Is Summer Camp Still Worth It for Kids? 

Summer camp was once a rite of passage for many children. It provides multiple benefits, but downsides exist for some children. Is it right for your child? Sharing how I made my choice as a father may help you decide for your family.

Benefits of Summer Camps for Kids

Summer camp isn’t merely a tool to keep your children occupied so you can work. While that may be a bonus, the right experience fuels their growth and development healthily. Here’s what I hope my son will gain from his program.

1. Develop Social Skills

While you might enjoy being the center of your child’s world, they need exposure to new ideas and alternative perspectives that help them develop personalities and value systems. Summer camps provide a safe environment for making friends. Your kid will take part in supervised activities, helping them overcome initial awkwardness and truly get to know themselves and other children.

2. Make Learning Fun

Your little one’s attitude toward school largely determines how well they do. Summer camps inspire a love of learning through hands-on activities that ignite curiosity in youth. The right experience gets them excited to ride the big, yellow bus and discover even more fascinating things. It also helps older children retain the knowledge they might otherwise lose over summer break.

3. Increase Physical Activity 

Here’s a sobering statistic — one in five American kids is obese. This problem affects their health, especially their risk for type-2 diabetes. Regular physical activity is crucial to preventing childhood obesity and attending summer camp keeps them moving far more than staring at their screens.

4. Gain Emotional Resilience in New Situations

Emotional resilience is the ability to bounce back from stressful or adverse situations. The only way to hone that skill is through practice.

For many children, attending summer camp creates the right light dose of stress to build resilience without trauma. It challenges them by disrupting their typical routine and exposing them to new situations and people with lower risk.

5. Gently Encourage Independence

Well-designed summer camps nurture independence by individualizing the experience for each child. Shy kids may require more one-on-one time to build their confidence and self-esteem, while older ones may jump into leadership roles, especially if they’ve attended camp every year and know the ropes. Young children get to practice being away from their parents for brief periods, easing separation anxiety when school begins.

Is Summer Camp Right for Every Child?

Although I’m a fan of summer camps, it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Some children may not be ready or require more support than general camps can provide. For example, mainstream camps might not be the best choice for some neurodiverse children: their struggles with social anxiety and sensory overload can make them targets for bullies.

Furthermore, an unfortunate reality is you often get what you pay for — and specialty camps can cost a bundle. Ask yourself, “If money wasn’t an issue, would I feel comfortable sending my child here?”. Get that answer straight before enrolling them in a program simply because the price is right. While most summer camps provide impressive benefits for most children, the wrong one can do more harm than good, so use your best parental judgment.

Why a Great Summer Camp Is Fantastic for Kids 

The right summer camp helps your kid master new skills and make new friends. For me, it’s the perfect way to get my little one ready for school by gaining independence. Consider the factors above when deciding if summer camp is the best choice for your family.

Jack Shaw is the senior lifestyle writer at Modded with and a single father with a special interest in navigating the ins and outs of being a parent. As fathers, the work we put in isn’t always recognized, but it’s absolutely essential to the health and well-being of our children. You can find more of Jack’s work in publications like Tiny Buddha, Daddy’s Digest, and more.