As the summer vacations start, kids will be spending more and more time at home. Unfortunately mums do not have vacations and are rather unhappy with vacations that are long as months together. This is because they have to engage in the daunting task of keeping kids engaged so as to lessen their troubles. Some kids sit glued to the television screen or play marathon games on Xbox and iPads. Such sudden sedentary lifestyle disposes kids to obesity, laziness and idleness Parents can utilize the vacation period for personal and social development of the kid. Camps are a fun way of doing this and they came in varied packages to suit your kid.
What is a Summer Camp?
For kids, summer camps are generally a group of children who have common interests and are led by supervisors to pursue their hobbies and interests. Some summer camps also offer outdoor camping, travel, and activities in the open. Some camps also work on providing life lessons to kids on lifestyle, self esteem, confidence, leadership skills, moral teachings and opportunities to participate in hands on learning methods. Various work shops and activity classes are organised in India so as to keep the kids engaged in a wide range of creative, outdoor and academic activities.
What Types Of Summer Camps Are Available in India?
Basically summer camps are of two types, day camps and sleep away or overnight camps. Day camps generally cater to creative and academic interests of children of all ages, where as sleep away or overnight camps have age restrictions.
Day Summer Camps are usually organised for 2-3 days. Day summer camps generally run from early morning till evening and your kid will be back home by evening. These are suited for young kids below the age of 8. These are well suited for beginners and will prepare them for overnight camps.
Overnight camps may range from 1 night, 2 days up to weeks. The kids carry their stuff and stay in the camps. They return home once the camp has concluded. Overnight camps may be organized within the town, sometimes in school/college campus, in forest or even in different cities. Kids above age of 8 years may participate, however camps organized far from the home may require certain age limits.
Single Sex or Co-ed Camps?
When considering overnight or resident camps, families need to consider a number of factors, the major one being whether the camp is single sex or a co-ed. If your kid is not comfortable with co-ed camps or has reached puberty, you may want to consider gender-specific camps. These allow the kids to overcome shyness, giggle and enjoy freely with the same sex friends.
What are the Types of Activities A Child Learns In A Summer Camp?
From academic to creative activities, from picnics to adventures, summer camps cater to a variety of activities to suit your and your child’s need and interests. Listed below are some common summer camps organised in India. Depending on your budget, distance from home, interest and age of the kid, you may consider enrolling your little one in one of the following camps:
- Educational camps: They focus on a specific subject such as math, science, geography, history and creative writing etc. It might involve visits to planetariums, science centers and demonstrate experiments in the nature. If your kid is more of a book-worm or aspires to become a scientist, enrolling in academic camps would be a good idea. Sometimes, such camps can benefit kids whose academic performances have been slipping
- Adventure camps: They are all about outdoor activities. They involve mountaineering, rafting, canoeing, treasure hunt and such other games. They build strength, increase knowledge about surviving in tough conditions, using compass and exercise brain. Such camps may be a great break to children who have just finished exams. Adventure camps are available for all age groups with different activities for each
- Arts camps: They are focused on developing interests in theater, drawing, painting, flower arrangement (ikebana), salad arrangement etc. These are mostly day camps and conduct workshops on plays, glass painting, cooking and field exercises. Suitable for very young kids
- Sports camps: They provide coaching in tennis, cricket, football, chess etc. They organize competitions amongst campers, teach new tricks and skills. Mostly day camps, which involves training from morning till evening. Suited for kids who can practice sports during the day and revise a few lessons in the evening for an upcoming entrance exam
- Charity camps: They are organised to help the unprivileged. The kids help in teaching, organizing events, participate in plays, visit old age homes and interact with them. These may be day camps and sometimes involve moving across cities. These summer camps are suited for children of all ages. The child in turn develops the feeling of doing something for others, making others happy, empathy and kindness
- Family camps: These may be organized by professionals or individual families can design their own camps as a weekend getaway. Suitable for anyone and everyone in the family. Gives parents freedom from daily stress and routine. Strengthens family bonding
- What is the camp’s program emphasis?
- What is the itinerary of the camp program?
- Are the staff and supervisors qualified enough?
- What are the enrollment options?
- What is the camper-staffer ratio?
- Is there any accreditation of the camp?
- What the safety and security measures adopted by the camp?
- What are the camp policies on parent-camper communication? – In case of resident camps
What are the Benefits Of A Summer Camp?
Camping is a beautiful way of pulling away your kids from the TV, video games and iPad. Most parents complain that holidays make kids stubborn sitting glued to TVs and computers. Summer camps provide interesting opportunities to learn and grow even during holidays. Interacting with other kids, indulging in merriment and fun in natural settings boosts their aesthetic sense. Kids also learn life skills and lessons which help in healthy development by boosting the self esteem and confidence of young pals. These may be considered as a safe platform to become more independent from parents and fend for themselves.
What Questions Should You Ask Before Deciding on A Summer Camp?
Deciding on a summer camp can be a taxing bet. You do not want the kids to stale away in home watching TV and munching fries, but at the same time you do not want that he does not enjoy being in the summer camp. Before making your decision, it is important to ask a few basic questions to the organizers so that you can be sure of safety, security and engagement of your child. The below 8 questions will give you a cue:
Packing Tips For Summer Camps Programs
Most camps provide their own checklist, however below is a general list:
- Bedding: Unless the camp organizers provide bedding, you need to pack a sleeping bag and a pillow too
- Toiletries: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, small toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, Vaseline, sunscreen
- Clothes: Pack up track pants or sports clothes, cap/hat, sunglasses, sports shoes, socks, plenty of undergarments, light colored full sleeved clothes and a raincoat, just in case!
- First Aid Supplies: Pack a small plastic bottle of Savlon/Dettol with cotton buds and an antiseptic cream such as Gentamycin, band aids
- Essentials: A torch with batteries, a sleek water bottle, possibly with cooling sleeve, pair of extra spectacles, a small blank notebook with pencil, pen to note his experiences and a story book
- Equipment: A proper gear if opted for trekking or mountaineering/sports camps
- Snacks: Some protein bars as they are filling and your kid will need those calories, other snack items like biscuits, and namkeens, if you will
- Mosquito and bug repellent: These days they even come in easy to wear wristbands, badges
- Medicines: Pack any medicine your kid is currently taking. Write names and indications (when to take) of each medicine and pack them separately. You may start practicing with your kid a week before the camp begins
Involve the little camper in packing process, after all he is the one to look for things later. It’s OK to carry his favorite stuff toy or blanket. It’s a object of attachment and will calm him to sleep in your absence.
Unless it’s a day camp, campers are required to meet at a designated point and board a bus or train. This depends on where the camp is being organised. In day camps the parents are required to drop and pick-up the kids from the venue. Whereas for overnight camps, you must drop the kid at the meeting point.
Safety Tips/Precautions For A Summer Camp
- Instruct your child to have mobile number/visiting card of the coach and parents in his pocket or backpack. He must know at least the contact number of either parent
- Have some money handy
- Give him proper shoes and advice on medications
- He must always follow given instructions, ignore strangers and never stray from the designated path. He must always be in the group
- Do mention any medical condition, allergy or current medicines in the appropriate form and if possible do touch the cam organizer personally about this
So this summer, encourage your kid to learn new hobbies, explore nature or master an art. Let him make friends and build lifetime memories!