These summer camps offer a variety of fun activities in Delaware

Photo courtesy of the School of Music

Are you planning to send your child to summer camp this year? These Delaware residents recount their own summer camp experiences.

Little hands digging in the dirt. Eyes exploring the stars. Ears learn to match pitches with an instrument. Kids will enjoy all of this and more at summer camps across the state.

As soon as he was old enough, George Thompson of Milford headed to the Knee High Naturalists camp at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center. Since then, George, now 7 years old, has enjoyed spending time there every summer.

“We love having Abbott’s Mill so close to home,” says his mother, Maggie Thompson. “[It’s] is a perfect mix of learning and outings in nature.

Summer camps serve two purposes: summer childcare and education, says Matt Babbitt, site manager at Abbott’s Mill, which is operated by the Delaware Nature Society.

“Connecting people to the natural world is important,” he says. “Whether it’s their first time in the wild or they’re back for another year, we hope to help all of our campers develop a deeper connection with the world around us.”

DelNature, as it’s called, offers a variety of camps for kids ages 3 to 15 at three other locations in Wilmington, Hockessin, and Greenville. Some take place on-site, while others include field trips for activities like kayaking, rafting, ropes courses, and more.

“We’re excited to be able to bring back more of the lineup this summer,” Babbitt said. “We continue to take COVID precautions and have smaller groups wearing masks indoors.”

Campers can expect a variety of activities, from archery to photography to learning about the natural world.

“Enter the stream [at Abbott’s Mill] is a favorite activity for many of our campers,” laughs Babbitt.

Other popular activities are fishing, cycling, and catching worms and insects. Visit delnature.org/summercamp for more information.

Photo courtesy of the School of Music

An ear for music

For children interested in music or the performing arts, the Delaware School of Music offers workshops and group music lessons throughout the year, as well as week-long day camps during summer vacation.

“Our summer programs give students the opportunity to dive deep into their current musical instrument or vocal talent while giving others the chance to try something new,” says Executive Director Kate Ransom. “[It] is a privileged moment where young people can live immersive experiences, which is not really possible during the school year.

Our summer programs give students the opportunity to dive deep into their current musical instrument while giving others the opportunity to try something new. [It] is a privileged moment where young people can live immersive experiences, which is not really possible during the school year.

Programming for students ages 3 1/2 to 18 is available at locations in Milford, Hockessin and Wilmington.

Popular themes include strings (violins, cellos), introduction to guitar, piano and harpsichord, and vocal performances. Most programs end with a show for family and friends.

“There are so many benefits to learning to play an instrument,” Ransom says. “We see the spark almost as soon as a child picks up an instrument. At the end of the week, pride can be seen on their faces.

Financial assistance is available. Visit musicschoolofdelaware.org for more information.

Succeed with STEM

Delaware Technical Community College (Del Tech) prides itself on its summer programming with an educational focus for students ages 5-13.

“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years about what families want and need,” says Katie Lakofsky, college-wide camp leader. “This year, we’re excited to bring back some of our most popular camps while continuing our COVID safety protocols.” These include wearing masks, limiting activities to small groups and social distancing.

At the start of the pandemic, Del Tech offered Messy Science, which provided a kit for participants to complete science projects at home. ” We continued [this] and added Messier Science, [which] was very popular,” says Lakofsky.

Now the camps, held across the state, focus on a wide range of activities, from culinary arts and fine arts to science and sports. A popular program is the week-long Fusion, which allows campers to enjoy a different activity each day. For example, kids can try art on Mondays, cooking on Tuesdays, and basketball on Wednesdays.

“STEM programs are a big part of what we do because we want kids to learn to identify as scientists,” Lakofsky continues. “It’s a passion of mine to continue to expand these camps for our families.”

Delaware Technical Community College aims to be accessible to all students and families, providing tuition support and resources. Parents interested in tuition support can call 453-3956 or to learn more about this year’s camps, visit go.dtcc.edu/campssw.

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