Kids relish their summer vacation, so finding the right summer camp is hugely important, especially for working parents who require all-day options.
Fortunately, living within a few miles of one of the largest cities in the country has its advantages, especially if your kid has the creative bug or likes nontraditional outdoor activities.
The Art Institute of Chicago offers part- and full-day summer camps for children ages 6 to 13. Students have the opportunity to work on daily visual and performing arts projects, but they also spend time exploring the museum as well as venturing out into the city to discover public art, parks and monuments. Topics include painting, drawing, sculpture, performance, printmaking, mixed media and other artistic endeavors. Each camp has a distinct focus so it’s different each session.
Facets Film Camp
Facets Film Camp, held in Chicago, is part of a year-round program run by the producers of the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Their summer camp, now a decade old, gives kids ages 7 to 14 a foundation in the various aspects of filmmaking including technique, language and process. Kids explore film vocabulary, storyboarding, camera work, lighting, sound recording, theory, screenwriting and more.
For kids who love the outdoors, the Evanston Ecology Center offers a camp that blends physical activity with a learning-focused, natural perspective. While it caters to kids from kindergarten through sixth grade, the children are divided into groups to further customize the activities. The older group, for example, has the opportunity to participate in an overnight excursion. All campers get weekly beach days and cookouts. Other activities include science experiments, field trips, games, live performances, and arts and crafts.
Sheridan Shore Sailing School
Sheridan Shore Sailing School (at Wilmette Harbor) has a fleet of 30 boats of varying sizes and an experienced instruction team to teach kids how to get the most out of the sport, while having a blast. For kids ranging from 8 to 18, the school offers beginner to advanced classes that meet Monday through Friday, in the mornings or afternoons. They have a racing team for more experienced sailors. Littler kids (ages 6 to 8) can join in the fun, too, through evening, 90-minute Sea Squirt classes, which run three days a week.
Jay’s Camp, located in Long Grove, describes itself as “the most personalized camp on the North Shore,” because of its limited enrollment and expansive range of activities. Set on 12 acres with sessions for kids pre-K to ninth grade, Jay and Sherry Silverman have been running the camp since it opened in 1974. Jay’s Camp offers non-traditional camp activities such as model airplanes, boats and cars; rocketry; wacky science; photography; plays and productions; professional dance instruction; gymnastics and much more. “Each program is customized to meet the needs of the individual child,” says Sherry. Each child receives a DVD of his or her experience.