Questions about what to bring to camp are common. A full list is below and there are some important considerations and how campers are prepared can make a big difference in ensuring a smooth and fun camp day:
but please prepare your camper for the responsibility of keeping track of those things (name labels are awesome!). Also note that no toys from home are permitted during yoga class, except for rest time if they are not distracting. No stuffies or personal toys can go on outings or to the playground either.
that can hold their lunch, water bottle, and, if they wish, towel on water days. This is not optional and shoulder or grocery bags are not acceptable alternatives. Campers need their hands free during outing transit – they will be holding hands with partners, using hand-railings, or holding rope lines. Loose lunch boxes and water bottles are often dropped and have been left behind on buses and metro trains. Shoulder bags are not as secure as backpacks, short campers tend to drag them along the ground, and things fall out of them, especially when children lean over or swing their bags around (which poses a safety hazard as well).
We strongly recommend a regular backpack with comfortable straps, but older (1st+) campers may prefer those drawstring bags. That’s fine. They are old enough to make their own comfort choices. Younger campers (PK/K) tend to have trouble with the drawstring backs and they end up dragging on the ground a lot.
Campers carrying too much stuff tire quickly . . . and whine a lot, which is contagious and brings the mood of the whole group down. When we go on outings, we take only essentials, leaving extra changes of clothes and unnecessary personal items in the camp cubbies.
We routinely empty extra toys, books, and miscellany – even rocks – from camper backpacks before outings (for campers 1st+, we ask them to do it and decide what’s worth carrying). We’ll keep doing this, so no sweat if your kid packs stuff, but for small campers especially, please consider what you can do to lighten their load. Stainless steel lunch containers and water bottles, for example, are heavy. Consider investing in very small cold packs. Several small lunch containers in a soft bag might be easier to manage and to pack into a backpack than a bulky lunch box. Consider a small towel rather than a beach towel on water days (towels must fit in backpacks. It is not safe to have campers dragging towels on and off busses).
We go out every day – to a playground, water feature, or field trip. We do not allow campers to wear shoes that might fall off: no flip flops, open-healed or loose crocs or clogs, wedges, or ballet flats please. We didn’t need the confirmation, but there are apparently scientific studies proving that people walk more slowly in flip-flops than more secure shoes. Sandals are fine, if they are secure.
If your camper wants to wear their flops at the spray park or Yards Park, they are welcome to pack them, but see previous paragraph. (We generally find they don’t wear them, by the way, so if you want them worn, make that clear to your child.)
Consider also your child’s ability to manage their own shoes: tie-up high tops, for example, or sandals with complicated straps?
Campers are required to wear either a camp t-shirt or bandana on all outings. No exceptions. Each camper will get one t-shirt, but we do outings almost every day and the shirt may not stay clean all week. We always have bandanas on hand, but not all campers love those which is why we are adding the shirt option this year.
If your camper would like to have an extra shirt (or shirts), please indicate that in the camper questionnaire and we’ll charge the credit card on file. If your camper would like an extra shirt, email us. We’ve placed the order based on enrollment and extra shirt requests submitted. We will fill additional requests if we have available shirts.
We use the shirts and bandanas to help us quickly identify our campers among a crowd of kids – so awesome for spotting a child wandering from our group or doing our interval head counts during water play or playground time – and if a child is ever separated from the group, they are wearing the camp phone number.
Please pre-apply sunscreen. We try to eat in the shade (as much for heat as sun), but playgrounds and spray parks are sunny places. Feel free to send sun hats and sun glasses.
There are even a couple field trip venues for which we recommend umbrellas as portable sunshades because we expect a long, exposed walk (we’ll let you know when those are coming).
When we are out for a long period, we may have campers reapply sunscreen and the staff carry some for that purpose or for campers who have forgotten. If you need your child to use a particular sunscreen, please pack it in the smallest possible container.
We usually eat away from the camp venue and campers need water bottles to stay hydrated. Please pack (and label) a water bottle every day.
We do not allow campers to ride the buss with bare legs (girls) or chests (boys). If their suits are effectively t-shirts and shorts, they are good to go. Otherwise, they need a coverup of some a kind. Please consider that your camper may be putting shorts/pants over a wet/damp suit on the way home. They may need dry bottoms to change into on waterplay days.
If you’ve spent any time in schools or camps you know that the lost-and-found is a monster. We ask variations of “does anyone know who’s waterbottle/lunchbox/shirt/yogamat/etc this is?” many, many times a day. Our collection of spare swimsuits, hats, gloves, and more is all stuff that was left behind. Label EVERYTHING! – or at least everything that might be removed from your child’s person over the course of a camp day – wait . . . that’s everything.
Ok, now here’s the list (click the arrow to expand):
“Yours is so much more relaxed than other camps where I’ve worked,” remarked a college-age staffer earlier this year.
Well, there are several reasons for that. One is that we intentionally keep our camp small enough that normal kid energy and noise isn’t usually overwhelming. We also consciously plan lots of transition time into our day so that we don’t feel hurried from one activity to the next. But one of the biggest reasons: we try hard to balance structured activities – yoga, arts & crafts, and themed field trips – with lots of freeplay – both in- and out-of-doors.
The value of this spaciousness and camper-directed play goes way beyond helping keep the counselors relaxed. Child-directed play has enormous benefits in brain development, social-emotional skills, self-regulation, and general happiness and mood:
“Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.” – American Academy of Pediatrics
“Children who can entertain themselves, or play with one another, are unconsciously learning how to adapt themselves to challenges they’ll face further down the road.” – Time Magazine
We are lucky to offer camp in a space that allows for lots of gross motor play as well as imaginative play with traditional playroom toys. When we play in the parish hall, children are allowed to use the materials in whatever why they like. Adults only intervene if children need help making play choices that are safe, don’t damage anything, and enable everyone to have fun.
The playroom contains a variety of imaginative toys and campers often combine different toy types in elaborate role-playing games.
We provide choices and variety in play activities. We often bring out fine-motor building materials such as links and blocks. We have about 1000 Keva Planks and, while extremely heavy to load in and out of the car on school-closed days, they were definitely our best single camp purchase.
Some days we bring out sensory materials such as play-dough, shaving cream, or water beads or process-art materials. (We are overdue for another slime day.)
Sometimes our field trips even allow for free play or open-ended exploration, such as the Children’s Garden at the Botanic Garden or the Spark!Lab at the American History Museum.
We also prioritize outdoor time, which has been shown to improve mood and ability to concentrate. We get out most days and usually spend lunch and extended play time at neighborhood or metro-accessible playgrounds and splash parks.
Sound like fun? It’s not too late for your yogi to join us this summer. Read more about kids yoga camp and sign up!
Breathing Space summer camp provides children with a fun, creative, and educational experience through yoga movement classes, mindfulness activities, relaxation, games, crafts, field trips and outdoor time. Each week-long camp is sure to create lasting memories, new friendships, and a foundation for health and well-being!
The weeks of Jun 25, July 17, Aug 13, Aug 20 all welcome rising PK4 campers but space is limited, so don’t wait to enroll.
We will run our popular Girl Power camp (rising 3rd-6th) again this year, but in June, so our Aug 13 camp week enrollment will not be limited by gender. We are also running a Harry Potter-themed camp for 2nd-5th graders the week of July 23 and would be open to running a boys-focused (2nd-5th?) camp the week of Aug 6 if there is enough interest.
Music & dance and Harry Potter-inspired camps are new this year. We are repeating colors, superheroes, fairy-tale inspired themes and our outings-focused camps too. While some themes repeat, activities are always different.
Enrollment update June 5, 2018: There is very limited availability in camp the weeks of June 25 (K+) and July 30, and Aug 6 (2nd-5th) only.
Week – Theme – Age Range
1. Watch Camp Highlights
Ever wondered about the concentric designs your children bring home from camp and occasionally class?
“The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.” – from What is a Mandala?.
Coloring or creating mandalas or circular patterns is part of quite a few religious and spiritual traditions. Many of us think first of Tibetan Buddhism, but but similar circle patterns appear in the Navajo and Aztec traditions, Taoism, and even Christianity. Why does it resonate so?
Without fail, our students of all ages love coloring mandalas. The activity is relaxing and focusing, and provides a great opportunity for discussions with older children (they tend to be less self conscious about participating in a discussion while coloring). This a recent article on the Huffington Post talks about the physiological benefits of the practice.
“When coloring, we activate different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres, says psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala. ‘The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.'”
One of the primary things we are teaching in children’s yoga is tools for the students to trigger their own relaxation response and find a meditative state. Coloring mandalas is only one age-appropriate way that we do that, but it’s also one that’s easy for parents to implement at home.
Breathing Space Family Yoga children’s yoga instructors often use books in class as storytime before relaxation, to spark discussion, or as inspiration for an entire theme. Books can help illustrates yogic values – peace, love, friendship, feelings, compassion, honesty – or enhance children’s physical and emotional awareness.
A key benefit of yoga for children is how the practice helps them develop better emotional regulation skills. Incorporating books like The Way I Feel by Janan Cain and My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss sends the message that strong feelings are ok even if acting on them might not be.
At least every couple of months, I do a dance theme in my preschool yoga class, after which I feel compelled to read Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson. I love that Hilda figures out a way to express that dance that is in her soul no matter what obstacles may seem to be in her way.
One of my favorite books to read in preschool yoga class is Jamberry by Bruce Deegan. The story follows the fancifal journey of a bear and his boy through what is clearly jam country. The kids love identifying the animals and actions in the story and it’s fun when they figure out the fantasy elements: skating on jam, rabbits playing a brass band, etc. But the signature characteristic of my reading is most definitely that (in our household at least) Jamberry must be sung.
I recently stumbled on a reading of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and realized that I’d found a kindred spirit.
For older children, I love using more complex stories, such as The Rabbit in the Moon and Diamonds Rubies and Pearls from Storytime Yoga, to build entire classes and encourage children to write their own yoga class stories. We use the opportunity to talk about what makes a good story and who is and what are the attributes of a hero.
make nice discussion starters.
Older children and tweens are defining themselves and are often eager to discuss issues related to their place and possible contribution to the world. Story books can help set a safe context for such a discussion.
Breathing Space Family Yoga has collected many of our favorite kids yoga books, story books and other resources in one place with links to Amazon.com. We’ll keep adding to it, so please let us know what’s missing in the comments.
“What do you do all day?” is one of the most common questions about or kids yoga day off camps. No, we don’t do yoga for 7.5 hours.
We do lots of yoga and yoga games, but that’s not all. We’ll do arts and crafts every day. If the weather is nice, we walk to a nearby playground for lunch and outdoor time. In the summer, we do field trips once or twice a week and waterplay days at one of the city’s many splash park options (we get there by bus or metro). In the afternoon, we have quiet time every day for both nappers and non-nappers.
A Typical Day at Yoga Camp
We will do lots of yoga and yoga games, but that’s not all. We’ll do arts and crafts or themed activities every day. Unless weather is terrible, we’ll walk to a nearby playground for lunch and outdoor time. We’ll have quiet time every day for both nappers and non-nappers. We work a lot of free-play time into our camp between organized activities as well.
Sample Camp Day
Camp schedule varies depending on activities of the day. Most field trips will be Tuesday-Friday. Occasionally we will need to depart for a trip by 9 or 9:30 am and be gone through lunch, meaning our main yoga class those days will happen in the afternoon. Water play days – typically Yards Park or Canal Park, but sometimes we head out to Kennedy Rec Center or other city spray parks – mean an extended outdoor/lunch time and a shorter, very low key afternoon yoga time.
Camp schedule varies depending on activities of the day and if we have a field trip scheduled. For camps that enroll PK, we may separate younger and older campers for some activities and outings.
School Year Camp Schedule Variations: Field trip outings during the school year are most common in the afternoons and on bad weather days.
Summer or Spring Break Schedule Variations: Occasionally we will need to depart for a camp trip by 9 or 9:30 am and be gone through lunch, meaning our main yoga class those days will happen in the afternoon. Water play days – typically Yards Park or Canal Park – mean an extended outdoor/lunch time and a shorter, very low key afternoon yoga time.
We love outings. Past camps have visited the following public-transit accessible destinations:
We take metrobus, metrorail, and our feet to these destinations. Campers should be prepared for a decent amount of walking and for carrying their backpack/lunch wherever we go.
We plan to do outdoor time and/or eat lunch off site nearly every day.
Our favorite playgrounds are Peabody, Brent, Watkins and Tyler Elementary schools and Marion and Garfield Parks (All walking excursions). We have visited both Canal Park and Yards Park for water play (The Circulator bus takes us there from 8th Street).
Drop-off can begin at 8:30 am, though we are unlikely to begin any structured programming until after 9 am.
Please don’t drop off early. Our staff really do need the time between 8-8:30 am to prep for the day.
Unless we have a field trip scheduled and have notified you in advance, we’ll be at the camp location through mid-morning. Activities usually begin by 9:30 am, so campers arriving after that may miss something.
• 8:30 am-3:45 pm – Yoga Camp,
• 3:45-5:45 pm – Aftercare with Games Club class by Labyrinth Games & Puzzles
Campers not staying for games should be picked up between 3:45-4 pm so we can start snack promptly at 4 pm. Thanks.
Campers enrolled in extended day programming will have an afternoon snack between 4-15 pm (we provide air-popped popcorn to supplement packed snacks) followed by Good Moves Games Club by Labyrinth at 4:30 pm. Extended day pickup is between the end of that class at 5:30 pm and 5:45 pm
Please let us know in advance when you have a camp conflict so we can flag any challenges this may pose on a particular day. Camp schedule is somewhat fluid and we are usually out of the church for at least part of every camp day, so pick-up for and drop-off after doctor’s appointments or other conflicts may mean meeting us at an outing destination. Please check confirm with your camp director on the morning of camp.
Please note that yoga camp does not allow for regular half-day pickup and is not appropriate for campers not up for significant walking and activity during the day. All our outing destinations are reached by public transportation and/or walking.
Our camp venues have evening programing most nights of the week. Additionally, camp counselors often have their own evening commitments. Please help us be good community members and avoid staff and camper distress by picking up on time.
Campers picked up after the designated pickup time (4 pm or 5:45 pm) will be charged a flat $15 late fee (per child). Parents will be expected to pay on pickup.
Campers picked up more than 15 minutes late (4:15 or 6 pm) will be charged a flat $50 late fee (per child). Parents will be expected to pay on pickup.
If you think you might be late to pickup, please call.
Campers should wear clothing for movement – shorts under skirts please! – and layers appropriate for the weather. Camp is very active and your camper may be warm during our yoga classes.
Your camper should also have walking and playground appropriate shoes – No flip-flops, no open-healed crocs or clogs, no ballet flats. If your camper arrives in in inappropriate shoes, you may be asked to bring an alternative pair before lunch.
Your camper needs weather-appropriate outer wear. Unless weather is dangerously terrible, we are going outside. In winter, that means hats, gloves, coats, long pants (yes, we’ve had campers show up with bare legs mid-winter), rain gear etc. If they are inappropriately dressed, they are going to be cold and/or wet.
All PK4 campers need a change of underwear, pants and socks! Even if you think they are completely reliable about their bathroom needs, accidents happen. We find campers caught up in the fun of camp don’t want to stop and go to the bathroom. Even with regular reminders, PK4 campers (and sometimes older ones) tend to overestimate how long they can wait, especially when we are out on the playground and bathrooms are not convenient.
Campers do not have to bring their own yoga mats, but are welcome to do so. In addition campers need the following supplies:
PK4 campers need the following additional items:
Summer Camp costs $400 per week. Games Club is an additional $18 per day for summer campers.
Registration Policies: Payment in full is required to hold space in camp. The first $100 of tuition is non-refundable.
Multi-camp Discount: Signing up for multiple weeks of camp after the early bird discount has passed? Use discount code at checkout “MULTICAMP” to take $20 off each. (Note: discounts do not combine and multicamp does not apply during the earlybird registration period.)
We know that some camps have dozens to a hundred campers in a week.We consciously create a small, intimate camp experience, hopefully allowing campers to let their guard down and truly relax.
We have 14-18 children in most camps. Some camps are dual class and we break into two age-based groups of about that size. For that level of enrollment, we hire two lead teachers and an assistant. At least one of the lead teachers is a certified yoga instructor specializing in children.
Age requirements vary by camp and by season. During the school year, grade designations are the grade in which your camper is currently enrolled. During summer, grade designation is the grade in which they will enroll that fall.
We have limited space available for 4 year old (PK4) campers. We love 4 year olds, but they have different needs and abilities than 8 year olds in yoga class or arts and crafts and they require more attention and assistance for things like bathroom visits, managing shoes, following directions, staying with the group on outings, keeping track of and carrying their belongings, etc.
School Year Camps
Overall, our day camps are small – 16-20 kids. When we enroll just a few 4 year olds, we find everyone has fun. The older campers and staff are able to help the little ones keep up during activities and outings while still doing the activities that the older campers enjoy. When we enroll lots of 4 year olds, it completely changes the camp dynamic. That’s why we limited the number of 4 year olds – same camp, separate roster – during single-class camps during the school year.
Please note we do not have a dedicated rest time scheduled during school-day-off camps, so yoga camp is best for non-nappers. Our school year camps are most appropriate for younger siblings (used to tagging along with older kids and being helped by them) or PK campers with Breathing Space experience (so know our routine and we know them).
During the summer, we offer a PK-1st grade camp completely focused on the needs and interests of 3.5-6 year olds. During those weeks, we run with different expectations and on a different schedule, enabling our younger campers to have lots of fun, but also have dedicated afternoon rest time, for example. (Rising PK3 younger siblings are welcome during these camp weeks with prior approval.)
We also offer a few camps that will be noted as double-class camps when we enroll a full class of PK/K and 1st-4th grade. During those weeks, we will do some activities as a big group, but also lots in our smaller groups. PK/K campers will be offered rest or quiet time activities in the afternoons while 1st-4th campers will do longer outings and themed activities in the afternoons.
Requirements for 4 year olds
PK4 campers should have a year of full-time schooling under their belt and be reliably potty trained and bathroom independent. Campers must have the stamina to walk to public transportations and outing destinations while carrying their own backpack/lunch.
Our camp is not appropriate for students unable to follow basic safety instructions or with a strong tendency to run away from the group or leave a designated area without permission.
Please respect our age minimum. We recognize that it is challenging to find an enriching camp experience for preschoolers, but need to be sure we are offering a quality experience for all our campers. The needs of a 3-year-old – attention-span, interests, verbal abilities, physical coordination, stamina – are very different for that of a 7-, 8-, or 9-year-old. A 3-year-old needs more assistance with nearly all tasks and is unlikely to be able to do – or be interested in – the same craft projects as older campers, pay attention to the same stories, or follow the same game rules . . . . Our only exception is 3-year-old younger siblings and we require pre-approval before enrollment. Thank you.
Younger Siblings: We do take a very limited number of younger siblings, one year younger than the stated age range, so PK4 for camps marked K+ or PK3 for camps marked PK4+. Pre-approval is required. Contact us if you are interested.
Registration may be credited to a future camp or refunded (minus $10 processing fee) until 14 days before a scheduled camp.
Within 14 days of a camp day, refunds/credits are only available if a waitlisted camper takes the spot (processing fee still applies) Camps often sell out well in advance. The further in advance you tell us about your camper’s change of plans, the more likely it is that we fill your spot.
Registrations cancelled before May 31 will be issued minus the $100 non-refundable portion of tuition or switched to any other available week at no charge.
Refunds will only be issued after May 31 if a waitlisted camper takes the available spot, but switching weeks is still be option, space permitting.
Because your reservation represents a space in camp that was held for you and not available for purchase by other students, there are no refunds issued after the dates listed above. Under extraordinary circumstances, we will suspend registration to be used in a later session.
See Refund FAQs for more information.
Refunds will be issued to the credit card used for payment or as a check mailed to the address on your account profile within 30 days of refund request receipt. If your refund is dependent on another participant taking your spot and the spot isn’t immediately filled, refunds will be issued within 30 days of the scheduled program start date rather than request receipt.
We sometimes fill cancelled spots, but sometimes don’t. When we hit our refund deadlines, the vast majority of possible participants – even those who put themselves on our waitlists – have made other plans and filling vacant spots can be challenging. At that point we are counting on our registration numbers to cover our costs. If we allowed last minute refunds, we’d have to raise the price of camps and classes for everyone to compensate.
Managing changes to class and camp rosters, waitlists and refunds actually takes up a lot of staff time. While we understand that life isn’t always predictable, we don’t want clients registering to “hold their spot” while they firm up plans. Processing fees discourage this and compensate us for staff time.
We hate to cancel camp. We know parents are counting on camp and our staff are counting on the work. If we cancel camp, we issue refunds.
School Year Camps may be cancelled due to low enrollment 14 days in advance of camp. Within 14 days, we would only cancel due to weather or another emergency.
Summer Camp cancellations are unusual and will be made based on enrollment projections by May 31.
Weather or emergency cancellations: Because we do not use DCPS facilities for camp, we are not obligated to follow their weather cancellations policies, but some of our venues do anyway. If staff can safely get to camp and the facility is available, we will try to hold camp. We are more likely to cancel if the federal government shuts down. We will send emails and post messages to social media if camp is cancelled or delayed due to weather. Make sure your registration email is one you check regularly and follow us on social media.
The first time you enroll a child in camp, a signed liability waiver and photo release for each camper. This is a longer version of the waiver you complete when you register via YogaReg. If you haven’t ever filled one out, please bring a copy or plan to fill it out in the morning.
We also need you to update our participant questionnaire every summer and for each new school year. You’ll see it when you register for camp and can update it anytime in your Sawyer Profile where you can also update your contact info and emergency contacts.
You’ll find our questions in the “My Children” part of your profile. Include anything you think would be useful but especially:
Campers are required to wear either a camp t-shirt or bandana on all outings for safety reasons. No exceptions. Each camper will get a t-shirt (one per camper per summer, size requests are in the camper questionnaire).
But we do outings almost every day and t-shirts are unlikely to stay clean all week. We always have bandanas on hand (and those are required on water days because they can get wet), but if your camper would like to have an extra shirt(s), please indicate that in the camper questionnaire and we’ll charge the credit card on file. Extra shirts are $10 per child.
We put our Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) on all our receipts, so check there. The receipt may be all you need for reimbursement. If you can’t locate your receipt. Please send a request by email to have it resent.
If you need forms signed, you can
Unfortunately, we cannot accept emailed forms or arrange for pickup of forms. We work with several hundred families and printing and mailing your forms adds up in administrative time.