Summers are magical. School’s out, the days are long, and free time abounds.
Yet after a month or so, boredom sets in and kids start gravitating toward the couch, glued to smartphones, binging on Netflix, and playing video games for hours on end. Don’t you wish your kids spent their summers designing video games instead of just playing them? That’s where summer camps come in.
Summer camps are great for balancing out the unstructured, school-free summer months. They’re fun, they build character, and they provide opportunities for campers to meet new friends and reconnect with classmates. Plus, kids can discover new interests and stay intellectually engaged.
With today’s overabundance of camps, there’s literally something for every child. On the flip side, with so many options, choosing can make you feel a lot like Goldilocks on the hunt for a camp that’s just right.
Armed with these five tips on how to select a summer camp, you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect option in no time!
1. Set your expectations.
Before you can pick the right summer camp, you need to set some expectations. Start by asking yourself what you’d like your children to gain from the camp experience. Want her to meet new friends with similar interests? Try a niche camp in a subject she loves. Looking to keep him thinking throughout the summer months? With a commonsense balance of indoor and outdoor activities, an academic camp like iD Tech will keep him intellectually engaged.
Be sure to include older children in your conversations about summer camps, starting with a discussion on expectations. As tweens and teens get older, the traditional idea of “summer camp” can start to lose appeal. By understanding how they’d like to spend their summer, you can reframe the conversation to find a summer program that will meet their needs.
The goal is to get older kids excited about camp by finding programs that speak to their current interests. By making sure you and your teen are on the same page, you’re much more likely to find a camp that you both love.
2. Select the right genre.
Once you have a good idea of what you’re hoping to gain from camp, it’s time to narrow down which type of programs will meet your needs. Here’s what you can expect from today’s most popular summer camp genres:
- Traditional: Think back to your own summer camp experiences; these co-ed and single-gender camps build self-confidence and character in a traditional outdoor setting.
- Academic: Your kids can keep learning even when school’s out. Academic camps like iD Tech provide a fun balance of hands-on education and upbeat extracurricular activities. Bonus Hint: Academic camps are a great way to supplement education for students who don’t like traditional instruction.
- Adventure: Fun, engaging, and high-energy—these camps are great for exploring new experiences.
- Athletic: Athletic camps are perfect for sporty kids who are looking to learn new skills during summer.
- Niche and/or Special Needs: Niche camps are must for children who are looking to further develop their passions.
3. Find instructors your kids will adore.
In the same way that a stellar teacher can turn a boring subject into something magical, the right summer camp instructor will make your child’s camp experience unforgettable. What makes a good camp instructor? To start, they should be passionate about teaching kids. We’ve all seen the instructors who are glued to their smartphones; that’s not who you want supervising your children. Instead, instructors should be fun, upbeat, and both passionate and knowledgeable about the subjects they’re teaching.
Determining the quality of instructors before attending camp is difficult but doable. Many camps provide an instructor section on their website, explaining the various qualifications they require from potential instructors. You can also look for first-hand accounts of the instructors by reading student and parent reviews. In addition, look for low student-to-instructor ratios (no more than 10 campers per teacher) and be sure your that your camp runs background checks on all instructors. Safety first!
4. Look for a fair price.
Summer camp prices vary drastically—and for good reason. But don’t let sticker shock keep you from the camp of your (kid’s) dreams. Instead, evaluate price as part of the bigger picture, as much as budgets allow. Here’s how:
- Think of camp as an investment. Kids and teens gain so much by attending summer camp. They build self-confidence, meet new friends, and gain independence in an inspiring setting. Sure, some camps are expensive, but when you look at the lengthy list of short-term and long-term benefits, you’ll realize they’re almost always worth the cost.
- Compare prices against competitors in the same genre and geographical region. This will give you a good baseline for how expensive the camps in your area cost.
- Determine what’s included. Every added benefit will bump up your total camp cost. Does the camp provide lunch? Offer early pick-up and drop-off? Make sure you’re paying for the benefits that are most important to you and your family.
- Look for discounts. Many camps offer year-round multi-week and sibling discounts, along with seasonal savings. Contact the camp directly to see how you can save.
5. Don’t be afraid to research. A lot.
By registering for camp, you’re investing time and trust into the summer camp provider, and you’ll undoubtedly have questions. So don’t be afraid to research, research, research, to ensure you make the correct decision. There are endless ways to learn more about camps that catch your kid’s interest. You can attend a local camp fair, browse competitor websites, take a tour of the camp facilities, read customer reviews, or discuss the programs and courses with a customer service rep.
You can even tap into your own social group for suggestions. Ask around and see where other friends have sent their kids to camp. A personal recommendation is often a great indicator of what your student’s experience will be like. Plus, kids always have a great time when they get to attend camp with a few friends.
iD Tech Summer Camps Your Kids Will Love
We designed our summer camps with your kids’ creativity in mind. That’s why we hire awesome, tech-savvy camp instructors and provide a commonsense balance of indoor and outdoor camp activities. Our hands-on courses are taught in small groups of just 8 students per instructor—guaranteed—so your kids will get personalized instruction whether they have experience with technology or are just starting out.
There’s never been a better time (or place!) to meet new friends, learn awesome tech skills, and have a blast!
Check out our summer programs for kids and teen summer camps, or give our Program Advisors a call at 1-888-709-8324 for help selecting the perfect course or location. We hope to see your kids at camp this summer!