Best Camps, Classes and Kids’ Activities of 2016

ActivityHero is pleased to announce the Best of 2016! Here are the 34 camps, classes and workshops that got the most rave reviews from parents in 2016.

best-of-2016-blog
What makes a great kids’ activity? Read reviews that families post on ActivityHero, and you’ll quickly see some trends. The best activities have engaged, inspiring staff who love what they do. Kids who attend develop confidence and independence. The activities nurture kids’ talents or inspire them to learn new skills. And, most important, kids can’t wait to sign up for more.

We combed through all the thousands of reviews posted in 2016 to see which activity providers were family favorites this year. The top 34 are listed here, along with an example review and a link to their full ActivityHero listing where you can read the rest of their reviews, get location details, and see what activities they have coming up.

As in the past, you’ll notice that many are in the San Francisco Bay Area, but you’ll find gems from all over the United States, too. ActivityHero just keeps on growing! Beyond these best-reviewed providers, you can also see our full list of providers from every corner of the country, or search for activities by zip code, date, interest, or age — just visit ActivityHero today.

If you’re curious about last year’s winners, you can see them in the Best Camps, Classes & Activities of 2015. And if there’s a provider you really love that didn’t make this year’s list, be sure to write a review to help make them eligible for 2017! (Note: All reviews must meet our review guidelines.)

See Schedules for All Camps & Classes Near You >>


Best Sports Camps & Classes of 2016

Spartan Allstars

La Canada Flintridge, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“Spartan Allstars camp is awesome! What attracted me to this camp is the different sport activities through out the day and the hours are very convenient for working parents. Staff is friendly, organized and professional.
This was the first time my son has joined this camp, and he absolutely loved it! The kids are never bored. Good job Spartan Allstars!!! We will see you next year!”
– Onzell, June 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Spartan Allstars

 

Soccer 2gether

Berkeley, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“Nitzan’s soccer program is fantastic. My kid has learned a lot and has fun along the way!”
– Hanna, June 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Soccer 2gether

 

 

Shoreline Golf Links

Mountain View, California
“My 11 year old had a excellent week at Shoreline Junior Golf Camp! Roy Day is a fantastic instructor helping individual players at their own level while engaging them as a group in golf activities and meaningful competitions. My son learned and improved on specific skills and received helpful tips that he can apply to his game. Thanks Roy!”
– Vivan, June 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Shoreline Golf Links

 

Peninsula Community Center Swim School Program

Redwood City, California
“I highly recommend this program! We had and excellent experience at the PCC Swim School. Our two grandsons were in town visiting and they both attended the Bubbles class for beginner swimmers. Their teacher was incredibly patient with them. She was positive and very encouraging and they both left feeling good about themselves and swimming!”
– Jana P., June 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Peninsula Community Center Swim School Program

 

MVLA with Coach Ken

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“My 5-year old enjoyed the Spring break camp very much. We signed up for 5 days. He had a great time being outside and running. The group was small and the ratio of coaches to students was good so it allowed him to have plenty of playing time and also attention.”
– Agnes L., April 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for MVLA with Coach Ken

 

AYSO Soccer Camps

Multiple Locations, Nationwide
“The camp was outstanding and my son really enjoyed it. The counselors work incredibly hard and all had great attitudes and made the camp fun for the campers! Thank you!”
– Tobias F., August 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for AYSO Soccer Camps

 

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Best Science/Technology Camps & Classes of 2016

CodaKid – Kids Tech Camps

Multiple Locations, Arizona
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“My child loved his experience in codakid summer camp. Learning basic coding terminology and the concept of coding kept his mind stimulated and engaged all while having fun. He didn’t want the week to be over. I enjoyed seeing my child throughly enjoying his experience.”
– Lori B., July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for CodaKid

 

Tech Rocks!

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“My son said: ‘The teachers were really fun. Minecraft was super cool. The coding was fun and easy.’ My son was excited to get to camp every day.”
– Tania T., July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Tech Rocks!

 

TechKnowHow LEGO and Technology Summer Camps

Multiple Locations, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“My boys loved the activities. They always came home excited to go back the next day. Great way for them to spend their vacation days.”
– Michelle, January 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for TechKnowHow

 

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Best Performing Arts Camps & Classes of 2016

Septien School of Music

Carrollton, Texas
“Out of all the years of music lessons, I have never gotten such a positive and helpful staff. What’s even better is that they provide song writing classes which I have not found anywhere else. Septien is really a great place to start a music career as a teen.”
– Caroline, March 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Septien School of Music

 

 

Rock Band Land

San Francisco, California
“Amazing. If my kid had a choice, every day would be “Rock Band Land Day.” In a short amount of time her confidence in front of an audience improved and she started to learn the technical aspects of performing and producing a show. I like that they focused on one and only one song; it was a complicated song, but they learned the importance of sticking with something and working toward the best performance instead of jumping around with a bunch of mediocre songs…”
– Jessica, October 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Rock Band Land

 

One Heart Music

Multiple Locations, California
“George is the best! My 2 1/2 year old boys love him. The class has the perfect blend of repetition and novelty to keep it interesting for kids and grown-ups alike.”
– Carly H., November 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for One Heart Music

 

Kid Stock

San Francisco, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“This is such a great program for the kids. While having loads of fun making new friends, learning about theater and exploring their creativity, the kids will grow up and feel much more comfortable with public speaking. My 11 and 7 year old boys loved it.”
– Kirsten, February 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Kid Stock

 

Dance Mission Youth Program

San Francisco, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“A wonderful program. Great instructors, a very positive atmosphere. My daughter made a lot of friends and had a great time learning new dance styles including salsa and belly dancing and Taiko drumming!”
– Jocelyn, July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Dance Mission Youth Program

 

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Best Overnight Camps of 2016

uCamps

Multiple Locations, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“Ucamp is a great, safe, place that I look forward to sending my child each year. Next year will be her 3rd yr and the kindness the kids show is refreshing. It’s a comfort to know that the kids are learning great lessons in respect and kindness while doing what they love. The talent at their end of camp performance is fantastic!”
– Sherrie, July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for uCamps

 

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Best Creative Arts Camps & Classes of 2016

The Art Beat

Campbell, California
“My kid went here for a week for the whole day (both morning and afternoon sessions) and liked it immensely. She had a lot of great stuff to show at the end of the week, which she proudly did. Very friendly staff, great location and great program!”
– Mani P., June 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for The Art Beat

 

Lascaux Art Academy

Belmont, California
“My girls have gone to several different camps at Lascaux and love it every time. They love the variety of art projects and materials that they get to work with, and every teacher they have had. The staff is really nice and easy going.”
– Rene M., March 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Lascaux Art Academy

 

 

Gorilla Art Studio

Multiple Locations, Los Angeles California
“My girls LOVED their Flower Fairies Art Camp!! They brought home the most adorable crafts and were just filled with imagination and creativity when they got home. The best part was when they came home and recreated the whole art workshop for their little sister and created their own homemade craft for her to get involved. 🙂 The camp was so affordable but the way they were inspired to create and explore the world around even after they left the studio was PRICELESS! Thank you Gorilla Art, you are a gem!”
– Andrea, July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Gorilla Art Studio

 

Brushstrokes Studio

Berkeley, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“Arty Einstein was my daughter’s first camp at Brushstrokes. She had a great time the entire week. We were all super impressed with the artwork she brought home at the end of camp: plate, mug, mirror hanging, fusing item, etc. All were well made and beautiful. Would highly recommend Brushstrokes!”
– Shee Y., July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Brushstrokes Studio

 

CD’s Kids Art Studio

San Jose, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“My daughter spent a week in the winter Art camp. She loved working on the various projects and creations — from sketches to paintings, to mosaics, to papier-mâché. She was sad when the week was over. The studio is welcoming to kids, and encourages creativity. CD was wonderful with the kids and parents. Would go back for another camp in the future!”
– Victoria, January 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for CD’s Kids Art Studio

 

A Little Yumminess

San Francisco, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“This camp is amazing! The children learn so much about the region they study, the flavors and methods of cooking that region’s food, and just generally how to be competent and creative in the kitchen. They work hard but also have a great time, and I find that they appreciate food and meal preparation so much when they get home. Simran and Stacie are great teachers.”
– Merritt, November 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for A Little Yumminess

 

ART-Smart Studios

San Mateo, California
“ArtSmart was a really creative, engaging and fun experience for my daughter. We signed her for one week spring camp but extended it to two because she enjoyed it a lot. Science and art often seem to develop in separate silos but it’s good to combine them as the classes at ArtSmart stimulating their analytical and creative minds. We were surprised to hear her talking to her granddad discussing about pulleys and gears and how she was able to engineer a robot. The staff led by Shilpa who is an excellent artist herself, is caring and dedicated making sure that kids have a good time. I highly recommend ArtSmart for summer/spring programs or classes in general.”
– Anand, May 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for ART-Smart Studios

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Best Academic Camps & Classes of 2016

Young Outliers

Palo Alto, California
“Young Outliers was an amazing experience for my 14-year-old son. Carefully designed and implemented by Steve and Gigi, two dedicated educators and entrepreneurs. My kid was challenged, had fun, made friends, learned and grew a lot in just 2 weeks. He feels much more confident about following his passion now. The Dolphin Tank was an amazing event and we could feel how confident all the kids were doing their presentations. Thanks Steve and Gigi for your support and dedication to this project and our kids! I really recommend this camp for teens.”
– Paula L., July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Young Outliers

 

Kidizens

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“Both my daughters, 9 & 12, had a great time at Kidizens this Winter Break. They learned so much more than just the physical “building of a LEGO city” – it was more like “building a complex civilization”. They learned to think about all aspects of city development from police and fire departments, to solar energy and water purification, to governance and education. They defined roles within their group and formed alliances with other cities to share resources. Their favorite part was trying to figure out how to save their citizens when “calamities” befell their citizens overnight. (The teachers would put notes next to people or buildings describing a fire or snowfall or flood.) Thinking about what could happen and how they might deal with it kept them really excited about going back the next day. Why didn’t they have things like this for us to do when we were kids?”
– Lorraine, December 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Kidizens

 

Mathletes

Los Altos, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“I’ve never seen my son so excited about math before! He absolutely loves Coach K, doing math in a fun interactive process with his friends. They accomplish high level projects in such a quick lesson. Highly recommend this class for all kids!”
– Sara H., March 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Mathletes

 

Champ Learning Academy

San Ramon, California
“Our kids attended a themed art class in Dec. 2015 and the teacher was compassionate and engaged the kids very well. We plan to attend a coding class in 2016.”
– P.S., January 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Champ Learning Academy

 

 

BrainVyne – Providers of LEGO® Education

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“My daughter had a great experience with the Lego/Pump it Up camp at Santa Clara. She loves legos and is into pre-engineering games but doesn’t always have great outlets to explore these talents in a field that tends to be male dominated. The staff/teachers at BrainVyne did an excellent job of making her feel comfortable and confident and allowing her to advance her interests. The were also mindful of pairing her with a well-matched partner and together they built amazing projects – even going beyond the daily projects. I would highly recommend to friends and especially young girls looking for friendly and productive pre-engineering outlets.”
– Anna S., August 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for BrainVyne

See Schedules for All Camps & Classes Near You >>


Best Outdoor Camps & Classes of 2016

Wheel Kids Bicycle Club, Inc.

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“…My 9 year old just rode to the very top of Angel Island and he is incredibly proud of himself. They are also incredibly confident on their bikes now and are much more comfortable riding around the city after their experience at Wheel Kids. Highly recommend!!”
– Jean K., November 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Wheel Kids

 

Kids Dojo

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
“My sons have been coming to camp for the past 4 years and each year they love it even more! Great counselors and professionally run, but most importantly, my kids are having a great time and are becoming confident riders.”
– Shari W., July 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Kids Dojo

 

Gorilla Play Day

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“Highly recommend this program. Chris is a fantastic teacher/person who has so much energy and it really shows how much he enjoys teaching this class because my kids always have the best things to say. The class is the perfect thing for after school- getting out all that extra energy in a fun, constructive way. There is nothing more fun that playing physical games for my kids, they absolutely enjoy themselves thoroughly and come home with smiles.”
– Pamela, December 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Gorilla Play Day

 

Cool Coyote Kids Camp

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“My daughter really enjoyed the camp. Kathy is wonderful, fun and warm. Highly recommend it!”
– Hyun J., November 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Cool Coyote

 

 

Avid4 Adventure

Multiple Locations, Bay Area California
“This was my child’s favorite camp this summer! Kayaking, Mountain Biking, hiking, paddle boarding, outdoor skills all in one week without going to sleep away camp. It was great!”
– Nancy, May 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Avid4 Adventure

 

ATX Kids Club

Multiple Locations, Austin, Texas
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“I highly recommend ATX kids club to parents. My son has been attending ATX Kids Club since last October and he loves it! Tammy always find something fun for them to do and it is a great mid week break from the other demands of our lives to him. We appreciate the thought that she puts into each activity.”
– Diana C., January 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for ATX Kids Club

 

Adventure Camps

San Francisco & Mill Valley, California
(Also a Best of 2015!)
“The kids absolutely loved it! Came back happy and exhausted.”
– Tabea N., August 2016
See all reviews & current schedules for Adventure Camps

 

 

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About ActivityHero Team

The ActivityHero Team is based in California and includes staff members and bloggers who love to share what they know about parenting, keeping kids active, choosing just the right camps and classes, and running successful businesses for kids.