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Getting Ready for Summer Camp

At least that’s how Phineas and Ferb describe summer break in their theme song (performed by Denton County’s Bowling for Soup). 

Parents can sympathize. There’s 11 weeks to plan for, and if you have kids in different age groups and your kids need activities while you work, making all the moving pieces fit together seems like a task for a NASA engineer.

Here are some tips on what to do now to ensure your kids get the most out of their summer and to make the planning simple and painless.


Yes, we’re barely past spring break and we’re already thinking of summer. But pay attention to when your favorite day camps and overnight camps open registration. The ones you want may fill up fast. 

When mine were younger, they wanted to go to a specific week at a camp in Bridgeport with all their friends. I’d wait up — and so would their friends’ parents — to sign them up when registration opened at 12:01 am. Extreme, I’ll admit. But we joked it was the parental version of camping out for concert tickets.


A spreadsheet might seem excessive, but it may be your best bet. A calendar works, too. Find a system that works for your family. For each week, note what camps are offered, their times, prices, and special themes or field trips. If you have more than one child, you may want to keep options in separate columns.


Visit the websites for all the camps your kids might be interested in. Check out your city and those nearby to see what they offer. Gymnastics, martial arts, and dance studios also have options!

Local churches host Vacation Bible Schools (some even for free), youth camps, or mission trips. High schools and sports leagues hold camps for kids interested in that specific sport.

If your kid has a special interest or hobby — STEM, photography, or cooking for example — see what’s available for them to explore more.


If your kids are older, you might get their input if, for example, one camp takes a trip to a museum while another goes to a waterpark. Otherwise, it’s time to pick the camps your kids will enjoy while also fitting the times you need and your budget. Start registering.

It may save you some money to join an organization if you’ll do multiple weeks of camp there. Being a member may also get you an earlier registration.


If your kid doesn’t know how to swim, consider signing them up for a class now so they can jump right. 

If they’re doing a sleepaway camp for the first time, start talking about what they’ll experience and what they might take for comfort. (You may also need to start working yourself up for the emotions of that first drop-off.)

We packed a special pillowcase for each sleepaway camp with the words of our nightly prayer written on it. Each family member added a little note of encouragement. Fabric markers also went in their suitcase so their bunkmates could sign the pillowcase as a memento. 


Chances are your kids have outgrown their swimsuits from last year. Don’t wait until the stores have been picked over to replenish. Take your time and start early so it’s not a last-minute rush to get what you need. 

May is already one of the most stressful months for parents with
end-of-school events and celebrations. So get started now so by the time that final bell rings, your family’s ready for the lazy, hazy — crazy — days of summer. 

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