From Legos to video games, it's all about finding the right summer camp

SEATTLE -- Summer break is always great for kids.  But parents you want their time well spent, and camps are one of the best options to keep your kids engaged educated and busy.

There are a lot of choices these days, much more than when we were growing up.  Summer camps like the YMCA’s at Orklia and Colman now offer everything from sports to science to adventure to crafts, for kids ages 4-18, from overnight to weeklong.  And, if you don’t have the time or money for an overnight camp there are day camps like Steve and Kate’s where they “double dare you to show up unannounced.”

If you can’t decide on which camp to go to, just ask your child says Dr. Michelle Terry from Seattle Children’s Hospital.  “You want your child to be a happy camper.  The child should actually have a chance to participate in choosing the camp that suits him or her.  They can take ownership and it gives them a sense of responsibility.”

There are many specialty camps.  If you have a child who likes to play video games they can learn how to make them at DigiPen. Legos?  Playwell Tek has several camps across the Puget Sound.  There are also many camps for music, art, cooking and even the popular movie Frozen.  The Village Theatre offers summer show-based theme camps.

Safety is also a big concern when your child is away.  Terry says, “you want to make sure that the camp is well established, and there are accrediting organizations that can verify the camps.  Check the camps website along with the reviews.  And, ask another parent.  That’s usually the best endorsement.”

Once you’ve picked out a camp, now it’s all about the checklist.  What does your child wear, jeans or shorts, sundress or t-shirt, sneakers of flip-flops, if they’re riding a horse do they need a boot with a heal?   And, don’t forget about all the hygiene stuff toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap and their medications.

Costs for summer camps can range anywhere from $60/day to several hundreds of dollars a day depending on whether it’s an overnight or private camp.  Most camps offer some kind of discounts like for more than one child.  But contact them now because space is filling up.

Good resources for summer camps: