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How to Choose a Summer Day Camp

I have been a full-time work-out-of-the-home mother for almost six years, so you would think I have it all under control by now.

I mean, unless you know me.

The reality is that I have no earthly idea what I am doing with the big kid during school breaks, and have mostly been covering my ears and humming repetitive tunes rather than having to research it, price it, and register. For short breaks, I foist her off on friends and neighbors, but for longer breaks, I’m going to actually have to plan.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last week with 92304892 browser tabs open, each containing one camp option.

The Six Types of Summer Day Camps

The outdoor camp: 
Commune with nature at this outdoor camp. You will start your day with a hike through the woods to learn about flower identification, tick bites, and poison ivy. Refuel with a healthy lunch of oats and quinoa before rounding out the afternoon with deep-woods yoga. Seeing no opportunity for candy or television, Lorelei has roundly rejected this option.

The museum camp: This summer day camp provides themed weeks to satisfy every child’s passion. It’s educational, well-rounded, and costs a bajillion dollars. And since the day runs from 9-3, before and after care make it two bajillion.

The school system camp: Welcome to summer school. Just like regular before and after school care, except all day long! Keep doing the same things you’ve been doing for the last year, thereby eliminating that “summer” feeling entirely.

The fancy camp: I imagine they have doilies and teach etiquette. I wouldn’t know because I closed those tabs as soon as I saw the well-maintained website. I would be getting calls from the administrators on a daily basis questioning her attire choice of mismatched everything topped with a spritz of glitter.

The sketchy camp: Fun spellingz to let you know they are whimzical abound on their website that appears to have once been hosted by Geocities. Is it a house? Is it a daycare center? Is it a cult? Hard to tell.

The parks and rec camp: Government website that is impossible to navigate with vague descriptions of the activities. They don’t need to give you a lot of information because they know they’re all you can afford anyhow.

Given all the great choices…how do you pick a summer day camp for your kids? (No really…tell me!)

This post originally appeared on Rhiyaya. Reprinted with permission.

Author: Rhiannon Giles

Rhiannon Giles is an overwhelmed mother who only occasionally considers giving her children to the circus. She has a sarcasm problem and writes regularly at To keep up with new posts and see some of her favorites, join her on Facebook and Twitter.

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2 Thoughts to “How to Choose a Summer Day Camp”

  1. […] My daughter goes to camp. Camp only fits into the quintessential summer ideal when it is wild and free, full of rope bridges and survival skills. What we have in its place is basically summertime daycare. Just in case the people who design these more campy camps aren’t aware, let me point out that for most people “full-time” employment means 8:00-5:00. Therefore a camp that runs from 9:00-2:00 isn’t tenable to the schedule of two parents who work full-time, so our kids are missing out on some great opportunities. […]

  2. […] theme of “new”: new activities for all of us, events at my daughter’s new school, new camps, and road tripping to six new (to us) states – it’s all been both exhilarating and […]

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