5 great day camps for kids in Toronto

Avoid five-figure overnight camp pricing with these day camps

With many kids’ overnight camps costing — gasp — over $10,000 for the entire summer, some T.O. parents are choosing day camps where their kids can get that traditional summer camp experience right here in the city. Here are some specialized day camps worth looking into.

Horse camp
“I always say, a choice of day camp is not really an age thing. It’s about what suits your child best,” says Janet Fine, director of the Hollows Camp in Bradford. For a kid keen on horses, the Hollows is a great daytime option. “With our day camp, they get all of the activity choices that campers would get in the overnight program, so it’s sort of like going to overnight camp without the sleepover part,” Fine says. Although the camp is mainly an equestrian camp, it also offers archery, canoeing, kayaking and soccer.

Outdoors camp
Fans of the great outdoors best look into camps offered through Harbourfront Centre. The centre’s roster of offerings includes the Outdoors Bound camp for kids aged nine to 11. This week-long experience will have the kids canoeing, learning about environmental awareness and water safety. By the end, they’ll be building tents and fires with ease.

Paddle boarding camp
Toronto-based Power 4 Teens in Bloor West village offers both fitness and life lessons to build self-esteem, gratitude and leadership skills in an intimate setting. With its tween and teen day camp for girls, there is much focus on stand up paddle boarding as well as Zumba, self-defence and focus on positive body image. Charlie Page, a psychotherapist and the founder of Power 4 Teens, says day camp can be helpful for establishing more open communication lines between kids and parents. “If they’re at day camp, kids can go home and tell their parents how great their day was,” she says.

Tennis camp
Miloses-in-training will be able to hone their racket skills at tennis camps like the ones available through Bayview Village.Tennis Camp, which has been going strong since 1989. The week-long sessions — either full or half days — accommodate all levels of young players, with pro player Peter Nielsen leading the camp.

Drama camp
For kids who really want to get campy at camp, there’s always the theatre. Budding Stratfordians can get onstage at the summer drama camps available through Young People’s Theatre. Fundamental theatre skills are developed, and the thespians work toward a week-end group performance, complete with costumes, sound, lights and all that jazz.