How to Find a Summer Camp Your Child Will Love

By JustMommies staff

For kids, summer means getting a break from school. While they usually enjoy the break at first, they may soon get bored of having nothing to do. Keeping your kids active during the summer months may be a challenge, but one thing you could do to break up the summer and make it more exciting for your kids is to send them on a summer camp adventure.

Before you decide to send your child to camp, make sure that he is ready for it. Does he like making new friends? Has he been away overnight before? If he's never been away from home before, you may want to start with a summer day camp program (where kids go to camp during the day but go home at night). They even have half day camps for younger children. Whether your child is ready for day camp, half-days, or overnight camp, you can find all types of camps he would enjoy.

Finding a Summer Camp

MySummerCamps.com is a great place to start your search for the perfect summer camp for your child. They have a directory of summer camps that includes locations, detailed descriptions and reviews. Talk to your child about what he's interested in. They have camps for everything from sports, to acting, dancing, photography, music or art. Think of it as an adventure for your kid.

You'll want to get started planning for summer camp by April, maybe even earlier. Even though summer might seem a ways away, starting your plans early will insure that you have everything ready for your child to go to summer camp. Start by looking at your budget for summer camp and your child's interest. Once you have an idea what type of camp you're looking for, make a list. Go through your list and make sure the camps are accredited. You can check accreditation by looking them up on the American Camp Association (www.acacamps.org). Schedule a time when you and your child can tour each camp, meet the staff, and the camp director. This should give you a good feel for what the camp will be like. You will also want to look at reviews for the camp.

When choosing a camp, look at locations. Locations closer to home may make more economic sense and may make things easier for you and your child. This is especially true if your child will be going to an overnight camp. A summer-camp veteran or older child may be ready to be far from home, but first-timers and younger kids often do better at a camp closer to home. If your kiddo has any issues or feels overwhelmed, you can easily drop by camp for a visit. Discuss visiting times and policies with the camp.

If you don't have money set aside already for camp, start a savings plan so that you will have the money ready in time for camp. You may want to talk to family and friends to see if they'd like to help pay for your child's summer camp. You could ask for a gift for birthdays or good grades to contribute towards your child's summer camp fund. In addition, talk to the camp about scholarships or financial aid. If you have more than one child, you may be able to get a discount for sending a second child to camp.

Once you have decided what camp your child wants to go to, start building the enthusiasm for your child's summer camp adventure. Summer camp can be an experience that your child remembers for a life time. Mark your calendar and let him count down the days till he gets to go to camp!