Summer Day Camp Programs that are perfect for your creative child

When it comes to summer camp in Toronto, parents will find there are many options for kids to enjoy. But how do you choose the right summer camp for your child? It is important to take note of what activities your child enjoys. Are they creative? If so, your child will have plenty of options for summer camp. You can choose a specialized program that features a particular activity such as music or theater or go for a program that is well-rounded, exposing your child to a variety of activities. Read on to find the right programs for your creative child.

Creative Expression

When you find that your child loves to draw and paint, then they are expressing their creative side. A camp that specializes in creativity will be the perfect choice for your child to enjoy activities after school is over. With camp counselors on hand, your child will be exposed to activities to help them explore their creativity through a variety of mediums including paint, sculpting, drawing, etc.

Kids love to be creative and get their hands dirty, but in many cases, parents worry about the mess or question what type of activities to provide. At camps that offer creative programs, such as Creative Kidz via Zodiac Day Camp, children have access to several art variations including printmaking, mixed media, decoupage, sand art and more.

Additional Programming Types

When parents think of a creative camp, they often think art is the only subject considered. However, it is not the only option when it comes to being creative. Kids can be creative in the kitchen and taking part in a culinary program is a perfect solution. Children can learn more about nutrition as well as food prep, kitchen safety and how to prepare a meal, not to forget, table manners!

Another area of creativity lies in dance. With dance classes at camp, children can learn how to develop their own creativity as well as self-expression. Children gain more self-confidence and simply have fun.

Fashion and design are additional aspects involved in camp programming. Campers can learn how to make clothes and jewelry, showing their creativity in the process. Children can learn how to sew, sketch and design, exploring art in this manner.


Many times, creativity can also be found with exploration. Other camp programs can include such subjects as magic or nature. With magic, children learn how to take everyday items and use them to create illusions. Exposing kids to science and the outdoors can also open the creative floodgates and have children thinking like they never have before.

Overall, summer camp can be a quality creative outlet. At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer several programming options to give your child activities to enjoy. Our Creative Kidz program is perfect for finding the right activity for your child with specialized programs based on creative subjects. Contact our office today to find out more about our programs offered and learn how to enroll your child in an upcoming session.

Summer Camps: How Did it All Begin?

Why Summer Camp is Worth Every Penny

Why Summer Camp is Worth Every Penny

Kids summer camp is an option that parents have to provide entertainment as well as activities for their children to enjoy once school is over. We have all heard of summer camp, but where did it all start? Learning more about the history of summer camp and where it all began can be fun as well as interesting, especially if you are considering placing your child in a program this summer. Read on to see just how summer camp started and where it is today.

The Beginning

Camp programs for kids began as a boys-only option in the 1870s and 1880s. Boys were able to ‘rough it’ which was considered a way to build character. In the beginning, there were less than 100 camps but over time, the popularity of summer camp began to grow. By the early 1900s, the camps were considered a way for children to develop in a quality manner.

  1. Stanley Hall is a psychologist who wrote a book in 1904 titled Adolescence. In this book, Hall describes how being in nature can help with child development. Because of this book, camps would boom, going from 100 across the United States in 1900 to over 1,000 by 1918. Camps did turn away a bit from the ‘rough it’ aspect and began to offer movies, radio shows and sports lessons such as tennis.

Canadian Summer Camps

Once summer camps grew in popularity in the United States, Canada began to take notice. By the 1930s, only a few summer camps existed in Canada due to the smaller population. By 1932, the Ontario Camping Association was created to provide a quality summer camp program model for kids in Canada. Officials wanted to focus on balanced programming, a quality diet, facilities and teaching kids how to respect and have an appreciation for the environment.

World War II Affects

By the time World War II began, the summer camps in North America were hard to maintain in regards to being a standard camp and isolating kids from the world. Many camps began offering combat training as a result of the war as part of the recreational aspect of camp. By the time the war ended, the idea of summer camp began to change. Summer camp became a need for children and in Canada, thousands of camps began to be created and the OCA grew in size. Camps began to become specialized, offering focused activities such as music or sports.

Today, summer camps are quite diversified. Parents will find camps that are in nature and camps offered in busy downtown areas. Specialized camps exist still today, with popular themes such as sports, theater and music along with options for co-ed or gender specific.

At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer a number of summer camp programs, both day camps and overnight options. Our Kid-Vantage Adult & Tot program is open to 2 to 4 year old campers and our drop-off program to 4 to 6.5 year olds, featuring unique activities filled with fun. Zodiac Day Care provides an opportunity for a half and three-quarter day drop-off programs for 2.5 to 4 year olds who receive a fun-filled variety program. Our Specialty programs are a mix of half day variety and half day specialty and are for children ages 6.5 to 12.5 and include a nice variety of activities including music and sports. Contact us to learn more about what program would suit your child the best!

A Snapshot of a Typical Day at Summer Day Camp

Summer camp programs are an excellent way to keep your kids busy once school comes to an end. During the school year, your child becomes accustomed to daily activities and scheduling. Once school is over, they soon look for something to do. With summer day camp, you can send your child to a facility for a few hours each day where they can take part in fun activities and make new friends.

If you are unfamiliar with summer day camp, it is basically a program where your child can attend camp for a half or full day. Camp counselors and specialist lead fun activities and mealtimes are enjoyed with new friends. Overall, your child can participate in a number of activities while at camp, from sports to swimming and arts & crafts. Learn more about a typical day at summer day camp below.

A full day camp program will begin usually around 8:45 am and continue till around 4:00pm. Children arrive at camp and are taken to their appropriate class where they will enjoy activities with kids their own age.

Depending on the type of camp your child is enrolled in, they will take part in various activities. This can include cooking, dance, fashion design, music, computers, magic, nature, sports, outdoor recreation and more. The day will be scheduled and consist of quality activities at certain time frames. Children will be excited each day to attend summer day camp as there will always be something new to enjoy.

During full day camp, children will take part in AM snack time as well as a hot/cold lunch and PM snacks. Kids love snack time and enjoy lunch time with their new friends.

Also included in summer camp are special programs including themed days. Children are able to dress up or take part in special activities based on the theme presented by the camp.

A typical day at Day Camp may look like this::

8:45 a.m – arrival

9:00 a.m. – planned activity such as arts & crafts

10:00 a.m. – swimming classes based on age group and level

11:00 a.m. – planned activity such as science and robotics

12:00 p.m. – lunch time

1:00 p.m. – organized sports

2:00 p.m. – planned activity such as music and drums
3:00 p.m. – planned activity such as outdoor adventure
4:00 p.m. – Dismissal

The daily schedule will of course vary based on the type of program that your child is enrolled in. When registering your child, take a tour of the facilities so you can see firsthand the camp and the activities on schedule. By learning the schedule, you can choose a summer day camp that will provide activities that your child will be interested in.

Overall, it is a welcome break to send your child to summer camp. They have fun and you relax knowing they are busy and entertained. Contact Zodiac Day Camp to learn more about summer camp options and how you can keep your child busy this summer. There are many options to choose from based on age group as well as activity type.

Bronze Cross: Taking the second step in the path to becoming a lifeguard

The Lifesaving Society has a series of programs created to help young teens learn water rescue techniques as well as first aid, progressing to lifeguard status. Your teen can begin the programs once 12 to 13 years of age, depending on their skill level. With swimming programs in place, your child can learn the essential steps to becoming a lifeguard and gain employment in the teenage years. Such skills are considered life-saving as well as a way for your child to be better prepared for their own survival as well as protecting others in the water.

The very first step in Lifesaving  swim levels is the Bronze Star. This is a starter course and open to 12 year olds or teens of an older age who wish to begin their path towards becoming a lifesaver. The next step up is the Bronze Medallion course which is open to 13 year olds or 12 year old who have completed the Bronze Star course.

This course provides the student with an understanding of the lifesaving techniques involving four components: judgement, fitness, knowledge and skill. Students will learn how to tow and carry a victim as well as defense methods for when the victim is conscious and fighting back despite rescue attempts. Students also learn how to handle unconscious victims. Endurance is worked on as well as stroke efficiency.

Bronze Cross

To take their skills to the next level and work towards lifeguard status, your teen will need to enroll in the Bronze Cross class. This course provides further insight and helps your teen get closer to the goal of becoming a lifeguard. The class builds on what was learned in the Bronze Medallion program, providing a more complex curriculum of advanced lifesaving skills. One example of what is learned can be seen in the difference between a lifesaver and lifeguard as well as how to manage a deep water spinal injury.

Standard First Aid CPR C

Included in this course is the need for training involving Standard First Aid CPR C courses. This training course will cover aspects of first aid as well as CPR. Your teen will learn how to handle common injuries including spinal injury, bone and joint injury, how to handle medical emergencies and the legal implications surrounding the administering of first aid.

Your teen will be provided a CPR mask and gloves as these are personal protective equipment items that are needed for use in the course as well as during evaluations. Once these courses are completed, your teen can move on to the next stage of training.

At Zodiac Swim School, we provide access to such lifeguard training courses so your teen has the ability to enhance their water safety and rescue skills with the opportunity to become a skilled lifesaver or lifeguard in the future. Learn more about each of these courses to see how your child can benefit. Once enrolled, your teen will begin to learn life-saving techniques that they will retain throughout their lifetime with the ability to gain employment as a lifeguard in their future.

Do you want to become a Lifeguard? Get started with the Bronze Medallion Course

Becoming a lifeguard is a good choice for teens who enjoy swimming and want to become involved in a leadership role within the community. As a parent, you can encourage your child to become a lifeguard by enrolling them in swimming programs at a young age, then focusing on lifesaving levels as they get older. With quality programs available, your child will have the ability to learn how to swim effectively, then move on to more advanced swimming and the ability to save lives.

Bronze Medallion

One level of training via the Lifesaving Society Program available at Zodiac Swim School is the Bronze Medallion. This course provides an understanding of lifesaving principles when it comes to water rescue. Judgement, knowledge, fitness and skill are the four components involved in this educational program. As a rescuer, your teen will learn the proper technique for tows and carries of an individual from the water as well as defense methods and releases when involved in a dangerous rescue. Sometimes the victim is conscious and defensive or unconscious, so the rescuer has to learn the many scenarios involved in lifesaving water rescue techniques. Endurance and stroke efficiency are also elements that are worked on during classes.

Emergency First Aid CPR B

This class also includes first aid courses so the student has a general knowledge of first aid needs including CPR. The goal is to teach the student how to handle an emergency situation without any confusion or panic. Common injuries are covered along with providing core skills to reduce shock when administering care to another individual. Teens will also learn how to recognize a cardiovascular emergency and how to respond appropriately.

Students are taught how to respond with first aid care for infants, children and adults, which is helpful for any emergency situation. During this class, personal protective equipment is required and used during the evaluation of each program. This includes a CPR mask as well as gloves.

These classes are open to teens 13 years of age or older. A 12 year old can take this certification class if they have completed the Bronze Star program, a prerequisite of the Bronze Medallion training, though not required for older students.

Overall, such certifications will help your child stay safe in the water, but also give them the ability to help others. Teens with such training can go on to take further lifesaving programs and eventually go on to work in lifeguard positions at Zodiac Swim School summer programs or other areas. Training is also considered a leadership skill and works well to boost self-esteem as well as surround your child with others who have common goals.

At Zodiac Swim School, we offer several certification programs to help your child learn lifeguarding as well as first aid skills. Depending on the age and skill level of your teen, you can see your child navigate through the various programs and become a lifeguard for our summer programs or in another capacity. Learn more about our programs today so you can enroll your child in first aid and lifesaving society certification classes.

Explore the “Taste of Tamarack” and the experience of an overnight summer camp

Summer camps for kids is a great way to ensure your children are staying active once school is over for the year. After school ends, children look for something to do and to stay active. With summer camp, you can enroll your child in full day or half day programs or even consider an overnight option. For children ages 7 to 12, Zodiac Day Camp provides Camp Tamarack, an overnight summer camp where kids take part in fun summer camp activities, water sports and more.

What is Camp Tamarack?

Camp Tamarack is an overnight camp owned by the Directors/Owners of Zodiac Day Camp located in Ontario along a private lake in Muskoka. Last summer, the camp hosted campers and families of Zodiac Day Camp and now look forward to having campers move up to becoming full fledged campers of Tamarack. A multi-faceted program has been created and promotes camp spirit, friendships and having fun. Campers of the 7 to 12 year old range have the ability to stay for 1 week or 2 weeks,  3 weeks, 4 weeks or 7 weeks. Younger campers or those who are inexperienced in overnight stays also have options so they too can be introduced into camp life.

Acorn Program

This program is for kids ages 7 to 12 who wish to participate in the full camp experience. Choose a time frame for your child to attend, from one week to fifteen days. You have the option to extend the stay of your child when choosing a shorter time frame. You may find that your child is not ready to come back home just yet once they experience camp.

Mini Acorn Program

There is also another version of the above program, known as the Mini Acorn Program. Campers who are ages 6 to 11 this year can register for the mini program for this summer. This is a weekend opportunity to give campers a ‘Taste of Tamarack’. The three day, two night opportunity is reasonably priced and can help introduce your child to summer camp.

The mini weekend sessions are planned for this August so there is still plenty of time to enroll your child. During the weekend, your child will have access to the same wonderful facilities as if they were a full fledged camper. The caring and committed staff members are ready to assist your child in adjusting to camp life as well as providing a wonderful overall experience.

Children will have quality accommodations, food provided, fun programs to take part in and receive a Camp Tamarack shirt once camp is over. Your child will have the chance to  make new friends and have fond memories of camp during this weekend experience.

Find out more about camp and what Zodiac Day Camp and Camp Tamarack offers during the summer months by visiting our website or contacting our camp office. We are happy to help you learn more about our many camp options, treating your child to the wonderful experience known as summer camp!

Overnight Summer Camp in the heart of Muskoka

During the summer months, summer camp programs allow children to stay busy, have fun and make new friends. Many parents want their children to experience summer camp the ‘old fashioned way’ and have their children go on overnight adventures. Campers at Zodiac Day Camp between the ages of 6-12 can experience a Taste of Tamarack, an overnight experience at Zodiac’s sister camp, Camp Tamarack located in Bracebridge, Ontario. Our Camp Tamarack option is a summer camp in Ontario where your child can enjoy an overnight camping experience. The camp is located along a private lake in Muskoka and is an established and respected summer camp option.

Impressive Facilities

The 2016 summer camp season was such a success and Camp Tamarack is now looking forward to hosting more Zodiac campers for the 2017 season. Camp Tamarack looks forward to hosting new campers, helping children to enjoy a multi-faceted program and get into the camp spirit. Your child can attend this summer camp and have the opportunity to build new friendships that will last a lifetime, as well as, make memories they will cherish forever.

The summer camp is open to 7 year olds or older campers with 1 week, 3 week, 4 week and 7 week programs. Children who are 6 to 12 years of age can have access to additional options, including Mini Acorn Weekend, an experience for kids who have yet to go on an overnight adventure away from home.

Acorn Program

This program was created for children ages 7 to 12 who are new to the camp or might prefer a shorter stay. Campers will be introduced to Tamarack and if they enjoy it, their session can be extended. This helps to introduce your child to camp and then allow them to continue their stay if they are having a good time, which of course, they will be!

Mini Acorn Program

Campers who will be 6 to 11 years old this year can take part in this program which is an introductory weekend getaway. This three day, two night program helps children to see what the camp experience at Tamarack is all about. Children have full access to camp activities and programs, being fully immersed in the camp life. Accommodations, food and programs are all included so your child can see just what camp can offer.

Overall, Camp Tamarack offers children a wonderful way to spend their summer months. From camp programs to watersports, quality accommodations and tasty camp foods, your child is certain to have a good time. Children from ages 7 to 12 often need to stay active once school is out for the summer and camp life is a great way in which they can continue to exercise and stay fit, as well as have fun making new friends and taking part in exciting activities.

At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer a multitude of summer camp activities and programs. Learn more about our unique summer day camp and overnight options by contacting our camp directors. We look forward to helping you find a summer camp option for your child.

Why using reusable swim diapers are better than disposables?

When taking small children to the pool, swim diapers are needed to avoid accidents. Almost every parent has been at the swimming pool only to find that a bathroom accident has occurred and the pool is shut down so it can be cleaned. When enrolling your children in swimming classes or just attending the pool for a swim, it is important to have swim diapers on hand. Options for swim diapers include disposable as well as reusable. Overall, adjustable reusable swim diapers are a top choice when compared to their disposable counterparts, for a number of reasons.

Cost Savings

The first thing to consider when comparing reusable swim diapers to disposable ones is the cost. With disposable diapers, you are getting a one-time use. This means you will have to have a new diaper each time you take your small child swimming. With reusable diapers, the diaper can be washed and reused, even if an accident has occurred. This helps you to pay less for the diapers you need for swim classes.  Swimming programs for kids require swim diapers for certain age groups and this helps you to save money when enrolling your child in such classes.

Environmentally Friendly

Reusable swim diapers are also an environmentally friendly option. With disposable diapers, they do not disintegrate. With reusable swim diapers, you can simply reuse what you have.  Therefore, you are not creating more waste by purchasing more and more disposable diapers.

Easy to Wash and Reuse

One might think that reusable diapers are hard to clean and reuse but that is not the case. Simply hand wash or throw in your washing machine, dry and then reuse. It’s that simple!

Tighter Fit

With reusable diapers, you also have a tighter fit for your child which helps to prevent leaks. The basic use of a swim diaper is to help keep any leakage from occurring in the pool. Babies and toddlers have no control over their bodily functions, the diaper helps to restrict any accidents in the public water space. The reusable diapers are also adjustable which makes it usable over several months as your child grows.

No Bulk

When you are purchasing disposable diapers, you may buy them in bulk to save money. You then have a bulk of such diapers that you have to find space for in your home. With reusable swim diapers, you can just purchase two to three and keep them in a dresser drawer, pulling them out when needed.

Banning of Disposable Diapers

Many swim facilities have also decided to ban disposable diapers. So if you visit a pool where this is true, then you will need reusable swim diapers anyways. Why not invest in the reusable option and take advantage of the many benefits.

At Zodiac Swim School, we make it easy for you to have access to reusable swim diapers. We sell them online as well as during swimming lessons. Easily find a reusable swim diaper that fits your child and can be used over and over again with ease.

Looking to enhance leadership skills in your child?

Leadership qualities are something that you want your child to have. It is always better to be a leader than a follower and by learning leadership skills early on in life, your child will be able to succeed in high school, college and into their career. But how do you learn leadership skills? What can you do to ensure your child knows how to be a leader in the community?

Programs for Leadership

At Zodiac Day Camp, programs are offered to teach your child leadership skills, and so much more. With L.E.A.D. & C.I.T, children ages 12.5 to 15.5 have the opportunity to work with individuals who hold leadership roles in order to learn via workshops and training sessions.

Experts in areas of effective discipline, teaching techniques, child development and more will be on hand to help your child learn how to be a leader. From these classes and workshops, your child will be able to apprentice or participate in specialty areas or camper groups at Zodiac. This opportunity is a great way for kids to learn how to be leaders, and get their foot in the door for future employment opportunities at Zodiac and beyond.

L.E.A.D. Program

With this program, children have the ability to participate in a half day which includes taking part in age appropriate camp activities that include group building skills. Seminars and group activities take place during camp with peers of L.E.A.D. as each child learns how to work together with others. A half-day placement is included within this program for the older child to be partnered with a younger group of campers. This opportunity allows them to learn the process of camp counsellor from a seasoned veteran and sets the child up for the C.I.T. program.

The C.I.T. Program

This program is for children ages 13.5 to 15.5 who have finished Grade 8 or 9, or if they have completed the L.E.A.D. program. This program places the teens in a cabin or specialty area in which they can put their leadership knowledge to work. Seminars, training in specific areas and group activities take place with peers of C.I.T. in order to prepare the teens to become staff members during the next summer season.

These are just a few ways your older child can be introduced to leadership skills and learn how to operate in a camp environment as a leader and counselor. Such classes help the teen to build self-confidence and feel qualified to work as a counselor and help the younger campers in a positive manner. Teens can use the skills they learned and apply them in everyday life including school and at college, well into their adulthood.

At Zodiac Day Camp, we want to help train the next leaders of the world. Contact our office today to find out more about our leadership programs and find out how to enroll your child. You will be surprised at the many options available for your teen and how leadership programs can change them.

How do Summer Camps Help Your Child Stay Active?

Childhood obesity is a major problem in our current society. With snacks and treats so easily accessible and schedules so busy, children are not often given the best foods to eat or get a great deal of exercise. It is important as parents to help our children stay healthy and active. With summer day camp, you provide an outlet for your child to exercise while still having fun. Summer camp activities will keep your child moving, which helps them stay in shape and live long and healthy lifestyles.

Staying Active

Summer day camp is all about staying active. Your child needs to move in order to burn calories and stay fit. With a full schedule of activities, your child will be able to keep their body moving, working their muscles, all the while having fun. To your child, they will be enjoying themselves and not focusing on the actual exercise part of the activity. This is a great way to keep your child active. At camp, a number of activities are offered, such as sports and swimming. By taking part in these activities, your child may find a new hobby which will keep them busy throughout the year. With regular exercise, your child will live a healthier lifestyle, feeling better physically as well as gaining self-confidence.

Pack Healthy Meals

During day camp, lunch time will take place and if the camp provides the food, then a nutritious meal will be offered. However, if you are packing your child’s lunch, be sure to offer healthy options. Fruit, veggies and lean meats are good choices. Since your child will be exercising and burning calories, you want to feed them items that will continue on the health trend. Putting sugary treats in their lunch will only slow them down. Fresh fruits and veggies gives them the energy they need to keep playing sports and having fun.

Encourage Your Child to Try New Things

When going to camp, your child may encounter a new sport that seems too hard or too exhausting to play. Encourage your child to try the sport anyway. Explain that while it may seem hard at first, they should keep trying. They might end up having a great time and find a new sport to enjoy at home and throughout the year. Always encourage your child to try new things. Explain that without trying, they will miss out on a great number of things throughout their lifetime. It is better to try and find out that you don’t like something, than to never have tried at all.

Overall, you will find that summer camp helps your child stay active in a fun way. At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer a number of programs to keep your child on the move and having fun. Contact our office today to find out what options are offered for your child based on age group, as well as activity or program type. We guarantee you will find something for your child to enjoy!