Monday, June 29, 2015

We are a family where both parents work in jobs that don’t close for summer. It means that summer camps is an obvious summertime destination for our daughter. But the choice is not so clear-cut, if you stay at home with your kids. Should you pay money to send your children to a camp or should you keep them home?
Camp for Makers

What Can A Good Summer Camp Do?

First of all, I don’t think there is a camp that can satisfy everyone. Different kids respond differently to the mix of structure and free time. Smarty, for example, prefers camps with clear structure. She complains that her Y camp has too much “free choice” time on the days when they don’t go swimming or on a field trip. Last week she was in Camp Galileo during their Galileo Makers week, and Camp Galileo has a lot more structure throughout the day. It was her second year in Camp Galileo, and she really enjoyed both science and art activities. In science, the kids made a cardboard safe complete with several types of locks, a light-sensitive alarm, and “misdirections” for thieves. In art, they designed and built a battery-driven clock. Both projects were just a bit over Smarty’s ability to do independently and stretched her making skills to the max, but she really enjoyed the experience and was quite proud of her creations. They were not perfect, but absolutely hers.
Her best friend who attended Camp Galileo for the first time thought that it was “too structured”, and he was hoping for more art time, since he loves to draw. He, however, enjoyed learning a new skill that was taught during an outdoor time – making lanyards. This is exactly what I mean when I say that two different kids might respond to different activities, but chances are that they will enjoy the camp best if the main theme of the camp is something that they are passionate about and not what you want them to be passionate about.  Also, it really helps if your child goes to a camp with a friend or a sibling, especially if he/she is slow to form new friendships. I would also recommend to send your children to a camp early during summer, so they have a chance to apply the skills they learned to their own projects at home.

Try Camp Galileo for Summer 2016!

We are going back to Camp Galileo again this summer, and Smarty can't wait. Galileo has asked me to participate in their promotional campaign and spread the word. Galileo sponsors this campaign, but my opinions are entirely my own and also very real, since we enjoyed this camp for 2 years now. 
Readers who register their kids for Galileo before February 29th are eligible for both the $40 discount and the Early Bird Savings. After February 29th, the $40 discount will still be active. 

By signing up now, you can get an exclusive discount of $40 off a week of Galileo Camp using code 2016BOLD. What’s more, if you register for camp by February 29th you can save an additional $25 per week at Camp Galileo and Galileo Summer Quest or $12.50 per class ($25 off a full day) at Summer Camps @ The Tech. Early bird savings apply automatically to your camp purchase and can be combined with Galileo’s multi-session discount Guarantee your spot—and your biggest savings—by February 29th and you can change your camp date or location through May 2 for absolutely no fee.

DIY Summer Camps

Summer Camp at Home
DIY Summer Camps can be a lot of fun and, luckily, some kid bloggers shared terrific summer camp curriculums that you can apply at home. I love Mad Science Summer Camp developed by Little Bins for Little Hands and other curriculums by bloggers participating in this project.  Or check out “5 Senses STEAM Camp” from Babble Dabble Do and several other bloggers. All of them can add both structure and learning fun to your kids’ days and give you an inspiration for some joint projects with your kids.

Your Turn

Summer Camps - outside of home and at home
Are you sending your kids to summer camps this summer? For how long?

More Summer Ideas for Kids?

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Ticia said...

My boys go to summer camp every year, I have yet to find one I think Princess would enjoy as much as her brothers enjoy theirs (happening at the same time is one of my criteria). We're trying a bit of an informal summer camp here this year, so we'll see how it all goes over with the kids. They've enjoyed it so far.

shelah moss said...

I used to do a blend of stay at home camps and summer camps. They both are fun. You have some awesome suggestions for both here!

Alison P. said...

I send my son to summer camp once a week so that I get a little break to do grocery shopping or cooking or all those things that go away when summer comes. It is only for 3 hours and he runs around and has a blast and gets to run off some of that extra energy. We have a lot of things that we like to do in the summer like library programs, going to the pool, reading and other learning. This summer we have started to fill out a sheet with reading for school in the fall so he is required to read 20 minutes a day (with most days being more like 30-45 instead). We are also learning about the states. We are going to spend 2 weeks on each one to fit into the rest of our summer plans but we are busy trying to learn in lots of different ways. My son would want the structured camp too :)

ChildrenOfAmerica said...

As a kid I remember my parents choosing a camp for me without asking me or telling me about it. I was just dropped off at a sports camp one Monday morning. I didn't like the camp at all and after 3 days I was begging to leave. I think parents should choose camps based on their kids interests and listen to what their kids have to say about the camp. This blog post talks about how to pick the perfect summer camp for your kids and I really enjoy it -