But in case your tweens and teens need some convincing that overnight camp can actually be a whole lot of fun, check out a few of these classic summer camp movies guaranteed to help your kids get excited.
The Parent Trap (1961)Rated: NR 1 of 8
If you want to show your kids what summer camp was like a really long time ago, the original version of this now-famous film (don't worry, we're getting to that) is a must-see! This fun family comedy made canoeing, singing, practical jokes and pranks part of the summer camp line-up for kids and teenagers everywhere. It's also filled with mistaken and switched identities as teenage twin sisters—who meet for the first time at summer camp—swap places and scheme to reunite their divorced parents.
Poison Ivy (1985)Rated: NR 2 of 8
Talk about taking it way back to the days of being a teenager in the '80s. This classic stars then teen heartthrob, Michael J. Fox, as a camp counselor who works at a boys' summer camp. While working there, he falls for the camp nurse, Rhonda. The cast is made up of kids from all social groups, including athletes, academics, the class clown and the troublemaker. Because there are some romantic overtones, this may be more appropriate for teenagers.
Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)Rated: PG 3 of 8
Everyone needs to experience Ernest at some point, right? In this hilarious '80s summer camp film, Ernest works as a maintenance man at Kamp Kikakee but has dreams of becoming a camp counselor. After a group of juvenile delinquents show up to camp and scare away their assigned counselor, Ernest is put in charge of the group to help them straighten out. The movie tackles the typical antics that happen at camp. Plus, we see how Ernest is able to connect with and help this particular group of boys.
Camp Cucamonga (1990)Rated: NR 4 of 8
What is it about the '80s and summer camp movies? "Camp Cucamonga" gives parents and kids a fun look into the lives of teen and tween summer campers who all meet for the first time on the bus heading to Camp Cucamonga. Common Sense Media gives the movie props for tackling topics like divorce, cliques and the perils of growing up. Another reason to check it out: Jennifer Anniston stars in this movie (one of her first roles ever).
Camp Nowhere (1994)Rated: PG 5 of 8
This movie is perfect if you have a middle school-aged kid who will do anything to get out of going to summer camp. Morris "Mud" Himmel and his buddies get shipped off to camp by their parents each summer. But this summer, the kids decide to do a little switcheroo on the parents and create a kid-run camp full of video games, junk food, run-down cabins and absolute chaos—and not without the help of a former drama teacher who the kids hire to pose as the lead counselor. The parents think the camp is legit and a summer of fun ensues. Word gets out to the whole school and, of course, the camp becomes a big hit.
Heavyweights (1995)Rated: PG 6 of 8
You may remember the popularity of "weight loss camps" when you were a kid. "Heavyweights" takes a fun and silly look at an all-boys summer camp for overweight kids, with the main character, Gerald "Gerry" Gardner, leading the pack at Camp Hope. Ben Stiller, who we all love, plays the nutty health-crazed camp owner. Please note that this movie is meant to be a satire.
The Parent Trap (1998)Rated: PG 7 of 8
This modern-day version of the 1961 classic is one your kids are sure to enjoy. Identical twins Annie and Hallie (played by Lindsay Lohan) are separated at birth by the break-up of their parents. The girls meet up for the first time at summer camp and discover they are twin sisters. After the usual summer camp trials and tribulations, the girls hatch a plan to reunite their divorced parents, but it isn't easy with dad's new girlfriend in the mix.