What is Day Camp?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 March 2020
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A day camp is a type of recreational program for children. Despite its name, a day camp needn't be a camp at all; it is simply a program that provides a place for kids to go and activities for them to do, usually during summertime when they are out of school. For example, a day camp may operate inside a youth recreational facility, providing such activities as sports, arts and crafts, and swimming. Day camps are run within churches, at parks, or in just about any place that has available space. There are some day camps that are on campgrounds, however, allowing children to enjoy outdoorsy fun as well as a full range of other activities.

During the typical school year, children are occupied with learning in school facilities. When summer comes around, they are often left with hours of free time every day. To fill this free time, day camps plan widely varied activities, some educational and some just fun; physical pursuits, such as swimming, running, and outdoor games, are usually included as well. These programs are designed to keep children busy, entertained, and out of the trouble that can arise when they have nothing to do for long periods of time.


Usually, camps are operated during normal business hours, making them helpful for parents who work outside the home. For example, a day camp may run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving children something to do while their parents are busy working. Some camps even offer extended hours to help parents who must get to work early and leave work late. However, there is much variation in the hours day camps operate. Most operate Monday through Friday.

While day camps provide child care for parents who work during the summer, families that have a stay-at-home parent also use them. Generally, such families use them because they provide social opportunities, in addition to recreational or educational options, that children may miss when school is out. Day camp programs can help to minimize the loneliness and boredom some children feel during the summer.

Though most day camps cater to school-age children, there are some that focus on the preschool set; however, they are less common. A day camp that takes preschool-age children may have a shorter camp day than others. This is often due to the fact that preschool-age children may be less comfortable away from home for an extended amount of time. Likewise, preschool-age children often require more attention than school-age campers do.


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Post 3

I went to a Jewish day camp offered through the JCC when I was a kid. Basically it was like any other day camp except most of the other kids were Jewish and there were some occasional references to the faith.

But it is not like we spent all of our time pouring over the Torah or hanging out with rabbis. I mostly remember playing a lot of dodge ball and feeling nervous around the girls.

Post 2

My son is going to be going to a day camp for a month this summer. It basically runs during the same hours as school and it's held in a huge park just outside the city.

According to the research we did he will be swimming, playing sports, making crafts, basically doing all the normal day camp activities. He is really excited about it and we were really relieved to find the camp. It is hard to accommodate a kid on summer break when both parents work

Post 1

I was a day camp counselor for a few summers. It was really a great job. I was in charge of all the nature activities and the kids called me nature Nate.

There are headaches for sure. You get enough kids in one pace on a hot day and something will happen eventually. But mostly I got to spend my time doing fun things with kids who were really enthusiastic about it. The money wasn't bad and it sure beat some of the jobs my friends got. I think anyone in their late teens or early twenties should think about being a counselor if they are looking for a summer job.

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