By Informational Post March 16, 2021

Summer camp is not just a place to send kids while school is out. Choose the right camp and it can also be a phenomenal educational experience for children. Summer camp programs can help your children test their boundaries socially, physically, mentally and emotionally.  The more relaxed atmosphere of a summer program helps open children up to new experiences. The right program can help a child develop leadership skills and a sense of independence, which are important building blocks for future academic and personal success.

Parents have found that their children might experience the following benefits of summer camps:

  • have something to look forward to each summer;
  • meet and make new friends;
  • get to experience diverse backgrounds and cultures of kids that attend camp;
  • learn a sense of independence;
  • consider the completed week as an achievement; and
  • have some serious talking topics for the rest of the summer

Summer camp gives kids the opportunity to try something new. It gives children a chance to explore their abilities and learn new skills. Camp can even allow your child to sample a new hobby before committing to six months of dance, music or martial arts lessons.

Looking for a summer camp that's perfect for your child? 

Mary Tulula Alston, Past Program Director at Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center, sat down with Macaroni Kid and shared her expertise and insight about summer day camps.

What is the benefit of attending summer camp?

Summer Camp creates a unique opportunity for hands-on learning and socialization. Camp is an opportunity for fun learning with friends. The experiences of camp can last a lifetime and influence the germination of goals and dreams.

How do you know if your child is ready to attend a day camp, be it half day or full day?

Day camps are a great starting point for kids. Most start between age 3 and 4 and go through high school. Children can become accustomed to being gone from parents for a half day or a whole day, and it provides a good stepping stone when they are ready for a resident camp (around age 10-12).  If your child is eager to learn, explore and create, it's a good time to try a day camp.

What is the most important thing to consider when choosing a summer camp?

Summer Camps come in a wide variety of themes and styles, so consulting your child should be the first step. Alston suggests you start asking your child the following questions:

  • What interests you?
  • What are your favorite hobbies or past times?
  • Where are your friends going?

Second considerations include your own preferences like:

  • Do I want my child to spend most of their time outside or inside?
  • Are there experiences you would like to expose your child to (swimming, reading, animals, etc.)?

Once You've Narrowed It Down, Now What?

Now's the time to make a short list of camp options and start learning more about their program. Consulting the camp's website will give you a good start, but don't hesitate to reach out to a Camp Director. Some basic questions you may want to cover are:

Camp Logistics

  • What is the drive time during drop-off and pick-up?
  • What is the distance from home or work?
  • What is the camp tuition and are there any other fees involved for supplies?
  • Are there scholarships available to cover camp costs?
  • What are the camp hours, and do they have before- or after-care available?
  • Will any food be served, and if so, do they have any regulations for food allergies?
  • What does your child need to bring to camp (sunscreen, hat, swimsuit, money, etc.)?

Camp Structure

  • What is the student/teacher ratio?
  • How is the camp broken up...whether by age, gender, grade, etc?
  • What is a sample daily schedule?
  • Are field trips included, and if so, how do they ensure safety?

Camp Qualifications

  • How is the staff hired, screen and trained?
  • Does the camp accommodate children with special needs?
  • What are the camp procedures with working with students with allergies?
  • How do you handle separation anxiety or conflict between campers?

Camps fill up quickly, so once you've gathered all of the pertinent information, go ahead and get your child registered as soon as possible. Camps often run early-bird discounts, so start your planning early!

Like this article?

SIGN UP FOR DNJC MACARONI KID! To stay in the KNOW - Sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter HERE. Each week, you will receive fresh new ideas of family-friendly events in/around Duluth, Norcross, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Peachtree Corners & beyond!  

Don't forget to be social with us on FACEBOOK * INSTAGRAM TWITTER