How To Make The Most of Summer Camp

by Gigi Ross on April 19, 2012

Today’s the last day of my 3 part series on summer camps. We’ve covered Summer Camp 101 and How To Save Money on Summer Camps in this week’s earlier posts.

Now, on to how to make the most of summer camp – strategies for making camp a stress-free experience.

summer camp

Enroll with friends.

Camp is always more fun and less scary when kids attend with people they know. Coordinate with parents of your kids’ friends to put them in a camp together. Another bonus of enrolling kids with friends is the…


As any busy mom knows, the hours of kid-free time often fly by. Don’t spend your kid-free hours sitting in the car. Find friends to carpool with. You can each take and bring home on specific days, or one can take the morning shift and the other, the afternoon.

Expect the unexpected.

I’ve sent my kids to camps where a) a kid was mean to them, b)supervision was utterly lacking, c) the program was disorganized and d)my child got a last-minute bout of separation anxiety. Be ready for these bumps in the road so you can address them as they occur.

Don’t overschedule.

The combination of hot summer days and nonstop camp activities can wear even the most energetic of kids out. Be sure not to overschedule around camp, especially if the camp is more than 4 or 5 hours long. Give them the downtime and rest they need!

Be prepared.

A few days before camp starts, make sure you’ve got everything your child needs to fully participate in camp. Outdoor camps usually require kids to wear comfortable clothing with closed-toe shoes. If water play is involved, you’ll need a bag with a towel and swimsuit, as well as a change of clothes. Know if lunch, snacks and drinks are provided. It’s always good to keep an extra water bottle or two in the car.

Arrive early.

On the first day of camp, arrive early to the location. There is usually a throng of people asking questions, running late, or registering their children at the last minute. If you arrive early, you’ll have time to ask your questions and get your kid comfortably situated before the crowds arrive. Also, arrive early to pickup if you can. There’s nothing worse for a child to be the last one picked up, wondering if his parent is going to show!

Serve a good breakfast.

Assume that if the camp is providing its own snacks that they won’t be necessarily healthy or filling. Take a few minutes to have your kids eat a decent breakfast before heading out for the morning.

Charge your phone.

Make sure your phone is fully charged and the volume turned up while your kids are at camp. Accidents, tantrums and meltdowns do happen, and you’ll want to make sure that the camp staff can reach you if needed.

Communicate with staff.

If your child has any special needs, allergies, behavioral issues, social anxiety, etc. it’s wise to let camp staff know on the first day. This will help them help your child when you’re not there.

Have fun.

Encourage your children to enjoy every minute of camp…and you be sure to enjoy your free time if you can!


Craftwhack April 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm

This is great advice that goes above and beyond the basic camp info. My 9 year old is going to 2 night sleepaway camp this summer and I’m scared poo-less that she’s going to have a meltdown. Aaaaaand it’s 3 months away. On the other hand, I’m so excited about her first experience with sleepaway camp. Yay, camp!

San Diego Plumber April 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

I’ve heard different reactions about summer camp. Some liked it, some didn’t seem to enjoy it. I think that our objective here is to ensure everybody gets the chance to have fun and you simply nailed it in this post. Happy Summer Camp! :)

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