For many families, attending summer camp is the highlight of their kids’ year. Summer programs offer children the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and practice independence. They’re also a childcare solution for parents who work full-time.
Although some summer programs can be pricey, many others are affordable. There’s a summer camp or program to suit every child’s interests and age group. Here are seven super fun summer options you can explore for your kids this year.
- YMCA Program
The YMCA is an international organization that serves millions of people in 120 countries. Its mission is to empower individuals to reach their fullest potential through supportive community. Throughout the year, YMCAs offer childcare, workout training, education and sports opportunities for kids and adults.
During the summer, YMCAs also offer a range of summer camps for kids of different ages. These include day camps, overnight programs, family camps and themed camps that teach music, cooking and more. Some of these camps are also designed for children with specific medical needs.
- Local Parks
If your kids love the great outdoors, you can check with local parks to see if they offer summer programs. Many state and federal parks run summer camps that teach children more about nature and outdoor skills. Some of these programs include fun challenges like earning scout badges.
These camps are a great way to get kids outside during the summer months. They combine active movement with new learning opportunities that can shape the way kids will engage with their environment forever. Park programs emphasize exploration, discovery and hands-on learning.
- Library Programs
For children who love reading and hearing stories, a library program may be the perfect way to spend the summer. Most local libraries offer summer programs, each with a different theme and meant to serve a different age group. Library programs will introduce your kids to other children and improve their reading skills through practice.
These programs can also show kids the connection between fictional stories and real life. Through dramatic retellings, hands-on crafts and reading homework, kids will see stories come to life. Library programs ensure that kids keep thinking and learning rather than losing their skills over the summer.
- Museum Classes
Many museums also offer summer camps for kids. Reach out to art, science and history museums near you to see what programs are available this summer. At these camps, kids can gain an in-depth perspective on a subject they love.
While at a museum camp, kids can learn from experts and make friends with similar interests. They create hands-on projects, get in touch with history and gain confidence being on their own. Museum camps can show your kids how much fun learning is supposed to be.
- Music Camp
If your kids are interested in music, consider signing them up for a summer music camp. There are programs covering everything from classical to jazz to Appalachian and other niche music. Some music camps focus more on the creative aspect of music, while others teach students to read music and follow conducting.
Regardless of the camp you choose, your kids will learn more about the history of music and the powerful way it can impact lives today. They may practice writing songs of their own or gain experience performing with a group orchestra. Music camp is a great place to make new friends and grow in artistic confidence.
- Boy or Girl Scouts
The Boy Scout program began in the early 1900s and has since turned into multiple programs for boys and girls, all with an intent to develop leadership skills and get kids connected to the great outdoors. Scouting programs teach kids critical thinking, communication skills and independence.
They also promote volunteering and teach kids about community cooperation. Depending on the program, scouts may learn skills like navigation, canoeing, how to handle fire, wildlife identification and outdoor cooking. These programs are a lot of fun and help kids form lifelong respect for nature and the environment.
- Family Camp
You can also consider taking your family on a long vacation over the summer. Head to the beach or drive to the mountains to unwind and get some quality family time before the next school year. If you love state parks, consider making a special trip to visit one that’s far away.
Other ideas for an unofficial “family camp” include camping, road tripping or visiting international locations. Traveling gives you many opportunities to teach your kids new skills and broaden their horizons. These are experiences your child will benefit from forever and hold as precious childhood memories.
Summer Learning Opportunities
There are so many affordable summer programs available for kids across America. Use this list to choose the perfect placement for your child this summer. Their experience at camp will bring them new opportunities and help them develop skills that will enrich the rest of their lives.
Don’t be afraid to branch out and try a new program this year. It can be especially good for kids to enroll in a camp that’s very different from what they experience during the school year. Of course, you should always check on the counselor-to-student ratios and get referrals so you’re sure each camp is a safe environment for your child.