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Bay Area Summer Camp Guide for Kids and Teens

This summer camp guide will help you find camps that fit your kids interests and provide some tips on how to make it easier to plan your summer with the greatest ease. 

Adventure Camps | Best Bay Area Summer Camps at Activity Hero

Bay Area kids benefit from a large variety of summer camps — sports, art, coding, outdoor and specialty camps! Many parents describe the camp planning process as a jigsaw puzzle as they try to fit together multiple kids, friends, and camp schedules. 

At ActivityHero, our mission is to make finding and booking summer camps easier for parents. We’ve put together this summer camp guide to provide an overview of all the top camp categories.

Sports Camps

Sports camps are popular with kids of all ages. Summer is a great time for kids to further explore a sport that they love or try something new. Besides keeping kids active, sports camps help kids learn teamwork and perseverance. Sports camps also tend to be less expensive than other camps. 

Boys and girls love soccer camps, and even in the summer, it’s not too hot in the Bay Area to be on the soccer field. The youngest campers have fun playing games and running off all that extra summer energy. Experienced players benefit from extra instruction during the off season.

Family favorites:
Coach Ken Soccer Camps: “Great staff and great experience for my son and daughter! This was our first year and my daughter who is 6 was interested in playing sports like her 8 year old brother. They both had a great time, learned a lot, and it was a great learning environment for the kids. Can’t wait to go back!”

Basketball camps are great for coordination, exercise and team-building. Campers learn the fundamentals of basketball through games and fun drills. Coaches group children by age and skill level, making it a suitable choice for beginner or advanced basketball players.

Family favorites:
Legarza Sports “My son loved his week at Basketball camp. Good instructors who care about the kids. Drop off and pick up were very easy. He’s excited to return next year.

Dance camps are a great way for artistic children to explore their creativity through a variety of different dance disciplines such as modern, jazz, ballet, hip hop, salsa or even aerial dance.

Family favorites:
Grrrl Brigade “A terrific empowering experience that exposes and teaches your child a wide range of dances, music, positive approaches to thinking and expressing themselves. The “show” at the end of the week is very inspiring and the staff is thoughtful, patient and kind in leading the girls through an impressive array of choreography.”

Multi-sport camps are a good way to give kids a variety of several different sports and outdoor games. Bald Eagle Sports Camp proudly says their multi-sport camp is “known for getting even the laziest kids up and moving…and loving it!” 

Family favorites:
Growfit “The staff at GrowFit are simply amazing. I sent both my kids here during the school break and they had an awesome time. The staff went above and beyond when my son was being called names. I really can’t say enough good things about them.”

Coding, Science, and Robotics Camps

Parents know how kids can consume technology for hours at a time on video games, YouTube videos, and social media. So it’s not a surprise that many parents are interested in directing this interest into creating video games, making movies, or coding the next social media app like TikTok. 

Summer is a great time to explore coding for kids because most schools don’t offer coding during the school year. Many coding camps use video camps as the subject matter for teaching kids how to use Scratch or Python to create their own game or learn Minecraft or Roblox mods. Teens may choose Java programming camps to prepare for high school computer science courses or App development camps to explore new app ideas. 

Science camps and STEM camps are popular for girls and boys who are naturally inquisitive. Camps that focus on science, technology, engineering and math challenges are engaging for curious children who like to explore the how and why. For middle and high school students, STEM camps can showcase a wide variety of potential career opportunities.

Family favorites:
Camp Galileo
Camp EDMO
Destination Science introduces new kid-oriented themes each year, like animals, space, or amusement parks. 

Robot summer camps are like coding camps with an extra element of competition. TV shows like BattleBots have introduced more families to the thrill of designing and battling robots. Many introductory robotics summer camps use LEGO Mindstorms, which is also used by the First Lego League in nationwide competitions for kids. 

Family favorites:
Wizbots
TechKnowHow 

Art, LEGO, and Maker Camps

Creative kids can grow their skills and express themselves in any number of art camps and maker camps. From learning to draw to learning to build, art and other maker camps can bring out the creator in every kid.

At a LEGO camp, kids build LEGO animals, spacecraft, and other creations. 

Family favorites:
KidzToPros
Brainvyne LEGO Camps 

For budding master chefs, a cooking camp like Sprouts Cooking Club or Culinary Dude offers hands-on cooking experience and a daily menu. On-demand activities include recipes and video walkthroughs for meals and desserts.

Kids and teens who want to learn to sew will find some creative sewing camps such as Camp Couture in San Mateo, owned by Project Runway finalist Alexandria von Brommson. Sewing camps like this let kids design their own fashions, accessories, and even soft toys. 

Woodworking camp is very popular, even in the high-tech age, but harder to find due to the specialized equipment and instructors. Maker Nexus in Sunnyvale has sewing camps as well as woodworking and industrial arts for kids and adults. You’ll also find woodworking at Tinkering School in San Francisco and Young Builders in Palo Alto. 

Outdoor and Nature Camps

For both boys and girls, outdoor camps are a top interest with kids ages 5-13. This is great news for parents who want their kids to spend less time with screens and more time connecting with nature and playing outside.

The Bay Area is the perfect place for kids to enjoy both water sports and mountain adventures. Kids can take a hike along creeks or try rock climbing, mountain biking, or canoeing. 

Family favorites:
Camp Galileo
Avid4 Adventure

Also popular in the Bay Area

Academic camps are a top interest for kids ages 7-10 who would like to explore a subject beyond the typical classroom curriculum in an exciting and engaging way.

Family favorites:
“My daughter loves math circle. She tells me that she’s not doing math like at school, rather she says she’s doing puzzles and games and that it’s really fun. I love that she’s having fun learning and that math circle helps her develop a positive attitude about math.”

Girls-only camps are a chance for girls to connect with other girls and get a unique perspective on topics such as leadership, teamwork and goal setting. A single gender camp can boost confidence and help girls find their voice while making friends.

Summer Planning Made Easy

Are you juggling a summer camp schedule with multiple children? Or, are you trying to coordinate camps and carpool with friends? ActivityHero has launched a new tool to make inviting friends and teammates even easier. You can now add your favorite summer camps to a saved list, invite friends and share as a group. Parents are able to RSVP that they are interested, registered or unavailable for that camp all in one convenient location. Save time and plan the ultimate summer experience with your child’s classmates, teammates, neighbors and more!

How many camps should my child attend?

It really depends on your child. Some kids can be single-minded and want to enjoy one camp for the summer and focus on their favorite activity, other kids want to take several classes in different areas throughout the season.

You can find these Bay Area summer camps and many more camps near you on ActivityHero or download our iPhone app for faster and easier searching!

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Camps Fashion Design Lego

Unique Summer Camp Ideas for Kids

It is that time of year again; the time for kids to explore, learn and grow without the structure and conformity of school. Summer is the perfect opportunity to really delve into what your child enjoys and foster that passion using uniquely designed programs. When people hear the word camp, most think of a tent, a fire and bugs, but camp can be so much more. Check out these unique summer camps:

Flying Camps

unique camp ideas for kids

Whether your kid are 5 and want to be a bird when they grow up or 15 and pursuing aviation as a college option, Hiller Aviation Camp encourages this passion through hands on activities and models, aircraft demonstration, behind the scenes museum gallery, and aviation themed games. Flying camps teach science and life skills in a fun way that allow children to enjoy their experiences, while also continuing their education.

Spy Camp

spy-camp

Sometimes you can just tell from a young age that your child is going to be a spy detective for the CIA. As unrealistic as that may sound, you really just never know. If your child enjoys spies, spy movies, or spying on his/her older siblings (or younger), develop that passion by giving him or her a summer filled with mystery, thrill and suspense. Spy Camps keep your child active with secret missions to accomplish each day. Whether you think your child will be a spy for the CIA or a detective for the police force, it is never too soon for you to encourage that pursuit.

Adventure Camp

adventure-camp

According to the dictionary, a person with a compulsive desire for excitement and adventure is an adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline, however is not necessarily a bad thing. It prepares the body for stressful or physically demanding situations. You never know when you will need your adrenaline to kick and save your life or the life of another. Adventure camps develop a child’s sense of adventure through hiking, exploring and playing. Teaching positive ways of releasing energy helps children later in life know how to cope with the constant stresses of day-to-day life.

Fashion Camps

Your little fashionista probably isn’t going to be into the whole muddy, dirty experience of sleeping on the ground and exploring the wilderness that is offered at an average camp. However, the idea may be a little more appealing to him/her if there was some kind of fashion involved. Fashion may seem like a passion your child will grow out of, but it is important to develop this passion in a way that gives them life skills. It isn’t just putting on pretty clothes; it’s a lot of hard work. At fashion and sewing camps, your child will learn how to come up with an idea, sketch it out, and then create it with master cutting and sewing skills. Inspire their creativity and sense of style at fashion camps across the world.

Lego Camp

lego-camp

Legos may seem like just a toy, but they are in fact great teaching tools and used by some of the most well known professions. Engineering, construction, and developing all start with one simple design, and this design can be created using “toys” such as a Legos. They also help with spatial skills and math concepts that children may not realize they’re even learning. Lego robotics, spatial skills, engineering, and so much more are at the heart of a kid who plays with legos. So, if you have a Lego obsessed child, get them into a LEGO camp to support their passion and desire to learn.

Unique camps are a tremendous way to foster a child’s creativity and enhance their learning experience. It may not always be possible to send your child to a week long camp at $80 a day or more, so read part 2 for ways to transform an ordinary camp ground into a fashionista dream land or spy camp never spied before.

Look for summer camps near you…your kids will thank you for an unforgettable summer!