Tips for Choosing a Summer Day Camp

Oaklee’s guest post by Bright Horizons Early Preschool and Childcare

Bright Horizons summer day camp group

Before you know it, the school year will come to an end and you will be trading your snowsuits for swimsuits.

If you are considering enrolling your child in summer camp, it’s never too early to begin learning about the different options. Reputations and word of mouth are meaningful resources; however, a terrific match for one child and family might not be the best match for your child or family. The best advice is to think about your child’s interests and temperament, and make a list of camp features that are most important to your family and child.

Below are some helpful questions parents often ask when gathering information about camps. For a full list, view this Choosing a Summer Camp Checklist.

Application Process:

  • What is the camp schedule?
  • What are the hours of operation?
  • What are the opening and closing dates?

Tuition and Fees:

  • What are the tuition and registration fees? What is included?
  • How and when is tuition paid?
  • What is the refund policy?

Health and Safety:

  • Who licenses the camp? Is the license current?
  • What is the policy around water activities?
  • How are children with special needs accommodated?
  • Are counselors or other camp staff required to be certified in CPR and First Aid?
  • How are minor injuries such as bruises, scrapes, and cuts handled?
  • How does the camp handle emergencies? What happens if there is an emergency and parents cannot be reached?
  • If transportation is involved, what vehicles are used and how often are they inspected? Who drives the vehicles and what training do drivers have?

Staff Members and Camp Counselors:

  • What is the ratio between staff and campers?
  • What screening procedures and background checks are used when hiring staff members and counselors?
  • What is the age range of the counselors?
  • What are the Camp Director’s qualifications and experience?
  • Are there other staff members besides a Director and counselors who will interact with my child? If so, do they have a background check?
  • Who teaches special programs (i.e. archery, art, technology, etc)?


  • What time does camp start and end each day?
  • Is there an extended hours program? What are the hours and cost?
  • What is the daily routine?

Child Supervision and Support:

  • How are children grouped?
  • What are the systems for keeping track of each child?
  • How does the camp help first time campers orient to the program?
  • What is the camp’s approach to discipline?
  • Does the camp offer field trips? How are the children supervised on field trips? How are the children transported? Is there an option if I don’t want my child to go on a certain field trip?

Parent Partnerships:

  • How does the camp communicate with parents?
  • How can parents contact the camp during the day?
  • Are parents welcome at the camp anytime?
  • Are there parents of previous campers I can contact for a reference?
  • Under what circumstances will the camp call parents?

Camp Environment:

  • Are there adequate supplies and equipment?
  • What are the policies regarding electronics and gaming systems?
  • Is the environment secure?
  • When do children have access to the restroom? Are male and female facilities separate for school-age children?
  • Are there spaces where children can choose to have quiet time?


  • Are lunches and snacks provided?
  • Are special meals available for children with allergies or special needs?

More on This Topic:

  • Learn about summer camps at Bright Horizonsand inquire at a center near you.

Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool has locations throughout the Chicago area and offers early education, preschool, kindergarten prep, and school age programs plus back-up care for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. Our exceptional learning experience includes a comprehensive curriculum and custom-designed enrichment spaces and programs. Contact us to set up a visit and learn more about how we prepare your child for school.