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Summer Camp

Summer will be here soon! If you’ve previously enrolled your kids in summer camp and have had a successful experience, check out this reader email…

I need your help in deciding on a Summer camp activity for my twin daughters who are 4 years old. I am planning to enroll them in YMCA Summer Camp Program, but I am little skeptical about whether it would be safe for them since they are so young. Could you please ask other Hip2save readers regarding their Summer camp options for Pre-K kids?

Please share your summer camp suggestions below!

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Comments 54

  1. Sarakate25

    Our son did Camp Invention last year and he loved it!!

  2. Laurel

    Check with your local zoo or nature center!

  3. Katie

    I live in Chicago and am enrolling my son in a play camp through our park district. It’s ages 4-6 and meets three days a week for three hours a day. They will do art, outside sports, and swimming. $89 for six weeks! I love our park district programs and don’t know what I would do without them.

    • Zuni

      which camp is it? i also live in chicago and need to enroll my 8 year and 5 year olds. Thanks in advance

    • cherryluva

      that’s nice! My son is mildly autistic and we were thinking of putting him in the special needs camp…it would be from 9-3 mon-thurs for 89$ for ONE week…..were still undecided….

      • JaCinda

        My daughter is 12 and has high functioning autism. Used to send her to special needs camp and she really hated it. She was bored, and some boy (never the same) would always pinch or hit her. She started acting out and I’d have to go get her early each day…. She already told me she wasn’t going to “Camp Pinchy” this year.
        If he has mild autism I’d suggest getting him in with the “typical kids” as soon as and as much as possible. Maybe the public school has a camp in partnership with the city’s rec dept. like they do here.
        Good luck

        • Kim

          That’s helpful for me thank you, my son is high functioning autistic. I know I can’t put him in normal camp but was wondering if special needs would be better. He thinks when a kid or group of kids is bullying him even after it turns physical that it is funny. I can’t even walk out of the room for three min when he’s playing in a small group without having to run back because I hear “that laugh”. I assumed special needs would be more supervised then normal.

        • cherryluva

          Awesome! Thanks for the insight!

  4. ihearthip

    My 4yo daughter attends her mdo program in summer. They do water fun practically every day. She knows the teachers and most kids so it’s good for her.

  5. K.

    Girls sleep-away camp in Tennessee – Camp Nakanawa. Two or four week sessions. I worked there a few years ago and can confirm that your girls will be well taken care of and have tons of fun. Lots of different activities to participate in. Many girls have come for years and are not the first generation in their family to do so, but newcomers are just as welcomed!

    • dalymom08

      I live very close to this camp. I don’t see how people can afford 3500 for one month. I do wish I could send my daughter here though.

      • Melloddie

        We live in nyc and 3g/per kid is about the going rate for 7 weeks of summer camp. It’s either that or that go stir crazy at home and drive me nuts 🙁

        • dalymom08

          I sent my daughter to a day camp at our local recreation center. They would watch them from 6:30a to 5:30p. It included breakfast and lunch and 2 trips to the pool a week. They also went on 1 field trip. All for $70 a week. They only do 5-12 year old. My daughter is now 13. Awful 13. Haha.

          • cherryluva

            that’s REALLY nice!!! ours is 150$ a week from 9-5….lol

  6. Katie

    This is more for older kids but we always loved going to church camp! See if a church near you goes to one or maybe even hosts one!

  7. Amanda

    We do the YMCA camps! We have since my girls were 3. The younger camps here are 9-12 but my older daughter does the all day camps. They both went to pre-school there and are very comfortable there and so do I. We tried a nature center camp when my daughter was barely 5. They didn’t have me fill anything out or ask any questions. I stayed for the camp and enjoyed the nature center because it just seemed weird.

  8. melissa

    I love our park district camps too. They have half day options for 4&5 year olds. I sent my daughter and my son went last year and will again this year. It’s outside and near my house where I can easily check in and they do swimming on fridays. I usually sign them up for 3 or 4 weeks and let the kids decide which weeks based on the theme of the week.

  9. Ej

    We have a large family and sending everyone to camp would be a fortune. Being that both myself and my wife are teachers and are off in the summer we do family camp. We do lots of fun day trips some costly some free we all love it and look forward to it. It’s a great bonding experience and we have an album for each summer

    • Cassie weaver

      Love this idea! We are also a larger family of 5 and cannot afford to send everyone to camp.

    • Molly

      I love summer time with my kiddos! Time is so precious and they will be grown up way too fast so I don’t want to waste any of it sending them to camp! Lol! I’m so thankful that I can take summers off to be with them even if it makes the budget a little tighter…the memories we make are priceless!

  10. AllGoodDeals

    Any suggestions in Maryland? Everything I find is over $200 a week. I have two girls and can’t afford it.

  11. saving4summer

    purple operation summer camps for military older kids, there are free. There is also golden corral summer camps for military kids. I wish my kids are a little bit older, they still to young for this programs. Normally we look into park and rec from the city, there are affordable. Dont forget to check you local libraries, they also run amazing summer programs. Dollar movies are great , cinemark, regal , etc. Also michaels has nice arts and craft 3 times a week over the summer , that would give you a little break from the kids.

  12. Tammy G.

    I suggest to ask all your local schools, churches, cub scouts and girl scouts for more reasonable prices. I run a Girl Day Camp in Fenton, MI called Willi Wise Day Camp.

  13. Shelley

    YMCA camps. In addition to the daily camps at the facilities they have a sleep away camp in the mountains a couple of hours away. The Y offers financial assistance for camps, member dues and other activities for those who fill out an income form and meet the requirements. I don’t know what income levels are but it is worth looking into since they offer such amazing activities (at least the one in Boise, Idaho does).

  14. Katie

    We do the ymca camps. They have a blast. I have 3 kids and it’s a lot, but they do weekly payment plans beginning in February

    • rcvmeg

      My kids are 4. Right now they are at a full time daycare,during summer we are planning to enroll them in YMCA summer camp program.Since its going to be a new environment do you think its a wise idea o enroll them in a full time day camp? Will it be safe for young kids ? please advise..Thanks

  15. Shelby

    I used to send my son, now 11, to a park summer program. It was all summer 9-3, M-F, for $75. Sadly, now I’m working full time and can’t take him/pick him up. He did YMCA last summer and hated it so I’m hoping I can find a way to send him back to the park program.

  16. Vanessa

    My son loved zoo camp. If anyone is in RI I highly recommend the zoo camp at Roger Williams Park and Zoo.

  17. Minka

    The university I graduated from offers a big discount to former alumni. It’s 7:30 am – 6 pm for $155 a week (swimming, basketball, arts, crafts, etc). That might be an option for some.

  18. Angie

    My daughter did Y camp when she was 4. I agree that she was too young. I still feel bad about it. 🙁

  19. kai

    Check programs that your local colleges offer for that age group. There is a local college in my area that is offering a six week reading readiness camp for 4 year olds.

  20. MrsFelix1004

    Have you tried the website called It normally has some good ideas. Also check local churches sometimes they have vacation bible school during the day. I’m from Knoxville, TN and our Baptist Bible Association normally has one for $50 for one week 8am-5pm. Also check local museums and sometimes your local newspaper puts out a summer camp guide. Another idea is get together with a few friends that have kids and see about doing alternating sleep overs…maybe two nights at your house one week and then at their house the next week. One year we decided to go camping at a KOA and they had a mission group there to do activities with during the day and night.

    • Kir

      I too recommend church vacation bible school. They are often $25 per child for a week and both my kids love them! Our church also offers a music camp which is $50 so check some larger churches in your area. Girl and Cub Scout camps cost more but are still more reasonable than regular camps and are great fun for the kids.

  21. rn30032

    I’m in Atlanta and check with your local churches…many here have VBS that meet for a week and are free or low cost and some go all day and include breakfast lunch and a snack. Last year my son did a music camp at one church. Met from 9-4 for $30 sports camp at another church for $35 from 830-6 VBS at another church all week and it was free and all day and included meals and snacks…the other weeks he was home with me …one week we went to Myrtle Beach and had a blast …he had a fun filled summer…I am a RN and work nights to it worked for us

    • carol

      Hey I’m in Atlanta too..which chruch did music and sports camp info please.

  22. Kelsey

    Camp Eagle Sky of the Ozarks is such a great place to send your kids or teens! The camp sits on 4500 acres with a big lake. They hire the best Christian counselors to take care of the kids and they are taught the love of Jesus while having an absolute blast!
    Seriously, this is the best camp in the country. Check out the website at

  23. Chilenitatx

    Need a camp for a 3yr in San Antonio, TX

    • Laurel

      Check Doseum (but last I checked it was pretty booked). Some VBS will take as young as 3. Some of the daycares run “camps” during the summer with extended hours and lots of field trips. New Horizons, Country Home are two off the top of my head. Check the “Our Kids” magazine website. They had a big camp fair at the beginning of March and have a camp directory.

  24. Keturah Kerst

    For anyone in CO, my husband and I work (and live) at a resident camp up in the mountains. It’s called IdRaHaJe. We have 3 day overnight camps for as young as 6-8 year olds, and then week long camps for 7yrs up through high school and an adventure camp program as well. I am the head nurse here and we work really hard to keep our kids safe. My own kids stay in a cabin and do camp every summer and just LOVE it.

  25. Q

    I have 10 year old twins.
    At 4 years old I was not going to leave my precious cargo at a YMCA. We had a Nanny and she took them to our club house for daily toddler activities. She also took them on walks, park adventures and to our pool. I realize everyone will have their own opinions and I respect that. This is what we did and we were at peace with our decision.
    ( We live in SoCal).

  26. mcm

    We aren’t Christian but like for the kids to be exposed to all religions so we send them to VBS with their friends. They get a decent education of Christian culture for a week and it’s free. We donate whatever they need us to though- usually art supplies.

  27. Amanda

    Kanakuk!!!! Yes it is pricey but the memories I have from there will last a lifetime. I went ten summers in a row and I loved it so much that at 14 I started working part time so I could pay for it. They do offer financial aide, so don’t let the price deter you as they do have assistance available. These were the best days of my childhood.

  28. Jamie

    To label all of your campers gear (extra clothes, towel, swimsuit, water bottles…everything) I suggest Label Daddy labels. They are great. Use code “HELLO” to save 20% off your entire order!

  29. Su

    Try your local university or community colleges for tech camps, Make camps, and Steam or Stem camps for ages 6 and up. That way they have hands on fun and there is no brain drain either. STEAM /STEM camps are very hands on and a lot of fun. My kid has been to one of the MAKE and STEM camp, and has absolutely loved it.

  30. Marissa

    Check out your local Apple store for Apple camp. It’s free and amazing, but it fills up fast. You need to stay on premise which makes it difficult especially if you have smaller children, but I think it’s worth it. If it’s full, get on their email list to be notified if they open up more camps. Mine did and that’s how I got my kids in. Also, put your name on the wailtist if classes are full.

  31. rcvmeg

    Any full time camps in charlotte,NC for 4 year olds ?

  32. Ali S.

    I work at a big university in Texas and we offer tons of summer educational and adventure camps. Check your nearest university for summer camps, and check with your high school, too. The high school here has sports camps, a dance camp with the drill team, etc. My kids love to be around “big kids” at these events. Don’t forget your local library – they usually offer summer programs, too.

  33. Fay

    Music Camp. Kids can learn upto 3 instruments. Kiddo wants to do violin, guitar and singing.

  34. Nina

    Kidsborough in Hopkinton MA! All day camp chock full of activities, themed weeks, 4 field trips, and a very experienced staff!

  35. anna

    My friend and I are having an awesome kids summer camp this summer June 13th-17th, if your from Columbia,SC please sign up! We are 14 and need 15 people to sign up! We have 8 so far! Text (803) 422-5943 for more info!

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