Planning for Summer

It’s hard to know how much and what kind of activity your child needs over the summer -- scheduled family activities, community camps, academic programs, or residential camps. That can be determined by you and your child, but it is known that children who participate in summer activities, experience learning gains and those who do not, lose some learning gains from the past school year.

Additionally, summer is usually one of the only times your child can delve deeply into an interest area or do challenging high-level concept work with like-minded peers.

There are many considerations when thinking about camps and programs your child might attend.  Here are a very aspects to consider when looking at camps or programs.

The best camps:

  • Are physically and emotionally safe and welcoming places, with adequate staffing
  • Provide a variety of activities --academic, physical, and social – based on a single goal or philosophy.  
  • If academically oriented, provide challenge and allow your child to explore higher-level concepts than they might get during the school year
  • Provide active rather than passive learning experiences that build on your child’s interests
  • Have staff who are trained in the academic and emotional needs of gifted students as well as those from diverse backgrounds.
  • Have trained counselors who can help students who have difficulties finding friends or joining in activities
  • Are flexible enough to meet your child’s academic, athletic, or musical ability without be overwhelming and have an end of session evaluation of progress made with next steps.

Talk with  your child about the following:

  • Is he ready for a residential camp or would he be happier coming home in the evening?
  • Is the camp content interesting?
  • How much structure would make him happiest?


More Resources

Create your own summer camp with ideas from Christy  D. McGee, from July 2013 Parenting for Potential (PHP)

Download a list of questions to ask to ask about all camps and programs you are considering. It was built by Rachel Knox for a March 1997 article in PHP, but it is still very relevant.

Read Denise Drain’s and Melissa Hasan January 2014 PHP article, Summer Enrichment or Just Hanging Out? What Parents Should Know About Extended Learning Opportunities.