Winter break is a chance to relax, rewind, and even try something new. These winter break camps are open over Christmas week or New Year’s Week. Some even offer one-day drop in rates for the ultimate flexibility!
Active Learning Chess and Computer Camps, TX, MD, NC, FL, LA
Adventure Camps, San Francisco, CA (one day rates)
Berkeley Playhouse, Berkeley, CA
Chabad of Oakland, Oakland, CA
Dragonfly Designs Jewelry Camp, South San Francisco, CA
JCC East Bay, Berkeley & Oakland, CA
JCCSF Holiday Camps, San Francisco, CA
Kids Outdoor Club, San Francisco, CA (one day rates)
Kinetic Arts Center, Oakland, CA (one day rates)
Monkey Business Camp, Berkeley, CA (one day rates)
Nurture Kids, Fremont, CA
Oakland Zoo Camp, Oakland, CA
San Francisco SPCA, San Francisco, CA (one day rates)
SF Zoo, San Francisco, CA
Spartans Sports Basketball Camp, Mountain View, CA
Spring Down Equestrian, Portola Valley, CA
Sticky Art Lab, Berkeley, CA
Triple Threat Basketball Academy, Oakland, Piedmont, San Ramon, CA
Universe of Color Language Camp, Belmont and San Mateo, CA
Y.U.M. Chefs, San Francisco , CA (one day rates)
Updated 11/13/2013: One-week winter camps are being offered in Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Houston, and Naples.
Chess and computer camps can help improve thinking, logic and memory skills. Kids as young as 5 years old can learn chess at USA Chess, one of the programs from Active Learning, the largest chess program kids.
Active Learning has locations in many cities and states throughout the US that offer summer camps and year-round enrichment classes.
Does it feel like you spend a LOT of time and money planning and sending kids to summer camps? Well, you do. Here is something we put together from the data we have on San Francisco parents and summer camps.
And, here’s some shameless horn-tooting: use our search & summer planning calendar tools to save time, and, check out our discounts page and our free week of camp to save some money! You can even sign up for our newsletter and get these discounts delivered to your inbox once a month!
And, it doesn’t stop there, we give you two sham-wows!!! ok, we don’t. But we do help you find after-school activities during the school year too.
We would love to hear how we can make this even easier. Please tell us!
Sometimes, a full week of summer camp doesn’t fit into the schedule, or the budget. Luckily, some camps offer partial weeks or daily rates to accommodate various needs.
Below are a few examples of San Francisco Bay Area and Philadelphia camps which offer more options than just weekly registration. A couple are so flexible you could actually drop your child off at the last minute for a day of camp. Most require some pre-paid days, registration, and/or some notice so they make sure the camp is properly staffed. At a few camps the one-day registration process may not be very clear on their website, so don’t hesitate to call them for help. We find summer camp folks to be pretty friendly!
Bay Area Flexible Camps
Three locations in Marin, plus now three convenient pick-up locations in San Francisco, provides many Camp Doodle options. Register for any number of weeks ($300 per week before 6/1) or days ($75 per day). Their whole-summer option is $1800, plus a bit more for extended care. Optional hot lunch is available for purchase at all locations. Camp day runs from 9:00am – 3:30pm, with earlier/later pick-up/drop-off from San Francisco.
Kids Outdoor Club
This camp meets in Speedway Meadow of Golden Gate Park, but travels within the park and elsewhere in the city. There’s a 5-day punch-card option ($425) which you can use any time during the summer on a drop-in basis. Full day camp runs from 9am – 5pm, with an extended day option. There’s also a punch card for their half-day program (9:00-1:30) for a bit less ($325). Once you have the punch card you can drop-in any day without advanced notice. Note: There’s a punch card discount of 10% through May 30th.
Andy Harader Tennis
This camp in Palo Alto, for kids 7-16, has a daily rate of $70 available. You can register in advance on their website to let them know the dates you are planning to attend. This sounds like a perfect option if you have another full week of tennis camp and want to add on a few more days for extra practice. Camp is half-day only, 9am – 12pm.
Steve and Kate’s Camp
With 19 Northern CA locations, Steve and Kate’s sets the bar for maximum flexibility. They’ve been going strong since 1980 and have the logistics down pat. You can buy any number of days ($75 per day) and use them anytime at any location. Unused days are fully refunded automatically. Alternatively, the “20-Day Bundle” is just enough to get in the groove and is a great deal at $1200 ($60 per day). But the best value of all is the All Summer Membership at $2100. (This is less than $50 per day, if you take full advantage.) Camps are open from 7:30am – 6pm and include all lunches, snacks and drinks. (And the food sounds fantastic BTW.)
The Dancing Paintbrush
The Dancing Paintbrush in Berkeley provides lessons on color theory and famous artists in art history, go on field trips, and host special guests to spark the creative process. They encourage individual exploration of personal themes and interests and value working together and sharing ideas. Drop-in students are welcome at the rate of $75/day on a space available basis. Please contact them at least 24 hours in advance to see if space is available. There are no drop-ins on Field Trip days.
Sticky Art Lab
Sticky Camp fills the mornings with a structured art or craft project (with local artists whenever possible), then in the afternoon the kids get to design their own project ideas. It’s a perfect combination of focused skill-building, then self-directed learning. Partial weeks, 2-day minimum at $60 per day.
Paresh Martial Arts
Voted Red Tricycle’s 2011 Totally Awesome Sports and Fitness Classes, Paresh Martial Arts provides dynamic, fun, empowering day camps for children aged 5 & up, with or without martial arts experience. Their day camps teach core life skills through the art of Tang Soo Do, a traditional Korean karate that develops self-awareness, self discipline, self-confidence, respect, and integrity. The camp program is led by certified black belt instructors. It is well-paced, including games, reading time, and adventures in Golden Gate Park. Camps are available by the day(s) or week, and early drop-off can be arranged.
Delaware Valley Flexible Camps
Club La Maison
Club La Maison in Wayne, PA, is swim camp plus much more for children ages 3-10 years old. They offer a traditional 5 day week, plus T/Th or M/W/F options. Half-days or extended care are also available.
For the summer of 2012, will be offering camps in Tennis, Golf, Culinary Arts, Robotics, Video Game Design, Performing Arts (theater and acting), Filmmaking, and Salon Services. Lavner Camps is known for their very flexible sign up options; camps open on June 18th and many run until August 31. Campers may sign up for a week or multiple weeks, including half day and partial week options.
Does it get much cooler than a Lego camp? Kids all over the U.S. don’t think so as these camps focused upon the famous building sets fill up quickly with enthusiastic youngsters looking to earn a little engineering know-how as they play the summer away. Whether Legos is a central theme or just an activity to enjoy while at a camp with broader subject diversity, Legos are undoubtedly a hit wherever kids go.
At Pacific Coast Kids in the bay area, campers can sign up for an entire summer of Lego fun with the Innovative Lego Camps program. Camp sessions include KinderSmart for the little guys, Action Legos for grades 1-2, LegoMotion for grades 1-3, and Motor Mania for grades 2-3. Older campers explore the intricacies and projects inspired with Legobotics, Star Wars legos and Mindstorms. These camps are offered in two locations in the South Bay/Peninsula region and are perfect for Silicon Valley kids that love to create and innovate.
Similarly, the TechKnowHow Technology and LEGO Summer Camps based in and around San Francisco teach children educational principles through Lego and KNEX fun. Sessions include game design, 3D modeling and electronics, all with age-appropriate projects that will inspire them to learn more about technology and science. This camp is geared toward those aged 5-14.
Celsius and Beyond utilizes a hands-on science enrichment program, but includes fun side projects like Lego Robotics for grades 4-9. The Lego camp lasts for a week, and kids attend from 9am-4pm. Multiple session and sibling discounts are also available.
For parents who want to integrate summer camp with the strong teachings of the Jewish faith, try Osher Marin JCC Camp, which offers a Legos Sportsbots session for grades 1-4. Or, try exposing them to traditional Quaker values of service and community at San Francisco Friends School Summer Camp. Quakers totally play with Legos too – which is proven with their Lego Motor Madness camp session, as well as Master Lego Builders and Lego Solar (environmental focus) in July.
Little campers aged 4-6 can enjoy Lego Lab at Peekadoodle, as well as many other fun and creative activities that will stimulate young minds. Older kids (grades 3-7) will enjoy Lego Robotics at Chabot Space & Science Center. Finally, the The Tech summer camps at The Tech Museum of San Jose, will inspire young scientists, engineers and inventors in grades 4-8. Specialties include a Lego Robotics class just for girls, as well as a master’s class for those in grades 4-6.
For those over in Philly, there’s plenty of East Coast Lego action for your campers at Bucks County Community College. Their Kids on Campus program features a wide array of one-week camp sessions, including Lego Animation for those aged 9-12 in July. Camp Teekna, another Philly favorite, is a Christian camp that teaches God’s love and keys to healthy friendships while mixing it up with fun activities. Check out their Jr. Camp’s Lego session for grades K-5.
Beyond these, many traditional camps on both coasts include Legos into their activity roster. Conduct a simple Google search in your area, or contact SignUpForCamp.com for some more great destinations near you.
Tilt Summer Film Camp is a great place for kids to learn the ins and outs of the filming industry. Not every child will be director, and this camp realizes that with its intensive sessions on everything from filming to final editing. Recently SignUpForCamp.com spoke to Robyn Bykofsky about Tilt’s summer programs, and what families can expect to get out of it!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you started the camp
A: I have been actively involved with TILT at Ninth Street Independent Film Center (participating in its first teacher-training workshop in December of 1999, instructing several of dozens of media literacy/video production workshops, developing curriculum, consulting with the design of TILT’s new website, and now taking on the role of the Youth Media Manager). Throughout the year TILT partners with community-based organizations. TILT has been teaching young people media literacy through hands-on video production for over 15 years. TILT’s Summer Film Camp is a newer program, celebrating its 5th year last summer
Q: Are there any special lessons or experiences you are trying to provide during the camp?
A: TILT, the Youth Program of the Ninth Street Independent Film Center, teaches young people the fundamentals of movie making and media literacy through hands-on training in video production. TILT programs empower young people to tell their own stories, to work collaboratively, and to become lifelong learners. Our summer program allows teens to gain exceptional experience in an intimate setting, with professional filmmakers and educators. Teens have gone on to win awards, with work screened at film festivals, and enter top university film programs such as NYU, UCLA, and USC.
Q: What surprises/delights the kids (or parents) most about your camp?
A: TILT Summer Film Camp is more than video production training – teens learn to become critical consumers and producers of media. TILT programming delivers specialized lesson plans, expert instruction, experienced staff, and inspired collaborative projects that support a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Some quotes from parents whose kids have been to the camp:
- [My son]felt a deep sense of accomplishment and was proud of his work that he did. Learning the basics of the editing program, working collaboratively on shoots and overcoming fears such as being in front of a camera were powerful life lessons.
- The staff was great, very supportive, intuitive and able to help kids with the normal stumbling blocks of doing a first production. Hey, I graduated from the Motion Picture and Television School at UCLA and I was really impressed to see that students completed such great work in three weeks. A great camp!
- After a few short weeks they fired her up to such an extent she started making Films and never stopped. Becoming a Director or a Cinematographer is her dream.
- Tilt’s summer film camp was an excellent opportunity for my fourteen-year-old son to explore his interest in filmmaking. He learned the process of video production and was able to showcase his work in a professional setting with a screening and participated in a Q & A panel. I was struck by the quality of work and use of technique in the students’ short films and the commitment of the instructors. In addition there was a great sense of camaraderie amongst the students who collaborated on projects together and supported each other in their own individual films from acting to helping with the film shoot.
- It helped to boost his self-esteem and find a way to project his voice and deepen his understanding of filmmaking. With the experience he gained at Tilt he now continues to pursue his interest in digital media. Thanks to Tilt for providing a platform for youth to create and be heard.
- My daughter, Linden Bengtson,[attends] the Tisch undergraduate film school at NYU this fall. I want to thank you for all the incredible support and guidance you provided her during and after her TILT summers.