With summer vacation approaching, you may have started thinking about how you’re going to keep your kids busy on their multiple weeks off. Whether you work full-time, part-time, or are a stay-at-home parent, you’ll want your child to have the best summer ever and learn new things in the process.
If you are able to, summer is a great time to visit museums, and most offer student discounts or free admission for kids under a certain age. You can also use the time to do activities with the whole family that give back to the community.
And, of course, there are many great camps you can send your child to in our very own state. For an extensive list of Connecticut summer camps, their descriptions, and links, visit the ConneCT Kids Summer Planning Guide 2017.
With so many different camps out there, which one is right for your child?
While that isn’t a question we can answer definitively for you, we can offer guidance on how to choose one that may be perfect for your child’s interests and needs. When considering summer camps, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Sleepaway vs. Day Camp. The decision between these two types of camp depends on many different factors, most of which we will cover below. However, the main question to ask yourself if you are considering sleepaway camp is whether or not your child is ready. Parents magazine offers suggestions on how to gauge your camper’s readiness and how to prepare them for camp if you take that route.
- Cost. There is no set price for summer camps, so do your research and look for affordable camps that have the right offerings. A program that offers one without the other won’t make for a happy summer for anyone in the family. Also keep in mind that some camps may offer financial aid and scholarships, which can be extremely helpful.
- Transportation. Some camps may provide transportation to and from the campsite, usually at a pick-up site, but others will not. Before you make a final decision, be sure that your child will be able to get back and forth without issue.
- Specialty. Nowadays there are camps offering everything from basketball to drama to robotics. Of course there are still the traditional camps as well. It’s important to take your child’s interests into consideration when selecting a camp, or you will have a very unhappy camper when it’s time to leave for the program.
- Accreditation and reputation. Parenting Magazine explains:
You probably assume that all children’s summer camps must meet state standards. The surprising truth? States’ oversight is spotty at best. Ask camps if they’re accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), which conducts on-site visits and reviews programs, facilities, and hiring and safety policies. Only the most professionally run camps qualify. If a camp lacks the ACA nod, it may still be a high-quality program, but you’ll need to ask more questions. “Accreditation is the best evidence that a camp has made a commitment to their child’s health and safety,” says the ACA’s Peg Smith.
For more guidance on how to choose the perfect summer camp for your child, visit the American Camp Association (ACA) website, which offers specific questions to consider as well as a Kids’ Q & A, which can be helpful when you’re discussing all of this with your soon-to-be camper.
Have you sent your child to summer camp? What are some of the things you considered in your decision? Let us know on our social media pages.