As the school year comes to an end for many of our kids, school is also ending for parents, which creates the need for a new family routine. It is time to figure out what your kids will be doing for the summer. This post will outline a couple of recommendations as we all aspire to drive positive youth development and growth within them. What I will say that kids should not be doing is…nothing, for the entire summer. Kids grow and develop, and learn the most through their interactions with their peers, and through structured play and enrichment. As a result, it is highly recommended that they be involved in some kind of camp, summer job if they’re a teen, play pod…something, even if for only a week, this summer.
As much as many may resist it, our young people need, and want, structure. They want to be in environments where there is a safe space for them to explore, ask questions, learn, and to interact with their peers. As a result, there are a number of ways this summer can be one that catapults and that encourages your child’s social, emotional, and even academic growth and development. Some may have a nominal fee attached to it or more of a hefty price tag- but the growth and development, access and exposure kids are privy to is priceless. Here are a few summer activity suggestions below (feel free to add your recommendations and suggestions via commentary):
- Summer camp- these can range from 1-week increments to 6-10 week programs, to overnight/sleep away, to daily. They can also be half or whole day camps depending on the type of program you sign them up for. These camps can cater to those who are in early childhood up to secondary aged students/teens. The benefits of these types of programs are that they oftentimes are structured, have student development goals that drive their program content, they are a space for students to interact safely and supervised, and they provide a space for students to explore various activities and areas, e.g.- sciences, sports (swimming, soccer, softball, baseball, basketball), the arts, etc.
- Summer job- this is for youth ages 14 and up, can be through summer youth employment programs ran by the government, or can be for those who want to get a job on their own (16 years old +). The benefits of teens working during the summer are multi-faceted- it teaches responsibility, reliability, work ethic, the art of working for what you want, trustworthiness- all characteristics that lead to positive youth development.
- Play/Enrichment pods– this is a group of families with children close in age, who trust each other, and who coordinate for their children to develop socially and academically through interactions with each other on a daily basis, in a structured and supervised environment, whether to play and/or to learn through enrichment. The benefits of these pods are that they help develop their social skills and their academic abilities whilst having fun with each other.
What other summer activities would you recommend or do you (plan to) have your child involved in?