Frequently Asked Questions About Your Child’s Summer Day Camp Experience

A beloved American tradition, summer day camp offers kids plenty of fun in the sun with exciting activities from group games to swimming, boating and arts and crafts. Following are a few of the questions parents frequently ask about day camp.

How do I choose the right summer day camp for my child?

When choosing a camp, look at the types of activities offered and think about what your child enjoys and might like to try. Some kids thrive on lots of sports, while others might like to choose from a range of different kinds of activities from drama to arts. Some camps offer option of half or full day, so if your youngster is a little on the young end, a half session might be perfect. Talk to friends, review different camp websites and make the summer camp choice a family affair, being sure to consult your child.

What should my child bring to day camp?

Most camps issue a list of daily necessities for campers, often including a lunch and a backpack containing a bathing suit, towel and complete change of clothes including underwear and sneakers. A water bottle, sun screen and snack may also be brought each day.

What should be left at home?

While lists of forbidden items vary from camp to camp, most do not allow kids to use electronic games, cell phones or music players during the camp day or on the bus. Not only will kids at day camp be too busy to be distracted by electronic devices, the potential for loss of these small, expensive items is best avoided.

How are campers placed in swimming classes?

At most camps, the first day of swim instruction involves a test to determine placement according to skills. For kids new to the sport, swim instructors concentrate on helping with adjustment to the water and fundamental strokes. Don’t worry if your child is asked to repeat a level in the beginning; he or she may just need to get skills up to a level that will make further advancement easier. For the most part, small group instruction is used.

What if my child doesn’t know anyone at camp?

Most camps believe that summer camp is the perfect place to make new friends. Camp counselors are trained to help kids get to know each other over the first few days, and by summer’s end you child will have lots of new friends to look forward to seeing next summer. This experience also helps kids gain confidence in meeting new people wherever they are.

What should my child wear to camp?

Camp is all about being outdoors and having lively, messy fun, so old favorite t-shirts and shorts are perfect attire. Some parents opt to outfit kids in short- or long-sleeved rash guards for sun protection, and most camps encourage bringing a second set of clothes and sneakers, a sweatshirt or windbreaker and a plastic bag for holding wet bathing suits, towels or clothes. Since flip-flops and sandals can be hazardous during many camp activities, sneakers are the preferred footwear.

What are typical day camp activities?

Depending on the facilities, summer day camps can offer a wide range of games, crafts and activities. Most include some component of swimming instruction, traditional sports like soccer, soft ball and basketball as well as camp-style group games like color wars and gaga ball. Some camps also have high and low ropes courses, kayaking, sailing, horse-back riding, climbing walls, archery and canoeing. Often there is a more restful period in the afternoon for arts and crafts or free play.

Albert D. Sant