How to Choose a Summer Camp for Your Child

You're not going to Camp, your child is! Sound Advice to find the right fit!

How do you decide which summer camp is best for your child? It is all about finding the right fit for your child! Remember they are the ones going to camp, not you, so listen intently to what they are telling you. Here are helpful tips and resources to find a summer camp or program that meets the needs of your child, and the needs of your family.

1. Start Early!

Ideally, begin your camp search the summer before your child will attend camp. This provides the time to tour camps, see them in action, and meet camp directors and other staff. Even if you cannot attend an Open House or tour all camps being considered, there are plenty of ways to explore whether your child will thrive there. Attend local Camp Fairs and visit websites with your children to involve them in the selection process and make a decision as to which ones would be right for them.

2. Consider and List Camp Expectations.

Determine what type of summer camp you will need for your family's particular situation. Ask yourself, "what does the ideal camp experience include for me and for my child?":

  • Unparalleled fun and learning?
  • The opportunity for new experiences?
  • To develop new skills?
  • Family tradition?
  • The need for child care?

List your expectations and the camper’s.Which are non-negotiable and which are preferences? For example, does a camp have to be single-sex, offer four week sessions, or be located in a particular area? Parents, guardians and children themselves are the experts in determining interests and educational goals that is a basis for finding the right summer camp for them. Relatives, coaches and counselors can often offer additional assistance and perspective.

A big mistake parents make is to send a child to a camp the parent wants them to experience, not the child. If your child doesn't enjoy computers, for example, you should not send them to computer camp just because you want them to learn more about computers. This can make for a miserable experience for both of you. Instead, involve your child in the selection process by discussing with them what types of summer camps would interest them as a basis for beginning your camp search.

3. What is your budget for camp tuition?

It is important that you determine in advance how much of a budget you are willing to allocate towards the summer camp experience for your child. Camp remains an affordable option for almost everyone, an for those families that do find it unaffordable many camps offer financial assistance. Financial aid procedures vary from camp to camp, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Read camps’ brochures and websites carefully for information and application instructions, too.

4. Determine if the program is American Camp Association New England (ACA) accredited or state licensed.

Camps are unique worlds unto themselves, created especially for children and full of fun and learning. Not all states require camps to be licensed. This is very important information to know about the summer camp you choose for your child as there are different standards that must be met in order to be state licensed or ACA accredited.

If the camp is ACA accredited, this means their program has undergone a thorough review and met up to 300 standards in terms of staff qualifications and training to emergency management. Furthermore, their standards exceed state licensing requirements. ACA accreditation is excellent evidence that a camp is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment. Look for the ACA-accredited camp logo on a camp’s website, in their literature or displayed on a sign posted at camp; this is the most important logo a summer camp can show.

5. Use All the Resources Available

Ask for recommendations from friends or look for feedback or reviews on the web for the program your child is interested in. If you can find someone who has been to a particular summer camp that you fin interesting, it would be wise to try and get some feedback as to what their experience was to aid in making an informed decision with your child.

Many camp marketing materials are easy to review online; others are easily requested. Look carefully at the ways camps present themselves online and in print. Attend camp fairs and open houses to meet camp directors and staff face-to-face to learn what a camp has to offer. Ask trusted friends and family. Relatives, friends, coaches, and guidance counselors may have suggestions of camps that might work well for your child.

When reviewing recommendations, keep in mind that a camp experience is based not only on the what the camp provides, its also highly influenced by the individual having the camp experience, so try to consider the source of any recommendations.

Helpful Summer Camp websites to help you decide on a camp that is right for your family:

  • North Shore Kid Camp Guide
    • We have developed this searchable online camp guide as an easy to use, extensive resource for parents looking for camps and Summer Programs on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Cape Ann, Boston and beyond.

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

AJH: Mother & Baby Support Class - Newburyport

Mother & Baby Support Groups at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport MA
Mother & Baby Groups Anna Jaques is pleased to offer free group classes for all mothers in our community to provide support, encouragement and advice on parenthood and answer questions that arise after going home. Mother & Baby Groups are facilitated by a Lactation Consultant/Registered...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

See The Addison’s Model Ship Collection - Andover

Addison Gallery of American Art Andover MA. Addison Gallery of American Art
Families are invited to explore The Addison Gallery's famed model ship collection, permanently installed in the building's lower level, consisted originally of 24 works commissioned by the museum's founder, Thomas Cochran, to document four centuries of American history.
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

MFA: Mark Rothko: Reflection

Museum of Fine Art Mark Rothko Exhibit
An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–70), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. Opening on September 24, don’t miss “Mark Rothko: Reflection,” an immersive display of 11...
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

Glen Urquhart School Middle School Voices. Student Perspecitives, Empowerment, and Action

Glen Urquhart School in Beverly MA
Glen Urquhart School is hosting a special discussion about the importance of school climates and empowering the voices of youth. Glen Urquhart School is pleased to welcome Harvard School of Education lecturer and author Gretchen Brion-Meisels to campus on May 22 for “Middle School Voices: Student...
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Wednesday, May 23

Stargazing at Mendel Observatory

Come to Mendel Observatory for stargazing sessions every Wednesday night.
The Observatory, with the support of volunteers from the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club, hosts public stargazing every Wednesday night (weather permitting) starting at dusk or 7 p.m., whichever is later.  When special astronomical events of interest occur (total lunar eclipses, etc.) the Obse
7:00 pm

Thursday, May 24

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

Sing & Dance with the Music Man

Sing & Dance with the Music Man Brian Doser in Hamilton visit Massachusetts
Come join the fun at Community House Of Hamilton & Wenham Monday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. for 30 - 45 minutes of great music with Brian Doser! Sing and dance with the Music Man during a family concert, featuring familiar and original tunes, performed by local dad and musician...
10:00 am to 10:45 am

Sing & Dance with the Music Man - Saturday

Sing & Dance with the Music Man Brian Doser in Hamilton Visit Massachusetts
Come join the fun at Community House Of Hamilton & Wenham Monday, Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. for 30 - 45 minutes of great music with Brian Doser! Sing and dance with the Music Man during a family concert, featuring familiar and original tunes, performed by local dad and musician...
10:00 am to 10:45 am

MFA: Mark Rothko: Reflection

Museum of Fine Art Mark Rothko Exhibit
An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–70), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. Opening on September 24, don’t miss “Mark Rothko: Reflection,” an immersive display of 11...
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

See The Addison’s Model Ship Collection - Andover

Addison Gallery of American Art Andover MA. Addison Gallery of American Art
Families are invited to explore The Addison Gallery's famed model ship collection, permanently installed in the building's lower level, consisted originally of 24 works commissioned by the museum's founder, Thomas Cochran, to document four centuries of American history.
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

AJH: Mother & Baby Support Classes: Haverhill

Mother & Baby Support Groups at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport MA
Mother & Baby Groups Anna Jaques is pleased to offer free group classes for all mothers in our community to provide support, encouragement and advice on parenthood and questions that arise after going home. Formerly named Lactation Support Groups, the Mother & Baby Group is facilitated by a...
10:30 am to 12:00 pm

Friends of the Hillel Library Event #EdJourney Transforming Our Schools from Epstein Hillel to Ethiopia

Hillel Library in Marblehead MA
Epstein Hillel School and Friends of the Hillel Library invite us to join them as they honor Mark Gelfand, 2018 recipient of the Edith Block Award. Grant Lichtman, author and lecturer is the evening's featured speaker.
6:45 pm to 8:00 pm