A Typical Day at Day Camp

Last updated: January 24, 2024, at 12:05 p.m. PT

Originally published: January 9, 2024, at 6:38 p.m. PT

A group of kids surrounding a YMCA camp counselor looking at a bug in a carrier.

Find Your Great Summer at the Y

YMCA Summer Day Camps help kids grow and have fun through exploring the outdoors, building self-confidence and independence, learning core values, developing life skills, and - most importantly - being active.

Each week, imaginative themes and activities provide an engaging atmosphere for hands-on learning and exploration. And, while camp is packed with fun activities, we also make sure to supply enough undirected play time that gives kids the chance to build new friendships or simply hang out with their favorite counselor.

Although each camp varies, you can expect these types of activities throughout each day.  Most of each day is spent in small groups except during the opening assembly and extended camp. 

Two kids laying on the floor playing a game of chess at camp.

7:30 am - Extended Camp

Extended Camp is full of camper choices! From lanyards to group games, we ease into the day with fun camp options.  

Extended Camp is offered with the following camps: Kids on Their Way Camp, Discovery Camp, Outdoor Day Camp, and Trek Camp. 

Camp leaders sitting on grass chatting with a group of campers.

9:00 am - Opening Assembly and Ice Breakers 

Opening Assembly and Ice Breakers allows campers to show their spirit and participate in team-building activities. Counselors incorporate a variety of icebreaker games designed to help kids discover more about their fellow campers and counselors. It's also where the silly camp songs happen! Act like a jellyfish, sing a call-back favorite, and learn the YMCA camp song. We'll also review plans for the day, talk about camper expectations, and build a community within each small group. These camp-wide rituals lay the foundation for the rest of the day's activities

Group of kids and a counselor playing tug of war.

9:45 am - Group Games

Group Games and Team Building are some of the most fun things about camp because they are on an epic scale. A game of tag or freeze takes on a new dimension when 50 kids join the action.

Besides learning new skills and developing hand-eye coordination, kids learn to listen, socialize, think outside themselves, and enjoy being active. Games get kids to work together collaboratively to achieve a common goal - but without the more rigid structure of the classroom or organized sports - allowing kids to experience success and failure in a positive and supportive environment.

Kids playing soccer at summer camp.

10:45 am - Enrichment

Enrichment is where campers experience the thrill and excitement of scaling new heights as they master skills in areas that interest them most. Whether learning to tie a rope or how to pass a soccer ball, they will be engaged in goal setting, measurement, timekeeping, and other practices that will keep their math and critical thinking skills in focus over the summer months.

Kids eating lunch at a park during summer camp

11:45 am - Food and Friends

Lunch gives campers time to sit down, refuel their bodies with a nutritious meal, and reflect on the day so far in their small groups. They eat in small groups that create a sense of community, foster relationships, and create connections with new friends.

Campers enjoying arts and crafts

12:30 pm - Arts and Crafts

Arts and Crafts is when we get creative! Counselors encourage campers to imagine, invent, and explore as they develop their own creativity and stretch their boundaries. In the process, they learn how it feels to bring their ideas to life and collaborate with a community of other creators.

Three kids reading books outside by a creek at day camp.

1:30 pm - Literacy

Every fall, many kids return to school, forgetting some skills learned from the past school year. Our day camps are committed to infusing literacy activities into each day so that campers keep learning and continue to stretch their minds and imaginations. Activities range from daily reading and writing to producing and performing plays.

Camper looking at camera during a group game.

2:00 pm - Camper Choice

Camper Choice gives kids a chance for undirected play where they can tap into their natural instincts for learning, curiosity, imagination, and fantasy in a way that lets them master their world and practice adult roles. Some of the most unexpected and memorable moments of summer camp happen when kids are left alone to engage in free play.

Two kids building a drinking straw bridge at camp

3:00 pm - STEM

Campers immerse themselves in the fascinating world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), where they will dive into hands-on activities and experiments that ignite their curiosity and problem-solving skills.

Kid reading a book outdoors

4:00 pm - Extended Camp

Extended Camp resumes and continues until 5:30 pm and gives campers time to circle back to a favorite activity earlier in the day or week, read a book, play a game, or do a craft.

Extended Camp is offered with the following camps: Kids on Their Way Camp, Discovery Camp, Outdoor Day Camp, and Trek Camp. 

Category: Camp