Summer Camps for Toddlers: Tips For Choosing the Right Camp

By: Jake Roth,, Canada's trusted source for camps and schools. toddler camp

Have you heard about toddler camps? Wondering if you should send your littlest ones away for the day to try it out but not sure where to start or what information you need to choose the right camp for their age? Here are some tips to help you get started!

Do camps for toddlers exist? The short answer to this question is they absolutely do! In fact, the Our Kids’ database lists 13 toddler camps across Canada. However, our list is not exhaustive and, if you research the issue more thoroughly, you will probably find more camps for toddlers. Many of these institutions will not allow kids below the age of two, but there is not a rigid recommended age, as you must consider your child’s maturity level. For example, few camps will accept children who are not potty-trained.

There are also specialty toddler camps that are geared toward children with Down syndrome, autism, or other behavioural issues.

Safety and Child Growth at Toddler Camps

As camps for toddlers are growing in popularity, they are also becoming more and more safe. Kid leashes, baby cot, baby helmets, and special beds are often required at these camps. Moreover, parents or caretakers sometimes attend camp with their child.

A local day camp run by a school is an excellent opportunity for your toddler. These organizations offer lots of games and activities to ensure that your child’s day is busy. He or she will probably sleep well after a day at camp!

Camps for toddlers will recognize your child’s growth, as Nicola Brandes, mother of Gabrielle who attended Richmond Hill Country Club Day Camp, explains. “They’re in tune with the children. I came to pick her up one day and I’m approached by two of her counselors, and they tell me Gabrielle is too advanced for that program. I actually started crying, ‘What, letting go from a baby camp to go into this big massive camp?’” Indeed, your toddler’s maturity, not age, may determine his or her designated social unit.

What to Consider Before Sending Your Toddler to Camp

However, there are some things to consider before sending your child to camp. Most notably, if he or she does not have much experience with, or does not yet relate well to other children, camp may be overwhelming or scary. Furthermore, if your child associates the experience with early-life negativity, his or her opinion about camp may be difficult to change in the long-term. Wait until your child is ready to go to camp (talking to his or her pre-school instructor may help you identify this).

Still, summer camp for toddlers has many concrete benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Your child will have the chance to mature. “You sort of watch them grow up over the summer,” Brad Mittelman, father of Ethan and Paige, says. “School is structured and wonderful, but camp gives them that freedom to really get a sense of who they are and where they fit.” This newfound independence will best allow your child to explore his or her individuality.
  • Camp is a great opportunity for your child to make new friends and socially engage with other kids more frequently than he or she ever has. Here, interaction is ubiquitous!
  • Mental stimulation at a young age helps a kid’s cognitive development. Because camps for toddlers are filled with activities, like arts and crafts, such stimulus is constant.

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