Summer Break Already?

Summer vacation is just around the corner. South Sound kids can choose from camps for everyone from aspiring acrobats to junior zoologists. Popular choices do fill fast, so I’ve included at least one lesser-known choice in each category, plus an idea for those of you who like your summer fun DIY-style.

Camps for Artsy Kids 

The Tacoma Art Museum offers camps for artists in grades two through eight. Campers will create art inspired by some of the museum’s pieces; yes — there is a glass art camp. 

If you have campers near Puyallup, check out camps at Fred’s Creative Kids at Fred Oldfield’s Western Heritage and Art Center at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. 

If you have tweens or teens who want to create their art from behind a movie camera, be sure to look into film camps at The Grand Cinema. Young filmmakers will take their project from storyboard to post-production. 

Young children can enjoy all kinds of inventive, messy, and educational fun at camps hosted by The Children’s Museum of Tacoma and the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia.

Camps for Sports Fans 

Success Soccer Camp is hosted by Pierce County Parks and Recreation. It’s run by Dr. Colleen Hacker, the first woman inducted into the United Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame, and has an emphasis on sportsmanship.

Mariners Grand Slam Camps are held at locations around the South Sound. Coaches are all current or former pros or college athletes. 

If your kids are pretty much hanging from the rafters and jumping off the walls already, why not try Synapse Circus Center in Auburn? Campers will learn real circus arts, like balancing, tumbling, and trampoline work. 

If you’re on a budget, look for mini camps put on by local high school teams.

Camps for Animal and Nature Lovers 

The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium offers camps for all ages with fun themes like “Creature Features” and “Animal Grossology.” 

Another option is to check out the fun camps at the Tacoma Nature Center. Kids can choose from fun weeks like “Wildlife Biologist Camp,” or “Bugs and Slugs.”

Eco Explorers Camps at Sprinker Recreation Center are taught by Pierce County Environmental Educators and include an emphasis on environmental stewardship. 

Serious conservationists should consider camp options from Puyallup-based Wolf Camp. Choices for this year include Wilderness Survival Craft and Wildlife Search and Rescue. 

 Camps for History Buffs 

Did you know Fort Nisqually offers summer day camps? Perfect for kids with an interest in history, camps include a chance to explore 19th-century life with activities such as crafts, stories, and cooking. Older campers can try their hand at candle making and blacksmithing! 

The White River Valley Museum in Auburn also has camp options at its museum location and the Mary Olson Farm. 

 Camps for Kids Ready for Overnight 

If your kids are ready for a real sleep-away option, YMCA’s Camp Seymour is a popular choice. Generations of girls have overnighted at Camp St. Albans, a Girl Scout camp.

Camps if You’d Like to Do It (almost) by Yourself 

If your schedule or budget doesn’t allow for camp (or maybe your kiddos are too young to be campers), consider teaming up with some other parents to host an informal neighborhood camp. Create a list of families and take turns hosting the whole gang for a couple of hours of fun once a day, or once a week. 

Still more options can be found through Metro Parks Tacoma, the YMCA, and Annie Wright School, to name a few.  

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