7 Tips to Help You Choose a Summer Camp

Mar 13, 2024

It may still be frosty outside, but it won’t last forever. Within a few short weeks, we’ll start to see warm weather; before you know it, summer will be in full bloom! That means—even though I may not feel like summer—now is the perfect time to start thinking about summer camp for the kids! But how do you choose a summer camp? There are so many things to consider.

The most important thing to remember is what your children enjoy. What are they interested in or passionate about? Do they love to play music, paint, or dream about going to space?

The choices may seem endless, and picking one can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a few tips to help you make the right choice.

Tips to Choose a Summer Camp

Know What Your Kids Want

As we said, step one should be to talk with your kids about what they want to do over the summer. You can start with a simple exercise: Ask them to imagine what a great summer camp would look like to them. Ask them about their interests and preferences—do they like the outdoors, computers, music, large or small groups?

It’s also essential to consider what they want to achieve over the summer. Maybe it’s to become a better swimmer, make new friends, or learn a new skill. No matter the goal, find a camp that helps support it.

Set a Budget

Of course, one of the first considerations must be your budget. Day camps are generally less expensive than overnight camps. That said, the cost of either category of summer camp can rise quickly depending on facilities, activities, and the ratio of staff to children.

Moreover, additional costs may be associated with the main camp activity. For example, certain sports-related camps may require your child to have all the necessary equipment. Additional costs may also include transportation and food. However, many camps offer scholarships or financial aid, so don’t let the initial cost deter you from exploring more.

Consider Your Schedule

Before settling on a camp, it’s wise to ensure the program doesn’t interfere with any summer family commitments, like vacations. However, if you find the perfect camp that also conflicts with your plans, ask the camp director if your child can leave early or take a short break to accommodate your plans.

Don’t Forget Virtual Camps

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, some programs began offering virtual summer camps. For example, Esmé Krom, a Massachusetts teenager, attended online sessions from the Norwegian branch of Concordia Language Villages.

“We learned about different Norwegian bands and music vocabulary,” Krom said. “All the normal summer camp activities worked pretty well online, like Norwegian-themed crafting and introductions … except singing, which ended up being pretty funny for us all because of Zoom [lag].”

While pandemic restrictions have relaxed, many programs continue to offer online camps. While these camps don’t have the same level of peer interactions as in-person camps, they are great for learning specific skills (like music) and are often less expensive.

Do Your Research

Summer camps want you to know what they’re all about – that’s what their websites are for. By browsing a camp’s website, you can usually learn about the staff, the activities offered, logistical details, and even the camp’s overall “vibe.” With some research, you should find camps that match your family values and the goals you and your children set for the summer. So, spend the time to look through the websites – and let your children help!

Speak to Other Parents

One of the best ways to conduct valuable research on summer camps is to speak with parents who sent their children there in previous years. Parents will often be happy to share their experiences, especially positive ones. You’ll gain valuable insight into how the camp is run and if it was as enriching, educational, and entertaining as you hope.

Visit/Call the Camps on Your Shortlist

While looking over a camp’s website is a great way to familiarize yourself with it, there’s no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes or at least speaking with the camp director. If you are able to visit, make sure to bring your child along with you—they’re the ones who will be spending time there, after all! Keep an eye out for how well-maintained and new the facilities are.

If you can’t visit, calling the camp director is still a valuable step. If you don’t feel comfortable during the conversation or feel like the director isn’t giving you the time you need, that’s not a great sign.

During your visit or conversation, dig into any details not mentioned on the website. You might, for example, ask how much attention the camp gives to developmental levels when planning its activities. You might also want to know how the camp encourages friendship-building or how it responds to bullying behaviour.

Lastly, try to understand how – or if – the camp can grow with your child. Ask about retention rates and what the camp offers for kids a few years older.

If you’re looking to choose a summer camp for your kids, remember that The Music Studio offers a variety of camps for kids of all ages! Our camps include Musical Beginnings Camp for kids aged four and five, Kidzrock Camp for kids four to seven, Music Theatre Camp for eight to fifteen-year-olds, and more! Register today while there’s still room!