In the break between school years, a summer camp can give your child the nudge he or she needs to try something new. Does your son want to try music? Has your daughter always seen herself on stage? Whether it’s learning to ride a horse, program a robot or create an animated film, today’s sophisticated summer camps give kids the opportunity without a huge commitment.
Here is a sample of unusual summer camps in Broward County.
If your child is fascinated with technology and innovation, upgrade his or her summer experience with IMACS Hi-Tech Camps in Weston and Plantation.
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Founded more than 20 years ago, this camp offers hands-on, math- and science-based activities for kids in grades one through 12.
There is a computer programming and virtual robotics class, where students learn basic computer programming and how to control virtual robots. In electronics, kids learn how electricity is conducted through simple experiments using wire, LED lights, resistors and other components. Strategic reasoning is taught through math puzzles in a logic puzzles class.
Past students have gone on to major in computer science and STEM-related fields at colleges including the University of Florida, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale, said Terry Kaufman, president and co-founder.
While IMACS camps include team activities that help form the bonds of summer friendships, it also offers individual activities that allow students to move at their own pace, he said.
“Bright children often coast through school without any real challenge. IMACS’ camps challenge these kids within a supportive and fun environment. By the end, they realize that they actually enjoy solving hard problems that they used to be afraid to take on for fear of failure,” Kaufman said.
Free open houses are held in the spring, where attendees have a chance to win a free week of camp. Visit www.imacs.org/freesummer for details. IMACS sessions are held weekly from June 8 to Aug. 21. Costs for the full-day camp range from $420 to $564 per week; individual classes range from $90 to $289. Call 954-791-2333 or 561-470-1178, visit www.imacs.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young ones with an entrepreneurial spirit can learn the ropes of running a business through a camp run by Junior Achievement of South Florida. JA BizTown Camp offers two week-long sessions for ages 10 to 14 that give kids a chance to run a business and learn about back-end finances and operations while having fun with other kids.
“JA BizTown summer camp is different than the traditional camp because it teaches students about entrepreneurism, financial literacy and work-readiness,” said Anna Parker, senior director of communications and special events. “It gives them insight into careers they may have never considered.”
Kids begin the week as job candidates as they figure out the job they want, complete a job application and interview for a position in a BizTown Camp business. After landing a job, campers learn about the business they work for – its purpose, products and services.
Campers prepare a business plan, create goods and receive on-the-job training for operating their business. They learn how to manage a checking account and debit card, discuss charitable giving, and learn the value of customer service. The kids also submit loan applications, print paychecks, write advertisements, check product inventories and create sales displays.
An end-of-week business conference gives campers a chance to evaluate their efforts. Then, as philanthropists, the kids run a fund-raising carnival, followed by a check presentation to a charity.
“Students are continuously being asked to be better, faster, smarter and JA gives students the tools that they need over the summer to continue their learning,” Parker said. “They will be challenged in a way that they may have not been before.”
The camp is held July 6-10 and July 13-17 at JA World Huizenga Center at Broward College in Coconut Creek. The cost is $250 per week. Visit www.jasouthflorida.org, email Debbie@jasouthflorida.org or call 954-979-7107.
Broward County Parks offers several camps to get your kids outdoors and having fun.
Nature Detectives at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek offers kids a chance to get up close and personal with the great outdoors. Geared to children ages 8 to 11, this camp has a different theme each day and is $75 per week. Weekly sessions run June 22-26 and August 3-7 from 9 a.m. to noon. Call 954-357-5198 or register at the nature center.
Summer Horse Camp at Tradewinds Park and Stables in Coconut Creek offers kids ages 9 to 16 riding instruction and lessons in horse care. Campers will get hands-on experience in grooming, saddling and maintenance, plus learn about tack and equipment. The camp is offered in one-day, two-day and four-day sessions: June 8, 9, 10 and 11 for one-day camps; June 15-16, 17-18, 22-23 and 24-25 for two-day camps; July 6-9, 13-16 and 20-23 for intermediate four-day camps; and Aug. 3-6 and 10-13 for advanced four-day camps. Camp is from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Camp fees are $75 per day, $150 per two days, and $300 or $400 per four days, depending on the level. Call 954-357-8720 or 954-357-8870.
Science Eye Safari Camp at Tree Tops Park in Davie casts kids in the role of scientist through experiments and field studies. Hands-on activities will help campers learn about taking care of the environment. Weekly camps are $300 and include field trips, lunch and snacks. For information, visit www.ScienceEye.com or call 954-680-7977.
Recreation at Neighborhood Parks is offered free at several locations to registered campers. The camps run weekdays June 15 to Aug. 14, offer free lunch and are available for kids ages 6 to 17.
The camps feature indoor and outdoor activities including arts and crafts, fishing clinics, swimming lessons and game-room play. There is a talent competition, field trips and guest speakers.
Registration is first-come, first-served and space is limited. Register at the park you want your child to attend. Camps are offered at six Fort Lauderdale parks: Boulevard Gardens Community Center (ages 6 to 10), Rev. Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park, Franklin Park, Roosevelt Gardens, Lafayette Hart and Sunview (ages 13 to 17). Visit www.broward.org/parks for information.
Kids can show their artistic side at an Art Exploration Camp hosted by Young At Art Museum in Davie. Geared to kids ages 3 to 4 and 5 to 12, the camp includes a ceramic, drawing and painting and mixed media project each week.
Art projects will be inspired by notable artists such as pop artist Kenny Scharf, sculptor Leah Brown and graffiti artist Banksy. Students will create urban art-inspired graphic tees, craft Amazonian flowers from fabric and make balloon animal sculptures. They will work together on murals, and use recycled materials to create art pieces.
Weekly sessions are $235 for members and $260 for non-members. Daily rates are $50 for members and $55 for non-members.
Young At Art also offers a digital art and film camp for kids ages 8 to 14. Taught by Fort Lauderdale artist and animator Rob Cabrera, the camp will help kids design digital paintings, special effects and movie trailers. A digital drawing and painting camp will help kids learn professional techniques and apps to create illustrations used in today’s cartoons and graphic novels. Other sessions include Star Wars-themed digital special effects, movie trailers, animated films and comics. Two-week sessions are $500 for members and $550 for non-members.
In Young At Art’s ceramic studios, kids will use clay to hand build sculptures. Geared to kids 8 to 13, the camp includes skills such as mold-casting and the potter’s wheel. Two-week sessions are $500 for members and $550 for non-members.
Get on stage
If your child was born to be on stage, there are several options around Broward.
Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre has three summer camp programs. Summer Stage, a show camp for students in grades two through 10, trains students in acting, music, dance and design to mount a full-scale production at the end of each four-week session. The camp is at the Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale. Session one, Disney’s Aladdin Jr., is June 8 through July 2. Session two, covering both Pinocchio and The Little Mermaid Jr., is July 6-31. The cost is $850 per session.
Storybook Adventures, a drama program for students ages four through first grade, incorporates theater games, music, story drama and movement. There are six weekly sessions from June 8 through July 24 at the Galleria Mall. The cost is $250 per week.
Bailey Hall Camp, for students in grades two through 10, offers a performance camp in a two-week session at Bailey Hall in Davie. Session one is June 15-26 and Session two is July 13-24. The cost is $295 per session.
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Performance Project School of the Arts also offer a Summer Theater Camp. Geared to kids ages 6to 18, the four-week sessions are $880 and include an introduction to musical theater, dance, voice, music, technical production and acting, and end with a public performance. Camps are held at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, the Old Davie School in Davie and the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.
Acting Up Camp, for children ages 6 to 9, offers beginning level classes in acting, singing, dance and arts and crafts. First session campers will perform Once Upon a Shoe and second session campers will perform Disney’s Aristocats Kids.
Broadway Bound Camp, for kids ages 10 to 13, is at a higher artistic level, with intermediate classes in acting, singing, dance and technical production. Session one will perform The Sound of Music G2K and Session two will perform Disney’s Aladdin Jr.
Company Group Camp, for teens 13-18 with moderate performing arts experience, explores voice and diction, character analysis, scene study, dialects and methods. Campers will perform The Wedding Singer and have the opportunity to earn community service hours by assisting younger campers.
Available by video audition only, Young Professionals Camp is for teens 13-18, who will undergo an advanced musical theater curriculum and perform in a professional level production of the musical Peter Pan at the Broward Center. Submission due dates are April 13 and May 11.