Chicago Day Camps
Day camp is a great way for kids to develop skills, make new friends and gain independence with their food allergies. As summer comes to an end, we wanted to highlight a few day camps in the Chicago area that work hard to create food allergy-friendly spaces and include everyone in on the summer fun.
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The Kids' Table lets kids get creative in the kitchen as they discover cooking skills and learn how to prepare full dishes. While none of the recipes include peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish or meat, they occasionally use products that may be manufactured in facilities with nuts. Let the staff know if your child has a severe food allergy, and they can accommodate with recipes that do use any potentially cross-contaminated ingredients.
Locations: Lakeview and Wicker Park
Game On! summer camp focuses on empowering young girls through sports like soccer, lacrosse, yoga and swimming. The camp is completely peanut-free — campers aren’t allowed to bring anything in with nuts and are reminded to not share food. The hot lunch option is made in an entirely nut-free facility. They have a nurse on staff, and the counselors are trained in food allergy awareness.
Locations: Chicago and Northbrook
Experiment, discover and create during day camp at Kids’ Science Labs. The facility is completely peanut and tree nut-free, and parents are not allowed to pack lunches with anything that contains peanuts, tree nuts, chocolate or candy. Half-day and full-day camps are offered with extended stay in some locations.
Locations: Naperville and Northbrook
Hi-Five sports camp teaches camaraderie, leadership and, of course, sports! At the start of camp, parents fill out a form with their child’s food allergy information, and each counselor reviews the form with the director and the medical trainer. The medical trainer — on staff 24/7 — will have the child's auto-injectors, meds a copy of their form on-hand at all times. All counselors and coaches are trained to recognize the symptoms of a reaction and how to use an auto-injector. To prevent cross-contact, each child must wash their hands after eating and help disinfect the table.
Locations: Chicago, Gurnee, Naperville, North Shore, Mt. Prospect
Take a walk on the wild side at one of the Lincoln Park Zoo's day camps for kids. The camps are completely peanut and tree nut-free, and parents are asked to not send anything with nuts with their campers. There is an EMT on staff at the zoo and all of the counselors are trained in first aid.
Location: Lincoln Park
Tamarak packs the day with swimming, nature and camp spirit. Before camp, each family with a food allergic child meets with the camp nurse to discuss how to best manage their child’s allergies and keep them safe. To prevent cross-contact, kids are not allowed to eat on the bus and must wash their hands before getting on to prevent cross-contact. For lunch, kids who bring peanut products must sit at a separate table. All camp counselors are trained in how to use auto-injectors.
This premier sports camp for boys is known for their great sports program and allergy-friendly policies. They have a strong nut-free policy that forbids any nuts brought onto campus. They inspect lunches daily to make sure there are no nuts. The camp does have a hot lunch program brought in from local restaurants, and while they are nut free, they advise contacting the restaurants for more information.