Sending your child to summer camp is a great way to get him or her out of the house for a while.
Not only will your child have a great time and learn new things, but you’ll also get a much-deserved break from 24/7 parenting. It’s a win-win all around!
But what happens if you have a child with sensory, social, or emotional sensitivities?
Knowing your child’s challenges, is it possible for him or her to really enjoy the camp experience?
And even more important…are there camps that will cater to your child’s unique needs?
Those are all super important questions, and I’m happy to tell you that YES, it is possible for your child to have a great summer camp experience. There are countless camps that are designed to work with your child’s extra needs. All you have to do is pick the camp you think your child will love best!
Here are a few of my favorites that I personally recommend.
YMCA camps are designed for any kid who is open to exploring nature, discovering new talents, gaining independence, meeting new friends, and more.
From art and swimming to sports and educational camps, you’re bound to find a camp that your child will love.
Even better, the YMCA offers both full-day and half-day camps so you can pick what works best for your child and your schedule.
For more information visit: www.ymcamn.org
Horse Camps (Equine Therapy)
If your kid loves animals–horses to be more specific–signing up for an equine therapy camp is a great idea!
Equine therapy is great for kids with ADD, anxiety, autism, dementia, delay in mental development, depression, behavior and abuse problems, and other mental health issues.
Working with horses helps to promote emotional growth as well as confidence and independence.
As a bonus, equine therapy helps establish peace and calm as horses behave similarly to human beings in their social and responsive behavior.
For more information, reach out to local equestrian centers in your area.
Arts Camps – Art of Counseling, pllc
Art camps are a great way for children who love to draw, paint, make pottery, etc., to have fun while expressing themselves through art.
An art camp I personally recommend is Art of Counseling, pllc.
Art of Counseling, pllc is a psychotherapy group that provides a blend of art, relational, and trauma informed therapies. Their therapists collaborate with children (and adults) to help them develop a holistic lens, giving a unique perspective to the human experience, which leads to emotional healing through the power of storytelling and creative expression.
For more information visit: www.artofcounselingstpaul.com
La Semana Culture Day Camp
La Semana is a week-long culture day camp for children in elementary through high school that have been adopted from Latin America.
This camp is different from traditional summer camps because it is designed to promote self-esteem and foster an understanding of Latin American culture and history.
The children who attend this camp learn Latin American crafts and dances, try Latin American foods, hear Latin American music, and are exposed to written and spoken Spanish.
Children who attend also take a class that focuses on age-appropriate topics related to adoption.
For more information visit: www.lasemana.org
Highland Friendship Club
The Highland Friendship Club provides social activities, skills development opportunities, and community connections for teens and adults with disabilities.
This camp offers a variety of programs that focus on the arts, music, developing job skills, and serving the community.
For more information visit: www.highlandfriendshipclub.org
AuSM – Autism Society of Minnesota
AuSM summer camps offer a place for children on the Autism spectrum to learn, access services, and develop skills that enhance their lives.
AuSM membership connects those who have Autism to a common community that acts without judgment, nurtures potential, advances knowledge, and builds awareness.
From art camps to outdoor adventure camps and everything in between, you should be able to find a camp your child with Autism will love.
For more information visit: www.ausm.org
Mad Hatter Wellness
The Mad Hatter Wellness mission is to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with and without disabilities through empowerment, education, awareness, and movement to globally eliminate sexual violence and promote advocacy for self and others.
Katie Thune, who owns and operates various camp day, uses yoga-based interventions and mindfulness to help people with and without disabilities. You may know her already from the Mother-Daughter partner yoga retreats she and I have co-led the past few years. Katie creates a great environment for your child to decompress, feel safe, and get empowered.
For more information visit: www.madhatterwellness.com
West Metro Learning Connections
West Metro Learning Connections has a passion for providing an environment where bright and gifted children can learn the skills they need to succeed in the social world.
The camp was created for kids with ASD and related social needs to learn and grow in an anxiety-free, nurturing family atmosphere through intimate facilitation in social skills, academics, and self-management.
Their summer programs at West Metro Learning Connections include social skills therapy, therapeutic recreation, camp connections, and extended school year services.
For more information visit: www.wmlc.biz
Rainbow Tree Therapies
Rainbow Tree Therapies believes that nature is the backdrop for healing.
Owner and OT, Lisa Haverly, offers yoga, handwriting, drumming, rhythm, and self-care camps. Her intention behind the camps is to honor the unique spirit of each child’s development using the outdoors and nature as the natural premise for development.
For more information visit: www.rainbowtreetherapies.com
Camp Avanti provides a variety of programs that serve the needs of children, therapists. and the community.
Their camps are wonderful for those who have average or above average intelligence, but have been diagnosed with a learning disability and/or sensory processing dysfunction.
Because Camp Avanti has been designed for group experience, their therapeutic support is geared toward facilitating peer interaction with camp activities. Their day camp, overnight camp, and challenge camp are run by occupational therapists.
For more information visit: www.campavanti.com
I hope you’ll give one of these camps a try this summer. I’m certain your child will have a ton of fun while get you a much-deserved break.
Do you have any camps your children love that you’d recommend to other families? If so, I encourage you to share your favorites in the comments below!