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Your Child and Summer Camp-Finding a Match
Long before the months of sunshine and warmth arrive to pull us Minnesotans out of our winter freeze, parents need to be contemplating how their children will spend those school-free, unstructured days. The time is now, and fortunately the Twin Cities has some awesome summertime camps and programs for children of all ages. The tricky part is picking just the "right" summer experience for your toddler, third-grader or teen.
Here is a six-step plan to set your family up for a fabulous summer that includes exciting camp adventures for your kids, which are affordable and accommodating to your schedule:
1) Take a deep breath and a calm moment to think about your summer child care needs. Do you need a full-day program that lasts for the entire summer, or can you be more flexible and try several one or two week programs that last for a few hours in the morning or afternoon?
2) Now take a moment to think about your child. Does your child enjoy arts and crafts, sports, animals, or computers? Is your child likely to melt from too much exposure to the outdoors and the sun? Is he terrified of swimming in lakes?
3) Talk to friends and acquaintances about camps and programs they might have tried. What worked well and not so well for their children? How can you can you get more information and check these programs out in advance of registration?
4) Figure out costs and what fits into your budget. Do you already belong to a Health Club or Community Center for your own fitness needs? If this facility offers summer programming, check it out. You are already paying for the privilege of membership – why not think about taking advantage of this great benefit?
5) Location, location, location. Need something close to home or on the way to work? Know where you need to be and what will work with your schedule – remember that even in the summer, children get ill or may need to be picked up in the middle of a program. Do yourself a favor and plan a program location that works well with where you will be spending most of your day. Remember to check out what your neighborhood has to offer - many public parks have summer recreation programs.
6) Once you have all the above-mentioned questions figured out, then welcome to the world of camp fairs, and magazine and newspaper camp guides. There are a seemingly endless variety of summer program and camping opportunities for you and your child to research and mull over in the next month or two. And you can be almost certain that there will be one or more great programs to meet your and your child's needs.
And remember, kids and adults alike, we hearty Minnesotans need to pack in as much warm weather activity as we can into those three very short months. So, in your effort to create an exciting and memorable summer for your kids, make sure to pencil in some time for YOU to enjoy all that Minnesota has to offer as well – did I mention the vast number of adult education and enrichment programs available this summer?
The YMCA offers many summer programs throughout the region.
For the educationally-inclined, the University of Minnesota has extensive summer programs.
This article in Minnesota Monthly has some great summer program ideas.
Categories: Pre-Schoolers, School-Age, Tweens, Children,
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