Camp fairs are for kids too

Parents are not the only ones who gather information and have fun at camp fairs. Fairs also give kids the chance to meet camp, take part in activity demonstrations and learn more about the camp experience. At camp fairs throughout the Delaware Valley this month and next, families can speak to representatives from dozens of camps. If you bring your child to a camp fair, here are ways to get the most from the experience.

Brainstorm Beforehand.

You don’t have to reach any conclusions, but start to talk about what kind of camp your child would like to attend. Think about choices such as day camp or overnight camp and length of stay. “This will help make the best use of your time” at the fair, says Andrew Yankowitz, director of Tall Pines Day Camp, in Williamstown, NJ.

Develop a Game Plan.

Kids, especially little ones, can get overwhelmed by the crowds at a camp fair, so have a strategy of who you’d like to visit. Camp fairs have websites that include a list of participants. “You don’t want to take 50 brochures with no direction,” says Jeremy Weiser, director at Camp JCC day camp in Wilmington, DE. Some kids can get exhausted by too many booths, says Camp JCC executive director Ivy Harlev. “Watch how they’re spending their time so they don’t get worn out,” he advises.

Ask Questions.

It can be fun for kids to ask some of the questions, particularly about things they’reinterested in. Consider rehearsing your kids’ questions at home, especially if your child is shy, suggests Yankowitz. If your child seems too nervous to ask the question, ask it for him.

Here are some questions kids can ask:

  • Why should I come here?
  • What’s new this year?
  • What will I do each day?
  • I like to do (a favorite activity). Do you have that?
  • What choices would I have in my schedule?

Kids interested in overnight camp can ask:

  • What is cabin life like?
  • How many kids will I live with?
  • Can friends bunk together?
  • What happens if I’m having a problem?
  • What’s your favorite thing about your camp?

Watch the interaction.

Look for directors who talk to children actively . “You’re looking for people that are going to be taking care of your kids,” says Weiser, so you want to meet these people in person. “You can find out a lot more face to face than you can through a computer,” he says.

Keep the future in mind.

“Don’t just shop for this summer. Shop ahead,” advises Ellen Warren, a writer for the  American Camp Association and camp fair coordinator.

Anissa Hill of Drexel Hill, PA attended the MetroKids Super Camp Fair last year with three kids age 6 and younger. Hill described the experience as “incredible” and left with ideas for future summer plans.

Suzanne Koup-Larsen is a contributing writer to MetroKids.

Categories: Camps & Classes