When kids are out of school for the summer, they’re excited – but for parents, it presents a lot of complications. How will you entertain, interact with, and stimulate your kids while you need to be at work?
Summer camp can solve these problems, providing an engaging environment in which kids can learn and play while school’s out. Opting for summer camp instead of keeping your kids at home offers countless benefits, but here are five of the very best reasons to choose camp.
1. Summer Camp Is Affordable
One of the biggest concerns about sending a child to summer camp is the cost. However, summer camp isn’t as pricey as many parents think. In fact, there are actually a few different ways to score savings, discounts, and deals on the cost of sending your kids to camp.
Summer camp is certainly expensive, but many camps understand that parents need financial help in order to pay for their costs. That’s why many offer ways to save money – for example, ACA Camps¹ notes that 93 percent of all ACA-accredited camps offer financial assistance of some kind to more than 1 million children and families.
Even if you don’t qualify for financial assistance, there are ways to save. Here are a few ways you can make summer camp fit into your budget:
- Payment Plans: Payment plans are a common option offered by summer camps of all kinds. Parents may be able to put down a deposit to reserve a child’s spot, and then make small payments weekly or monthly to pay the total balance.
- Sibling Discounts: If you’re sending two or more children to camp, ask about a sibling discount. Because you’re offering the camp more business, they’re likely to offer a discounted rate for all of your children.
- Scholarships: Plenty of summer camps offer scholarships for children of all ages. These scholarships can cover anywhere from a portion to the entire cost of camp. In order to be considered for one of these scholarships, just ask the camps you’re interested in for an application.
- Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account: Many employers offer dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for employees’ childcare needs. You’re able to use any money placed in your dependent care FSA for summer programs – just make sure to check the IRS website to see if the camps you’re interested in qualify.
2. You Don’t Have to Worry About Finding Childcare
One of the biggest benefits of opting for summer camp when your kids are out of school is it’s automatically provided childcare. Instead of having to find a sitter, nanny, or other form of childcare for approximately three months of the year, you’ll have a set plan – and place – where you can confidently send your children for daily care.
Summer camps offer an alternative to finding and paying for daily childcare over the course of the entire summer. Instead of parents having to take off work or pay a potentially high hourly rate for daily childcare, they can opt for a summer camp that fits within their budget. And at summer camp, there will be a host of counselors, adults, and perhaps even teachers who watch the children, engage with them, and host fun activities for campers of any age. You’ll never have to worry about a babysitter canceling or needing a unique schedule when you opt for camp.
3. Summer Camp Keeps Kids Active, Entertained, and Engaged
Kids can get bored easily. They need to play, to enjoy activities that entertain them, and to be communicating with others. And during the summertime, it can be far too tempting to let kids watch TV, get lost in video games, or laze around the house.
Summer camp provides a stimulating and engaging alternative. Not only will camp keep your child busy, but it’ll place your child into activities that make them think, hone different skills, and have fun. Summer camps provide opportunities for hands-on learning, and they can introduce children to activities that are more educational than they would experience at home.
According to ACA Camps², there’s plenty for kids to explore and engage in at camp: many camps offer swimming, camping, climbing or rappelling, horseback riding, team building, community service or volunteer work, gardening or farming, and wilderness exploration. And nearly half – 49 percent – of these camps follow some kind of academic program or curriculum.
4. Your Kids Will Gain New Skills and Perspectives
While your child is exploring all that summer camps can offer, there will be additional benefits for him or her: summer camp can introduce children to entirely new skills and perspectives. And these are things they wouldn’t normally be introduced to, giving them a social and cultural advantage.
As children complete new tasks, they’ll gain a whole range of new skills – skills they wouldn’t normally be introduced to. For example, they’ll learn how to work with other kids, practice outdoor skills, learn new academic concepts, and explore new activities that they really enjoy. This lets them bring home new interests and new skills, which means they’re learning each and every day.
And while your kids are at camp, they’ll also gain perspective on the world and others. As MetroParent.com³ explains, children are introduced to kids they wouldn’t meet in their normal friend circles. Summer camp introduces them to children from different backgrounds, different worlds, and even different ages – and all of this “new” difference helps them understand diversity and others’ perspectives.
5. You’ll Teach Your Children Independence
Summer camps require children to be independent. Kids have to participate in activities without parents present (and sometimes without their siblings), and they must interact with other kids their age. And depending on the type of summer camp, some kids may even set their own schedules for greater independence.
At summer camp, kids are given the power to make their own decisions. They can choose which activities they want to participate in, and they get guidance from counselors who are closer to their age than their parents. If a child participates in a sleepaway camp, they get even more independence – they have to set and stick to a bedtime of their own, manage their bunks and daily routine, and find their way through different activities, all on their own.
These factors help them build their own identity, according to Psychology Today⁴, and it bolsters their ability to handle new challenges while also increasing their confidence. The more they do on their own at camp, the more their self esteem will be strengthened.
Find the Perfect Summer Camp for Your Kids
There are so many benefits to summer camp, and these are only scratching the surface of what your child can experience. From personal growth to developing new skills to meeting friends from entirely new places, summer camp can be a wonderful way to encourage your child’s development without worrying about their care during the summer.
And finding the right camp for your kid can begin with a simple search. Look online ahead of summer’s arrival to find out what options are available in your area. From themed summer camps that take place in your city to longer-term summer camps that introduce your kids to nature, there’s a camp for every kid’s personality. With many different options for saving money and cutting costs too, you can also look for ways to make camp an affordable choice.