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Tips for Choosing Summer Camps for Kids

Choosing the right summer camp for your child can be a pivotal decision, influencing not only their summer vacation but potentially sparking new interests and friendships that last a lifetime. Here are some essential tips to consider when selecting a summer camp that aligns with your child’s interests and needs, ensuring a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Determine Your Child’s Interests

Before exploring options, talk with your child about their interests and what they hope to gain from a summer camp. Whether it’s sports, arts, science, or adventure, understanding their preferences is crucial in choosing a camp that will keep them engaged and excited.

Consider the Type of Camp

Summer camps come in various formats:

  • Day Camps: Good for younger children or those not ready for overnight stays. They allow kids to enjoy activities and return home each evening.
  • Residential (Sleepaway) Camps: Suitable for older children, offering a more immersive experience and development of independence.
  • Specialty Camps: Focus on specific activities or themes, such as coding, dance, or wilderness adventures.
  • General Interest Camps: Offer a broad range of activities, which is ideal for children who enjoy a little bit of everything.

Ensure the camp adheres to high safety and operational standards by checking if it’s accredited by relevant authorities, such as the American Camp Association (ACA). Accreditation means the camp maintains rigorous standards in health, safety, and program management.

Research the Staff Qualifications

The quality of the camp staff is crucial. Inquire about the recruitment process, staff qualifications, and training, particularly in safety, first aid, and childcare. Knowing that knowledgeable and caring staff members will be looking after your child can give you peace of mind.

Evaluate the Camp’s Philosophy

Does the camp’s philosophy align with your family’s values? Whether it’s fostering independence, encouraging teamwork, or promoting compassion, understanding the camp’s ethos can help you decide if it’s the right environment for your child.

Summer Camps for Kids

Consider the Child-to-Staff Ratio

A lower child-to-staff ratio is preferable as it ensures your child will receive more individual attention and supervision. This is particularly important for camps involving complex activities or younger children.

Ask About the Daily Schedule

Understanding the daily schedule helps you assess how well the camp balances structured activities with free time. Kids need a mix of both to keep them engaged without feeling overwhelmed.

Inquire About Communication

Find out how the camp communicates updates and incidents to parents. Regular communication via emails, newsletters, or a dedicated app can keep you informed about your child’s experiences and any issues.

Visit the Camp

If possible, visit the camp beforehand to meet staff and check out the facilities. A visit can help you gauge the cleanliness, safety, and overall environment your child will be in.

Read Reviews and Get References

Look for reviews online and ask the camp for references. Speaking to other parents who have previously sent their children to the camp can provide insights into their experiences and satisfaction levels.

Consider the Costs

Evaluate what is included in the camp fees (e.g., meals, transportation, special trips). Be sure there are no hidden costs, and consider if there are scholarships or discounts available which can make the camp more affordable.

Health and Safety Measures

Ensure the camp has a solid plan for handling medical emergencies, including on-site health professionals and clear protocols for emergencies. Also, check how they handle allergies and other specific health needs.

Choosing the right summer camp involves careful consideration of various factors that affect your child’s safety, interest, and overall well-being. By thoroughly researching and considering the tips outlined, you can select a summer camp that not only matches your child’s interests but also provides a safe and enriching environment where they can learn, grow, and make lasting memories.



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