kids with counselor at summer camp on the lake

7-Step Summer Camp Prep Guide for Parents

Summer camps allow children to engage in fun activities.

It doesn’t matter whether your child is in high school or younger. Numerous camp options, such as day, overnight, or art camps, are available to suit their interests.

Here is a 7-step summer camp prep guide for parents.

child working on arts and crafts at summer camp

Summer Camp Prep

  1. Determine Whether Your Child is Interested in Going Camping

Is my child ready for sleepaway camp? Are they interested in the camping experience? What age is appropriate for a sleepaway camp? These are some of the questions to answer before choosing a camping facility. 

Suppose the kid is between the ages of eight and seven. Then they’re ready for overnight camp. Campers can start attending day camp from the age of three years.

If you want to enroll them in an overnight camp, think about their preparedness. Have they been away from home before? Probably with relatives or friends? 

If they have, how comfortable were they? According to experts, children who struggle to separate from their parents may not cope at an overnight camp.

Don’t send kids to a far-away camp if they don’t have the relevant skills to survive in your presence. Suppose the child is comfortable with going camping. Enroll them to a facility but sit them down and explain what they should expect.

  1. Consider the Summer Camp Type

The summer camp you choose impacts your child’s overall experience. Always choose an accredited facility that meets safety, health, and program quality standards. Some of the options parents can consider include:

  • Sleepaway and Day Camps

The duration of a sleepaway camp is between one to eight weeks. Kids attending this camp will engage in a wide range of supervised activities like field trips.

Day camp is ideal for children who aren’t ready for far-away camp. Activities in a day camp aren’t as comprehensive as is the case in an overnight camp. Some camping facilities offer transportation to and from camp.

  • Special Needs Camps

These camps are suitable for children with physical, medical, or mental disabilities.

  • Traditional and Specialty Camps

Traditional camps offer an overall camping experience that includes a blend of outdoor and sporting events, arts, and crafts. However, their specialty counterparts offer a distinct activity or theme. For example, this can be arts or sports.

After narrowing down your options, call the camp to make some clarifications. You can even visit the facility where possible.

Some of the must-ask questions include:

  • Is the facility accredited?
  • What are the educational and career qualifications of the supervisors or camp guides?
  • Does the camp have a guiding philosophy?
  • What camp program does the facility operate by?
  • Can I contact parents whose children have camped here previously?
  • What are the facility’s medical and safety arrangements?
  • What is the camper-counselor ratio?

If you’re content with the camp’s response, entrust them with your child.

  1. Help Your Child Pack for Summer Camp

You might receive a packing list days before the camp commencement date. However, this will depend on the facility you choose.

Often, the list will include allowed, and banned items at the facility. Some must-have belongings include hygiene products like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and laundry detergent. 

Disallowed items include all forms of electronic devices. Read the packing list keenly to guarantee your child a smooth transition to camp. Avoid packing forbidden items for your child. This is a way of teaching kids the importance of following rules from an early age.

  1. Book a Doctor’s Appointment

Does your child need the doctor’s approval before attending camp? Book an appointment early to avoid queueing the whole day. Have your health provider sign all the necessary health forms and return them to the camp.

Remember, you may need to hand-deliver the medical forms, depending on the summer camp facility you choose. If that is the case, prepare a camp folder and pack it in your child’s suitcase to avoid forgetting it on the reporting day.

  1. Label Your Child’s Belongings

Labeling your child’s stuff will make identification easier. Children often struggle to remain organized in their tents. If their belongings are not labeled, sorting them out will be daunting.

Children will enjoy their camping experience more when they don’t have to worry about losing their unlabeled stuff. Start labeling your child’s items early to avoid the last-minute rush, and always use a permanent marker.

  1. Conduct a Test Run

Is your child attending an away-from-home summer camp for the first time? Plan a sleepover at their grandparents’ or friends’ house to prepare them for the camping experience.

According to experts, that will help them experience life away from their parents and siblings.

  1. Discuss Camp Expectations with Your Child

Camp can be a powerful experience, especially because it’s far from home. Unlike going to school and returning home, camp involves:

  • Engaging in new activities.
  • Meeting and making new friends.
  • Learning to follow a new daily routine.

According to experts, parents should discuss the upcoming camping experience with their children. Address some of their concerns but also outline their strengths. Help them understand that you believe in their ability to wade through the challenges. 

Talk about some of the events they excelled in before and explain how they can leverage the camping experience to learn new skills and nurture the existing ones. Discuss any problems they’ve faced before and how they solved them. 

Set realistic expectations about the summer camp 2023 experience. Ensure your child is mentally prepared for both high and low points. Let them understand how happy you are for them without telling them how much you’ll miss them.

While you may have trouble coping with their absence, letting them know about it can complicate the trip for them.


Summer camps are highly beneficial for children of different ages. However, many children are homesick, especially when attending far-away camp for the first time. What do experts say about this?

Talk to your child about that experience. Inform them that feeling homesick is normal, but you trust them to manage it. After all, they will only miss home for the first few days. 

Apart from the numerous activities available in secular summer camps, children will meet their peers from different regions. These preparedness tips ensure your child is ready for the summer camp experience.

Camp can be a growth-stimulating experience for the child and their parents.