There are swims and canoe rides in a cool, clear lake; archery lessons and rehearsals for the end-of-session performance; care packages are ripped open and letters read; s'mores are made and scary stories told.
But your child doesn't have to bunk out in the woods at a traditional summer camp to make lifelong memories. There are plenty of summer camp options available for kids looking for an even more memorable experience.
Go Wild1 of 6
Being an active kid isn't just about playing sports, it's about leading a healthy lifestyle that includes movement. And what better way to celebrate that than by spending a week of the summer exploring the wild from the safe confines of a zoo?
Many programs offer behind-the-scenes looks at zoo operations as well as animal encounters. Kids definitely won't be sinking into the couch watching TV as they move from exhibit to exhibit learning about their favorite animals.
Homerun2 of 6
Does your kid love playing a game of catch? Can he rattle off the roster of his favorite team? If so, then you need to check out your hometown baseball team to see whether they host activities for youth.
The Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals host several sessions throughout the summer. Not only do campers work on their fielding and batting skills, but they build self-confidence and leadership abilities. And don't worry if you aren't in a major league town. Many minor league teams get in the summer camp spirit, too.
Down on the Farm3 of 6
Eating a healthy diet is just as important as exercise to developing a healthy lifestyle. What better way to encourage kids to enjoy the produce section than to let them learn about it first hand?
From organic vegetable farms to ranches, kids have the chance to learn about their food in a fun environment. Take Elodie Farms in North Carolina; campers gather eggs and feed animals in the morning and can enjoy activities like canoeing and fishing before eating outdoors. In the afternoon, they have the chance to play games, make ice cream from goat's milk and create art.
Past Experience4 of 6
Delving into a history lesson might seem like a classroom activity, but summer camps organized by history and natural history museums offer experiences that are anything but. At the Natural History Museum of Utah, campers can learn about the creatures of the Mesozoic era and create dinosaur tracks.
The Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center in Virginia offers lessons with a hefty dose of adventure, with campers creating a mock voyage and heading down river to learn about sailing.
Parks & Rec5 of 6
Do you want your child to have the overnight camp experience without the worry of how he or she will handle being away from home? Your local parks and recreation department is sure to offer an outdoor adventure at a local park.
Many programs offer nature walks and lessons on how to build fires and cook outdoors. Some even host a big end-of-session bonfire, complete with s'mores.