8 Ways to Maximize Fun and Learning at an Academic Summer Camp
Is your 8- to 10-year-old going away for an academic summer camp? Learn how to encourage fun and learning!
Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
- Make sure it's a fit. Is your child passionate about the camp's area of focus? When you're considering a camp, review last year's program to make sure it will sustain your camper's interest. Your aspiring astronaut may benefit more from a few visits to the local planetarium than an entire summer studying the stars.
- Start off right. Discuss your child's skill level, interests, and goals with the counselors early on. That way, whenever possible, they can tailor projects to his needs (within reason; don't expect a customized program unless you shell out for a one-on-one tutor).
- Let him bring a friend. Stave off loneliness by inviting a pal to sign up for the same camp. Having a friend around will take the edge off if this is your child's first time away from home.
- Trust the counselors. It's only natural to worry about your child when she goes away, whether it's for a day, a week, or a month. But being hands-off will help her become more independent — one of the great rewards of summer camp.
- Illuminate the possibilities. Help him see that even skills he doesn't enjoy practicing can further his goals: He'll need to learn how to write before he becomes the marine biologist that he wants to be, for example. So if he'll be attending a writing camp, suggest that he draft stories about ocean exploration.
- Join in the fun. If your child attends an arts camp, create something together when she's at home. It's a subtle way to reinforce (and observe) what she's learning — and it gives her self-esteem a big boost when she shows her stuff.
- Note your child's progress. If you notice that he isn't getting enough out of the experience, talk to his counselor. She may be able to shed some light — and help come up with a plan to turn things around.
- Make room for fun! Remember, this is a time for your child to rejuvenate himself. When she comes home after a long week at math camp, ask her what she wants to do over the weekend; allow for plenty of downtime during the course of the summer.