Summertime Programs and Camps for Kids

School’s out. No more tests, no more Friday folders, no more lunch money requests. Ahh, time to relax. Then, with the squeal of “Mom! I’m bored!” you realize you have to entertain the munchkins for the next three months. While you count down the days until the first day of school, here are some ideas for finding day camps and summer programs to keep the kids occupied.

If this is your first camp-finding expedition, start by calling local museums, zoos, recreation centers, YMCAs and gymnasiums. Ask if they have camps or know of any in the area. They will often have websites with registration information, dates and sometimes you can even pay and register online.

Your local chamber of commerce and school district might have information about summer activities as well. Can’t find what you’re looking for there? Maybe you’re looking for a camp that is more specific to your child’s interests.

Coaches, instructors, mentors and teachers that are in the field of study you are looking for are very helpful in finding a camp based on that subject. Colleges, especially those that have specific fields of study, often host summer camps for elementary, middle and high school students in their field of expertise. Call their admissions office or publicity liaison for info.

Technical and vocational schools in your area may host fun lessons in their field. If you live near a military base, they may offer camps covering a wide range of subjects.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts offer day camps and resident camps for various ages and abilities all summer long. For a list of camps available in your area, visit www.scouting.org for Cub and Boy Scouting or www.girlscouts.org for Girl Scouting. Typically, resident camps in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are for the kids and a few adult leaders if the kids are over 12 years old, or for the whole family (mixed gender) if the kids are under 12. Day camps are usually only for Scouts, but child care for younger and opposite gender siblings is sometimes available.

There are a few websites that do a good job of keeping up with summer camps all over the US as well. Try www.mysummercamps.com for camps in the US and abroad. www.kidscamps.com lists a wide range of specialized camps including religious, leadership training, military, family camps and more.

Internships are usually available for kids thirteen and above. Depending on the area of study, level of interest and GPA of your child, internships may offer a way to get that teen out of the house and learn, in depth, all about a possible career field.

You may not realize how many summer camps, both day camp and residential, are available in your area. From Lacrosse camp that lasts all summer to robotics camps for a day, there are camps for all interests, ages and budgets. You might just have to do a little digging and calling around.

Regardless of which program or programs you choose, make sure you register as early as possible. Spaces are limited and usually fill up fast. Many programs also offer an early bird discount for early registrants.

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