This time of year we’re thinking about hot chocolate and sleighs, not s’mores and canoes.
However, it’s actually the perfect time to think about summer vacation, since you need to register early. Summer camp is the perfect gift.
Who needs more toys in the playroom?
Bringing new junk into your house means you have to get rid of the old junk or find a way to smash it all into the bins and cupboards. And who ends up doing that? You. As you’re pruning old toys, you’re probably thinking about how little they were used, and how so many of them were a waste of money.
What do you buy your tween?
As your children get older it can be difficult to come up with meaningful gift ideas. The ease of picking out a Lego set or an American Girl doll accessory seems like a distant memory. Now all they want is a sparkly new gadget. But do they really need a new model of a device they already have? Would they even make use of the new features?
Experience gifts are the way to go, whether it’s a big-ticket item like camp or a small thing like movie tickets.
Which memories do your kids talk about the most?
They probably don’t reminisce much about their train set. Rather, they like to talk about the time they went whitewater rafting and fell out of the boat, or how much they loved the pool at Disney World.
Summer camp memories last a lifetime because it’s such an immersive, formative experience.
What about the cost?
Because the cost of overnight camp is often prohibitive, making it part of your Christmas (and perhaps birthday) budget makes a lot of sense. You can also pool money from grandparents who want to chip in.
What if your child doesn’t like lakes and cabins?
There are tons of alternatives to the traditional summer camp. You can SCUBA dive, build robots, or learn about neuroscience. Not to mention the plethora of residential sports camps.
But what will they have to unwrap?
Get something they will need for camp, like a cute trunk, a hiking backpack, or a t-shirt from the camp. Wrap that up with a camp brochure or DVD. Just call the camp and ask what kind of promotional materials they can send.
Playing with new toys on Christmas is part of the fun, of course. So instead of assembling a one-and-done LEGO set, your child can peruse photos of happy kids doing awesome activities on the camp’s Facebook page, and watch videos on their website.
Isn’t December a little early for camp planning?
Now is actually the time to register for overnight camps. Many have been taking signups since early fall, and some sessions are already full.
Don't fret, though. Some camps don’t open registration until January, and university sports camps start even later.
Our database includes registration dates where available. Check the details for each camp.
Camp is actually many gifts all in one: the gift of friendship, the gift of adventure, the gift of new experiences, and the gift of confidence.