Summer Camps for Kids
Are you thinking about summer camp? Parents all across the country are thinking about the upcoming school-less months and wondering about summer activities for kids. No adult wants to hear constant complaining about boredom, and no child or teen wants to be in a weeks-long state of ennui. Summer camps for kids provide ways for your kids to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, exercise, and learning experiences. They’re also likely to make new friends and to make memories that will last a lifetime. The summer activities for kids are usually rich and varied, and in many cases, you can find camps with programs that are pretty specific. Chess lessons, golf lessons, art lessons, music lessons, debate lessons, acting lessons, and singing lessons can all be found at summer camps. Even if just having fun is the motive, summer camp for kids is a great idea.
Fun Activities for Kids
To make your summer happier, you’ll need to come up with some fun activities for kids. Not only will doing so keep family peace, it can also be a way to keep your kids’ brains active, as well as their bodies. In my opinion, children shouldn’t spend their entire summer vacation in front of a TV, computer, or video game. Fun activities for kids can be educational. As a retired teacher, I think that the best learning activities are also enjoyable because the kids are actively engaged in the learning process. A few examples of educational and fun activities for kids include visits to museums, aquariums, zoos, planetariums, and historic sites, but these are pretty obvious to most parents. Savvy parents realize that they can turn practically any activity into a learning experience, if they go about it correctly. For example, a hike can include an informal lesson on wildlife, geology, or plants. Watching a meteor shower can turn into a mini-lesson on astronomy. A fishing trip can include information about the food chain. Keeping fun activities for kids educational, too, is a win-win situation for everyone, and a good summer camp will achieve that goal!
Summer camps might be just the prescription you’ve been looking for! The summer activities for kids I’ve already mentioned are good ideas, but some parents simply don’t have the time for them. That’s where summer camps come in handy. Summer camp is designed specifically to keep kids entertained, focused, and/or learning. If a camp doesn’t achieve these goals, they won’t stay in business for long.
There are so many summer camps from which to choose, how does a parent know which ones are best? Most camps have a website. Visit the site and read all the information provided. If you have any questions, or if you need more information, don’t hesitate to call or email the camp director. After all, you’re putting your beloved child in their care. By the way, some of the camp websites also have a place where you can request a brochure. Start your search early, as the best summer camps often fill up early.
One of the best ways to find out the real information about summer camps is to talk with parents who have sent their kids. Some of the websites include testimonials, but talking one-on-one to parents with specific camp experience is even better. Most parents will be completely open and honest with you. You might want to get some feedback from the kids who have visited the camps you’re interested in, too.
Some kids don’t like the idea of attending summer camp. It might help matters if you give the kids some ownership in the decision of camps. Focus on your child’s interests and/or needs, and find suitable camps that address these. After doing your research, narrow down your choices to just a few summer camps. At that point, allow your child to have some input into the final decision.
Summer Day Camps
Summer day camps are popular choices with some kids and parents. For younger children and for those you have never spent many nights away from home, summer day camps might be the best way to go. When I was a kid, I attended day camp for a couple of summers, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Early each morning, Mom dropped me off at the Girl Scout camp, and I spent the entire day there. Late in the afternoons, Mom or Dad would pick me up, and I’d get to spend the night in my own bed. I also attended summer day camps for horseback riding and for reading. When my kids were small, they attended summer day camps for swimming and drown-proofing. By the way, these were two very different skills.
Of course, summer day camps have some drawbacks, too. If you can’t find one in your area, daily travel to and from the venue could be a real problem. If you can find a good one in your area, and if your child has never attended a summer camp before, I suggest summer day camps. They’re a good way for your child to experience camp programs and activities while remaining close to home. If they enjoy summer day camps, they might be ready to move on to overnight summer camps the next summer, when they have another year of maturity and some camp experience under their belt.
Summer Camp Themes
Summer camp themes are extremely varied. Many are more general in nature, perhaps providing activities like hiking, swimming, nature lore, and arts and crafts. Some, however, are more focused on specific skills and activities. Such summer camp themes might include sports, like tennis, soccer, football, gymnastics, cheerleading, or basketball, where kids can learn or improve upon their skills. Other summer camp themes might be wilderness survival, wildlife, whitewater rafting, or fishing. You can even find programs that enhance leadership skills, team work, and Christian values.
If your kids are athletes, they might benefit from summer camp themes like golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, basketball, baseball, swimming, or football. Nike hosts some great summer sports camps in numerous locations across the United States.
If you want summer camp to be more academic in nature, you might be interested in summer camp themes like writing, reading, debating, mathematics, botany, or computer skills. Just be sure to examine the camp’s itinerary closely. Academic activities can be intense, and you’ll want to make sure that adequate “down time” is provided. Every kid deserves a break from time to time!
Camp Activities for Kids
Depending on the specific program and venue, there’s no telling what sorts of camp activities for kids might be offered. Your kids might get to swim, fish, rock climb, hike, cook over an open fire, ride horses, go canoeing, sleep under the stars, or navigate a river. Camp activities for kids might include archery, skeet shooting, ziplining, storytelling, hayrides, acting, scavenger hunts, bird watching, animal encounters, team sports, cooking classes, or sailing.
Camp activities for kids don’t just provide fun – many also provide instruction and hands-on experiences that could help your child learn a new sport or hobby, or improve on existing skills. Campers might learn anything from wilderness survival to creating an oil painting. They might also gain experiences that will help them be more successful in school or in life, like SAT preparation, leadership skills, and team-building opportunities.
Camp Activities for Kids:
Horseback Riding Camps – Horse Riding Lessons
Horseback riding camps are very popular with kids who love horses. You can find horseback riding camps for any experience level, too. For example, beginners might receive basic horse riding lessons, where they can learn to ride and handle a mount. Intermediate riders might benefit from more detailed horse riding lessons, where they learn about leg cues, lead changes, different bits, and other riding-related topics.
Some horseback riding camps are discipline-specific. If your child is into jumping, you’ll find summer camps that teach nothing but jumping. If your child is a barrel racer, there are numerous horseback riding camps that teach this exciting skill. Other horseback riding camps might focus on hunt seat, western stock seat, cutting, dressage, or roping. Some of these horse camps are taught by real champions, too.
If your child is a novice, a horseback riding camp that teaches horse riding lessons is probably your best bet. Many of these camps also include leisurely trail rides, which are very enjoyable. At some horseback riding camps, your child will have the same horse for the entire time and will be responsible for caring for his or her mount, including feeding, watering, and grooming. In this respect, a horse camp can be a wonderful testing ground to find out if your child is ready for the responsibility of owning a horse.
Horseback Riding Camps:
YMCA Summer Camp
This past July, three of my grandchildren attended YMCA Summer Camp. One child was three years old, one was four years old, and the other was seven. They all had a blast! Our facility has a large swimming pool, a kiddie pool, and a water play area with slides, chutes, and fountains. On certain days of the week, the kids took their swimsuits to camp and got to take advantage of all the water activities.
Our YMCA Summer Camp was a day camp. Kids could be dropped off at seven in the morning and were to be picked up by six in the evening. Of course, there were scheduled activities each day, including games, singing, arts and crafts, stories, and sports. One day they even had a talent show that was loosely modeled after American Idol. They called it “Camp Idol.”
The children took their lunch and breakfast every day, and the camp provided snacks. The cost of our YMCA summer camp was very reasonable - $85 a week. That’s less than my daughters were paying for daycare, and they felt that the kids enjoyed Y Camp and learned a lot more than they would have at daycare. If you have a Y near you, check on YMCA Summer Camp for your kids.
Sports camp gives your child a chance to learn new skills and improve existing skills. All sorts of sports camps are available: basketball camp, football camp, soccer camp, baseball camp, cheerleading camp, and more. My grandsons have enjoyed sports camp, and two of my granddaughters absolutely loved cheer camp! At the end of the cheer camp, the girls put on a performance to show the parents and the friends what they’d learned at summer camp. At the first home high school football game, the little cheerleaders performed at halftime.
Sports camp is a great way to get some exercise into summer vacation, when kids sometimes tend to get a little lazy. Even if your child has never formally participated in team sports, summer camp that focuses on one sport will definitely help your kid with team tryouts. Some of the camps are day camps, but others are overnight camps. Before choosing a sports camp, find out about the daily schedule of camp activities. Depending on how committed your child is to the specific sport, he or she could “burn out” if the activities are too intense. Talking to the coaches and counselors beforehand will help you make an informed decision.
Sports camp can really help kids gain confidence in their athletic abilities. They can also benefit from learning to be part of a team. They’ll learn how to interact with others, including their coaches and their teammates. Even if the child never wishes to play organized sports, he or she can learn some valuable lessons.
My ten-year-old grandson and my nine-year-old granddaughter attended church camp this summer. It was hosted by the Episcopal Church, and the summer camp is located on the coast of Georgia. The name of the camp is Honey Creek. It was the first time the kids had attended the camp – or any church summer camp, for that matter. We were pretty impressed!
The camp wasn’t some strict religious camp. The kids didn’t spend their entire days in Sunday school –like classes. It was more of a regular summer camp with values that are promoted by the Episcopal Church. Camp activities included fishing, swimming, kayaking, archery, disc golf, games, singing, cookouts, and more. They even had a dance one night! The kids made lots of new friends at camp, which wasn’t surprising for Jonathan. He’s very outgoing, but Lexi is a little shy. She had no problems making friends at summer camp, however.
This was the first time the two cousins had attended an overnight camp, so we weren’t sure how they’d do being away from home for a whole week. Fortunately, they did fine. The camp encouraged family members and friends to send the campers letters and “care packages,” which we did, of course. I think the kids got a little homesick, but they enjoyed summer camp and want to go back to Honey Creek next year.
Summer Camps in Georgia
I can’t leave without mentioning a few summer camps in Georgia – my home state. All the camps my girls and I have attended were in the Peach State, and if you’re a fellow Georgian, you’ll see that our state offers some great opportunities. Below are just a few of the summer camps in Georgia there’s no way I could mention them all. Instead, I tried to give readers just a sampling of what’s offered across the state.
Summer Camps in Georgia – Overnight
Aerie Experiences – Dahlonega
For girls and boys, ages eight through seventeen. This summer camp provides wilderness excursions and camping experiences, especially tailored for children with ADHD, Aspergers, autism, and learning disabilities.
Camp Dixie – Clayton
For ages six to fifteen, girls and boys. Camp activities for kids include swimming, arts and crafts, target shooting, archery, diving, drama, team sports, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, and outdoor living skills.
Camp Juliette Lowe – Cloudland
For girls ages seven through seventeen. Activities include canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, nature crafts, sailing, tennis, rope courses, dancing, gymnastics, and hiking. Girls also learn outdoor skills like wood chopping, cooking over an open fire, and campfire building.
Camp Woodmont – Cloudland
For boys and girls ages six through fourteen. Activities include horseback riding, basketball, canoeing, archery, ziplining, arts and crafts, hiking, swimming, and more – all in a Christian atmosphere.
Eurotech Soccer Camp – Rome
For the past two decades, Eurotech has been the number one soccer camp in the United States. For girls and boys, ages nine to twenty-one. Students will benefit from a diverse range of coaching styles, all from professional European coaches.
Shane Weight Loss Camp – Rabun Gap
For boys and girls, ages seven through seventeen. Weight loss through healthy eating and physical activity. An indoor swimming pool, a lake, a theatre, a gym, and sports fields are onsite. Meals are approved by a physician.
Sunburst Stables Horse Camp for Girls - Clarkesville
For girls, ages eight through fifteen, all riding levels. Campers get two riding sessions each day, including basic to advanced horse riding lessons, riding safety, grooming, and tips for rider control. Also included are sunset rides, scavenger hunts, swimming, camping, tubing, and kayaking.
Urban Debate Camp – Morrow
For girls and boys, ages nine to nineteen. This summer camp helps students to hone and improve their skills in debating and public speaking. The program includes numerous practice debates.
Valley View Ranch Equestrian Camp – Lookout Mountain
For girls ages eight through seventeen. Each camper gets to spend unlimited time with her mount each day. Horse riding lessons in English, Western, hunt seat, and barrel racing are offered. Other activities include swimming, pottery making, sports, and arts and crafts.
Zion Farms Equestrian Camp – Rome
This is one of the best horseback riding camps in the state. Summer camps for kids focus on equestrian skills. This is a beautiful venue with hundreds of acres of pastures, gardens, ponds, trails, arenas, and a cross-country course.
Valley View Ranch Summer Camp:
Summer Camp in Georgia – Summer Day Camps
Bits, Bytes, and Bots – Cherokee County and Cobb County
This is a technology camp for boys and girls, ages six through eighteen. Topics include movie making, animation, and developing video games.
Camp Jam – Atlanta
For boys and girls, ages eleven through seventeen. This is a rock music camp taught by professional musicians. Video and audio tech programs are also available, as are overnight camps.
Camp Kingfisher – Roswell
These summer day camps are offered for boys and girls. Ages depend on the specific camp. The camp is held at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, and there’s an emphasis on birds, wildlife, and science. Other camp activities include swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, canoeing, and leadership seminars.
Club Scientific North Georgia – Duluth
Future scientists will love these summer day camps! They focus on a variety of topics, including veterinary medicine, paleontology, CSI, oceanography, robotics, and more. For boys and girls ages four through fourteen.
Game Breaker Lacrosse Camp – Rome and Atlanta
The summer day camps for boys ages twelve through eighteen is held in Rome. A girls’ overnight and extended day camps are held in Atlanta, at Emory University. For all skill levels.
Peter Howell Tennis Camp – Atlanta
For boys and girls, ages eight through seventeen. The camp director is Peter Howell, rated the fifth best tennis player in the U.S. For all levels. Cross training opportunities are also provided.
Sandy Creek Day Camp – Athens
Activities include hiking, swimming, and archery. Skills are focused on environmental science and team building. For ages seven to twelve, boys and girls.
School of Rock Music Day Camp – Atlanta
Several different summer day camps are offered. These include lessons for guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, and vocals. Campers can also learn to perform in front of an audience, play in a rock band, and further their artistic development.
Smoke Rise Summer Day Camp – Stone Mountain
For girls and boys, ages six to sixteen. A Christian setting with swimming, arts and crafts, music, magic, theater, and field trips. Teens can also participate in paintball, SAT preparation, rock climbing, and team building.
Stand-Up Paddleboarding – Tybee Island
Paddle boarding lessons are provided, along with all required gear. Instructors are certified in paddleboarding, first aid, and CPR. For ages seven to sixteen, boys and girls.
Smoke Rise Summer Day Camps:
Brett from Asia on August 25, 2014:
Some really great ideas here in a well laid out and informative hub. You are so right, most fun activities can also be educational worth the right approach.
Jonathon on August 08, 2013:
Try teaching them to croceht.It is easy to learn and will last a lifetime.(like easy scarves for birthdays or Christmas)You can start with some scrap yarn and big croceht hooks to make Barbie doll stuff.
Fennifer on August 05, 2013:
Laurie,Hello! We should have the dates for sumemr camp by the end of February and hopefully all the rest of the details (times, costs, etc) by mid-March! We are still waiting on confirmations from the parks! We will post on here as soon as we get the info and we'll send out an email as well! Thank you!
Lisa McKnight from London on May 15, 2012:
Thanks for all the descriptions of what is on offer at the camps. This is really useful for parents and the videos are lovely too.
summerberrie on May 15, 2012:
We spent many summers at Tennis Camps. I enjoyed reading about all your ideas and resources. Our kids fished with us when they were little and now they still love to fish!
Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on May 14, 2012:
This was so much fun to read that it makes me want to be a kid again! Great ideas are offered for all types of interests. I especially like the way you gave so many choices all over the state of Georgia.
Voted up and awesome!
Melissa A Smith from New York on May 14, 2012:
I'm glad that this hub encourages animal-related experiences and sees the value in them.