Ages and Stages – What Camp Is Your Child Ready For?


As the end of the school year approaches, many parents are turning their focus away from after-school activities and toward summertime. For some, that means family vacations and weeks spent at the cottage, but many families choose to have their children attend camp.

“This is a great time for fun, learning and making lifelong memories,” says Iain Lovatt who works at Muskoka Woods. “Finding the right camp for your child is essential in creating lasting memories. Remember, each stage of your child’s life is unique and as they grow their interests and abilities change. Be sure to find the right camp for your child’s age and stage.”

With the help of summer camp experts, Our Kids Media, below is an easy guide to understanding how kids at various ages grow and learn and what a summer camp experience can offer them.

Ages 4 to 6

At this age, your child is a sponge for information. For kids at this stage, camp offers early social experiences that he or she will not have available through any other means. Camp also exposes them to adult leaders other than parents.

Ages 7 to 9

Kids start to develop their own interests and camp can help him or her explore these interests, though activities such as drama, computer & tech or specific sports. Camp also offers new opportunities to socialize and take on new challenges.

Ages 10 to 12

Older children graduating into adolescence are torn between being a kid and a pre-teen or “tween”. Camp offers them an outlet to be themselves among their peers. They also meet kids of different backgrounds and abilities; kids this age at camp start to learn tolerance of others.

Ages 13 to 15

Adolescents are beginning to stretch their wings at an age many people find to be one of the most difficult or challenging phases in life. Kids this age are learning who they are, dealing with the attitudes of others and developing self-esteem. Camp offers these children an environment where they can start and foster friendships and can grow self esteem through mentoring those who are younger.

Ages 16 and up

Teens are developing a firm idea of who they are. Camp offers strong, older role models as well as the opportunity for your child to act as a role model to younger children. Teenagers at camp get time away from their parents, learn on their own and may have a chance to learn some appreciation for their parents, for city life and other things they may be taking for granted. They can also start to develop leadership skills as junior counselors or even as counselors.

Kids and teens that go to camp have proven to become leaders at their schools, in their teams and when they move on in their careers. Choose a great camp for your kids and give them a head start, but remember when choosing a camp, be realistic about your child’s physical, intellectual and emotional development levels and his or her limitations. Every child develops at a different pace and in a unique way, but all can find a place in the sun at camp.

Erin McLaughlin in the Communications Specialist at Our Kids Media. She works closely with over 150 camp members across Ontario and provides our audiences with information, advice, tips and tools to ensure they make the best decisions for selecting camps and programs for their children.

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