Summer camps for preschoolers

March 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Unique and affordable day camps and sleep-away camps for your preschooler this summer! Suggestions from the editor of Bay Area Parent, Peggy Spear.

Preparing Your Preschooler for Camp

Do your homework: Talk to other parents and caregivers about good experiences they had in summer programs

Take your child's interests into consideration. If your son is not yet enamored with science, don't force them into a science camp. If your daughter loves to play dress up, try Princess Camp.

Coordinate with friends. At this age, having a friendly face in camp with your child is very important

Choose a schedule wisely (half-day vs. full-day). Keep in mind that times vary - camps can be anywhere from 30 minutes to a full day. Keep in mind that for most preschoolers, a half-day may be all that they can handle.

Don't forget to check out camps run through your local recreation departments. Residents usually get a discount.

Apply by the deadline.

Let your child pick a backpack or lunchbox large enough for essentials, and label it! When packing snacks, get easy-open packaging.

Introduce your child to the counselors. If it is allowed - by the camp AND your child - you may want to stick around a bit on the first day.

Remember: Comfy shoes and sunscreen!

Be enthusiastic!

About Peggy Spear:
Peggy Spear is editor of Bay Area Parent, East Bay and San Francisco/Peninsula editions. She is also a mother of three children, ages 17, 15 and 11. She is a veteran of piecing together a variety of summer activities for her kids, and with the exception a few sunburns and burnt bagel bites, has been pretty successful.

Overview of Bay Area Parent's Summer Survival Guide
Bay Area Parent's Summer Survival Guide is a one-stop shopping kit for making your summer safe and special for your family. It is available at local libraries, childcare care centers and many family-friendly establishments throughout the Bay Area, from Silicon Valley to the Golden Gate Bridge, and from Pacifica to Brentwood. It's also available online at