7 Tips to Picking the Right Summer Camp For Your Child

7 Tips to Picking the Right Summer Camp For Your Child

7 Tips to Picking the Right Summer Camp For Your ChildDo you send your kids off to summer camp each year? If not, now is a great time to consider it. I realize that it is the middle of winter but if you want the best camp selection now is the time to start planning now. Summer camp is more than singing and spending plenty of time outdoors but it is about creating memories for your child and helping them learn new skills. Plus, it gets kids away from screen time and allows them to make new friends. Don’t panic if your child isn’t quite ready to spend a week or two away from home, there are plenty of day camp options too!

Choosing a summer camp for your child might seem overwhelming at first because there are so many great camps in your area. Just remember that some of the camps available do require certain types of membership in order to attend. The ones that require membership are generally girl scouts and boy scouts. If you are considering sending your child to camp, I highly suggest that you sit down with them and discuss it with them first. This way you can get their feedback which will help you determine which camp is the right fit for your child. Depending on their age, you can even let them help you with the decision or let them choose what interest they are wanting to explore or learn about at summer camp.

Today, I want to share some tips on how to make choosing the right summer camp for your child easy so that they have a great experience.


I remember going to several camps out of state when I was growing up but if your child is a first time camper, I recommend that you start with a camp in your area. Picking a camp close to home or near your workplace will allow you to go get your child easier if they happen to get homesick or get hurt. I just want to reassure you that your camper will be busy and probably won’t even think about being away from home, even on over-night camps.

Choosing a Day Camp vs Over-Night Camp

If you have a young child, there are plenty of day camps available in your area to keep your child busy during the summer. It will give them a chance to meet new friends, enjoy a wide variety of activities, and it is a great way to introduce your child to a summer camp.

Most over-night camps have an age restriction and it depends on the camp.  Staying overnight at camp can be scary for some children. It can be tough finding sleepaway camps that are great and can handle homesickness. However, from experience as a child most kids enjoy camp even though they have never been away from their parents for extended periods of time. Plus, most camps are designed to help your child overcome their fears and deal with homesickness. Before choosing an over-night camp, be sure to find out what their policy is for handing homesick campers. Generally, if your child does well on sleep overs with their friends they usually do very well at camp. You will probably have a harder time with them being gone than they do. 🙂

Registration Fees and Schedule

Many camps have registration fees that need to be paid in full several weeks before your child goes to camp. The camp fees include your child’s lodging fees, food for the full week, and all of their activities. If you have trouble paying these fees, talk to the camp staff. They may be able to help you. Just remember that all camps are non-refundable and it is important that your child is ready for this experience before you decide to sign them up. Also, most summer camps require a physical plus a note from your doctor if your child take routine medications on a daily basis.

Going to Camp with Friends

If your child’s friends are going off to camp, you can try to book the same session with your child. It is fun going with your friends but it is not necessary, especially, if you want your child to meet some new friends. Of course, if your child does end up going with their friends you could consider carpooling together to camp to save money on gas.

Find a Camp that Host’s an Activity that Your Child Wants to Explore

There are a wide variety of camp programs available and you can find camps that focus on activities that interest your child. For example, if they want to leave photography. Find a camp that has a photography class or focus. The camp will teach them these new skills and a chance to have hands on experience at learning something that they haven’t tried before. Most camps offer your typical swimming, archery, team activities, crafts, and so much more.

Do Research the Camp Thoroughly Before Signing Your Child Up for Summer Camp

Before committing to send your child to summer camp, you will want to find out this list of things first:

  • How are the staff trained?
  • Do they require back ground checks on their staff and volunteers?
  • Are the camp counselors trained to handle home sick campers?
  • Is there a nurse on the camp’s property to handle emergencies?
  • How does the camp handle my child’s medications?
  • How does the camp handle the camper’s conflicts or discipline issues?
  • What is will my child’s day look like while at camp?
  • Does the camp allow children with special needs?
  • What will my child eat at camp? If you choose a day camp, you might have to send your child with a lunch and snacks.
  • Can my child call me if they need too?
  • Can my child bring their cell phone?

Meet the Camp Counselors

When dropping off your child, take the opportunity to meet and talk with camp counselors if possible. This way you have an idea of who is taking care of your child for the remainder of the week especially if they are staying overnight for a week or two.

Photo Credit: Flickr via Creative Commons

Do you have any other tips and advice for parents who are wanting to send their child off to summer camp?

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18 responses to “7 Tips to Picking the Right Summer Camp For Your Child”

  1. Karen Dawkins Avatar

    I attend a travel conference each August, and my daughter goes to a local, summer day camp that week. She loves it. And so do her older brothers, who don’t get stuck “babysitting” all day. When I get home from my trip, we spend a couple hours swapping notes about our adventures. I bring her a gift and she always saves me one camp craft as a gift. It makes being away much easier for all!

  2. Jessica Beal Harlow Avatar

    These are all good tips to start considering even if it's still winter. I know openings fill up extremely fast where we live!

  3. Danette Lykins Avatar

    Great tips for choosing summer camp- thanks for sharing!

  4. Debbie Denny Avatar

    Very good tips. Picking the right camp is important.

  5. Erinn S Avatar
    Erinn S

    Our teen still has memories of a summer camp at Miracle Ranch many years ago!

  6. Bismah Avatar

    Great tips! I loved going to summer camp as a young girl. So many other kids and loads of fun!

  7. Czjai Reyes-Ocampo Avatar

    My son has never gone camping before. Perhaps when he gets a bit older. 🙂

  8. Patrycja Figurska Avatar

    It's amazes me that people in the States are looking for summer camps so early! I guess- that's article is extremely helpful to them 🙂

  9. Esther Avatar

    We have never had our kids in summer camp yet. I am debating a day camp this year so this article came at the right time. I will use it as a check off list.

  10. Rosey Marie Avatar

    I've never sent the kids off. I bet my teen daughter would like it. 🙂

  11. Daniele Holmberg Avatar

    Great tips to help picja. summer camp for your kids. I used to do day to day camp but never a sleep away camp. How fun!

  12. Sharon Avatar

    It’s always amazed me how many parents don’t try to meet the staff before they send their kids off for a few weeks!

  13. Holly @ Woman Tribune Avatar

    Great tips, especially making it a point to meet the staff of the summer camp. They will be the people in charge of caring for your kids, after all, which is why it is also super important to make sure there is a background check of some sort in the employment process.

  14. Eliz Frank Avatar
    Eliz Frank

    It’s very important to do our homework and check out the camp’s reputation online and offline. Asks lots of questions and talk to other parents. You made great points in your post.

  15. Sandra Watts Avatar

    My son is 18 and autistic. He went last year for the first time to camp. It was a camp that specializes in disabilities. He had a good time. The camp was right on Seneca Lake so they did a lot of water activities. He wants to return this year so I am real excited for him. I think camp is good for kids you just have to be choosy and make sure it really fits them.

  16. Pamela Gurganus Avatar
    Pamela Gurganus

    I loved going to summer camp when I was kid. But that was quite a while ago and much simpler times. These are really great tips. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Day Camp Program Avatar

    Scheduled visit ma help our kids feel more comfortable and lessen their feeling of being homesick. Thanks for the tips.

  18. NJ Day Camp Avatar

    It’s important to do a lot of research before signing your child up for a day camp. Nice post