What are the benefits of a day camp, you ask?
The summer months can be pretty long if your child has nothing to do while waiting for school to begin again in the fall. Day camp can fill the gap – by helping your child learn a new skill, make friends, exercise, or have an adventure. But day camps aren’t just about preventing summer boredom, they can also help working parents who still need child care for their children.
If you’re on the fence about sending your child to day camp, consider all the benefits of such programs.
The Benefits of Day Camp
Day Camps Prepare Kids for Overnight Camps: Attending an overnight camp can be a wonderful experience for a child, but not all tweens are prepared to stay away from home for a week or two. Day camps give children the opportunity to experience a camp program, without the worry of homesickness. If your child enjoys a day camp program, it might convince him to try an overnight program in a year or two.
They Can Keep Your Child Out of Trouble: Let’s face it, if your tween spends the summer days without much adult supervision, he could walk right into trouble. When left alone tweens may experiment with dangerous behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, or even vandalism. If you’re worried that free time could lead to disaster, consider a day camp program as an alternative. Many city and county parks and recreation departments offer day camps through the summer, for children of working parents. Programs are usually themed by the week, to offer variety and interest to campers.
They Offer Skill Building and Enrichment: If you pick the right program, your child’s day camp experience will teach new skills, or introduce your child to new interests. Most regions offer a variety of camp programs, including sport camps, art or theatre camps, science camps, adventure camps, music camps, outdoor camps, or even specialized camps for cooking, archery, or film. Sit down with your tween to discuss the choices available, to see what might interest him.
They Can Be Affordable: Childcare is never inexpensive, unless you’re lucky enough to have grandparents nearby. But day camp programs can be affordable, if you take the time to research your options. YMCAs, parks and recreation departments, schools, and even service organizations such as the Girl Scouts offer programs at a reasonable price point. These groups often waive or reduce their costs for families facing financial challenges, so be sure to ask about camperships or other programs that might help you afford tuition. Be sure to ask if the camp provides lunch, snack or transportation, as that can increase your overall costs.
Camp programs that are offered by museums, or that are privately owned may have very interesting programs, but the do tend to be a bit more expensive.
They Offer Flexibility: The popularity of day camp programs and the need for them makes finding a camp that works within your budget, and your calender, pretty easy. Whether you’re looking for a day camp for the entire summer, or just one week, there are bound to be several choices to choose from. Consult local schools, churches, regional parenting publications and other parents to learn about the camps offered in your area.
They’re Fun: The main reason you should consider a day camp program is because they can be a lot of fun, and that’s what summer is all about. If your tween has some say about what program he attends, it’s likely that he’ll have a fun experience, and learn a thing or two along the way.