In the cold months of winter, it might be hard to imagine that summer will ever return. But, planning and organizing the summer calendar for yourself and your children is an essential winter activity! This is especially true if you plan to send your child to one or more summer camps. Summer camps actually start filling up in March, which means that families should start researching and planning in January and February. 

Luckily for you, Sawyer has hundreds of camps that offer activities all summer long, as well as during school breaks. If you are looking to sign your child up for camp this summer, keep reading to understand the typical summer camp planning timeline as well as important information on how to research summer camps and find the right one for your child.

Summer camp planning timeline for parents

With thousands of educators who use Sawyer to help them run and manage their classes, our team has incredible insight into how far in advance most families book summer camp. After analyzing 7.2 million bookings in 2022, we found that families typically book camps 2-3 months in advance. We also know that most parents spend 1-2 months doing research and organizing their summer plans.

With this knowledge, the best summer camp planning timeline for parents to follow is:

  • January + February: Begin researching camps and organizing summer plans (will your child attend multiple camps throughout the course of the summer? Will you also travel as a family?).
  • March + April: Book summer camp(s) for your child and fill out required paperwork and forms.
  • May + June: Prepare your child for summer camp. Use our guide to help with the process of getting your child ready for camp.
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How to research summer camps

Summer camp for your child should be a considered purchase. Not only can summer camps be expensive, but also your child will spend a lot of time there. Therefore, you want to make the right decision and send your child to a camp where they will be safe and have fun. 

Use these tips to help you as you research summer camps for your family to find camps that are accredited, verified, and perfect for your child.

  • Look at reviews. Have other families like yours enjoyed the camp before? Reviews are a great place to start when you are deciding on a camp for your child. See what other families have enjoyed about their experience and see if they have any suggestions for the future. Peer comments are one of the best ways to determine if the camp is right for your child.
  • Make sure the camp is verified. If you use a verified marketplace like Sawyer, you can be sure that the camps you are reviewing are vetted. Continue your due diligence by checking out the camp’s website, which should have information about the owners, directors, and staff. 
  • Ask questions. Asking questions is a great way to speak with the camp owner or director and get an understanding of the camp’s philosophy, safety measures, training procedures, and more. The American Camp Association (ACA) has a great list of questions that you can ask in the camp research process.
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Finding the right summer camp for your child

Ultimately, finding the right summer camp for your child comes down to determining where they will be safe, have fun, and grow. Part of this process comes with speaking with your child and asking what they are interested in doing during the summer. Part of it comes from your research and what you think your child needs to thrive. 

Here are our recommendations for finding the right summer camp for your child.

  • Talk to your child. One of the best ways to find the right summer camp for your child is to talk to them and see what they are interested in. Do they want to dive into art or science? Are they more excited to get outside and explore? Ask them what kind of activities and experiences they want during the summer, then find camps that fit those requests.
  • See what their friends are doing. If your child is unsure about summer camp, signing up with a friend can help them get more comfortable. While you want your child to make new friends at camp, having a buddy can help break the ice. Use our guide to help your child make friends at summer camp.
  • Limit comparisons and just do what is right for them. Some children develop emotionally and socially more quickly than others. Try to choose a camp that is right for your child, not based on their age or what others are doing. For example, some young children are ready for longer day camps or even sleepaway camps before older children. Just because your child is a certain age, it does not mean they are ready. You know your child best: choose the type of summer camp that will help them succeed.

We hope this guide has provided you with the information you need to research and book summer camps that will help your child grow before they fill up! If you are looking for great in-person and online camps and activities for your children, check out what our wonderful educators are offering on Sawyer.

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