It’s Not too Late to Find the Perfect Summer Camp for Your Kid

Schools are letting out for summer break and soon camps all over the country will be filling with kids ready to have fun! If you haven’t already, then now is time to start making your Making the Most of Summer Campkid’s summer camp plans. Most camps have been enrolling kids since early in the year, and many may already be full, but it’s not too late to find one for your child. There are camps available for nearly every sport, activity, or interest that your child might have, so start researching now online and locally. Let your kids help choose a camp but limit the choices to the ones that you have already pre-approved and have confirmed that there are still slots available for your kids.

Wondering how to make sure your child has a fun and memorable time at camp? Here are a few pointers to help your kids have the time of their lives:

  • Choose a camp based on your child’s age, maturity level, interests, and location. Young children and those who aren’t ready to go to an overnight camp may want to attend a local day camp. Check out local organizations that offer day camps, such as Scouts, Campfire, YMCA, and many others. Talk with your child about his concerns and ideas about camp. Choose one that offers age-appropriate activities that your child enjoys.
  • Prepare your child for the camp you have chosen by talking about the activities he will get to do there. If he is worried about missing his family, reassure him that it is normal to feel home-sick, especially if it his first time away, and that those feelings will lessen after a couple of days. Share some of your fun childhood camp stories too. Older kids who are ready for overnight camp may want to stick with one fairly close to home their first time, just in case.
  • If possible, send a postcard or card a few days before camp to the camp’s address so it will be waiting when your child arrives. (Check with the camp first to make sure they will hang onto it until your child arrives.) And be sure to send some pre-stamped postcards addressed to home, so your child can write to you and let you know all the fun he is having!
  • If your kid has friends who want to attend the same camp, try to coordinate with them so they can bunk together. My daughter and her best friend went to camp for the first time at an overnight camp that is three hours away from home. They were a little nervous about it, but had an incredibly fun time because they were together. My son and his best friend attended that same camp the next summer because their sisters had talked so much about it. Having a friend at camp can help kids beat homesickness and it doubles the fun!

Can’t find a camp with openings for your child?

Can’t afford to send your kid to camp?

Why not create your own?

Pick a week to have your own camp at home for your kids and their friends. Pitch a tent in the backyard or in the living room! Cook out on the grill or make camp food in your own kitchen. Make fun crafts out of everyday household items and play lots of games. Name your camp and have everyone pitch in to make it exciting and entertaining. Kids are creative and can turn anyplace into a summer camp if given some help from their parents. A great camp doesn’t have to cost a lot of money; it just has to be a lot of fun!

About the Author

Tamara Walker, R.N., aka “MomRN”, is the mom of two teenagers, a registered nurse, a child safety expert and instructor, and host of the “Ask MomRN Show”. Her passions are to help parents as they navigate the journey through parenthood and to protect children of all ages. Her websites are and MomRN has been a member of the PedSafe Expert team


4 Responses to “It’s Not too Late to Find the Perfect Summer Camp for Your Kid”

  1. Ellena Murcko says:

    What a fantastic theme you have 🙂 your web site articles are pretty helpful too! Many thanks 😀

  2. Suzanne Hantke says:

    Thank you for writing on this subject Tammy. You hit on many important factors. For example, the line where you wrote “choose a camp with your child’s interest in mind.”

    As a child my sisters and I went to camps that were most often sports-related. However, none of US were sports-related. We were never taught team sports such as baseball and basketball because my Dad wasn’t into any of that. The only events offered at this camp (other than team sports) that I liked were ceramics, wood-working, gymnastics and I especially loved horseback riding; but unfortunately, in the morning at the beginning of the week they had what they called “clubs and clinics” and when they called out a club you liked, you would raise your hand to be “picked”. However, only two girls would be picked for each activity, and if I had recently done one of those activities, it was only fair that others have a turn. Horseback Riding was only once a week off-grounds, and only 5 girls would be picked, so in reality, I ended up only going once a month… if I was lucky. I was socially awkward, and although not shy; (once I knew someone) I was definitely insecure, and often intimidated by many of these girls. Swimming was not a choice, but mandatory. And I hated it, as the only option was in the lake…and being squeamish, I did not enjoy sharing it with the fish.

    In any event, I found myself making up more excuses and playing sick more often than I did back home when I had to go to school…ie: swimmers ear so I didn’t have to go in the lake, a sprained ankle so I didn’t have to play baseball and soccer…etc.

    And your idea of “if you can’t afford to send your child, make something at home” I thought was also great. My Mom meant well, and sent us to camp based on Her assumption that we would feel out of place and jealous if friends at home went to the beach because two out of the three of us were very fair-skinned, and the SPF factor back then was nowhere near as good as it is now. So in order to be able to afford for the three of us to go, she took a job there for the summer.

    This made matters worse for me because when I did feel homesick, I saw her all the time, yet was not allowed access to her; and although my sisters and I never got along throughout the school year, I was lonely and wanted to be with them, which was also forbidden because we were supposed to stay with our “age-groups”.

    To this day, one of my saddest memories was one evening after “free-time” when I was allowed to see my sister. I was so happy we had gotten to spend the hour together! I didn’t want to leave. But because I did not get back immediately after the bugle blew, I was punished and forbidden to go to the evening activity…which ended up that night to be one of the few activities I would enjoy…a treasure hunt. So once again I found myself having to make up a drastic story (saying my sister was consoling me because our dog got into a fight back home) just to be a part of one of the few things I could enjoy.

    Obviously these memories are a very sore spot for me, as it was many years ago, and although my memory is terrible, I still remember this in vivid detail.

    Many children absolutely love camp… and many have long lasting memories and friendships from it. My younger half-brother and sister loved going to camp every summer, but my Stepmother’s family is very into sports… so they fit right in with the other kids at a camp that focused around sports.

    I just want to urge everyone to heed Tammy’s advice, and find a place that will encourage and cultivate your child’s talents and interests; whether it is sports, theatrical, gymnastics, riding, crafts…etc; where they will have much more in common with their peers, and have a great time. And the most important thing…. Ask them what THEY want!!

  3. Help your kids to learn and have fun by letting them join sports camps.

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