Summer Camp

The summer camp tradition goes back to the end of the 19th century. This YMCA initiative was quickly imitated by the scouting movement, religious organizations, workers’ unions, and governments. These camps promoted self-realization for children by improving their behaviour and by developing their independence. A vast network of summer camps was created in Québec, offering short, medium or long stays. Today, the A.C.Q. (Québec association of certified camps) is composed of almost a hundred day camps in the province of Québec. They offer a wide range of programs, including various sports as well as nautical and aquatic activities, not to mention outdoor recreational activities, crafts, and various games. Many camps now offer specialized themes such as theater, arts or sciences.


First appearing in Montréal, the playground concept quickly spread to the entire province. In time, with the secularization of leisure activities, responsibility for these day camps was transferred to cities and municipalities. Their object is now simply to keep youths busy during the school holidays.

At Day Camp

Download audio (20 seconds, 0.31 MB)

Laughter of playing children, a bouncing ball, and the sound of water in a pool.

Audio production : Ariel Lopez, 2015
Trois-Rivières daycamp

Children’s laughter
Come and play, young friends
Come on kids, we’re going to the pool

Singing at Summer Camp

Songs and counting rhymes are definitely an important part of the summer camp and playground experience. Whether on the bus on the way to an outing, sitting around the campfire, as a cry to rally the group, or to occupy idle moments, music is an integral part of campers’ lives. A French classic in this genre is the song En colonie de vacances (literally At Summer Camp), which illustrates the children’s playful attitude towards authority figures in these holiday camps.

At summer camp
La ti la so
At summer camp
La ti la so fa mi

We jump on the beds
The director comes along
What are you doing here?
We’re jumping on the beds
I’ll tell your mother
My mother is a seamstress
She’ll prick your bottom with a pin
I’ll tell your father
My father is a boxer
He’ll punch you in the nose
You won’t get any dessert
Dessert is disgusting
You’ll go without a stroll
Walking makes us tired
You’ll go without swimming
Swimming gives us a cold
You’ll be sent home
That’s what we were waiting for!

En colonie de vacances (At Summer Camp)

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Children singing the chorus of the song En colonie de vacances.


At summer camp la si la so
At summer camp la si la so fa mi
We jump on the beds la si la so
We jump on the beds la si la so fa mi

Summertime is Playtime!

Summer holidays, with their playful and lighthearted nature, have inspired many songs. We should mention one of the better known of these tunes for children: L’été c’est fait pour jouer (meaning Summertime Is Playtime), composed by Pierre Florent Brault for the cult youth television program Passe-Partout. The literal translation is:

Summer, summer, summer
Is made to play
Summer, summer, summer
Is made to play

To jump like toads
The weather is nice
The weather is warm
To swim like fish
The weather is nice
It has wings
To laugh like suns
Let’s laugh, let’s laugh
Summer is great

  • Œuvre des Terrains de Jeux de Québec promotional poster. There are nine images as well as additional information on the organization.
  • Two small collections of songs for Scouts. The cover of one of the books can be seen, while the other book lays open.
  • Children playing on a bridge to which a ladder is attached, allowing them to swim in the lake.
  • Children playing on small sailboats.
  • A group of children poses with their summer camp monitor.