Summer Camp Programs: A Guide for First-Timers

Published by Hristina Mladenovska on

From May through August, summer camp programs fill with enthusiastic kids excited about being out of school and ready for summertime fun and learning. 

For many students in elementary through high school, camp provides a popular rite of passage they look forward to every year. Many parents also get excited about camp, as they know their kids will continue learning and growing, both academically and socially.

But what if your child has never attended educational summer camps? How do you know what questions to ask to find the right fit for your kids? What would they be doing all day? What makes a good summer camp program, and what does your family need to do to prepare before sending them to camp?

Here at KidzToPros, we’ve got answers to all those questions and more! Keep reading for summer camp programs tips covering everything from what questions to ask, what to expect, and how to plan for a wonderful experience. 

Get ready to make this the best summer ever – for everyone involved! 

Tip #1: Ask All the Right Questions 

At KidzToPros (KTP), we hear from concerned parents who ask questions all the time. Just like you, they want the best for their children. But what should you ask if your kids have never attended summer camp and you don’t know where to start?

Start here! Ask camp directors the questions below to make sure your chosen summer camps fit you and your family well.

  • What’s your camp’s mission statement?
  • How many camps and campers return each year?
  • How do you decide which camps to offer? Can parents request new camps?
  • What kind of education and/or experience do you have as a camp director?
  • How do you train your camp instructors?  
  • What’s your student-to-instructor ratio per camp? 
  • How do I know my children are safe at camp? 
  • What emergency procedures do you have in place to protect my children?
  • How do you communicate with parents whose children attend camp?
  • Do you post, or make available, parent reviews? 

Whenever possible, take your kids and visit the camp ahead of time. Trust your own inner voice, gut feelings and your kids’ feelings on the subject. Everyone should be on the same page when making this important decision.

At KTP, we love when parents and kids want to take a look around. Make sure your chosen camp is receptive to visits and questions so you can get important information before camp starts.

Tip #2: Know What to Expect from Great Summer Camp Programs 

Popular educational summer camps – especially those like KTP’s that include sports, STEM and the arts – really connect with kids. By keeping youngsters engaged, and combining learning with fun and socializing, they attract all kinds of learners. Their affordability also makes them widely available for most families.  

Day camps attract parents who want their kids to keep learning during the summer, outside a traditional classroom environment. These programs provide interesting subjects that some kids don’t have time to explore within the realm of a traditional, busy school year. 

So what makes a great summer camp program? Some qualities to expect from the best may include:

  • Convenient Locations: Camp sites situated in your neighborhood, or within driving distance from where you live or work 
  • Healthy Meal or Snack Options: Healthy, great-tasting snack options to keep kids energized all day (Please inquire about food allergies, if they apply.) 
  • Transportation Options: Private ride or public transportation options (Many cities and counties provide free summer bus passes to students!) 
  • Before- or After-Care Features: Additional care options for working parents with extended needs 
  • Appropriate Facilities: Reputable camp providers that partner with parks and recs or schools 
  • Enrichment Programs: Add value to your child’s life by improving academic, social and emotional skills 

Research KTP summer camps in your area and find ones with offerings that make the most sense for you and your family. 

Tip #3: Check into Daily Supplies Kids Should Bring

Summer camp programs usually furnish enrolled students and parents a packing or supply list for each day of camp. This list arrives in your mailbox or email a few weeks before camp begins. It usually requests you pack items such as: 

  • Lunches
  • Snacks
  • Water Bottles
  • Hats
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Sunblock
  • Insect Repellent
  • Goggles (if camp includes swimming)
  • Specific items needed for each subject

A list may also detail what not to pack for your kids, whether due to the possibility of distraction, damage, loss or theft. Examples include: 

  • Video games
  • Cell phones
  • Gum
  • Candy
  • Sodas

What’s not on those supplies lists – but should definitely be brought to camp anyway? Things like curiosity, respect for others, empathy, patience, perseverance and good humor!

Tip #4: Familiarize Yourself with Summer Camp Schedules 

Though every camp differs, the best summer camp programs blend outdoor and indoor activity with personal and group time. 

Below you’ll find a typical schedule for KTP campers this summer. Use this to educate yourself on what to expect of your children’s camp schedules when they sign up for educational summer camps this year. (Individual times may vary, depending on activities.)

Tip #5: Get Informed about Cost 

According to the American Camp Association, or ACA, the average weekly tuition per-child for day camp ranges broadly from $199 to $800+ as of 2018, depending on curriculum and location, public or private. 

To offset some of this cost, a lot of camps offer multiple special discounts, such as early-bird registration and multiple-student family enrollment. Many, like KidzToPros, also offer financial assistance, partial or total scholarships, and structured payment plans for families who need them. 

Some civic organizations and clubs, sororities and fraternities, churches and synagogues, and military groups also offer financial support for members and/or families in their communities. Please seek out these financial aid options, scholarships, discounts and even tuition-free options, if you need them.

Tip #6: Follow Next Steps Now!

At KTP summer camp programs, we value first-timers. Request our 2022 Summer Camps brochure to find all the summer camp options available for your kids, or register on our website today. We’ll see your new campers there!


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