This time of year, the planners, the worriers, and the Type A personalities among us start obsessing about finding the right summer camp for our kids. The bad news is that most of the camp fairs have already come and gone. The good news is that the open houses are just getting started. (To find upcoming camp open houses in Boston, use the keyword search in our Events Calendar.) That’s great, but you might be wondering where to even start. After all, there are hundreds of camps in the Boston area. It has been a long time coming, but we finally have the tool you need: A Camp Directory! The Mommy Poppins Boston editors have chosen quality camps in and around Boston to include in the directory, and there are multiple ways to search for camps your child will love. Keep reading for the answers to your burning questions, like where to find this handy dandy directory, how to use it, and what other camp resources we have to help you on your quest for the right summer camp for your child.
Where is the Camp Directory?
Why, it’s in our Summer and Vacation Camps Guide, of course! What, you didn’t know about the Camp Guide? Then you should definitely check it out. In addition to housing the Camp Listings, the camp guide features all of our camp posts – summer and school vacation – in one place. If you’ve already read all of our camp posts and just want to cut straight to the Camp Directory, that’s cool, too.
How Do I Use It?
Glad you asked. If you’re looking at the listings from our Summer and Vacation Camps Guide, you can click on the type of camp you’re looking for – Academic Camps, Animal & Nature Camps, Day Camps, Music, Theater & Arts Camps, Pre-School Camps, Science & Tech Camps, Sleepaway Camps, Special Needs Camps, or Sports Camps – or choose All Camp Listings at the bottom to widen or further refine your search.
From the full directory of all camp listings, you have lots of options. Let’s say you have a preschooler and you live in the Back Bay. For Listing Type, you’ll choose <Camp>. Then you’ll see a drop-down menu. Choose <Pre-School Camp>. Your search will turn up the camps that offer programs for preschool-age children. Maybe you don’t want to spend your mornings on the T with your little one, so you’re looking for camps in your neighborhood. For Area, choose <Boston>. From the drop-down menu that follows, again choose <Boston> (this includes neighborhoods in the Boston city limits). You’ll get another drop-down menu; choose <Back Bay/Beacon Hill>. Click Apply, and you’ll get the camps in the Back Bay with programs for preschoolers. Boom.
Unless you have very specific requirements, like staying within a certain Boston neighborhood or neighboring town, we recommend keeping your search fairly broad. For example, if you want your kids to spend lots of time outdoors this summer, just choose Listing Type <Camp> and then <Animal & Nature Camp> from the drop-down menu. You’ll get a listing of all the nature and animal-related camps in our area, including the neighborhoods in Boston, Greater Boston, and the towns West, North and South of Boston.
Tip: When you’re searching for a book in the library catalog, it’ a no-no to click the Back button/arrow – you must click Return to Search Results. With our Camp Directory, it’s the opposite. If you want to get back to your search results, click the Back button/arrow. If you click the Back to Directory link at the bottom of the camp listing, it will take you out to the beginning of the directory again.
OK, the Camp Directory is pretty cool. What else do you have?
If you want a more in-depth look at particular types of camps, peruse our Summer and Vacation Camps Guide. We have posts about STEM camps, nature camps with Mass Audubon, and camps just for girls. If you think your child with food allergies won’t ever get to have the sleepaway camp experience, read our post about 5 sleepaway summer camps for kids with food allergies. And if you aren’t ready for junior to go off to camp alone (or maybe you want to relive your youth), take a look at these 5 family camps in New England. For more overnight camp options, delve into the Mommy Poppins Overnight Sleepaway Camp Guide.
In June, for slacker parents (or those of us who just can’t plan ahead) we will highlight good last-minute options; camps that still have openings for the summer. In the meantime, assess your options at camp open houses. Attending them is a great way to get to know the camps you're considering. You can find camp open houses by using the keyword search in our Events Calendar.
Finally, for advice on choosing the right camp, 8 Tips for Choosing the Right Camp for Your Daughter (or Son) is a good read.