Are we there yet? Summer may seem oh-so many months away, but the sunny season is just around the dunes. Unless you’re the kind of parent who happens to hold a degree in Recreation Sciences (it’s actually a thing!), coming up with endless creative ideas on how to keep your child engaged, entertained, fulfilled and — hopefully — tuckered out can be a challenge when school’s out. The Hamptons is full of camps staffed by people who are good at all the above. Here’s where to find them. You’re welcome.
Ages: 5-12 for day camp, 8-16 for overnight, 9-15 for sailing
Dates: June 25-Aug. 19 for overnight, June 26-Aug. 18 for day camp
This summer camp has been around since 1922, making it as synonymous with a Long Island summer as beach balls and lobster rolls. There’s even an alum directory where former campers can reconnect and re-live their glory days. That’s far off on the horizon for your child, but it says something about the types of friendships they’ll build. Day camp includes fun activities to spark imagination, creativity and STEAM skills, like robot building and exploring nature. The camp also offers overnight options. FYI: Campers doing consecutive weeks overnight will go home Saturday and return Sunday (perk alert: They get expedited check-in). Teens and tweens can opt for morning or afternoon sailing sessions.
Dates: June 26-Aug. 18 with an option for two additional weeks from Aug. 21-Sept. 1
Kids get to spend their days on the glistening 10-plus-acre property nestled among oak and pine trees. A massive 5,000-square-foot, air-conditioned indoor play space with room for cooking and dancing and a dining hall of the same size ensures kiddos stay cool and dry on hot or rainy days. The camp splits kids into age groups (3 to 4, 5, 6 to 7, 8 and 9 to 11) to ensure they get to hang out and participate in activities like sports with kids their size.
Dates: June 26-Aug. 18
This Montauk day camp has become a forever friend of family after family who has sent generations of children there. Pathfinder is celebrating its 59th year this summer and has been family owned and operated since its 1954 founding. Families can choose between two four-week sessions or a full eight weeks. Children’s days may include crafts, instructional and free swimming (always supervised), soccer, archery and boating on Fort Pond.
Dates: June 19th – September 1
Despite the name, this Hamptons day camp includes arts, crafts and music at the preschool level (3 to 5). Older kids will have a more sports-centric experience but without the specialty you may have experienced at soccer camp back in the day. Lacrosse (because, Long Island), hoops, hockey and even throwback dodgeball are part of the playbook here. Younger campers ages 3 to 5 can dip their toes in with a half day (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) or do a full day like their 6 to 13-year-old counterparts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..
Dates: Two-week sessions run from July 6-Aug. 26
Many summer camps are geared toward the 5-and-up crowd. But Whitmore is all about the littlest. Designed by early learning specialists, Whitmore ensures little learners don’t fall out of their routine after a successful year at nursery school. Tiny tots can expect the nursery rhymes, songs, hopscotch and red-light-green-light games they grew to know and love during circle time and recess this past year. The flexible program allows parents to choose from two, three or five days per week.
Dates: June 26-Aug. 18
There are opportunities aplenty to get curious, learn and socialize at this summer camp that spans nearly every age group and interest. Early childhood campers (2 to 6) will be at the Butter Lane campus in Bridgehampton, where they’ll do everything from beginner Mandarin language lessons to yoga classes. There are also specialty camps for kids ages 7 to 18.
Children’s Museum of the East End, 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, 631-537-8250
Dates: July 5-Aug. 25
CMEE is a year-round favorite for parents looking to entertain kiddos with exhibits they can actually touch. Come summer, the museum offers two programs for younger kids. Two-year-olds can have their first summer camp experience at the CMEE Summer Kids Club Jr. program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. It’s enough time for you to get some errands done — or a facial — while your kid plays games and sings songs with other tots and museum staffers. Kids aged 3 to 5 get two extra hours of fun (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). A small, 4:1 kid-to-instructor ratio ensures littles get attention while also having opportunities for growth and independance. Head’s up: Members only.
Ages: 3 to 13
Dates: June 26-Aug. 18
Sports, art, cooking, swimming and biking are among the activities your child can enjoy on campus. Older campers can venture off for sailing, swimming and surf lessons. There’s also space for kids to engage in less structured, independent play, like on the playground or blacktop for rousing games of four square.