Summer Camp Alternatives for Tweens

If summer camp isn't in the plans these alternatives might do

Keep your child busy this summer, even if summer camp isn't an option.

For many tweens summer camp is a chance to learn, grow, and have fun. But some tweens aren’t yet ready for the summer camp experience, and for others, the expense of summer camp is not within the family budget.

If your child won’t participate in a summer camp program this year, and you’re worried that he’s missing out, don’t fret too much. There are alternatives to summer camp that will give your child many of the benefits of a summer camp program, and allow your child to make wonderful memories at the same time.

Below are a few alternatives to summer camp that you should know about.

Summer Camp Alternatives

Visit Relatives: If your child wants to get  away for a few weeks this summer without you, but summer camp isn’t an option, consider allowing him to visit relatives instead. A week or two at Grandma’s house will allow your child the opportunity to get away from you for a short visit, and learn how to interact with others who care about him. He may even learn some independence at the same time. Be sure your tween understands that he will have to pick-up after himself and help with daily chores when visiting relatives or friends.

Go Camping: Your tween can interact with nature and the great outdoors – just organize a family camping trip. Whether you camp at national park or your own backyard, it’s fun to set up a tent, build a fire and toast marshmallows with those you love. Share a few ghost stories around the campfire, and do a little stargazing before lights outs.

Take a Class: If you want your tween to interact with others his own age, consider signing him up for a class. Taking a class will allow your tween to get out of the house, make friends, and maybe even learn a new hobby or interest. Be sure to find something that your tween is interested in. If your child is reluctant, consider asking a friend to join him or consider taking the class with him for a parent/child bonding activity.

Find a Job: Your older child might be responsible enough to find a few summer jobs this year. Having a summer job will help your child learn about time management, responsibility, and may even help your tween learn new skills and interests. Possible part-time jobs for your tween might include being a mother’s helper, a pet sitter, or your tween may be interested in helping at your business or work place.

Check out Free Programs: If your child was interested in summer camp, but the price tag didn’t work within your family budget, consider looking into free programs offered by your local library or parks and recreation departments. Many counties and cities offer a variety of programs for free or at minimal costs, including reading programs, classes and even recreational sports leagues. Your church may also offer programs such as vacation bible school or day camps for children whose parents work.

Look into School Programs: Many school districts offer summer enrichment programs. These programs can be as much fun as they are educational and many of them are free to students who qualify.

While a summer enrichment program may not seem as much fun to your tween as summer camp, he might be surprised to learn that many of these programs involve fun field trips and opportunities – the same as many summer camp programs. Your child’s school counselor will be able to provide you with details and information on programs in your area.


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