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Camps

Parent Power: Fostering a Lifetime of Curiosity Through Astronomy

featuring Look Up to The Stars

In this episode, we will talk about the most appealing science of astronomy and how exploring astronomy helps set your child up for a lifetime of curiosity and learning. Joining us today is Kevin Manning, award-winning astronomer and founder of Look Up to The Stars, a provider of astronomy camps and classes for kids of all ages. 

We love Look Up at The Stars on ActivityHero because Kevin’s mission is to generate interest and foster scientific literacy in students nationwide through the delivery of awe-inspiring, educational, and entertaining astronomy programs.  

Children of all ages can be inspired to think big, dream big, and foster curiosity about an enormous universe in which the boundaries appear unlimited. 

Find the best kids camps and activities including the awesome array of astronomy classes from Look Up to The Stars on ActivityHero.com

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Camps

Parent Power: The Benefits of Science Camp

All about STEM featuring Destination Science

ActivityHero Parent Power is a new series dedicated to helping you discover smart solutions to finding kid activities. Whether you are in need of seasonal camps, after-school programs, or academic tutoring we are here to help you stay informed on all things kid activity-related. 

In this episode, we will talk about science camps, from a variety of STEM topics to the terrific skill set that your kids can learn from attending a science camp. Joining the episode is Nina Conway from Destination Science, a leading STEM camp provider for elementary school kids. 

We love Destination Science on ActivityHero because they believe “Science is a Way of Thinking!” When we know how to “do” science, we know how to be creative, critical, and organized thinkers and problem solvers.

Parents love that Destination Science’s fun-filled programs make positive, powerful differences in their children! Their programs are meticulously designed to use fun science as a tool to grow terrific skills for everyday life, including:

PERSISTENCE, COOPERATION, CREATIVITY AND ESPECIALLY…CURIOSITY!

You can check out Destination Science’s current summer camp offerings on Activityhero.com

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Camps Featured Posts Holiday Break Camps Parenting Resources School Breaks

Bay Area Camp Guide for Summer 2021


Skip to the Summer Camp Guide for:
San Francisco & Marin || East Bay || South Bay & Peninsula


Find the best summer camps for kids in the San Francisco Bay Area for Summer 2021. Discover our most popular and trending camps on ActivityHero – including outdoor camps, adventure camps, sports camps, LEGO® camps, maker camps, coding camps, and more! Learn more about camps updated programs for Summer 2021, including curriculum, group sizes, safety protocols, and cancellation policies.

San Francisco / Marin Summer Camp Guide

Summer camps with program locations serving families in San Francisco and Marin county up to San Rafael, CA.

Terra Marin Camp

Terra Marin Camps offer a nice blend of reputable academics with their core pillar – learning from the natural environment and one another. Terra Marin Camps foster a love of learning whether it be at Mandarin Camp, Earth Discovery, Wilderness Survival 101, or the Nature infused Academic program!

Galileo

Rediscover summer fun at Camp Galileo where 75% of time is spent outdoors! Camp Galileo combines traditional summer camp excitement with lasting, innovation-igniting learning for pre-K – 7th graders. And, check out the worry-free enrollment policies!

KidzToPros

KidzToPros has built a trusted brand as an after-school and seasonal camp provider, partnering with over 400 schools in 14 metropolitan areas. KidzToPros offers programs for grades K-8th, including: outdoor sports camps, LEGO® Masters, Minecraft and Roblox game design, art skills, graphic design, and more!

Mathnasium of Pacific Heights, San Francisco

Mathnasium Learning Center Summer Camp program explores STEM-related activities and games. It’s great fun and keeps math skills sharp! Activities include LEGO® robotics, logic board games, science projects, and STEM arts & crafts.

UBTECH

UBTECH Education is passionate about preparing all learners for the future of work. Our solutions establish the strong foundation students need to thrive: a high-quality STEM education integrated with the development of 21st century skills and computational literacy. We are excited to return for a second year of virtual STEM camp for kids 8+ that features our UKIT and JIMU systems. We’ve created NEW, engaging courses with topics like music and self-driving cars to keep your kids engaged all summer long.

Code Wiz Reading (online)

Code Wiz offers a wide range of individualized STEM programs, each tailored to the students’ skill level for kids aged 7-17. Watch your kids expand their creativity through computer science with a student-driven, project-based learning approach.  Code Wiz programs include online camps and and single-day class programs for Robotics, Minecraft modding, Roblox, Game design, Animations, Digital Art, Mobile app development, Web development, Java, Python, etc.

Camp Chrysalis

For over 38 years, Camp Chrysalis has helped young people, ages 8 to 17, explore the rich and diverse natural environments of California. Living among redwoods, tidepools, marshes and mountains, campers cultivate an ethic of respect and responsibility for the ecologies that support life on earth. While we are backpacking, we focus on active study of the plants, wildlife and ecology around us, and on basic camping and wilderness skills. Our campers develop science skills as well as an appreciation for the natural world. Each day our campers extend themselves in hikes and local exploration.

Dogpatch Paddle Camp

Adventure awaits this summer at a standup paddle board (SUP) camp! Outdoors, active, educational, and exciting – Dogpatch Paddle Camp is creating lifelong memories. Kids will learn how to be safe, paddle strong, appreciate the raw wilderness of the Bay, while creating lifelong memories with new and old friends alike. All camps are broken into small pods with only 5 campers per counselor. All of our counselors are CPR and first-aid certified. Additionally, we only hire swim athletes (who are also really fun and great with kids!).

Gaming Together (online)

Gaming Together offers summer camps, weekly groups, and school break camps, played entirely online using Zoom and Roll20. Dungeons & Dragons is the main activity: kids each play a fantasy, Lord-of-the-Rings style hero they create, and they work together as a group to make decisions, defeat monsters, solve puzzles, and finish quests. D&D offers structured, turn-based interactions where less confident kids will flourish, while free-flowing story and strategy discussions let them work on joining in and being heard.

Sirron Norris Academy Animation Camp

Sirron Norris Academy has been offering Animation and Cartooning workshops for 10 years. This summer, the Academy is operating their week long summer camp virtually online through Zoom guided classes and as an in-person camp, held outdoors in San Francisco. Students will learn basic cartooning skills to develop their own animated short. Each student will make their own movie and we will show it on the last day of class and the movie will also be posted online.

Sony KOOV

Sony KOOV is the all-in-one coding, robotics and design kit that combines digital coding with physical building to teach the next generation of innovators. Your child will learn how to use KOOV in this online robotics and coding camp focused on block programming, computer logic and problem solving. Each day will include one hour of live instruction. Class subjects include robotics, coding, and design. 


Find on ActivityHero

East Bay Summer Camp Guide

Summer camps with program locations serving families in the East Bay Area, including Berkeley, Alameda, Oakland, San Leandro, Fremont, and more.

KidzToPros

KidzToPros has built a trusted brand as an after-school and seasonal camp provider, partnering with over 400 schools in 14 metropolitan areas. KidzToPros offers programs for grades K-8th, including: outdoor sports camps, LEGO® Masters, Minecraft and Roblox game design, art skills, graphic design, and more!

Galileo

Rediscover summer fun at Camp Galileo where 75% of time is spent outdoors! Camp Galileo combines traditional summer camp excitement with lasting, innovation-igniting learning for pre-K – 7th graders. And, check out our worry-free enrollment policies!

UBTECH

UBTECH Education is passionate about preparing all learners for the future of work. Our solutions establish the strong foundation students need to thrive: a high-quality STEM education integrated with the development of 21st century skills and computational literacy. We are excited to return for a second year of virtual STEM camp for kids 8+ that features our UKIT and JIMU systems. We’ve created NEW, engaging courses with topics like music and self-driving cars to keep your kids engaged all summer long.

Camp Chrysalis

For over 38 years, Camp Chrysalis has helped young people, ages 8 to 17, explore the rich and diverse natural environments of California. Living among redwoods, tidepools, marshes and mountains, campers cultivate an ethic of respect and responsibility for the ecologies that support life on earth. While we are backpacking, we focus on active study of the plants, wildlife and ecology around us, and on basic camping and wilderness skills. Our campers develop science skills as well as an appreciation for the natural world. Each day our campers extend themselves in hikes and local exploration.

Cooking Round the World

Cooking Round the World offers children engaging, fun and delicious summer cooking camps – each week is a different theme!​ The culinary process is all hands on. Everyone chops, dices, sautés, blends. Campers learn the use of kitchen tools like melon ballers and rubber tipped spatulas, culinary processes like zesting and measuring, and the importance of timing and cleanliness. Other activities include subject- related games and stories, a cooking demonstration, and a trivia game.

Kairos Music Academy

Kairos Music Academy, Berkeley’s premier youth choir, has been offering comprehensive music education to children ages 6-15 in the Bay Area and celebrates 30 years.

Gaming Together (online)

Gaming Together offers summer camps, weekly groups, and school break camps, played entirely online using Zoom and Roll20. Dungeons & Dragons is the main activity: kids each play a fantasy, Lord-of-the-Rings style hero they create, and they work together as a group to make decisions, defeat monsters, solve puzzles, and finish quests. D&D offers structured, turn-based interactions where less confident kids will flourish, while free-flowing story and strategy discussions let them work on joining in and being heard.

Hanabi Judo

Hanabi’s Summer Camp will be a fun, active introduction to the traditions of Japan: an adventure in physical and cultural education for children from 5 to 15. Every themed session will have children learning judo (a requirement in Japanese schools), Japanese songs, Japanese stories as well as the main artistic, linguistic or cultural activity. At Hanabi, learning is fun. Whether children are rolling, running, story-telling or speaking Japanese, they use both bodies and minds to expand their abilities and experiences.

Genius Kids – Fremont Mowry Campus

Genius Kids is an award-winning global learning center founded on the simple belief that every child is born a “genius” and
as parents and educators, it is our responsibility to awaken the
inner genius” in each child. Genius Kids advanced yet fun, learning curriculum offers stimulating, positive, educational experiences to develop cognitive, social, emotional, motor, communication and self-confidence skills. Summer programs are available for both preschool and school-age children.

Girls Leading Girls

Girls Leading Girls is a San Francisco based nonprofit organization that trains young women in leadership and life skills through soccer. Programs focus on three main areas: skill development through soccer training and competitive play, leadership training through junior coaches and career mentoring programs, and character building through community service initiatives both home and abroad.

Mad Science of the Bay Area

Mad Science® offers unique, hands-on science experiences for children that are as entertaining as they are educational. Mad Science encourages scientific literacy in children in an age when science is as vital as reading, writing and arithmetic. Mad Science offers a variety of science summer camps designed for children ages 5 to 12, including Nature’s Anatomy Academy, Spy Academy, Jet Cadets, NASA: Journey into Outer Space, Reactions in Action, Wacky Robots & Widgets and more.

CodeREV Kids

CodeREV Kids Tech Camps provide a one-of-a kind camp experience. Campers learn important technology skills while having a fun-packed time that will create memories that for a lifetime. With a healthy mix of project-based coding, programming or digital art, design, teamwork building activities off the computer, and outdoor games and activities in the park, CodeREV Tech Camps provide a perfect mix of fun, education, and life-skill building to keep each student motivated, having fun, and learning.

American Swim Academy

American Swim Academy has been teaching the Bay Area to swim since 1973. Their goal is to promote water safety, comfort and stroke technique for all ages and abilities. All programs are taught with love and positive reinforcement. Swimmers learn through a structured, consistent program that builds progressively through basic swimming techniques to more advanced and challenging skills.

Pear Tree Summer

Pear Tree is a social justice school and camp located in the Oakland hills. Each week we offer a unique theme explored through arts and crafts, cooking, sports and games and science. Included is a one-hour morning academic support session with Montessori-informed, common core aligned curriculum to prevent summer learning loss. Our week culminates in a theme-inspired on-site celebration!


South Bay / Peninsula Summer Camp Guide

Summer camps with program locations serving families in the South Bay and Peninsula area, including San Mateo, Palo Alto, San Jose, Los Gatos, and more.

Next Level Athletes – Born2Ball

Next Level Athletes Born2Ball Basketball Academy is the premier innovator in basketball training and camps where they put the fun in fundamentals. Their summer camp programs offer advanced and comprehensive basketball training to increase your child’s knowledge, ability, and skills.

Ingenium Enrichment LLC

Ingenium Enrichment is a Modern Kids Learning Center featuring online and in-person programs – including tutoring, academic enrichment, and camps! Ingenium Summer Camp 2021 safely welcomes families with fun, enrichment-filled camp days in 45,000 square feet of dedicated youth development indoor and outdoor facilities.

KidzToPros

KidzToPros has built a trusted brand as an after-school and seasonal camp provider, partnering with over 400 schools in 14 metropolitan areas. KidzToPros offers programs for grades K-8th, including: outdoor sports camps, LEGO® Masters, Minecraft and Roblox game design, art skills, graphic design, and more!

RISU Inc

RISU provides K-12 students with STEM enrichment programs – both online and in-person. Popular programs include Python App Development, Scratch Coding, Math Camp, 3D Animation, and more!

Menlo Park Legends

Menlo Park Legends Experience Baseball Summer Camp is coached by the Legends semi pro team. The 5:1 ratio means tons of individual attention for your child. Private and small group instruction, along with their innovative coaching program combining drills, games and exciting contests are to ensure your child is building confidence and having a legendary time while simultaneously developing their baseball skills.

UBTECH

UBTECH Education is passionate about preparing all learners for the future of work. Our solutions establish the strong foundation students need to thrive: a high-quality STEM education integrated with the development of 21st century skills and computational literacy. We are excited to return for a second year of virtual STEM camp for kids 8+ that features our UKIT and JIMU systems. We’ve created NEW, engaging courses with topics like music and self-driving cars to keep your kids engaged all summer long.

Best in Class Education Center Palo Alto

Best in Class offers engaging academic enrichment camps in math, reading, and writing for kids in grades K-8th. Students benefit from individual attention, active instruction in small groups, and engaging course material aligned with common standards. Best in Class specifically seeks out college-educated instructors with a passion for teaching to ensure your students get the most out of their learning. 

Galileo

Rediscover summer fun at Camp Galileo where 75% of time is spent outdoors! Camp Galileo combines traditional summer camp excitement with lasting, innovation-igniting learning for pre-K – 7th graders. And, check out our worry-free enrollment policies!

Camp Chrysalis

For over 38 years, Camp Chrysalis has helped young people, ages 8 to 17, explore the rich and diverse natural environments of California. Living among redwoods, tidepools, marshes and mountains, campers cultivate an ethic of respect and responsibility for the ecologies that support life on earth. While we are backpacking, we focus on active study of the plants, wildlife and ecology around us, and on basic camping and wilderness skills. Our campers develop science skills as well as an appreciation for the natural world. Each day our campers extend themselves in hikes and local exploration.

Kidizens

Would you like to leverage your love of LEGO® to learn critical real-life lessons and strategies? Kidizens inspires students to become good citizens and future leaders, one LEGO® brick at a time. Kidizens is an innovative and a highly immersive educational environment where students build, inhabit, manage and govern their own LEGO® cities. It’s a collaborative and guided discovery of real-world concepts while role-playing and having fun in a universe built of LEGO®.

Ventana School Summer Camp

Keep your child wondering constantly at Ventana’s Summer Camps! With engaging week-long themes, campers will explore hands on activities that will boost their creative confidence and stimulate their way of thinking. Ventana Summer Camps are full of immersive fun. Summer session themes include: Brilliant Builders, Mad Science, Art Explorers, Wacky Water Week, Movie Making and more!

AIClub / Pyxeda (online)

Award winning Artificial Intelligence and Programming classes for Grades 4-12. Designed and taught by Computer Science PhDs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest-growing fields. AIClub provides workshops to help students understand and build AI. Students will learn what Artificial Intelligence is, learn different types of AI algorithms, and create applications to build and use AI using the Amazon Cloud.

Run for Fun Camps

Run for Fun programs are great for kids of all ages and athletic abilities! Any youth who enjoys running around, playing classic field games, and having fun will enjoy the program. Some of the favorite games include Chaos Tag, Capture the Flag, Dr. Dodgeball and Gaga Ball. The program consists of games that allow everyone to play and also serves as a great form of exercise. Kids work on their speed, agility and fitness through play. Run for Fun emphasizes good attitude and sportsmanship.

Gaming Together (online)

Gaming Together offers summer camps, weekly groups, and school break camps, played entirely online using Zoom and Roll20. Dungeons & Dragons is the main activity: kids each play a fantasy, Lord-of-the-Rings style hero they create, and they work together as a group to make decisions, defeat monsters, solve puzzles, and finish quests. D&D offers structured, turn-based interactions where less confident kids will flourish, while free-flowing story and strategy discussions let them work on joining in and being heard.

CodeREV Kids

CodeREV Kids Tech Camps provide a one-of-a kind camp experience. Campers learn important technology skills while having a fun-packed time that will create memories that for a lifetime. With a healthy mix of project-based coding, programming or digital art, design, teamwork building activities off the computer, and outdoor games and activities in the park, CodeREV Tech Camps provide a perfect mix of fun, education, and life-skill building to keep each student motivated, having fun, and learning.

BrainVyne LEGO and Money Camps

BrainVyne offers entertaining and enriching LEGO® summer, spring & school break camps and LEGO® birthday parties for children ages 4 to 12 years old in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their unique enrichment classes & camps are fast-paced, where kids discover, explore, invent and create. During Summer 2021, BrainVyne is also offering their Money 101 Camps and Stop Animation Camps as online programs for kids anywhere.

DesignX

DesignX offer one-of-a-kind in-person programs in design to unleash and nurture creativity in kids ages 7-16 in Los Altos, CA. Kids learn how to take their idea from concept to completion for Fashion, Textiles, Soft Toys, Wood Toys, Accessories and Architecture. The curriculum and methodologies used in our programs enables budding fashionistas and tinkerers as young as 7 to explore their ‘voice’ and build on their creative confidence. DesignX students have a personal connection to their finished projects, as they are creating something that they intend to wear or use… encouraging true “design thinking” while fostering a sense of global awareness and an eco-friendly mindset.

Dance Connection Palo Alto

Dance Connection offers classes for ages 3 to adults from beginning to advanced levels. Children’s combination dance classes and graded classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and tap dance are guided by experienced dance professionals. Summer camp programs include TikTok Dance Camp, Musical Theatre, Cheer & Dance Camp, Acro Dance Camp and more!

Young Builders

Young Builders is a way to get your child to build a plane, boat or electric motor among many things while building self-esteem and confidence. Working with their hands with parts that can be picked up at any home improvement store will give them a sense of pride while building skills. The knowledge they get from building these models will help with math, geometry through the need for measurements and an introduction to engineering while having fun. A memory that will last a life time and a pride of saying “I made that.”

Genius Kids – Sunnyvale

Genius Kids is an award-winning global learning center founded on the simple belief that every child is born a “genius” and
as parents and educators, it is our responsibility to awaken the
inner genius” in each child. Genius Kids advanced yet fun, learning curriculum offers stimulating, positive, educational experiences to develop cognitive, social, emotional, motor, communication and self-confidence skills. Summer programs are available for both preschool and school-age children.

Code For Fun

Code for Fun is a non-profit organization committed to exposing all students, especially girls, to computer science at an early stage, to help grow the next generation of engineers. Code for Fun offers virtual programs and camps via our award winning instructional platform – including Roblox, Minecraft, Machine Learning, Python, Scratch, Mobile App Development & more!

The Curiosity Lab

The Curiosity Lab is dedicated to connecting children with Nature. Created and led by a former public elementary school teacher who spent 25 years developing curriculum, this unique camp immerses children in outdoor nature experiences. This summer they are offering week-long nature based camps that provide amazing experiences along the magnificent San Mateo Coast. It’s time to get out, get dirty and get happy!

Find in-person Summer camps near me >>
Find online Summer camps and classes >>

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Parent Power: First-Time Campers 101

What to Expect When Thinking for Your Child’s First Camp Experience

ActivityHero Parent Power is a new series dedicated to helping you discover smart solutions to finding kid activities. Whether you are in need of seasonal camps, after-school programs, or academic tutoring we are here to help you stay informed on all things kid activity-related. 

In this episode we will talk about first time campers 101: what to consider when thinking about introducing your child to their first camp experience. Our guest for this interview is Courtney Cimoli. She is the chief operating officer of Camp Edmo, the leading camp provider in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento regions of California with a multitude of school year programs and 32 on-site summer camp locations. 

You can check out their current summer camp offerings on Activityhero.com.

One of the reasons why we love Camp Edmo at ActivityHero is because they collaborate with leaders in the fields of Science, Maker Education and Social Emotional Learning to design a well rounded and diverse curriculum for their programs. 

Q: How do I know if my child is ready for summer camp?

A: All camps have different guidelines around that. for EDMO, they need to be potty trained and at least 4-years old. Any camp you are looking at, verify what age do they start at and what are the parameters that you child needs to meet to be able to join the camp. From there, once they are starting to develop curiosity over different theme areas, if there’s something they are excited about and can get engaged about, that’s the time for camp. If you notice they love dinosaurs, try dino-science camp to match it off of something they really enjoy. In general, if they love hands-on activities, this is a great time for them to start camp. It’s really great when you can do those DIY things at home with them but it’s a whole other level when they can get in there and experience with other kids, other adults, and counselors. Another thing to note, there is a little bit for every personality type. So you might think “my child is really outgoing! they are ready!” but camp is great for the more reserved campers too. It’s a place to practice those skills. They are going to have to be outside the home and practice [social] skills.

This is an environment where they don’t have to, they get to. For myself, I was that really great place for me where I got to go out and practice my social skill building. I got to be in new environments, in a way that was really engaging and exciting. [Camp] is great for all types of kids.

Q: What types of camps are best for a first-time camper? Should I pick something more general, like all-sports or all-fun? Or should I go for something more specialized?

A: It depends on your kid. Are they really motivated by a particular thing and want to attend a specialized camp? Some kids need more of a general interest level, they are both great. Both camps have awesome benefits. One thing I would pay attention to, regardless of if it’s general-interest or specialized is, “whats the additional stuff to their curriculum?”. Even if it’s specialized, there should be other aspects of the camp day. You want them to be singing songs, performing skits, having outdoor game time, having some sort of SEL or social skill bulding session where they are learning traits such as responsibility and initiative. So whether it’s a general-interest theme or specialized theme, make sure you’re getting a well-rounded package. That’s what is going to really engage your child and get the best out of camp.

Q: Do you have a lot for campers that take the same camp or type of camp for multiple weeks in the summer? Is it better to have a longer time frame for first-time campers?

A: I would recommend, picking a camp and sticking with one or two. Floating them to a different camp every week can sometimes make it difficult for them to get established when they are really just learning what camp is. Camp involves so much culture. You show up, you go here for your rally in the morning, you learn where your boundaries are, when you’re relearning that every week at a different camp in addition to getting used to the atmosphere of camp in general, that can be really overwhelming.

I recommend a camp that offers a variety of themes, so they can mix it up each week. So they can mix it up, but still attend the same camp. At EDMO, they can attend the whole summer but do a different theme each week. So you’re doing this over arching convept of maker or science but you’re doing other themes each week so they can stay really engaged. But the general outline and structure of the day is the same so that can really help them get settled in.

Kids come for 6, 8, 10 weeks and by the end, that’s their home. They end up helping new campers get involved.

Q: Should I register for camp with siblings or friends?

A: For siblings, unless they are really close in age and depending on how the camp does grouping, they will likely be separated. Make it easy on yourself, do one drop off and one pick-up, especially if the camp have a vareity of offerings, like EDMO does. So your kids can have very different interests but still find something engaging.

Coming with friends can be great, it can help them feel comfortable from the minute they get there, especially if your child is a little more reserved and needs that extra support. However, they don’t need to. Make sure that the camp you are signing up for is ready with techniques to help them get engaged, make new friends, at EDMO, the first thing we do Monday morning is you meet your group and we do Team-Love. They do icebreakers, they create a team name and get engrained as a group. So it doesn’t matter if they didn’t have a friend when they walked in the door, they will have an entire group of friends within 15-minutes of being there. And then throughout the day, we have a variety of techniques with our SEL curriculum. The counselors are trained to help them interact with others and make new friends. Don’t be worried, if you are sending your new camper without anyone they know.

Q: Is there anything else you want to add about how counselors bridge the gap for kid and/or parents?

A: We have Team-Love and SEL curriculum to help them make connections thorughout the day. One thing that helps the kids and the parents is distracting them the moment they get there. Naturally, the kids want to stay with the parent, that’s who they know, that’s what they are used to, so a really good counselor is going to help them distract away from those nerves. So the second you walk into camp, there is some sort of activity going on.

Staff members are always friendly and excited to see the kids. That’s going to help the camper and the parent make that transition the first day or any day they are there.

Q: What do you believe is the biggest challenge for first-time campers?

A: Drop off! AM Drop off! Time and time again it’s the biggest challenge for campers and parents. I can tell you as a parent myself, I am not looking forward to leaving [her] for the first time for a full-day. So it can be just as hard on the parent as the camper. One thing a recommend is drop them off, and leave. Staying just allows the child to build up more anxiety, get more and more upset. And when we see a quick drop-off, because we have other techniques, we have activities that are already going on, 5-minutes, the camper ready to go!

Q: What benefits do you believe summer camp offers children, above free play at home through the summer?

A;So many! That’s a really big question. The thing I love about summer camps as an extracurricular activity, camp does not expect your child to fit the mold in any way. Camp is for everybody. There is a little bit of everything and it’s about discovery of yourself within that. That’s why I have devoted my life and career to it, because that’s what summer camp did for me many years ago. I was very shy, afraid of my shadow type, that was able to really find myself and get comforatble at camp. So the benefit of taking them to this environment that is so inclusive and inviting, is huge.

Social interaction, trained professionals, that can help them learn responsibility and initiative. Can they learn these things at home? yes. It it the same as learning this from other adults, surrounded by their peers, no. That’s a very different experience. I think both are important, but summer camp can really have so many levels of value.

Q: When you are a new parent to signing up for summer camp, it can be overwhelming. What do you feel like are the most important questions for a parent to ask when they are researching camps?

A: Make sure the camp is well-rounded throughout the day. There are a lot of safety measures for 2021, but there is still a level of interaction. So make sure there are different parts of the day, with outdoor recreation, various games that include collaboration and team work. Don’t get so excited about one theme that you forget about the schedule of the full camp day.

With COVID, camps are doing things differently. That’s what I would really be watching for this year. Are they truly staying in a stable group? I’m not going to lie, especially in our industry that’s something that’s really difficult to enforce when we are going in and out of different periods throughout the day. At EDMO, we’ve been working tirelessly to make sure our COVID-19 protocols are across the board being followed by our campers and counselors. Stable groupd are crucial right now.

I would pay attention to the staff they are hiring, but I wouldn’t get too hung up on qualifications. Just because a staff memeber is a college graduate in a specicial field, don’t mean they are vibey. You want fun, interactive staff. I’ve see 16-year old counselors who have attended camp for year, be the strongest counselor out of a staff of people much older than them. It’s really about the culture the camp is creating, more so, on-paper resume qualifications.

Q: Last advice?

A: When signing up for camp, get your campers involved. let them read the descriptions and help pick the themes. It is going to be so much easier if they are excited for the program.

Camp is for everyone. Scholarships are available through ActivityHero and EDMO.

Explore your child’s camp options today.

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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!

Categories
Camps Featured Posts Parenting Resources Super Activities for Super Kids

Top Questions to Find the Right Summer Camp






With so many choices available, how do you find a summer camp that fits your family’s style? Here are key questions to ask when starting your search.

By Wendy Chou

Some parents see summer vacation as a chance to try new skills and challenges, and some would rather that their kids unplug and unwind from the pressures of the school year. Whether you are researching camps for the first time or looking for some refresher tips, these simple questions may come in handy when considering a camp for your child.

Staff Involvement

  • What is the ratio of campers to staff?  
  • Is the program staff composed of college students, more experienced teachers, or a mix?
  • Do students roam independently or stick closely with one counselor throughout the day?
  • Does the camp offer more free time or more structure?

[Find camps near you]

Philosophy and Content

  • Is the focus on learning, on fun, or on a combination?
  • Do campers tend to return year after year?
  • What sets it apart from similar camps in the area?
  • Does the camp cover gap subjects (ones that your child sees less of during the school year)?

Special Features and Accommodations

  • For skill-based camps (for instance, coding or sports camps), how do you accommodate different ages or abilities?
  • How would staff try to accommodate the needs of my introverted camper, or my spirited camper?
  • If needed, is before or after care available (if so, how does it differ from the main day’s activities?)
  • Are transportation options (e.g., bussing) available?

A Camp Director’s Perspective

Parents should feel free to call or e-mail camp directors “if they want to know more,” recommends Rory Judge, who has 40 years’ experience with the Bay Area’s Adventure Camps. Chatting with parents one-on-one about their summer camp questions is the perfect way to help “even the most nervous first-time parents warm up to camp,” Judge explains. For starters, he likes to find out a prospective camper’s age, how much camp experience they already have, and what school they attend. With websites, reviews, and other online tools becoming more popular, Judge finds that parents today seem comfortable doing their own research online in lieu of calling in.

Whether you like to gather information online or talk to camp staff, keeping these questions in mind can help you narrow down the field of camps that really fit your family’s style. And to easily find camps that match your child’s age, interest and available dates, check out the search tools on ActivityHero. You’ll find reviews from parents and can book your camps with one convenient registration form.

[Find camps near you]

 

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Parenting Resources Sports Super Activities for Super Kids

Summer Camps for Teens






Discover summer camp options (and alternatives) that are perfect for teenagers. From sports camps to robot camps, volunteering to leadership training, there’s lots to consider! Here, tips to make an amazing summer for your teen.

By Sarah Antrim

summer_camps_for_teensThe transition from childhood into the teenage years presents a lot of changes–changing bodies, attitudes, and of course, changing interests.

Things that your kids might have found interesting before are no longer “cool” to teenagers which may leave parents at a loss as to how to fill up their teens’ free time, especially during the summer.

So how do you find productive activities for teens during the summer?

1. Explore Summer Day Camps for Teens

Many camps have been designed specifically with teens in mind. Below are just a few selections which have multiple locations across the U.S.

See all teen day camps near you >>

Digital Media Academy – Coding, video production, photographic, graphic design, game design and other technical topics are available for teens.   

Gamebreaker Lacrosse Camps for Teens

Gamebreaker Lacrosse Camp – Play lacrosse and get specialized training from college coaches.

 

Adidas Tennis Camps – Learn from college tennis coaches.

See all teen day camps near you >>

2. Consider Overnight Camps for Teens

As teens develop more independence, they may be ready to travel to an overnight camp, ranging from academic to adventurous. Be sure to check out our tips to help you find the right overnight camp.

See all overnight camps for teens >

3. Counselor/Leader Training Programs

One of the most popular option for summer camps for teens is a counselor-in-training (CIT) or leader-in-training (LIT) program. Many camps offer these training programs to teens as an unpaid position or at a low fee to parents, sort of like an apprenticeship or internship on the road to becoming a camp counselor. Best of all, once they finish the required training, your teenager will have a job opportunity lined up for them!

See teen counselor/leader training programs near you >>

4. Look for Volunteering Programs

Summer is a great time for kids to learn about community service. Not sure where to get started? Check out our blog post with 6 tips to help you find volunteering opportunities for tweens & teens.

Teen Boys at Summer Camp

Categories
After-School Activities Parenting Resources Super Activities for Super Kids

Choosing Musical Instruments for Kids: How Parents Can Help






musical instruments for kids
Photo by Flickr user tony kearns

The ability to play a musical instrument is a great talent that takes time and dedication. Learning to play music is a lot like learning to read—the earlier it starts, the better.

When your child shows interest in taking up an instrument, try to resist the urge to pick for them or let them pick on their own. Picking the right musical instruments for kids is a commitment that should involve both the child and the parent.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for the right musical instruments for kids.

Physical limitations.

A child with asthma might not have the best luck with a wind instrument, and a child with braces probably wouldn’t have much luck with a brass instrument.

Take into account your child’s physical characteristics—are their arms long enough for a trombone? Are their hands strong enough for a string instrument?

Cost.

Musical Instruments for kids can be extremely expensive, but just because your budget is tight doesn’t mean your child can’t play an instrument.

Do some research about the maintenance of each instrument and see what you can comfortably commit to.

Clarinets and oboes require reed replacements and string instruments need their strings replaced quite often. Brass instruments are costly but relatively low maintenance.

Personality.

Helping Your Child Choose a Musical Instrument
Photo by Flickr user ptcentrum

Does your child like to be the center of attention or prefer to hang back with the crowd?

Some instruments, like trumpet and piccolo, are more prone to have solos or leads while others such as percussion and tuba create more of the backbone of the music. Which fits your child’s personality better?

Instruments like piano require personal rehearsal time while other instruments are better practiced in a group.

Does your child have the dedication to practice alone or would they prefer a group rehearsal?

Availability.

Your community may not have an oboe or accordion teacher to help your child master their skills. Perhaps your town is known for their impressive jazz band.

Your child may be better suited to take up something that provides opportunities in the area.

Look into what sorts of specialists you have locally. However, don’t discourage your child from playing an instrument because of a lack of opportunities in the area. Being the only bassoon playing in the metropolitan area might mean a greater chance of a scholarship in the future!

Introduce new instruments.

Which instruments has your child been exposed to?

Are they interested in the drums because they played them at a friend’s house?

Most kids haven’t been exposed to many instruments so their interest in a certain instrument may be ill-guided.

Take your child to a music instrument store to see and learn about all sorts of instruments. Some stores will even let kids handle and test the instruments to see which best suits them.

Musical preferences.

Helping your Child Choose a Musical Instrument
Photo by Flickr user Crystal.

Does your child have a love for jazz music or rock and roll?

Kids are more prone to be interested in an instrument that fits their musical preferences. Asking your children what sort of music they like listening to and what their favorite part of that music is can help to uncover what the right musical instruments for your kids are.

Your expectations.

How important is learning an instrument for you?

Is it important to you that your child study classical music or will you allow them to choose their own path?

Think about the practice time at home—if there are instruments you can’t stand, you probably won’t be too keen on hearing it for hours in end. Choosing an instrument should be a group decision.

Written by Sarah Antrim

Categories
Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Sports

Camp Director Diaries: Camp Tawonga






Camp Tawonga

Camp Tawonga has been a leader in Jewish camping since 1925. They offer a variety of different programs for campers of all ages from traditional camp fun to teen leadership programs, all set in the beautiful Stanislaus National Forest.

Teens can also embark on retreats to Israel, Canada, and other locations. We interviewed camp director Jamie Simon to learn a little bit more about her beginnings with the camp:

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started the camp.

Tawonga has been in my blood since I was eight years old, I was a camper for seven summers.

When I was old enough to be a counselor at Tawonga, I filled out the staff application the first day it was available!  I worked on the summer staff for many years before joining the year round team in 2006.  I grew up a Tawongan but I never thought I would be lucky enough to be working for camp year round!

I live in Oakland, California with my husband, who also grew up at Camp Tawonga.  The values I learned as a child at Tawonga have deeply impacted my professional and personal life.  When not working for camp I love watching sports, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

Are there any special lessons or experiences you are trying to provide during the camp?

Camp is such a special place for kids and it is my goal that kids leave Tawonga with three things: a positive self image and self esteem, a feeling that they have been a part of creating a cooperative

community and a strong connection with nature.

I hope that their time at Camp Tawonga has shown them that they are uniquely special, they have a loving community supporting them and that they feel inspired to give back to the world.

What surprises/delights the kids (or parents) most about your camp?

Parents are impressed and happy with our customer service; they know that we will take good care of their kids but they are surprised at how well we take care of them.  We have an extensive parent guidebook and make customer service a priority.

We know how hard it can be for parents to send their children away and want to make this the best possible family experience.  We believe that our success at camp comes from the partnership we build with families.

What sets your class/camp apart from the rest?

Tawonga’s location is magical, we are located along the Tuolumne River right outside of Yosemite
National Park.  Campers have an opportunity to go backpacking in Yosemite and explore the beautiful land that surrounds us.

In addition to our location we are a group centered camp. Campers learn skills like team work, compromise, community building and leadership.  Our focus is on the community experience.  Campers leave feeling like they were a valuable part of the community and feel excited to create communities like the one they shared at Tawonga.

Lastly, our staff are excellent.  We have a comprehensive staff training and ensure that staff are always putting the children first. People often ask me, “Where does the magic of Tawonga come from?”, I always say, “The people.”  From the prep cooks, maintenance team, wilderness leaders, counselors and year round staff the Tawonga community is surrounded by people who are intentional, creative, passionate, caring and motivated. I am grateful every day that I get to be a part of this community and create the magic for children.

Camp Director Jamie Simon
Camp Director Jamie Simon

To learn more about Camp Tawonga, check out current schedules, and register for camps check out Camp Tawonga on ActivityHero!

 

Written by Sarah Antrim

Categories
Parenting Resources Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

5 Tips to Choosing the Best Summer Camp Programs for Kids

With so many summer camps to choose from, how do parents know what to look for in finding the right fit for their kids?

Written by Sarah Antrim

5 Tips to Choosing Best Summer Camp Programs for Kids

Not all children are the same, so what might be the right fit for one may not be for another. Never fear, ActivityHero is here to help!

We’ve put together some tips on how to choose the best summer camp programs for kids this year.

1. Think about what your child is getting out of the school year, and then consider what they’re missing.

A deeper connection to nature and the outdoors? An opportunity to build on the core academic subjects of the school year?

Determine what you think matters in your child’s development, and view summer as a chance to fill in the missing pieces.

2. Once you’ve narrowed down the subject matter, look for these things:

  • Adult supervision that both inspires your kids and keeps them safe.
  • A ratio of no more than 10 kids per staff member.
  • Age group divisions for kids that span no more than 2-3 years.
  • Positive reviews of the program’s effectiveness and
  • A Director who is experienced, passionate, and organized.

3. Ask as many questions as possible. Here’s a few questions that parents should ask about summer camp programs:

  • What is your program trying to accomplish with children?
  • Who is the director? How many years have they been directing the camp? What does he/she look for in the staff he/she hires?
  • Who is going to be working directly with my child?  What is their education level? How are they trained?
  • How do you develop your curriculum? What are the learning objectives of the program?
  • Do high school students have direct supervisory responsibility for campers?
  • What are the age groupings and camper to staff ratios?

4. Focus as much on who the people will be working with your child as you do the content.

No matter what the summer camp program, the people will drive what your child takes away from the experience.

5. Seek out programs that offer consistency and minimize transitions in location, staff, and fellow campers.

Choosing the best summer camp programs for kids is only possible if you make kids as comfortable and educated as possible about the process. Set your kids up for success by not signing them up for too many different camps.

Find out ahead of time what the first day check in scene will be like, then describe it to your child ahead of time so they know what it will be like. You want to avoid a lengthy separation process on the first day.

With the thousands of summer camp programs available, choosing the best for your kids can sometimes feel like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. With these simple tips, you can help to set your kids up for success this summer.

Search all of our camp listings and find the perfect fit for your child, your schedule, and your budget at ActivityHero.com

Categories
After-School Activities

Top Reasons For Summer Sports Involvement






Elite sports begin young, and select those few who will be the superstars of the next generation early on. Whether you desire this intense experience for your child, or simply want them to be active, have fun and learn a new skill – summer is a great time to get it done.

Competitive sports can be, well, competitive – even during elementary school. While everyone should try to be a good sport on game days, coveted positions on teams can cause jealously and fierceness to flare up. And then outside of the parents, the kids will feel the pressure too!

In today’s world of young athletes, it can be difficult for school-aged children to try out for a team when they have zero experience in the sport. A summer camp or intensive can help resolve this issue, providing the child with one of two things:

–        For the beginner: a basic, non-competitive environment in which to learn

–        For the seasoned athlete: a chance to enrich skills during freed up hours during summer

No matter which goal your family has in mind, taking advantage of longer days and less commitments over the summer is vital to improving one’s game.

Finding a True Love

Perhaps your child is young or new to sports and aren’t sure which one to plug into. Since every recreational activity that involves being part of a team tends to be both expensive and time-consuming, summer is the best time of year to “try things out” and see what really excites your child. You may have always envisioned her as a soccer star, but then discover that she is a tennis pro. Summer vacation is a wonderful time to just explore and play. Many summer intensives for sports (including dance and gymnastics) invite those new to the arena a chance to sample a handful of different things. An intensive sports camp may include a week of softball, football, tennis, volleyball and soccer – or any other combination of sports. Basic rules are taught, mock games are played, and information about what to do next if you’ve caught the bug for one in particular are usually included. For dance, a smattering of different dance disciplines are taught, and may include ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary or hip hop. Gymnastics intensives for new athletes may choose to focus on all events within competitive gymnastics, or instead just work on strength-building, basic tricks and safety protocol.

Encouraging an Elitist

If your child is going to become a sports elitist, taking the summer off is not an option. Elite sports demands a generous amount of commitment from both the athlete and his/her family, and summer is a time spent ramping up training, endurance levels and honing new skills. If the competition season prior ended up being a bit rough in some regard, then those skills which caused the fumbles will often be worked on intensively.

Summer is time for the elitist to spend the hours he/she would normally be in school working with a private coach or taking extra classes. The goal of an advanced athlete is to use summer camps and intensives toward improving significantly in their sport of choice, or at least maintaining the level they are at.  These months are often the only time of year where you can get an “edge” on your fiercest competition, as there are fewer distractions in life.

Finding Your Heart

Parents tend to have big dreams for their youngsters, and kids really do need us to dream big for them. However, every parent must be careful they aren’t dreaming beyond what a child is capable of, or not forcing their own slighted ambitions onto a little one. Explain the importance of summer intensives to your child, but if they don’t want to be an elitist in their sport, or just really need a summer off to avoid burnout, it’s important to honor that whenever possible.

Whatever your activity decision-making may be, the heart of it should always be your child’s dreams and passions. Take a good hard look in your family mirror – is the sacrifice something that is worth it? Does your child’s elite sport make his/her life enhanced? Is this something that is child-driven rather than parent or coach-driven? If so, take advantage of one of the great intensive camps available in your region. You can find out about them through your child’s regular trainer or coach, or simply look online. Discounts and scholarships are often available to ambitious young athletes hoping for high-quality summer enrichment without an overwhelming price tag.

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Categories
After-School Activities

6 Reasons To Pick this Winter Activity This Summer






Swimming, softball clinics and church camps – you can likely rattle off the lists of summer activity options in your sleep by now. However, there may be one “cool” sport you may have missed while packing your calendars full this summer – ice skating!

Sure, it may take you a moment to shift your focus from sipping ice water poolside to watching your child learn a new skill rink side, but as you weigh the benefits, chances are your family may become winter sports enthusiasts – even while the weather is hot.

children ice skating

1.     Beat the Heat

Unless you live in an uncommon destination where snow’s the norm, chances are your summer plans are often driven by your desire to stay cool during a standard heat wave. Reduce your spending on A/C units and family-sized popsicle packages, and instead head to the local ice skating rink for the chance to chill out while your child enjoys learning a new skill. Many skating rink day camps around the country offer your family the chance to not only learn how to ice skate, but also participate in arts & crafts, movies and games – all with an abundance of air conditioning for mom and dad.

Find ice skating camps and classes near you! >>

2.     Enjoy a Discount

Most camps will offer some sort of discount, either via promotional code or multiple registrations. However, winter sports offer an additional incentive – many of them are more affordable than their summer counterparts during this time of year for the sole reason that they are often an afterthought for many families. Elite figure skating lessons and ice hockey gear can get pricey, and summer is a great time to take advantage of discounted public sessions or kid-focused day camps that can save you a bundle.

 3.       It’s Unique

Especially with slightly older children, the idea of doing something out-of-the-box may make the annual mundane activity selection process a bit more exciting. And you don’t even have to sell them on the idea of participating in a winter sport all summer long. Groups that make summer camp their business maintain a more traditional fusion of academics and camp events, while making each Friday a field trip day. Included with many? Ice skating.

4.     Support Local Business

Yes, we know it’s nice to take that big sigh of relief when your kids are on their own for a bit under the watchful eye of an adult that isn’t you. While we all need alone time, even with a full camp schedule the cabin fever crazies can set in during even two days in a row at home. Get out and support local businesses by taking them to your neighborhood rink to participate in a public skating session or to cheer on a friend on the ice hockey league. Or, if you live where it snows, find out what those local resorts are offering now that it’s all melted away. They may have some great summer options like whitewater rafting or mountain biking that don’t get a lot of publicity because their snowy reputation precedes them.

5.     Get More Mileage Out of That Wardrobe

Remember that hot pink sweater she NEEDED to own, only it was stubbornly never on sale? Or, even better, did you purchase a warm weather clothing item for your child only to experience the weather shifting dramatically only a week or so later? Seasonal shopping can be tricky, and winter sport participation during the summer months ensures you get the most mileage out of those items that would otherwise hang out in the back of the closet. So pull out those sweaters and long pants for a hockey camp or ice skating party.

6.     Get What You Pay For!

Finally, summer camps are great fun, but many times the schedules change because of the weather. Yes, it’s warm outside – but in most regions of the U.S. summer still involves at least a bit of rain and windy days. This means a swimming day may get canceled, as can any outdoor event. Since the majority of summer camps plan their thrills in the great open air, the very thing that motivated you to sign up for that specific destination may not materialize. With winter sports and activities, Mother Earth doesn’t get much of a say in what kids can or cannot do. Controlled temperatures and routine schedules reign supreme when it comes to indoor, winter-themed fun.

Author: Tamara Warta

Categories
After-School Activities Parenting Resources

Outfitting Your Child for Summer Performing Arts Camps? Start Here






The San Francisco Bay Area is filled to the brim with artistic activities for kids of all ages. From first steps into a dance studio to summer performing arts camps for mastering a classical concerto, the truth of the matter is young people involved in the arts have special shopping needs that at times can be difficult to accommodate.

Fortunately, many businesses exist throughout the bay area to supply anything under the sun you could possibly need to make your child’s performance dreams come true. From musical instruments to dance attire, the list below will guide you toward the top 10 destinations to prepare for a summer of fun and creativity.

1. Capezio Dance Theatre Shops

(throughout Bay Area) If you are the parent of an aspiring dance star, chances are you’ve heard of Capezio, one of the biggest names in dance supply. From shoes to recital costumes, Capezio has truly cornered the market when it comes to obtaining what you need for summer dance activities.

2. Victoria’s Dance and Costume (San Jose & Santa Cruz)

If you prefer a more intimate shopping experience and a chance to support small business, check out Victoria’s Dance and Costume, located in both San Jose and Mountain View. This shop features plenty of basic dance supplies, as well as a fun costume collection that will make you want to revisit come Halloween season.

3. World of Music (Cupertino)

A small, lively shop in Cupertino, World of Music features a massive collection of sheet music, as well as various instrument rentals. They also sell percussion and wind instruments. If your child is taking music lessons of any type this summer (even harp!), chances are World of Music will be able to find you what you need.

4. The Starving Musician (Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Berkeley)

For parents on a budget, perhaps concerned their child’s rock star dreams are fleeting, the Starving Musician is the place to be. Their business is all about buying and selling used instruments, and they also tout a large supply of other music-related needs. All three locations offer private lessons if your child wishes to continue honing their craft after camp opportunities are through.

5. Fun House Theatrical (Mountain View)

A fun and affordable destination for actors, Fun House Theatrical is the South Bay’s premier location for costumes, makeup and other theatrical supplies you’ll find yourself needing for the summer, but stumped on where to get.

6. East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (Oakland)

Whatever your child is signed up for this summer – even if it’s nothing at all! – the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse supplies both teachers and parents with art supplies and resources that will help check things off your camp list, while allowing your child to express their creativity in an environmentally friendly way.