8 Tips for Choosing a Summer Camp


It's important to send your kids to a summer camp they'll be excited about, but be sure to consider your family's needs and interests when searching for the right one.

Here are some tips and recommendations from the nation's leading child care and education provider, KinderCare Learning Center.

Establish Your Family's Goals and Interests

Ask your child about his or her interests. Discuss potential types of camps and identify the area or areas he or she is interested in.

Identify Your Needs

Realistically evaluate your schedule and needs. Consider the program's ability to be flexible. Can the program accommodate extra hours, days, or weeks of care should you need them? Ask for the program's definition of a "full day." Some full day programs only operate hours such as 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Look for Camps That Have Variety

Your child will want variety day-to-day. Look for programs that have a range of activities, experiences, and opportunities.

Balance Learning and Fun

For your child, summer is a break from school and learning. But in order to keep your children from losing the valuable information they received during the semester, find a program that incorporates learning activities in a fun way.

Remember all Domains of Development

Children need daily experiences in all developmental domains: social, emotional, physical, and intellectual. Look for a summer program that incorporates activities across all domains. Your kids will enjoy the program because it has wide-ranging topics and is more interesting over time.

Insist on Health and Safety Basics

Look for centers or programs that are licensed and meet stringent health and safety requirements for the care of children. Some summer programs do not participate in state and local licensing or regulatory programs based on exemptions as recreational or seasonal offerings. Be warned that these programs may not meet basic health and safety guidelines.

Visit the Program and Preview the Summer Activity Plans

Look for well-organized activities, thoughtful preparation, and a safe and inviting environment for your child.

Meet the Program Staff

Meet the program manager and as many of the staff members as possible. Also, ask about the program's plans for including families and communicating with you about daily and weekly activities.

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