5 Ways To Keep Kids Learning and Engaged in Summer

I know its still a little chilly out if you are in the Northeast like me, but wherever you are, now is the time to start thinking about how your children will spend their summer.  As my children were growing up (They are now 17 and 18 years old)  I had one important goal for Summer:  I did not want the time wasted.  I grew up with days spent playing and learning.  Most days of my youth were spent outside with friends and we only came home for lunch and dinner!  It was a great way to keep our imaginations engaged and being creative.  We also went to camp, beach, pool etc...  I wanted my kids to have the same great childhood memories.  What I didn’t want was summers spent in front of the tv or playing video games.  These are my suggestions for some non-traditional, budget friendly ways to fill your children’s summer with learning, laughter and memories.  

1. Join 4-H:  Local 4-H clubs are not just about agriculture and county fairs.  Although the 4-H does still play a very active role in the County Fair and agricultural activities, they also offer every possible type of club you can imagine at minimal costs.  My children participated in performance clubs, karate and public speaking.  The clubs are designed to be fun but please know, they will also learn a great deal!  

2. Local Theater: Another favorite in our house was always “Theater Camp” .  A lot of local and community theaters offer programs for children over the summer.  Our particular theater camp offered a combination of classes in Dance, Voice and Acting.  The classes were fun and culminated in a performance for the community!  They also had a camp trip to NYC to see a Broadway Show each summer.  This was always the highlight of Summer for both my children.  (Even if you don’t have an aspiring performer, there are a lot of fun and valuable lessons to be learned in these programs! They are great for building self-esteem, developing public speaking skills, etc... )  

3. Pool Clubs:  Many area pool clubs offer summer Swim Team.  What most don’t know is you do not have to be a member of the pool club to join the Swim Team.   The children are given a lot of instruction on swimming, strokes, etc...while competing with different area clubs. It really is a lot of fun and learning to be a good swimmer can literally be a lifesaver!  

4. Bible Camp:  All different churches offer Bible Camp and again, you do not have to be a member of that church to sign your children up.  It is not CCD or religious instruction!  It is often a lot of game playing, arts and crafts, etc.... There may be a religious lesson included in some of the activities, so if you are ok with that, this can be a lot of fun for little or no cost at all.  

5. Surf Camp:  If you live on the coast, this is a “must”.  I know watching a child learn to surf can be nerve-wracking.  That is why I highly advise leaving this to the professionals.  Surfing can be a lot of fun.  It can also help increase your child’s awareness of how to stay safe with a healthy respect for the ocean.  Professionals will instruct your child how to master surfing in a fun group setting on the beach!  They will also teach ocean safety!  (Most local surf shops offer surf camps in the Summer!) 

Of course there are plenty of traditional camps to engage your child.  My daughter spent summers at Girl Scout Camp out in the woods.  It is down and dirty and focuses on building self-esteem and “girl power”!  My son enjoyed the local YMCA sports camps!  The bottom line is get your little darlings up and out bright and early!  Fill their days with friends and activities and they will have fun memories to last a lifetime!  (And you will have time to take care of the chores and maybe even finally finish a book or two!)

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