Happy Campers

How many of you are already scheduled for summer camp? With so many camps offering early bird discounts if you register by Jan. 31, it’s no wonder that parents scramble to register their kids, even if they aren’t completely sure what their summers are going to look like. I

I’m one of those who’s torn by the entire summer camp scramble. On the one hand, I love a good deal, and several of the camps take $75 or $100 (or more) off with only a deposit required to register. On the other hand, my two older kids swim for our pool’s swim team (which has daily morning practices), I don’t work a traditional 9-5 job, and the big kids are already registered for three weeks of sleepaway camp (both go to the excellent YMCA camp Conrad Weiser near Reading, Pennsylvania, and then my daughter does a week of Girl Scouts camp earlier in the summer, while my son is doing a week-long backpacking trip with our youth group to the Appalachian Trail). That means I have neither the budget nor the inclination to sign them up for anything else.

Meanwhile, my kindergartener is the only one with not as much to do. He can do the swim team’s pre-team, but he will need something else to do, and I’m not sure whether to sign him up for stuff and then ask friends to join him, or if I just wait until I know for sure other kids are doing certain camps to register him in those. With my oldest, he didn’t seem to care if he knew anyone else, but my youngest, while very mellow, would appreciate a friend (the kid sleeps with his older sister every night). Complicating matters is that my husband placed the same amount as usual in our dependent care FSA, even though our youngest is no longer in private preschool, and overnight camps are ineligible for reimbursement.

So to recap: I HAVE to sign up for summer day camp, but mostly just for my 5-year-old who may or may not want to attend a camp on his own. Fun times at our house trying to figure this all out! My initial thoughts: sign him up for camps for the weeks his siblings are at sleepaway camp, and then find half-day programs throughout he might enjoy while his siblings are swimming every morning.

Here are five camps my kids have loved that I am considering again this year:

  1. Audubon Naturalist Society at Woodend Sanctuary
  2. Calleva Outdoor Adventures
  3. Sidwell Handwork Camp or Sidwell Explorers
  4. Smithsonian Summer Camp
  5. Camp Sonshine

What are your favorite area summer day camps?