As a parent, you want the best for your child – and here’s another way of putting that: you want to provide opportunities for your child that matter, ones that can make a positive difference in his or her life. So, if you’re considering summer day camp for your child, it’s reasonable to want to know why the program matters.
The American Camp Association provides two key statistics about why summer camp in general is important:
- 96% of summer campers say that camp helped them to make new friends
- 92% say that camp helped them to feel good about themselves
Note that this research encompasses all camping options, with day camping making up 29% of the responses included in this survey.
Benefits of summer day camp
Traditional camp – where the campers live at the camp in residential units – provides enriching experiences for many children, BUT this requires a separation between parent and child that not every child – and not every parent – is able to deal with yet. Residential camps require a level of independence that not every child can achieve, including children with certain special needs and/or children who are still too young.
In these cases, a summer at day camp may serve as the bridge to a traditional camping experience in the future – or may serve as a replacement for children for whom traditional camp involves too much parental separation. Here’s a quote from the American Camp Experience article, specifically about day camps: “A child can strengthen emerging skills of making new friends, taking care of their own belongings, trying new activities, and taking risks.”
A blog by the YMCA of Boulder Valley shares more benefits of summer camp, including day camp; children can:
- Learn how to interact with others
- Gain problem solving skills
- Develop their gifts
- Think and act beyond self
- Give back to others
- Develop leadership skills and public speaking skills
The blogger also writes, “I believe that a child who spends a portion of their summer in camp is better prepared for later decisions like whether to go to college, how to select and be a friend, and how to make the best life for who they are.”
And, although this About.com article focuses more on “tween parenting,” two benefits of summer day camp listed are also relevant for younger children:
- Flexibility: as a parent, price matters, and there are camps that are quite expensive – and, others, much more affordable.
- They’re fun! And, as the article points out, fun is what summer is all about.
Worried about your preschooler?
You might be wondering if your preschooler is too little for day camp – and that’s an issue specifically addressed in this article, Benefits of Day Camp for Preschoolers. The article starts with, “If you think your little one is too little for day camp, think again. There are plenty of options out there for preschoolers, most of whom take to day-camp activities like minnows to water.”
Benefits of attending day camp include giving your child a taste of the more structured days that will be part of preschool life and beyond; “souped-up social skills”; a new baby break if your child has a younger sibling, allowing him or her to “feel even more like a big kid – with big-kid privileges”; and more.
It’s hard to believe, but true: summer is just around the corner. We’d love to talk to you about your summer camp needs!