Warmer temperatures and the looming end of school signal the start of the summer adventure known as camp. Attending a day or overnight camp can be a terrific experience, but may bring with it a range of emotions from anticipation to worry. Luckily, there are lots of books and movies that address these feelings, whether for younger kids who might be a bit anxious about going to camp for the first time to older kids anticipating their return to the world of campfires and s’mores. With the help of Nathalie Robillard, a library technician at the D.D.O. public library, we’ve compiled a list of camp-themed favourites to get everyone in the mood.
Franklin Goes to Day Camp
by Paulette Bourgeois, ages 3 to 8
Children can get excited about going to day camp by first embarking on an adventure with Franklin, the beloved turtle. This story and activity book reads like a journal that Franklin has kept while at camp. In it he shares his adventures and how he overcame his worries and fears. Kids will also enjoy the puzzles, word games and mazes that go along with Franklin’s camp activities.
Tacky Goes to Camp
by Helen Lester, ages 4 to 8
Young readers can get into the camp spirit by joining Tacky and his fellow penguins at summer camp in Nice Icy Land. Tacky enjoys exciting activities like archery, synchronized swimming, canoeing and arts and crafts. The book introduces little ones to camp activities as well as typical camp adventures like sharing scary stories and eating s’mores by a campfire.
Cam Jansen and the Summer Camp Mysteries
by David A. Adler, ages 7 and up
This book will get kids revved up for the fun and adventures awaiting them at camp. Cam Jansen and her best friend, Eric, are spending three weeks at Camp Eagle Lake and mysteries keep following them everywhere. Thanks to Cam’s photographic memory, she’ll be able to save the day in the three exciting camp capers found in this one book.
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo: Camp Rules!
by Nancy Krulik, ages 8 and up
Katie is excited about her two-week stay at sleep-away camp and shares all her fun adventures at Camp Cedar Hill. From making new friends, to learning how to French braid her hair, Katie is having a blast. That is until Katie turns into a raccoon temporarily, which creates a conflict. How will she get out of this one? Besides sharing her adventures, Katie shares plenty of valuable camp tips and tricks like your own “gotta-have-it checklist” found at the back of this book for fun accessories to bring to camp.
by Melissa J. Morgan, ages 9 and up
If you have a child who loves to read, the 25-book Camp Confidential series is for them. The books focus on a group of girls from Camp Lakeview. Natalie, the heroine, is initially not happy about attending camp, but she ends up having a great time with her new bunkmates. This is a great book for any older campers who feel like city girls being forced in to the wild.
The Parent Trap (1998)
It’s unlikely your child will have the same surprise as the girls in this movie who discover they are identical twins, separated at birth. But this classic family movie will inspire kids to give camp a try as they watch all the fun activities shown on the screen (there’s a great fencing scene) and learn that camp often fosters friendships that will last a lifetime.
Camp Nowhere (1994)
When four kids are forced to spend their summer at a boring camp, they decide to take it over and make it their own. They create a camp filled with junk food, video games and no supervision—not a place parents would likely rate as a top choice for their child. But the campers in this movie have a blast and build themselves a summer they will never forget.
Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2008 & 2010)
This Disney movie, as upbeat and uptempo as you might expect, follows the story of Mitchie, played by Demi Lovato, at a music camp called Camp Rock. In the original and sequel, campers sing their hearts out while having crazy adventures. Kids who attend art or drama camps will especially be able to relate to the activities.
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977)
This classic film will take you on a trip down memory lane and your children on a fun camp adventure. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang go off to summer camp where their activities include a rafting race. These fun characters will get your kids in the mood for camp with their crazy adventures and happy ending.
Space Camp (1986)
A group of teens attending camp to learn about the NASA astronaut training are in a rocket that accidentally gets shot into space. Admittedly, this is unlikely to happen, but young viewers will enjoy watching how these intrepid campers learn to work together to get themselves back to earth.