Taking a Break: Summer Camps in Missoula


Summer has finally come to Missoula and, now that school’s out, most children get to kick back and relax. Though there is learning regression that takes place during the summer months, there is also some much needed respite from school that helps young minds process learning and prepare for another school year.

For those parents interested in continuing your child’s learning process this summer, here are some fun, well-balanced and supportive ways to encourage your child to grow.

On more than one occasion I’ve heard from parents about starting the summer with the best of learning intentions and then losing focus by week two and never getting back on track. Goals like reading for a half hour a night seem great but, depending on your family, they can be awfully lofty.

Missoula Public Library

For a summer reading program: The Missoula Public Library

It’s like when I accidentally washed my “dry clean only” shirt and when it wasn’t ruined, I’ve never looked back and I’ve tossed it in the wash ever since. I try to encourage families to set goals that are both beneficial for learning and retaining information and reasonable.

Instead of setting a goal of reading a half hour every day during the summer, a more positive goal might be to finish three, four, five books over the course of the summer. A goal for completing a specified number of books rather than daily reading allows for long days on the river or road trips.

Montana Natural History Center - Missoula, MT

For outoor discovery day camps: Montana Natural History Center

Three books for the summer might not sound like much, but a 2012 study from the Pew Research Center found that 25% of American’s ages 16 and above did not read one book in a year. Suddenly, three books sounds pretty good.

Another fun activity is to keep a Wonder Journal. My co-teacher and I had our students spend some time outside wondering about the world this past school year. The kids wrote down questions they were wondering like, “Where does wind come from?” “Who invented stairs?” and “Where is that squirrel going?”

Missoula Children's Theatre - Missoula, MT

For perfoming arts camp: Missoula Children’s Theatre

Keep a journal of interesting questions and set a goal of researching and answering ten of your favorite questions over the summer.

Missoula is great because there are many incredible day camps to attend in just about any subject area you or your child can imagine. Camps are a great way to excite and inspire young minds while providing some structure to long summer days.

I hope all of your children enjoy a fun, stress-free summer of learning in Missoula.

Places to find Missoula summer camps:


Learn it BioAnnie Graham and Brandon Kendall are convinced that education can be fun, exciting, and meaningful. Brandon has been a teacher in Missoula for the better part of a decade. Annie is a proud parent of six children and a home school teacher. Check out their blog for fun (and educational) adventures around Missoula. Visit their Learning With Meaning website for ideas on dynamic and project based learning at home and in the classroom.