Executive Function and Summer Camps: Choosing the Right Activities

Executive Function and Summer Camps: Choosing the Right Activities

As the school year comes to a close, many parents are thinking about summer camps. Camps offer opportunities for kids to engage in fun activities, make new friends, and continue learning outside of the classroom. When selecting a summer camp, it’s important to consider how these activities can contribute to your child’s executive function development. What should you keep in mind when selecting summer camp activities?

Choose the Right Summer Camp Activities

  1. Multi-step projects – Look for camps that engage children in activities that require planning, breaking down tasks into smaller steps, and seeing a project through to completion. This could include building a model, creating a play, or designing a science experiment.
  2. Outdoor adventures – Camps that involve outdoor exploration, team-building exercises, and problem-solving activities help children develop their decision-making, adaptability, and critical thinking skills.
  3. Sports and physical activities – Participating in sports or physical activities (such as hiking, swimming, or martial arts) can enhance focus, self-regulation, and impulse control.
  4. Arts and crafts – Craft activities (such as painting, sculpting, or knitting) can improve attention to detail, patience, and working memory.
  5. Role-playing and drama – Drama camps encourage children to think on their feet, develop communication skills, and enhance their ability to understand and express emotions.

Match Interests, Strengths, and Areas of Growth

When choosing a summer camp for your child, consider how the activities align with their interests, strengths, and challenges. By selecting camps that offer opportunities to practice planning, organizing, decision-making, and self-regulation, you can support your child’s growth in these essential skills.

Remember, summer can be a time for your child to both relax and further develop their executive function in a fun and engaging way. So, explore the options, involve your child in the decision-making process, and make the most of this summer by choosing the right activities for your child!

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org