Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size

Children's Camps - Topic Overview

Many children enjoy day camps and overnight camps. Research has shown that a camp experience can boost a child's self-esteem, social and leadership skills, and more.

Day camps usually offer activities during school holidays or breaks. These activities may have a special theme, such as basketball or horseback riding. Private homes, local youth centers such as the YMCA, churches, schools, or child care centers for younger children may all offer day camp programs. Some states license day camps and usually include training requirements and behavior guidelines for all staff.

Overnight camps range from one-night sleepovers to a few weeks. They usually involve a trip to a nearby destination, such as forest cabins or a beach. Overnight camps can be accredited by the American Camp Association. For more information, go to www.acacamps.org.

All camps should have written health policies and disaster plans. They should also tell parents and children how to get the most out of the camp program.1 All campers should have a recent health evaluation and immunization record on file. Camp records should include how to contact parents in case of an emergency.

Some children feel distressed (homesick) about leaving their home and loved ones to go to camp. Some of the things you can do to help prevent homesickness are:2

  • Have your child take part in the decisions about what camp to go to and how to get ready for camp.
  • Explain to your child that it's normal to feel homesick and that there are lots of ways to deal with it if it bothers him or her. Help your child focus on what he or she can look forward to at camp. Remind your child of a previous experience where he or she had a good time while being away from home.
  • Give your child tips for coping with his or her feelings while at camp. Here are some tips: focus on the good side of things, write letters or look at family photos, think that the time away is pretty short, and try not to think about home.
  • Arrange for your child to have time away from home before camp starts. For example, see if your child can stay a day or a weekend at a friend's or relative's house. This allows your child to practice how to cope with his or her feelings.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 09, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    boy on father's shoulder
    Article
     
    Child with red rash on cheeks
    Slideshow
    girl thinking
    Article
     

    Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Tool