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Design the Perfect Summer at Camp: 5 Questions to Ask

Think about the perfect summer for your kids. Are they fishing and canoeing on a sparkling lake or busy in the kitchen, baking delicious baked treats to share at the end of the day? Maybe they are building giant sculptures, learning Spanish or playing lacrosse for the first time. This should be the summer they unleash their imaginations drawing comic books, composing songs, filming LEGO movies or designing video games. They could hit a bullseye in archery, sing a solo on stage or splash around at the beach.

Or maybe they’ll do all of the above. But how do you decide?

The laid back, fun-first attitude of summer camp gives students a chance to enjoy favorite activities, test out new hobbies, play games and tackle projects. Consider these five questions when planning your summer to narrow your options and find the camp program that suits your family the best.

What’s your summer plan? Are you looking for outdoor activities or do you have academic goals in mind? Do you want a specialty camp where your kids can immerse themselves in their favorite interests or a general camp with a little bit of everything? Overnight or day? Do you want a camp that cultivates your child’s talent in sports or performing arts? Identify your priorities and see what local camps align. Some camps offer open houses or tours where you can meet directors, see the facility and ask questions.

Do you and your kids like the same camps? Your child may want to game all day. You think they need to run and play. Meet in the middle with half-day camps that allow you to schedule two different kinds of camp each day. How about Minecraft camp in the morning and retro summer camp games in the afternoon? Or combine half-day academic and sports camps for the week to exercise their mind and body.

Is your child preparing to start school? Camp can be a wonderful experience for 3- and 4-year-olds to help ease the transition to full-time school in the fall. Camps spark curiosity and introduce academic concepts, with plenty of time to play and explore. The prekindergarten camps at CAMP IDS include sessions that emphasize reading and math basics. Children sing songs connecting letters and sounds, make crafts and engage in activities to help with counting and number recognition. A prekindergarten camp also helps children practice social skills as they make new friends and learn to work alongside other children their age.

Are your kids telling you they’re too old for camp? If your children attend camp every summer, you may encounter pushback when it’s time to register. Appeal to their personal passions or sense of adventure. At CAMP IDS, pre-teens and teens love the full-day recreational and “Wilderness Extreme” camps, which take them off campus to fun locations and activities every day. It’s even better if you sign them up with a friend. Technology-minded students may enjoy 3D printing or advanced programming, while sports-focused teens jump on the opportunity to train like pro athletes. Middle and high school students who love drama return for two-week full-day musical theatre camps at CAMP IDS, which culminates in the production of a Broadway show. This year, students are presenting “Shrek” and “Les Miserables!”

Does your child get bored easily? Counter cries of boredom with an assortment of camp choices. You can pick different themed camps every week or even two camps a day where half-day camps are available – with six weeks of sessions at CAMP IDS, that could mean as many as 12 different camps. And if your child prefers even more variety, try a field trip camp that takes them to a new place or on an exciting adventure each day.

It might take a little work to figure out how to fit in all the fun, but there is something for every student at summer camp. With so many different types of opportunities, you may find yourself wishing you could attend camp as well when summer arrives.

*Photo provided by Corbett Prep

Originally published in May 2021

Courtney Cairns-Pastor
Courtney Cairns-Pastor
Courtney Cairns-Pastor is the Content Creator and Social Media Coordinator at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS. After 15 years as a newspaper reporter covering education, parenting, health and local issues, Courtney changed careers and now tells the story of Corbett Prep. During the week, she’s busy creating content about the private school and managing its social media. On the weekends, you’ll find her running on Bayshore, reading obsessively and cheering on the Tampa Bay Lightning. She lives in Seminole Heights with her husband and son.

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