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Fun Summer Camp Ideas for Kids

4 min read

By Katherine George

There is nothing sweeter than the freedom of summer as a child. While every kid spends these months a little differently, from summer jobs to relaxing at the cottage, most kids have at least one experience with summer camp.

Camps provide kids with a chance to get out of their usual routine. They will learn, grow, meet new people, and gain new experiences. The key is to find one that caters to their unique interests. There are a wide variety of camps, from sports to arts and performance, and even academic camps! Here are some fun camp ideas for kids…


In America alone, the YMCA serves “1.4 million youth and adults at camps every year, including 970,000 kids and adults through summer day and overnight camp programs and more than 439,000 youth, teens, families, school and retreat groups through group camping overnight programs,” writes Parents.

You can find a variety of age-appropriate experiences for kids to play and learn together — both day and overnight camps at any YMCA location. Prices will vary and often are open to all income levels (just ask about fee adjustments).

Sports Camp

Kids who are sports fanatics should certainly sign up for a sports camp. Most communities have local day camps and programs available throughout the summer. You can find camps that focus on one specific sport that teaches new skills and offers lots of play time, or those that cover a wide variety of sports.

Those looking for something a little more intense can try Camp Olympia located on Lake Livingston in Trinity, Texas. This camp has over 45 activities for kids to try, including a swimming pool, challenge course, archery field, and more. They even have a “Spartan/Athenian” competition!

Arts and Performance Camps

Kids who love to express themselves creatively will feel right at home attending an arts and performance summer camp. There are many different types of camps that focus on all different art forms (i.e. musical theater, dance, singing, acting, art, or writing). No matter what it is, kids can spend their summer honing their craft and interacting with fellow artists with similar interests.

Check out SOCAPA (School of Creative and Performing Arts) which has a number of different summer programs for aspiring actors, dancers, photographers, screenwriters and musicians. Open to teenagers aged 13 to 18 with locations in Vermont, Los Angeles, and NYC. There is also the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program in California which offers workshops to kids of all ages and abilities and School of Rock’s Music Camp programs held at School of Rock locations across the country.

Adventure and Expedition

For kids with a lust for adventure and the great outdoors, try a camp with expedition-like programs and activities. Camp Chief Ouray located just outside Denver, Colorado is described as an adventurous playground. Children aged 7 to 17 can attend and live in cabins, while those aged 13 to 16 can enrol in the Adventure Camp. This includes an overnight stay in the wilderness!

Another option is the outdoor adventure camp Mountain Adventure Tours (M.A.T.) in Ketchum, Idaho. It’s known for teaching kids important values and life skills through fun activities in the wilderness. M.A.T. runs over 40 camps, each with their own theme for varying age groups. The Idaho BaseCamp Sleep-Away is for kids 12 to 15 and features river rafting, archery, climbing, campfire cooking, and paddle boarding.

Academic and Technology Camps

School is out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean learning has to stop! The iD Tech Camp is geared towards children with an interest in technology. They have over 30 innovative programs that take projects like designing a video game and turn them into fun activities. This camp has both day and overnight options at over 150 locations across the U.S.

Parents of girls who love tech should consider Alexa Cafe (inspired by iD Tech co-founder Alexa Ingram-Cauchi). This camp is specifically for girls aged 10 to 15 and focuses on tech and entrepreneurship.

Girl and Boy Scouts

Boy and girl scout programs have been around since the early twentieth century and are now a worldwide movement. There’s a reason these camps have stood the test of time!

Geared towards teaching valuable life lessons and skills, both programs cost only about $25 a year for a membership, with additional fees for activities. Locate the nearest Girl Scout Camp or Boy Scout Troop to find out what camps and programs are available this summer!

Rob Hainer /

Sur La Table

Does your child show an interest in learning to cook? Aspiring culinary masters aged 13 to 17 can enrol in a five day program through any Sur La Table location across America.

They’ll not only gain knowledge and new culinary skills, but also confidence in the kitchen. For example the Cooking With Confidence program which provides kids with everything they need to know in the kitchen. They’ll learn how to grill burgers, preparing ravioli filling, and even cook s’mores with a blow torch. A fun activity for the final class is a friendly Mystery Box team competition.

Senior Managing Editor

Katherine is the Senior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat and Childhood. She is constantly striving to live a more active and healthy life, from eating healthy, exercising, and just spending more time outdoors. She enjoys cooking (with wine), walking her dog, reading, and recently joined a yoga studio!