When you're an adult, summertime isn’t that special. Sure, there are a few mattress-and-truck-sale holidays, but there’s no summer vacation from work and here in the Bay Area we don’t even have the warm beach days that are synonymous with the season. (Editor's Note: This article has been updated to be accurate in 2018.)
Summer poses an additional challenge for parents: who’s going to look after the kids? Finding a summer camp that ensures your child doesn’t forget half of what they learned during the school year can be difficult enough. But add the fact that it needs to be at a place that’s affordable, within a reasonable distance from home or work, and hopefully one that offers additional enrichment makes it seem impossible. But fret not; we’ve compiled a list of 10 camps that represent a broad spectrum of creative and artistic fields, age requirements, and prices all throughout the Bay Area. Whether you want to sign up for multiple sessions or try something out a new camp one week for a change of pace, the options are plentiful.
June 18 - Aug. 10
Is your child a budding entertainer? Singing, dancing, getting into your closet and make-up? Don’t go the Dina Lohan route and consider signing them up for musical theater camp instead. No auditions are necessary for Camp CMT and anyone from Pre-K through 12th grade is welcome to attend. Prices range from $290-$690 per session with extended care programs available for an additional rate. During one of their two-week sessions at Camp CMT's three locations, your little performer will work on their acting, voice and dance skills, as well as take part in workshops like stage crafts and comedy sketches.
June 11 - Aug. 28
Camp Edmo offers a wide array of programs with rotating themes at locations in San Francisco, the Peninsula, as well as North/South/East Bay. The Arts and Science program focusses on design-thinking and creative problem solving, while the Maker program allows kids to tinker on projects and teaches them that common materials can be used to make special devices. Camp Edmo’s enrollment is open to Preschoolers through 8th graders, with one-week sessions starting June 11. Prices start at $409 a week and vary per location, but there are financial aid options and you do receive a discount if you sign up for at least two weeks.
Peninsula Young Writers Summer Camp
June 11 - July 13
Good communication and writing skills are important and often under appreciated tools. Help your child express themselves beyond smiling poo emojis (although they are wonderful and there is a time and place for them) by enrolling them in the Peninsula Young Writers camp. The San Carlos-based camp offers one-week workshops for kids ages 8 to 14. There are two options available: the "writing rubbish" session where students visit the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos and write a story inspired by ecology; and a workshop called "Food Fantasy" where students learn to bake pretzels and then write stories referencing what they learned. Scholarship opportunities are available for the sessions that range from $275 for half day or $480 for full day per week.
June 11 - Aug. 17
These Lafayette-based camps are organized by either theme or skill level, so whether your fashionista is new to a sewing machine or already interested in textile design, there’s a class here for him or her. Half day sessions are available from $425 per week or full day for $795. The majority of the camps are blend of kids 4th grade and up, with special teen-only classes for middle and high-schoolers. Expose your child to the work that goes into making quality garments and change the way they think about apparel -- the last thing we need is more people hooked on fast fashion.
Urban Adventure Camps
June 11 - Aug. 31
Urban Adventure Camps are exactly what the name implies. Every morning, campers between the ages of 8 and 15 meet at Rockridge BART and set off on fun and information-packed trips around the Bay Area. Destinations include the de Young Museum, Angel Island, the USS Hornet, and others. Sessions start on June 8 but they don’t take place every week so be sure to schedule accordingly. The Art and History programs cost $450 per week and cover transportation and admission fees, as well as two snacks per day. Need-based scholarships are available as are multiple session and bring-a-friend bonuses.
June 11 - Sept. 1
Does your child have more of an interest in working behind the camera rather than being in front of it? Well, then the IncrediFlix camps have those desires covered. The amount of imagination your aspiring director can employ is endless through programs like Animation Flix, which let's campers create stop-motion films. Week-long camps for kids 7 to 18 are located all throughout the Bay Area, and admission costs start at $235 plus product fees that depend on the program. In one program, the popular game Minecraft is brought to life when students fashion items from paper, and then storyboard and shoot their creations.
Alexa Cafe All-Girls Tech Camp
June 11 - Aug. 17
In the male-dominated tech world we live in, Alexa Cafe is a breath of fresh air. This all girls tech camp for ages between 10 and 15 features courses in coding, filmmaking, photography, programming, as well as game and web design. Alexa Cafe sessions start on June 14 at their Berkeley and Palo Alto locations with the goal of building leadership and entrepreneurship skills in an environment where technology isn’t intimidating. Students have the opportunity to expand their repertoire by taking an mix of different class or focus on one subject. The camp costs start at $949 per week with an overnight camp option at the the Stanford University and UC Berkeley locations (extra costs vary).
Brainvyne LEGO camp
June 18 -Aug. 24
LEGOs: the timeless toy. Love for the little blocks has recently been cemented with their own movie and as it turns out, they even have their own camps. BrainVyne’s, whose mission is to enrich, educate and entertain, has locations ion the South Bay, East Bay and on the peninsula, all with LEGO-centric courses. Kids ages 4 to 11 are invited to participate in programs like Robotics, where they learn about project management and more as they craft their LEGO bots; or the Star Wars-themed class that teaches students how to build battery powered creations based on the popular Sci-Fi movie. Prices range from $299 to $499 depending on course and location, with discounts if you enroll for three weeks or more.
June 11 - Aug. 10
Galileo camps think the world needs more innovators and they’re doing their part to solve that problem. With locations all over the bay, Galileo has themed programs for kids from Pre-K to 8th grade like Maker, Culinary, and Arts that provide all kinds of avenues for exploration. Daily sessions are from 9am to 3pm, with extended care available. During this time your child will get to do everything from digitally producing music to 3D modeling and printing, depending on their major of choice. Prices per week start at $479 and vary depending on the location.
Arts, Adventure, Academics
June 18 - Aug. 10
This Walnut Creek camp offers a myriad of courses that will surely keep your child inspired. Their mission is based on the belief that arts learning is integral to human development and continual personal growth and we couldn’t agree more. The two-week sessions provide parents with plenty of options and flexibility. Ceramics, cooking, stained glass, art of trash, landscape and people drawing, sewing and mosaics are only a small representation of the classes offered for kids ages 5 to 14. Prices are between $311 and $680 depending on subject with an aftercare option. Payment plans and scholarships are available as well.