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Summer camp can brush away the 'mental cobwebs'

Even for those ultra-curious kids who love soaking up knowledge, sitting in the classroom can be a chore. Send your kids to summer camp — and make it fun.

Keep your kids smart this summer by sending them to a camp that rewards their imaginations. (PHOTO CREDIT: Temple University) Keep your kids smart this summer by sending them to a camp that rewards their imaginations.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Temple University)

Even for those ultra-curious kids who love soaking up knowledge, sitting in the classroom can be a chore. This summer, enroll your kids in camp programs designed to take education away from the blackboard — and make it fun.

“Camps can provide the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge, or to help maintain and strengthen the skills and knowledge [children] already have,” says Rhonda Geyer, director of non-credit programs at Temple University. Many educational camps, like Temple's Summer Education Camp programs at the Ambler campus, are organized into a series of one-week sessions so campers can sample a variety of topics — both those they’ve already had some exposure to, and others that will let them explore something new.

“You want to find topics that will be fun, interesting and educational,” Geyer says. Camp is not summer school, though, so “the program should also provide recreation and other downtime, so kids can have some fun," she adds. "It is summertime, after all.”

At Temple, programs range from creative courses in drawing, cartooning and writing to computer-based technical challenges. Some combine both, like website design and robotics. Kids who prefer being outdoors can learn geocaching or study wildlife.

Students who need a boost maintaining or strengthening basic skills in math or reading and writing also have access to camps that emphasize fun. Temple offers the Jumpstart! series, which helps kids through individual and group games and activities. It's structured with the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) in mind.

“Practicing learning skills in a camp-like environment can be fun and also help students return to school without the ‘mental cobwebs’ that sometimes collect over the summer,” Geyer says. “Hopefully they will have a new positive perspective concerning their own skill strengths, abilities and interests.”

 
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