Summer is just around the corner - thank goodness! This is both exciting and stressful all at the same time. With summer break a long 8-10 weeks there is some need for planning and organizing the kids.
My summer planning starts usually in Jan when my amazing mom tribe starts messaging me with dates, and plans. Because it's not just about what I think my girls would like to do and what's affordable and fun, it's also not about coordinating with friends, which then requires a lot of back and forth and a lot of patience.
Here are my top 10 tips for planning summer camps for your tween:]
- Plan your vacation time first. This will help when organizing with friends, so if you book a cottage every year, or the kids go to grandma's house for a week get all this booked so you know what weeks are left to schedule.
- Figure out which camps they loved from the year before, as they are now a distant memory so if a few stand out this is a good sign they were a hit and to book them again! *this is also a good time to check when these top camps open up registration. If they are a hit with your kids they are probably a hit with others.
- Figure out 1-2 friends they would like to do a camp with, so you can start chatting with the parents to see if holidays, and camps, and affordability all match up.
- If you are looking to try some new camps look to your social networks for recommendations, check things like bus pick up locations, after camp care, are there field trips, or daily swimming, or the most amazing option WHEN THE CAMP PROVIDES LUNCH!! WHOO HOO!
- Cost - this is a BIG one. Summer camps are now where my daycare payments go. I thought I was going to save so much money when I no longer needed daycare...nope summer camp is now in play. I find you can budget from $300-$500 CDN a week per kid. (I'm in Burlington Ontario so perhaps this could change if you are in a smaller town or in a different province) If you have more than 1 child and you work there are extra fees for after camp care. However, some camps offer a sibling discount so check this out, also there could be early booking discounts or multi-week discounts so try and plan accordingly for the most value.
- If you are booking the same camp for multiple weeks I think it's helpful to mix them up, so if you have some holiday time or a week with Grandma maybe doing week 1 camp, week 2 vacation, week 3 camp week 4 Grandma so they are doing different things over the 4 weeks.
- Sleepover camp - this is a big one. When are they ready? Where to send them? What friends should they go with? I have an 11 year old and an 8 year old currently and they are interested but not quite ready. They are also very aware of the cost of some of these camps (as we always share costs with the kids so they understand the value of things) I also struggle a bit with having one away and one here, so I think for our family we will wait until they can both go to sleepover camp so it's actually a break for us all! lol Also see my post about what to pack for camp here.
- Look at reviews and how long the camp has been around. It seems lately lots of camps are popping up in community centres and church basements. Make sure the camp has been around for a while, has great online reviews, has proper staff training. Here is a great resource to check if you want to make sure the camp is operating correctly. https://bit.ly/3MF4mf6
- Another important thing to know about the camps you select is communication. How can I call my kids if there is an emergency? How do I reach staff or head office during the summer if I have questions or the plans for pick up change? Always find this out before you drop your kids off on the first day as this is important and sometimes forgotten.
- Over all the best tip - Don't stress! No matter what you've planned the kids will be with friends or each other, they will be active, and not on their phones or in front of a screen and this will be the best summer because they are kids, and that's when summer is the best time of your life! Enjoy the summer ya'll!