Not Doing Summer Camp
Berkeley Parents Network >
Summer Camps & School Breaks >
Not Doing Summer Camp
We have a child who will be starting kindergarten in the fall.
We have decided to put her in just one week of camp this
summer, since I'm home with her and her younger toddler
brother. I was thinking we'd do a lot of playdates with her
preschool buddies, swim at Strawberry canyon, etc. But... it
seems most, if not all, of her friends will be in all-day camps
all summer-- Zoo Camp, art camp, science camp, you name it!
Whatever happened to the ''lazy days of summer''? We can't afford
so much camp, and I really want to spend time with my kids.
Will we be sick of each other if she's not in camp with her
buddies? Any advice is appreciated!
Dear ''Are we crazy?''
Just say ''no!''
If your resources allow you the luxury of having a parent stay
home to parent, take advantage of the summer! The relaxed pace
of the summer refuels my children. My eldest does one week
of ''camp'' the rest is spent playing with her sibling, friends,
visiting family, summer fun activities and, even, nothing.
Summer's a great time to get your kids OFF of a schedule and use
their open time to discover their own creativity and sense of
adventure. Too often summer ''camps'' are simply another form of
childcare; if you need that, great. But boy, what a gift you
can give your child to not be ''parked'' at another scheduled
The idea of summer camps is for parents with jobs to be able to work
while schools are closed. I believe most parents don't get 2 months
off every summer!
I whole-heartedly agree and am doing just two weeks for my
kindergartener in camp when I really need the coverage to be able
to work on a project I have this summer. I am sending my older
boy (9) to a few more weeks of camp because he really enjoys the
activities and has some friends to pal with. When I was working
full time and my first son was just done Kindergarten he did go
to camp almost all summer but also had buddies and it was fine
but I think they both appreciate the unstructured time. As long
as you can limit the TV/screen time and the ''I'm bored'' whining.
I think unstructured time is really valuable as it promotes more
creativity and exploration. We are planning some family days to
museums etc which I rarely get to do with them during the school
Have fun and let kids (and you) enjoy the freedom!
fondly remember long summer days
I know how you feel. Last summer we were in the same boat...my
son was starting kindergarten and all of his friends were
signing up for tons of camps all summer. We signed up for one
week of camp and a t-ball class, thinking that it would be good
experience for him getting ready for kindergarten; we also
didn't want to spend the money on much more than that. This
year, its the same thing, friends are going all summer, but we
are not sending him at all! He didn't enjoy camp that much last
year and isn't much interested this year. He'd much rather
have a lazy, spontaneous summer at home with his siblings, and
go on outings etc. We are lucking that I'm a stay at home mom
and my husband can take a lot of time off work so we go away
alot too. Especially after a whole year of full day
kindergarten, I feel that he doesn't need to be forced up and
out the door every morning in a structured enviroment again all
summer. That's alot for a 5 year old. I feel its important
developmentally for a 4-6 year old to have lots of free play
time to let his imagination go free. Plus, these years will go
fast when they want to hang out with us; I want to enjoy that
while we can. Plus, being a stay at home mom, I really didn't
want to/couldn't afford to spend so much money on camps while
Bottom line is that it depends on the kid and the parents. It
seems some kids go stir crazy not having lots of activities and
some moms go crazy being with their kids all day, not to
mention if they work, then of course they have to find
something for their kids. But if you are able and enjoy being
with your kids, I think its great to enjoy the good ol' lazy
days of summer!
That's my 2 cents. Trust yourself and do what you feel is right
for your family.
looking forward to summer
''The lazy days of summer' were enabled by stay-at-home Moms.
You should feel fortunate that you are able to stay at home to
let your children play at home. Summer camps provide essential
babysitting services for families with both parents working;
their children have to go somewhere. Many Moms would probably
love to stay at home lke you and not have their children in
camp much of the summer.
Wow! I was shocked by some of the answers to the question
about camps. For working parents, camp is a good alternative,
and of course it is for child care -- why else would we be
spending hundreds of dollars over the summer. I love my job
and even though I have the luxury of working half-time (leaving
me a fair amount of kid time) I still need a place for my child
to be safe and busy. Some of you need to get a grip on your
judgements. For full time working parents there is no choice --
why be so nasty -- using language about ''parking'' kids, etc.
I had to respond to this question after seeing the first round of
replies. I am a SAHM and I am putting my child in camp for 3 weeks.
She will probably take swimming and some sort of gymastics or
dance class as well (at which I will most likely be present).
This is absolutely the MOST that we can afford. I have never
thought of summer camp being designed for families with two
working parents that couldn't be at home with the kids for two
months. Rather, I am enrolling my daughter in camp so that she is
less likely to get bored, keeps her current interests alive
whilst fostering new ones, and won't loose her social skills
whilst making new friends. I also know that if I have to be her
primary care giver 24/7 for two+ months, I will go out of my mind
(we ALL need a break). That said, I am very much looking forward
to the time we will have together, and I plan to make the most of
it. But I do think camp will provide some excitement and interest
that I won't be able to, and create some balance for us in the
process. I think if you want to provide something interesting for
your kid(s) to do (that you don't think you can do yourself),
there are plenty of 1 or 2 week camps for them to attend, but I
certainly wouldn't feel guilty over not sending them to camp, if
you have the wherewithall and the desire to keep them busy
yourself. I am SURE there are families out there not sending
their kids to camp all summer, and I bet if you take them to the
park one day, you'll find them there (if they don't go to your
kids' school). Bottom line, do what's right for your family and
not worry about keeping up with the Jones.
another mom of a camper
this page was last updated: Apr 1, 2007
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network