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Don’t worry: Summer camp options exist for little ones, too

March is the month that spring fever begins to hit most families. We have successfully made it past cold and flu season, and it is finally getting warm enough to start heading outdoors. While it may seem a bit early, March is also the perfect time to schedule your little ones for summer break activities. Seasoned parents know that many summer camps fill up early and the choice spots are gone faster than a toddler going after leftover Valentine’s Day candy.

There are the standard camps to check out that do an amazing job of entertaining and teaching your little one: Roper Mountain Science Center, The Greenville Zoo, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Furman University, Yellow Bobby Pins Art Studio, and Creating Artists for Tomorrow, to name a few. The trick is to get registered early.

If you have not already looked at where to place your kiddo for the summer, or you have struck out on your first choices, it is still not time to panic. There are plenty of other adventures from local Upstate groups that your child can participate in. South Carolina Children’s Theatre and Greenville Little Theatre are perfect for children who have an acting flair. Scout Day Camp is offered to children meeting the age requirement that want to get out into nature. A number of horse farms in the area offer mini camps with a variety of age ranges. The YMCA and the Greenville County Rec is a great option for parents with children that want to tackle an assortment of sports interests.

Also offered around the Upstate are short one to two-hour camps for your child. Music classes with Piano Central Studios are a fantastic and fun way to engage youngster. Check out martial arts, dance or gymnastic classes with a variety of local studios.

If your goal is not to have a series of events for your child to attack during the week, there are a number of engaging places to go hiking, swimming, biking and parks to engage your young one all summer long. You can spend your mornings at the local parks participating in the summer Park Hop offered by Greenville County Rec and the afternoons at the local public art museums or any branch of the local library. With a little planning, you can get out with little to no extra out of pocket expenses.

One thing the Upstate excels at is having safe and reliable places to entertain children of any age. The only thing parents need to decide is what adventure they want to have that day.

What parents should know

Getting ready for the summer starts early. Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you prepare to register your kiddo for camp.

•How long is the summer camp? Younger children might only be able to handle a class that is a few hours long while slightly older children may enjoy a half or even full day program.

•Have you looked at several summer options? Summer camps in the Upstate fill up quickly. It is always better to have a few camp options open just in case your plans change.

•Have you looked at several different kinds of activities? Summer is a perfect time for little and bigger kids to begin exploring different interests. Depending on how many weeks you want to schedule your child, they can explore almost every topic and activity from A to Z.

•Does your child want to go to camp? Some smaller children might not be ready to attend a class away from you, but that does not mean you have to stay home all summer. There are plenty of free or cheap activities you can attend that get you both out of the house.

•Is it worth getting a membership? Some Upstate pools and water parks offer membership or season passes that are worth checking out if your only goal this summer is to hang out by the pool.t.