Many parents are concerned that over the summer, their kids will experience a setback in academic skills, often referred to as ‘summer learning loss.’ Finding a variety of summer camp programs that involve both recreation and academic learning opportunities disguised as fun can help prevent the ‘summer slide’ in math and reading skills. In addition, summer camp programs provide valuable, real-world experiences that your child is not likely to encounter in a classroom setting.
Create a balanced summer camp schedule
Summer camp is an opportunity for your child to learn about several areas of interest in depth. Schedule your child for a variety of camps that match his interests, while at the same time challenge him to expand his knowledge and skills even further. For example, your child could focus on his improving his technique at soccer camp one week and then explore his new interest in robotics and computer programming the next week. A week-long camp that focuses on a particular area of interest provides an exploration of a topic to a degree that your child is unlikely to experience during the school year. In addition, the topic of a camp your child attends and enjoys is likely to become one of his favorite reading subjects for the summer as well as a new hobby that keeps him engaged in learning while school is out.
Even if your child loves the outdoors and could live outside all summer hiking, swimming and fishing, consider signing him up for at least one camp that includes STEAM skills. In today’s world, STEAM skills have become crucial life skills. Your child will have so much fun with the hands-on activities like ‘mad science’ experiments or building a new gaming app, that he will not realize he is using math and science skills. Some outdoor camps even include activities like geocaching or orienteering that use STEAM skills.
Do encourage your child to leave his comfort zone
Although you may get some opposition from your child, do not base his summer camp schedule on that of his best friend. As a compromise, perhaps schedule one camp that your child and his friend(s) can do together but base the rest of his schedule on targeted topics and environments that will expand his knowledge and explore his interests. Summer camp is an opportunity for your child to grow his social circle and build his independence and confidence. The confidence your child gains from learning a new skill and forming new relationships can even help improve his performance in the upcoming school year.