Child care is an important issue for working parents, especially in the summer when schools are on break. And finding affordable, accessible, and safe summer child care can be difficult.
Fortunately, there are many options beyond traditional day camps available today, including art and technology camps, employer-sponsored care, and volunteering activities.
Art, Science, and Technology Summer Camps
There are hundreds of art, science, and technology summer camps and programs across the United States. These programs usually allow youth to explore art and science in fun and hands-on ways.
Children can explore their creative sides at summer art camps that give them a chance to create art. Many of the camps are designed to offer children the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge of various art mediums and enhance their creative self-expression. For example, the KidzArt summer camps give young artists a chance to create fine art projects each day. There are also camps centered on dance and the performing arts.
Meanwhile, there are many summer camps and programs that support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. These science camps often focus on a particular aspect of science and engineering, such as earth science, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, or robotics.
Museums, science centers, and colleges and universities are common sites for science and technology camps. For example, the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida, offers summer science camps for school-aged children that provide hands-on, project-based curricula. And the South Carolina State Museum offers science camps for children ages 5 to 12.
In Austin, kids and teens ages 7 to 17 can take part in iD Tech Camps that allow them to learn more about computer technology and experience campus life at a college. iD’s computer camps offer courses that vary from creating video games and producing digital movies to designing web pages and learning programming and robotics.
Employer-Sponsored Child Care
Some companies offer summer child care for employees. Employer-sponsored child care can provide many benefits for parents. Parents can visit their children during lunch breaks, save time from drop-offs and pick-ups, and most importantly, have the peace of mind in knowing their children are close by.
Many employer-sponsored childcare programs are operated by childcare management businesses, such as the Children’s Choice Learning Centers.
Employers that do not provide on-site care might offer other types of childcare assistance, including direct aid and vouchers to cover the cost of child care, flexible work schedules, and resources to help parents select care.
For adolescents and teens who are too old for traditional summer camps and too young to work certain jobs, volunteering can be a good option. Volunteering can give them a chance to become more involved in their communities, pursue interests and talents, and develop skills.
In addition to supporting specific causes, tweens and teens can find volunteer opportunities at food pantries, nursing homes, youth clubs, and pet shelters.
Author: Darice Britt