With Spring Break behind us, summer vacation for students is not to far away. April is the perfect time for parents to start thinking about what they are going to be doing with and for their children in June, July, and August.

Children learn from experiencing new situations and asking questions. Therefore, traveling and camping are two of the best ways for children to gain knowledge and have fun at the same time. Since most people know what traveling is, I am going to focus this article on camping.

Camping is one of the best experiences a child can have. Whether it is with Mom, Dad, another adult or the whole family, children benefit from outdoor and positive unfamiliar experiences. So much learning takes place when children are asked to do things they have never tried in a different and supportive environment.

Parents need not worry about being expert campers or making this a long outing. The point is to begin talking about camping with your children. Get some ideas from them about where they would like to go and what they want to do. Then, do your research about the places they mentioned and some places and activities you had in mind.

There are so many fantastic camping choices. So parents may want to start by first deciding on how much time and how much they can afford. Will this be for just a weekend or will it be for one week or longer? Check out the low cost for camping at state parks in Florida. If you decide on a camping trip at one of Florida’s state parks, make sure you make a reservation. If time and budget permit, you may want to consider the amazing private and public facilities in other states. Just keep in mind, the more popular the location, the greater the need to make a reservation as early as possible.

And don’t forget about the many wonderful camping experiences, which are provided by private vendors. Some of these are organized by a theme or focus. There are many reputable summer student camping organizations both in and out of state. Again, the important thing is to do your homework before giving children the selections from which they can choose.

Parenting Tip: Research has proven when possible, rather than dictating everything to a child, supervising adults should always try to give children options and allow them to decide. This behavioral strategy allows children to know adults are willing to trust their decisions. At the same time, caregivers must hold children accountable for following through on their decisions in a responsible manner.

The last day of school is May 29. So get busy and start planning that summer travel or better yet, a summer camping experience for your children. You and they will be glad you did.

Carl Persis

Chair, Central Florida Public School
Boards Coalition

Volusia County School Board, District 4