Camp, Family Life, Parenting

Summer Day Camp Essential Tips

April 7, 2020

A checklist for summer day camp newbies.

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Have you found a summer day camp yet? Time’s ticking away — some programs, like N.O.R.D.’s summer youth camps, are pre-registering for summer 2020. While you’re still looking, our Summer Day Camp Essential Tips will get you ready for fun in the sun — your kid’s fun in the sun, that is.

Before Camp Starts

– Pay the registration fee, but look out for extras like uniform shirts and drawstring bags.
– Keep the camp’s schedule in a handy place.
– Make sure you have a plan B for holidays like Memorial Day (4th of July is on a Saturday this year).
– Have your kid’s T-shirts or other uniforms ready to wear for the first day of camp.
– Arrive at least 15 minutes early on the first day if you haven’t already visited the site to ensure you know where drop-offs and pick-ups are.
– Know the camp’s policies for field trips and water days.
– Store camp site or camp personnel phone numbers in your phone.

What Should My Child Wear?

– Appropriate clothing for play and weather, including sneakers, a hat, and rain wear.
– Close-toed shoes, preferably sneakers. Sandals and flip flops are usually forbidden.
– Apply sunscreen SPF 15 or higher to your child each morning.

What Should My Child Bring Each Day?

– Backpack or bag.
– Small lunch box filled with a morning and afternoon snack (if one is not provided), and a healthy lunch.
– Refillable water bottle.
– Swimsuit and towel on swim days.
– A change of clothes for younger campers.
– Sunscreen. Camp staff cannot apply the sunscreen, but will supervise while your child applies his own.

What Should I Pack In My Child’s Lunch Box?

– A nutritious lunch and two snacks that’ll keep fresh in a dark, moist area (a banana with peel is probably not the best option).
– Do not pack perishable items like mayonnaise or yogurt.

Label Everything
EVERYTHING! — clothing, water bottles, backpacks, lunch boxes, sunscreen … with your child’s name and phone number.

More Tips

– Model how to apply sunscreen for your kid, playing close attention to easily-forgotten areas like ears and and the backs of legs. Make sure your child isn’t allergic to the sunscreen.
– If your child takes medication during the day, make sure the camp has a nurse on staff that can administer it. They will also need the correct forms from your doctor beforehand.
– Know if the camp provides snacks or if it’s left up to the parents. Ask if there’s any restrictions on the type of snacks, other than nuts, of course.
– Alert the camp of any food allergies.
– Water shoes will make a big difference if water play is held on a surface that heats up in the summer sun, like a black top.
– Place a plastic shopping bag in your child’s backpack for dirty clothing, just in case.
– Notify the camp if summer vacations overlap with summer camp and your child will be absent those days.
– If you have a child with special needs, ask the camp about accommodations or experience with the specific need.

Most importantly, remind your kid that now’s the time to let loose and have fun! Summer will be over before you know it.

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