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Choosing a Great Summer Camp to Meet your Child’s Needs

Summer Camp

There are many things to think about when selecting a summer camp or summer school program. First off, parents have to consider price, availability, location, and other logistical factors. However, the real difficulty arises when trying to find the right fit for your child’s individual needs and desires.

Ideally, a summer camp or summer school program will serve as an educational and social supplement to school. Additionally, summer camp programs serve as a valuable social introduction to the structure and collaboration that will be required in preschool and kindergarten. 



Sports and coordination

Sports and outdoor camps are a great way to get out the extra energy young children have. In addition, sports camps offer a good opportunity for children to increase their coordination skills. Activities such as soccer and dance will help kids improve their coordination and balance while learning how to work as a team. Enjoying physical activities at a young age can also encourage a happy and fit lifestyle later on.

Social skills and sharing

Almost every camp will require children to share to some extent, however, some are more collaborative than others. In addition to sports camps, science and arts camps are a great way for children to learn to collaborate and work on their sharing skills. 

If a parent wants to know if the camp is truly collaborative they should consider asking the following questions before signing up their kids.

1. Do students work alone, in pairs, or in groups?

2. Does each child make their own project or is it a collaborative effort with a finished product that stays on site?

3. Are there any pictures available of last summer’s camp? 

Supplemental education services are important for children attending the public school system because activities such as music, art, and hands-on science are less common than in previous decades.

Summer programs are a great way to supplement these activities in a structured and educational environment. However, educational does not necessarily mean academic, and children who really want to just have fun can still have a great time and learn about new subjects without ever feeling like they are in a classroom. Free play is an essential part of childhood.

Summer School


Some children will have to attend a summer school program either in lieu of or in addition to a summer camp. Many children need a summer program to catch up on academic endeavors, especially since our schools’ academic standards are becoming stricter and standardized tests are being given at a younger age than in previous decades.

Children who attend summer school to catch up or get ahead can still have fun; many programs offer ample free time or fun activities in the afternoon. Additionally, several summer school programs will include a second session after lunch so that children can participate in sports or arts activities.

If a hybrid summer school/camp is unavailable, moms can send their child to a summer school in the morning and find an afternoon-only camp that serves as a reward for their child’s hard work during the morning.

Free play and fun

Although educational enrichment is important over the summer, some students work so hard during the year, especially as they get further on in elementary school, that they just need to release energy and have fun during the summer months. Many summer camps provide safe and healthy child care services that primarily allow children to simply play and socialize in a somewhat unstructured environment.

Moms know more about their children than anyone else but knowing about the specifics of summer camp options ahead of time can help moms match their children with the best summer program to suit their individual needs.

Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds of Orange County. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.

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