Monday, April 11, 2011

Summer's List

Ooooh... I get so giddy in summer!  I love planning summer camps for my kids!  (said the self-proclaimed nerd)
I follow a checklist, too!  (and the nerd buries herself deeper)
You can't just dump your child in an activity to keep him busy 'til next school year.  You have to plan it, discuss it, really go down the nitty-gritty of it.  (nerd!  nerd!!!  NERD!!!)

I overthink things.  Sue me.  Anyway, here it goes...

Summer time is fun time.
So it's best to know what your child wants.  Sit down with him and make a list of his interests.  Don't push him into an activity he's totally alien to and would have to exert intense effort to like... or pass.  It's summer.  Not school.  He should have fun.  So if he wants to take the same summer activity from last year, let him.  It's honing a skill.
Miro's summer camp for 2 years now --and he still loves it!
Summer time is exploration time.
It's nice to have your child try something new during this time, too, though.  So think of things he hasn't done, but are still within the realm of things he likes.  Like basketball to football, or painting to sculpting, dance to theater.  Don't plan major jumps unless your child is game for it.   Always discuss options with him. 
This got Kenji totally excited for taekwondo, specially since he loves movie fight scenes.
Summer time is break time.
Choose a not-too-short, not-too-long program for your child.  A program that requires daily attendance in 2 months is too demanding.  A one-week camp is a tad too short.  I usually go for an 8 to 10-session program my sons can go to a couple of days a week. That way, they can enjoy the rest of the week at home or out with family and friends.
This camp has the most accommodating skeds and venues.  Lovin' it!
Summer time is frugal time.
Other than summer camps, there's also summer family trips, summer reunions, etc. you'll have to spend for.  This is where free trial classes come in.  A lot of summer programs offer these.  Your kid can attend 2 or 3 of these so he'll have a better gauge as to which program he'd want to spend a longer time on.  Experience is the best decision-maker.  And you didn't even have to spend a cent.
Thanks to this bad boy's free trial class, we learned that we're not taking taekwondo in this place ever. :P
Summer time is reward time.
Now, this bit is just me.  But I always look for a camp that will give my children that success factor.  Something he'll be more than proud to talk about when asked "So what did you do all summer?" when he comes back to school.  I look for summer programs that come with a well planned culminating activity in the end.  Like an awarding, an exhibit --some kind of ceremony that ties up everything into a neat, happy ball of rah-rah.
Both basketball and football camps end with a graduation ceremony that finds your child receiving a certificate of completion, a medal, and even a trophy.

See?  Summer camp-hunting can be tough. but as long as you and your kid work together to find the right fit --then it can be a lot of fun, too.  Think of it as a huge puzzle board.  Finding the last piece to complete it so worth it.  (haha!  did i actually say that with a straight face?)

And if you land a camp with all the requirements mentioned above --CONGRATULATIONS!-- you're a bigger nerd than I am.

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