Back to articles Is it Daycare or Day Camp?

Categories: Family Fun

There are many facilities that run day camps in the summer. It is important to do your research to find a program that fits best with your family's needs. You may find that some camps are simply daycare programs offering a modified version of their regular curriculum with circle time, reading, snack and free-play in a small yard.

Backyard camps can merely be programs offering little more than babysitting with a kiddy pool and a swing set. A small camp is not necessarily the "right" camp for your little tyke. The right camp can provide your child with growth and confidence while being in a fun, warm and safe environment.

When looking for a day camp, you want to ensure that it offers a variety of age appropriate activities and programs for both boys and girls. Outdoor camps, versus daycares or backyard camps are able to offer a wider variety of activities to keep your child engaged and excited to attend everyday. For example, Camp Riverwood in Pickering has an onsite a water-park facility, including a swimming pool, wading pools and splash park and offers horseback riding, dance, cooking, musical theatre, golf, martial arts and so much more!

To really know what you are signing up for, make sure to visit the camp facilities with your child. Speak to the camp director and ask lots of questions.

The directors of Camp Riverwood have been providing summer camp experiences for over 45 years and have spoken to countless number of parents. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to assist in your search.

What type of training does the staff receive? Knowing how the camp staff handles meal times and sun safety is so important. With young children, the staff needs to help open lunches and containers and make sure that meals are eaten. They need to encourage and ensure that campers are staying well hydrated especially during hot days. The staff should be applying sunscreen several times a day and shouldn't expect the children to remember or apply it themselves.

Are the camp activities close to each other or at opposite ends of the camp? Having the activities in a central location ensures that campers are spending most of their day participating in activities, rather than traveling to them.

What are the camper to staff ratios? Low staff to camper ratios ensures that your child receives personal attention and is treated with patience, sensitivity and TLC.

Other points to consider: How long have they been in business? What first aid facilities does the camp have? Is this a camp your child will grow with or outgrow quickly? Safety is every parent's concern and you want to ensure that the camp's infrastructure is professionally maintained and not a makeshift facility.

Your little one typically spends ten months of the year cooped up in a classroom, daycare or at home in the same environment. Being outdoors at a day camp gives them a chance to spread their wings and start building a summer home with new memories, lifelong friendships and new adventures.

written by Lori Bogomolny

Lori Bogomolny is the second generation be involved in camp. Her father, Eddy is not only the founding director of Camp Riverwood but also of Camp Green Acres in Markham. Lori has been involved in camp her whole life as a camper, staff and head staff at both day camps and residential camps.

Camp Riverwood

Camp Riverwood, located in Petticoat Creek Conservation Area in Pickering offers traditional, sports or arts and science camp programs for children ages 4-14. There are over 20 specialty programs to choose from including instructional swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, musical theatre, multi-media and computers, magic, golf and much more! Bus transportation is also available all over Durham, parts of Scarborough and the Beaches. Visit, and watch their spirited camp video!