Choosing the Perfect Summer Camp

by Amanda Simmons MS, OTR/L

With the abundance of options in the DMV area for camps and groups throughout the summer, families often have the burden of choice. Below are some considerations when picking a summer camp for your child.

For Skills on the Hill summer camps, click here.

1. What is your goal for the summer?

Are you hoping to get therapy for your child through the summer? Are you just hoping your child has fun but does not develop skills? If your goal is to have structured, therapeutic programming, look into camps that are run by professionals and related service providers (occupational therapists, speech therapists, and pediatricians). These camps are often costly, but will have more benefits.

2. Consider developmental appropriateness

Developmental age is the age at which your child functions physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally regardless of their chronological age. What camps afford your child to participate at their “just right” level? For example, an eight year old boy functioning at a four year old level will likely struggle and push against a structured soccer camp.

3. Ratios

Who is the camp run by? What is the ratio of adults to children? How are those adults trained?

4. What are your child’s strengths and how can they be exposed through summer programming?

Is your child very physical? Try parkour camp! Does your child struggle with too many verbal directions? Try an art-based camp. Does your child love to get involved but struggle with eating? Try a camp based on food preparation and play. Does your child want friends but struggle to socialize? Pick a camp with a focus on small group social thinking instruction. Does your child benefit from novelty? Look for a camp that changes its curriculum daily or weekly.