Memories of camp bring to mind summer fun, the great outdoors and interacting with friends. Specialized camps evoke thoughts of team challenges, skills development and unusual locations. Parents have various reasons to send kids to summer camp, and sometimes one week just isn’t enough, but how do you know, and what considerations should you make when planning camp time for your kids?
Generally, the earlier you can get your plan settled, the better. This ensures that camp sessions will still have space, and it also gives you more time to explore the multitude of available opportunities and how they line up with your family’s needs. Starting with a week of summer camp is a great place to begin, and if you choose to add multiple weeks to that initial experience, the benefits can be exponential.
Benefits of a Week at Summer Camp
In only a single week, kids can reap the many benefits of a summer camp experience:
- Summer is an ideal time to indulge a personal passion or to try out a new interest or two. Since school is out, kids have time to immerse themselves in a concentrated study—like maybe a tech topic or STEAM pursuit.
- Though summer learning is not mandatory, it is highly valuable. Choosing a program whose first priority is fun makes this even more palatable.
- Parents are key partners in preventing summer learning loss, the decline in academic achievement that occurs when brains are dormant too long. Scheduling some thought-provoking activities that involve puzzle work and problem-solving can ensure brains are engaged when school is out, and that kids are ready to jump back in when fall rolls around.
- Project-based camps keep kids actively involved in problem-solving with their peers. This higher order thinking helps to challenge and keep brains active while building collaboration and communication skills.
- To achieve true learning kids must not only gain new skills but also be capable of transferring those skills to future contexts. Having the opportunity to apply these skills to more than one project helps kids reinforce these new abilities and make them permanent.
- Camp offers a chance to make new friends. Instead of a solitary summer, kids have the opportunity to not just socialize and connect with others with similar interests, but also share experiences with another group of friends who they may not otherwise encounter during the school year. Moreover, they get to work with experienced adult mentors who can inspire them and share their expertise.
The Galileo Advantage
At Galileo camps, kids learn to live the Galileo Innovation Approach® or the GIA. This three-part approach is modeled after the innovation design process developed at the Stanford d.school. Its components are the Innovator’s Mindset, the Innovator’s Knowledge and the Innovator’s Process. The GIA is specially designed to give kids entering pre-K through 8th grades a new way to apply their great ideas: to learn what it means to be determined, to understand the value of rapid prototyping and to encounter challenges with a strategy of designing, testing and redesigning. The more opportunities to apply these types of skills in context, the more they become second nature and familiar tools in kids’ toolboxes.
If One Is Good, Two Is Even Better
A summer camp like Galileo builds each of its sessions on the foundation of a lofty goal—inspiring innovative thinking. Giving your child the gift of an innovative mindset will have significant effects that you see immediately, plus a few you don’t. Don’t be surprised if these appear when you least expect them, when kids are challenged to share or speak up or take a risk. And if introduced to the Galileo “secret sauce” during one week of camp, imagine the benefits from immersion for a second week. After learning to be visionary, courageous, collaborative, determined and reflective in the first week, imagine how deeply ingrained these characteristics become when kids experience them for a second week and in an additional context.
Furthermore, older kids entering 5th through 8th grades can explore more than one interest with Galileo Summer Quest, say a week cooking delicious, healthy breakfasts and another coding Minecraft® mods, coming away with strong skills including measurement, managing tools in the kitchen and programming in Java. Younger kids in pre-K through 5th grades can reap the benefits of up to 4 weeks at Camp Galileo, exploring themes that can teach them about how amazing the human body is, allow them to become space explorers, send them on a road trip adventure and build engineering skills with unique materials challenges.
Providing Unique Opportunities
A week at an educational summer camp gives kids a chance to get their feet wet. It serves as an introduction to the subject area skills involved in the camp’s theme or major and also to the social-emotional benefits of collaborating and communicating with their fellow campers and adult mentors. Giving kids added time to explore an additional theme or major, while providing more practice expressing their creativity and taking risks is a choice that many Galileo families make. A second week at Camp Galileo or Galileo Summer Quest helps kids skillfully execute the Innovator’s Process, as they apply it in new situations. They have already learned to take risks and to view mistakes and failed attempts as an expected part of the process. Some kids hit their stride in week two as they gain confidence in their abilities and comfort with their creativity. A second session helps to develop that transference that will benefit them in school, in future creative endeavors and someday in their careers.
For parents contemplating enrolling their kids in more than one week of camp, it pays to investigate early. Camp sessions fill up quickly, particularly those with engaging themes and positive recognition. Some camps offer multi-week or early enrollment discounts. And though kids gain enjoyment and learn something new each and every day, sometimes a week is just not enough time. Consider the top reasons to send your kids to summer camp for multiple weeks and make your plans early.
Check out all the options for week-long summer camps at a Galileo location in your area: San Francisco, Southern California, and Chicagoland. Sign up for our mailing list to keep up-to-date on our camp happenings and innovation resources. Or, you can register for camp today.