can find the perfect summer camp that will become a child’s favorite time of year.
In an article for The Irish Times titled, Help children ‘follow their bliss’ to summer camp, author Sheila Wayman explores this topic in depth, describing the things to consider when choosing a summer camp for your child.
Clinical psychotherapist Joanna Fortune is quoted by Wayman, saying, “If you are using a summer camp it has to hold a specific interest for your child, rather than being seen as a form of childcare, which may be a secondary thing but can’t be your primary objective or it won’t work.”
This is a great opportunity to help your child explore their interests in more depth. This could mean enrolling them in drama, fashion, languages, or soccer camp, for example. This is a win-win for parents and children, because while the parent will have the peace of mind that their child has somewhere to be during the long summer days, the child will be excited to attend. Everyone will be happier when there is no fighting or dragging anyone out of bed in the morning.
For younger children who have not narrowed down their interests yet, there are two approaches. One is to enroll the child in a few different activities/camps throughout the summer to help them find the activity that they connect with. The other approach is to allow them to choose an activity and then have them stick with it throughout the summer to teach commitment.
Other aspects to consider are the staff to child ratio, and the ability of the staff to connect with the children. Some also suggest choosing activities that do not revolve around a screen to give children a break in the summer from electronics. Of course, exceptions are reasonable for children who would like to learn coding or other productive computer sciences, but generally speaking, the summer is great time for children to step away from screens and get into hands-on activities.
Fortune warns however about overscheduling children, stressing that summers are a great time for freedom and “creative boredom.”
“I would always recommend unstructured, free downtime,” says Fortune. “It allows children to process and assimilate everything that is going on and that includes the long school year that they have just come out of.
Pushing children to pursue too much could be detrimental. Fortune says, “you could end up with over stimulated, over wrought children who have not had enough down time, who are going to be going back to school tired.”
Ultimately, summer camps should be mutually beneficial for both parents and children. Geraldine Smythe, of the summer camp fair organizer Kids Guide Ireland summarizes this idea nicely when she says simply, “you should be helping your child follow their bliss.”
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Are you looking for something amazing for your child to do this summer in Minneapolis that will be fun and excite their creativity? Mind Foundry is providing Summer Camp sessions at sites throughout Minneapolis. Our engaging camps this summer include Robotix, Wings Academy, Intelligent Cities, Deep Sea Explorers, and Computing Cafe. To read more details, please check out our Summer course catalog.
Camps run Monday — Friday 9am — 3pm at a cost of $250 per week (scholarships available for scholars registered by Thursday, July 14th). Before and after care available. Discounts available for siblings as well as for multiple weeks.
Mind Foundry is committed to providing accessible, high-quality 21st century learning to all. Limited scholarships and sliding scale pricing available to those that qualify. Register your child, using this link, and get started with Mind Foundry summer camps, today!