It’s February and love is in the air. I would say that a chill is also in the air, but we do live in Austin after all, so no guarantees! Good weather or bad, though, chances are that thoughts of summer and summer camps are not top of mind. You might want to try a different strategy this year. Thinking ahead will allow you to pick a camp that is not only fun, but also educational.
If you’re like me, you’ve picked summer camps based on dates, cost, and whether or not your child will be excited to go in the morning. Bonus points if some of their friends to sign up, too. My thinking has been something along the lines of – education in the summer? No child wants that!
True, if we sell camp to them as an educational opportunity, we’ll probably get some push back. However, the best camps provide your child not only with an opportunity to learn a new skill or to grow a competency, but also with so much fun they won’t even realize how much they are learning. With a little forethought, you can find just the right camp that will have you patting yourself on the back and your child begging for more.
Benefits To Educational Summer Camps
Start the school year strong
The first six to eight weeks of school are typically spent reviewing the previous year’s curriculum. Over the summer, without regular practice, children forget some of what they have learned. By participating in a camp that explores math, science, or reading in a fun and engaging way, your child will experience less of the dreaded “summer slide” and will start the year off ready to continue learning.
If you have a child who struggled in a certain content area during the school year, summer is the perfect time to get him caught up in a more relaxed, fun way. Great camps make the learning so fun that it doesn’t even seem like work. And, in the summer, your child will be unable to compare himself with his peers, which will reduce the stress he may feel about that particular subject. A more relaxed atmosphere often contributes to less anxiety and more gains in learning. With summer help, your child can build his self-esteem, which will help him do well when school starts up again.
Learn or gain experience
School provides children with many opportunities for growth and learning, but it would be impossible for your child’s school to cover everything there is out there to experience! After school classes are wonderful but take on too many and you wind up with an overloaded stressed-out child and family. Summer is the perfect time to take that deep dive into something she’s always wanted to learn.
Imagine how wonderful it would be to spend a week or two immersed in a subject you’ve always wanted to study. That is the gift you can give to your child with an educational summer camp. With our busy society, children and adults are rarely offered the opportunity to truly dig in and focus on something they’re interested in for long stretches of time. A summer camp dedicated to your child’s interest could quench that thirst for knowledge or could end up sparking a lifelong passion. And, your child will be surrounded by like-minded individuals, offering a unique opportunity to befriend and relate to others with the same specific interests.
Less commitment required
Summer camp allows your child to leave his natural comfort zones to take risks without fear of failure or major consequences. What would your child try without risk of a failing grade? What might your daughter attempt if her mistakes wouldn’t follow her all year? Summer camp’s shorter time frame gives children the chance to try new things, surrounded by people they won’t necessarily see after camp ends.
Camp is also a great way to see if your child really likes something before making a yearlong commitment to after school classes, which often come with registration fees. Lacrosse didn’t turn out to be all that? Now your child knows, and you aren’t stuck sticking out the semester for the team. My daughter thought she would be the next coding genius. It turned out that she liked playing the games more than making them. We were glad to have figured that out before signing her up for expensive classes.
Summer camps already offer so many benefits: physical activity, new friends, increased confidence, mental stimulation, independence, and lots of fun. Mix in a chance to learn and you’ve put the icing on the cake. Your child will have the opportunity to build self-esteem, spark a passion and start the school year off right – a win-win in anyone’s book!
By Alison Bogle an Austin-based freelance writer and mom of three.