For lots of kids, summer camp is a highly anticipated opportunity to spend long days doing activities they love while challenging themselves and making new friends. Whether your kids are off on a weeklong overnight in the woods or signed up to code all day for a local computer camp -- or you're planning your own crafts and campfire activities at home -- we have tips, tricks, and tools to guarantee kids have a fun and engaging summer camp experience.
For overnight campers
- Tip: Make sure your kid has packed plenty of bug spray and sunscreen -- but keep the cell phone at home.
- Trick: For nervous first-time campers as well as veteran teens, reading about other kids' camp experiences will soothe or excite. Create a playlist of sing-along songs with rousing choruses for the car ride there to amp up kids (and distract you from the good-byes).
- Tools: Help kids brush up on writing skills so they can pen letters home or keep a descriptive journal. Kids can share their camp experiences through an online diary or scrapbook.
For day campers
- Tip: If you're considering a tech camp, programming, robotics, and video creation are a few of the more popular themes. You can also learn what kinds of experiences other kids have had before making the call.
- Trick: Camp isn't all about the activities, be it coding, dance, or soccer; kids also can make lifelong friends with similar interests. Share friendship stories and play games that celebrate teamwork to encourage socially shy kids.
- Tools: Arm kids with apps and games to hone skills and brush up on basics. Share tech-creation apps with kids off to learn a digital craft such as 3-D animation or video game design. Kids off to music camp can use digital tools to practice composition, while athletes heading to sports camp can use fitness tools to get their heads in the game.
For stay-at-home campers
- Tip: Compile your resources. Our Summer Learning Guide has nearly 100 apps, games, and sites for kids of all ages and interests, teaching them everything from creating multimedia memories to tinkering and tech.
- Trick: Host a movie marathon of camp movies. Share ghost stories around a backyard fire pit -- or make one using tissue paper and recycled materials in the living room. Kids can "bunk up" in sleeping bags around the fire.
- Tools: Kids can use cooking apps and sites to make camp-worthy snacks and meals -- with a twist. Go on a nature walk, collecting leaves, acorns, or seashells along the way. Incorporate kids' newfound treasures into arts-and-crafts hour to make refrigerator decorations that last past summer.