Tips for Finding Summer Camp

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    By: Dawn Juntilla

    Who doesn’t love summer, right?  Well me for one!  Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to shed coats and socks and frolic with my children outdoors.  I can do without all the planning required for a successful summer. 

    As a mother, summer means finding activities for my kids that will keep them busy, active and learning for twelve weeks.  With different interests and conflicting schedules, all that planning can be a lot of work.  This is even true when you are the co-founder of ActivityTree.com.  Luckily, I have picked up a few tips along the way that make planning a little easier.  Thought I would pass them along to you.

    Narrow Your Search to Specific Activities
    There are A LOT of camp options out there and that is great.  Unfortunately, it can also be overwhelming.  Before you start the research process, think about the kinds of activities your child likes, or things they may have expressed an interest in, but have not been able to try during the normal school year.  Do they love soccer?  There is nothing like a week-long, focused, sports camp to really improve your child’s skills.  Daughter an animal lover?  Think about horse or zoo camp that gives her the chance to get up close and personal with a furry friend.  Focusing your search in this way will make your life easier and increase the likelihood that your kids will love their summer activities.

    Don’t Overbook!
    Sports leagues, camps, summer trips, neighborhood picnics, and other summer activities quickly combine to make summer busy!  We should not forget to take some time to relax and enjoy it together as a family.  As a general rule, I limit my children to one weekly activity at a time during the summer.  For example, we start with gymnastics, but then take a break as we switch to soccer mid-summer.  This increases the family time we spend together outside of the car!  As far as camps are concerned, I look for two to three camp options and try to spread them out over the summer.  This approach combats boredom and also offers children something to look forward to throughout the summer months.

    Try Something New
    Every day I see fantastic specialty camps popping up that give kids the chance to explore something completely new.  Not going to lie, these camps can be expensive.  However, as my children get older, I would definitely consider consolidating our summer camp budget to afford a high quality, specialty camp.  Here are just a few examples of camps that have amazed me lately:

    • Still animation camp where kids create their own “claymation” type short film.
    • Fashion camp that offers children an opportunity to design, make and show their own clothing
    • Video game design camp for kids who want to create their own iPhone or other games
    • Iron Chef cooking camp where kids develop and compete with their culinary skills
    • Adventure camps that take your child trekking, rafting and exploring in some of the most beautiful areas of the country


    Don’t Assume Camp is Too Expensive
    Let’s be honest, most of us do not have the disposable income to sign up for every camp that sounds interesting, and some camps are just going to be out of your price range.  However, day camp prices have become very competitive and camp operators are getting creative by using city or church facilities to keep costs down. If you are on a tight budget, be sure to check surrounding city parks and recreation web sites, local boys and girls clubs and your nearby YMCAs for camp options.  Affordable options can be more difficult to find, but I assure you they are out there!  One suggestion - act fast.  These options fill up quickly.

    Still Need Help?
    We are happy to help point you in the right direction.  Just email us.  We can even do more detailed research for you, including pricing, scheduling and availability.  How?  Check out Find It For Me to learn more!

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