Whether your child is four or 14, loves sports or arts, yearns for days filled with French or dance or outer space, or thrives on activity and variety, there is a summer camp to match his or her interests. From day to residential, specialty to general, summer camps engage children in a community of good living and wondrous learning.
Explore the choices and discover just how amazing your child’s summer can be when seasoned with camp. Be sure to check out the many options you have, including horse camps, hockey schools, science camps – and many others! Do your research and invest some time in making a decision.
What you need to know at the start
- Good decisions are best made without time restrictions. Research your options ahead of time and discuss them with friends and family.
- Get started early! By late winter, camps are already filling up for summer and March break.
- Assess your needs and interests and write down what you are looking for.
- Talk to other parents about where their children go, but don’t just rely on the experiences of others, do your own research.
- Visit camp websites, browse the types of camps, speak with the camp directors and obtain information packages.
- Attend camp visitor days or ask to tour the facility. Find out their list of upcoming information sessions.
Start to finish: Involve your child
- Review camp materials, brochures, websites and videos with your child.
- Get your child to list what is important to them and what they are looking for in a camp.
- Ask open ended but direct questions and listen to what they have to say (are their hearts set on astronomy or hockey?).
- Take them on a tour or to an information session and allow them to ask questions.
- Include your child in the final decision.
Day or residential camp?
Choosing overnight camp can be a milestone decision for some parents. How do you know if your child is ready to be away from home? Some points to consider:
- Is your child comfortable attending sleepovers at a relative’s or friend’s home?
- Can your child wash and dress independently, and keep track of his or her belongings?
- Does your child have a friend or relative attending the camp during the same session?
- Whose idea is it to go to camp?
- Is your child flexible about new routines, like coping with mealtime away from home or being exposed to unfamiliar food?
- If your child is emotionally insecure or if major changes are underway at home, now may not be the best time for overnight camp.
- If your child has difficulty sleeping through the night, it’s likely best to wait until a regular sleep pattern is well established.
- If your child wets the bed, explain that he or she is not alone and that most camps offer help, support and discreet handling of this issue, then speak with the camp director.
- Does your child have a friend going to camp at the same time?
- Consider the age and maturity level of your child. The time for residential camp may be sooner than you think.
Learn more about “Day vs. Residential“
Advice from camp directors and staff
What camps want parents to bear in mind
- Your child would likely enjoy their time at every camp. Don’t be disappointed if a camp is full, choose another one and submit your applications earlier next year.
- Don’t stress your child out about going away for the day or week; be prepared to deal with the separation, you will likely miss them more than they will miss you.
- Be honest and upfront about special requirement. Don’t withhold pertinent information about your child. The goal is to ensure their needs are met and they have fun.
Get an in depth look at top summer camps and programs across the country by downloading our free Summer Camp Guide.
Armed with first-hand knowledge, you can narrow down your choices and get ready to give your child and unforgettable experience!