Get organized for summer camps!


Liz Jenkins


Get organized for summer camps & activities!

Brrr. It’s still cold out there and already the flyers are coming home for summer camps and activities. Yikes! The end of school will be here before you know it. But have no fear…some planning and organizing now will save you some stress and panic when school lets out.

Tips for getting organized for summer camps:

Use these tips to create your own organized plan of action for the summer!

1. How long is summer and how much time do kids need to be in camp?

kids going to summer campEvery family is different so the ages of your kids, your work schedule, how busy they (or you) like to be all plays a part in this. Determine how much of the summer needs to be planned…every day, every other week, or just occasionally.

Get out the school calendar and figure out how many weeks summer contains plus the start and end time. Using either your virtual calendar (I use  Google Calendar) or a paper calendar, block out any weeks you may already have committed for a planned family vacation, a regular activity, etc. Then see what time is left to fill.

2. Create a gathering spot for camp & activity information.

Set up a file, a bin, a binder, whatever works for you and drop all flyers and catalogs in it. Create a file on your computer for virtual information such as flyers that get emailed, or links to a site that looks promising. Each time info comes your way that kids may be interested in, drop it in its spot so you are ready to go when it comes to planning.

3. Determine your budget and time.

If you need your kids to be in camp or a daily activity for the entire summer, this is different from those who are looking for enrichment a few times over the span. If you find an amazing opportunity but it is out of your usual spending limit, consider starting to save now for it or perhaps forgo another activity to do the really awesome one. You may need to eliminate any camps over a certain fee, or strategically balance them out over the course of the summer.  Or camps are your thing and you sign up for them all! Whatever works for you and your family. But…

4. Start planning sooner than later.

You’d think it would be fine to get close to the end of the school year to sign kids up but nooooooo! Don’t wait! March is usually the key time to create your plan, maybe April. My daughter’s favorite camp every year sends out the application & info in March and if you don’t send it back the day after you get it…you aren’t going.

  • Review your calendar
  • Review the prospective camps, when they are offered and your budget
  • Talk with your kids about their preferences
  • Determine the best places for your kids
  • Sign them up!

5. What information or equipment is required at each camp?

Read over the needs of each camp and create a checklist of information or gear you may need. Forkids at summer camp example:

  • immunization or health records
  • recommendations from school
  • notarized forms
  • specialized equipment

If it is an overnight camp, you will have different requirements than a day camp. But each place should have a checklist.

Pro Tip: Check to see if swimsuits, shorts, flip flops and tanks fit and re-supply if necessary. Sunscreen expires so stock up soon, as well as seeing just how ratty the pool towels got last year…

6. Gather information & gear needed.

Once you know what information and/or equipment is needed, start an action list and get working on it. Call the pediatrician, find the special soccer shoes, etc. Tuck all of the forms & info into your folder or binder. I also recommend scanning items like immunization and health records into the camp file so you can easily access it. Stash new gear in one designated place not accessible by the kids so things don’t get strewn about the house.

Pro Tip: I like to create a ‘camp pack’. This is a backpack, tote or duffel bag that holds all supplies such as sunscreen, lunch bag, wet wipes, hair bands, etc. It goes back and forth to camps and activities all summer, replenishing as needed.

Some considerations:

  • Transportation. When are drop off and pick up times, and can you feasibly get there with multiple kids or your work schedule?
  • Do they offer before and after camp care?
  • Do they provide meals or do you need to prepare them?

Use these organizing tips to make the most out of the summer camp experience. Summer should be fun and relaxing but nothing spoils the fun like scrambling at the last minute or pulling out your hair in frustration because something was forgotten.