Summer camps to keep your kids engaged this summer

| June 1, 2015 | Comments (0)

Unknown-2We always look at summer as a time to add depth to our daughters’ education. No matter how hard teachers try, there is always something parents wish their children would experience that just won’t fit into the lesson plans. Here are some ideas to jump start your summer plans.

Community College Camps

Our local community college has a wonderful class schedule with everything from academic reviews to enrichment to sports camps. These classes are usually taught by certified teachers looking to supplement their income. Unfortunately, every year dozens of classes are cancelled because families don’t seem to realize that these opportunities exist. Here are some community colleges offering summer programs to inspire your cap search.

*City Colleges of Chicago has Family College at various locations across Chicago.

*Elgin Community College offers Kids College, a summer enrichment program for students from 6 – 15 years of age.

*Moraine Valley Community College offers Valley Learning, which includes a full schedule of camps for elementary school children through middle school students.

*Triton College calls its summer camps Youth Programming.

Dance Camps

Kids love to move and summer dance camp helps them learn how to move their bodies in new, often unexpected ways. Two of Chicago’s premier dance companies hold summer dance camps in genres you might not expect.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago offers a variety of Youth Dance Programs workshops and day camps, as well as the newly integrated and restructured Summer Intensives for aspiring professional dancers. Families can choose from Artistic Connections Camp which combines dance with music and visual art, Story Time Dance for “little movers,” and Dance Explorers. There are “a la carte” registration options for scheduling flexibility and discounts for multiple registrations.

The Joffrey Ballet offers children’s camps for “a fun-filled week of movement-based creativity.” Children from 3 – 6 can attend a one hour camp. Children from 7 – 16 can attend morning or afternoon sessions. What’s fun about these camps is that classes range from musical theatre jazz to Hip Hop. Camps are segmented by age, so your little camper will be able to learn with other kids his/her age.

Theater Camps

Theater companies that focus on, or include, children’s productions often have summer camps. Some, like Emerald City Theatre come immediately to mind. Others, like Fox Valley Repertory, Northlight Theatre and Theatre at the Center prove that you can find wonderful opportunities for children across the entire Chicago metropolitan region.

Zoo Camps

Our girls attended Zoo Camp at Brookfield Zoo for many years. They still talk about the animal encounters, interesting activities and last-day performance. It has been a few years since we sat in the bleachers watching them perform, but I still sing the “shark song” whenever I think about Brookfield Zoo camp. They burst into laughter as they do the hand movements to “Grampa Shark.” This year Brookfield Zoo is partners with National Inclusion Project “to benefit Zoo Campers with special needs, including physical disabilities, autism, sensory processing disorders, and attention deficit disorders.”

Lincoln Park Zoo offers Conservation Camp with activities for children from pre-K to fourth grade. A special exhibit on the Lincoln Park Zoo ground, Nature in Motion: Sculpture at Lincoln Park Zoo, offers families a unique perspective on art and animals. “Sculptures by participating Chicago-area artists have been selected for originality, artistic merit and ability to communicate this theme to all zoo visitors.” Free guided tours are available daily.

Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of Todd Rosenberg for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

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About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

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