The people at My Favorite Camping Store have an article entitled, “Kids Camping-It’s Not Easy…But it’s so rewarding.” I have to agree with them…camping is rewarding, but if you want to make it easy, then looking into weekend camps, day camps, or residential camps. Finding an organized camp can take the stress off of planning, preparing and parenting all in one short period of time.
Family camps are great if you want the experience of being outdoors without the hassle. Now, if you want that rustic feeling it is possible to stay in tents and live off the salt of the land, but then why would you want to pay for that experience. Family camps should not be confused with traditional camps for kids. These camps offer an opportunity for families to bond with one another while experiencing something new.
A weekend camp usually features a short stay and they might have a more traditional focus. Typical activities could be horseback riding, canoeing, BBQ cookouts, and sightseeing. The weekend camp is more of a get-away. Perfect if you just want to keep things simple. Weekend camps are also great for first-timers. If you are trying to ease your child into the camping lifestyle spending a weekend in the mountains is a great first step.
Day camps sound like a camp, but in a lot of ways it’s a fancy name for summer school without the testing. Day camps are perfect for working parents. Most day camps follow a theme for the week. Attendance at a day camp is often more flexible since the programs are usually one week. For example, if we are studying The Great Barrier Reef we may only do it for one week. The following week could be about fairy tales. Day camps offer great flexibility, the fees may equal the same amount as a three day camp. I have noticed around Tokyo the fees for day camps usually run about 8,000 yen/day.
Most residential camps start for children ages 8 and up. You can find some camps that accept children as young as 5. On Curious Parents website they mention a story of a young 5 year old Japanese child that was sent overseas alone. “One year we had a five-year-old camper from Japan. When he was escorted off the plane, he spoke no English. He adjusted beautifully. When he went home eight weeks later, he was speaking English,” said Jon Estis, director of Camp Redwood in Walden, N.Y. (CuriousParents.com)
All of these camps can have a mixture of activities and themes. Some of them can feature art and others can focus on technology. There is so much choice that you are bound to find something that interests you.
One more thing….
If you live in Japan you know that the children here are given a longer leash than children in your home country. I have been at residential camps where children as young as 4 joined in on the action. They were more ready for bedtime than the older campers but they still had fun! Always take into consideration the needs of your child and that will help you decide the best camp for you.