I don’t ever remember being over scheduled for summer camps growing up. I’d go to sleepover camp for a week, that was about it. In 2013, however, a stack of pamphlets and booklets crowds our kitchen table as we plot out activities for the boys this summer.
There’s hockey camp, baseball camp, cheerleading camp, overnight camp – those are the ones you’d expect to see. There was even this one time, I thought about sending my kids to band camp .. wait, never mind.
If the same old routine isn’t doing it for your kids this summer, why not try to find one to harness a unique interest or skill they possess?
Check out this list of interesting, unique and unconventional summer camps for kids that might spark your imagination to look for something different near your hometown this summer.
Best Camps Ever 1 of 20
From Fashion Camp to LEGO Camp, Space Camp to Motorsports Camp, all sorts of things are covered for the kids this summer. They look so fun you might find yourself saying "Forget the kids, sign me up!"
Olympic Camp 2 of 20
Motorsports Camp 3 of 20
Culinary Camp 4 of 20
They say the best way to get kids away from being picky eaters is to involve them in the meal planning. Culinary Camp does just that by teaching your kids everything from meal planning to knife skills. They can also learn baking and pastry arts in programs that run for 1, 2, 3 weeks or more.
Image via Kids Culinary
Camp BizSmart 5 of 20
For kids with an entrepreneurial spirit, Camp BizSmart lets kids work on their MBA before they're even done high school. This summer, students will work with a robotics company to help manage cost reduction and expand their marketing efforts - all with real consumer products.
Image via Camp BizSmart
Dinosaur Camp 6 of 20
If you've got a kid that can pronounce all those dinosaur names in their favorite bedtime books, let them dig for real bones. At Dinosaur Camp, kids live in an archaeological region and spend their days prospecting for dinosaur bones and learning the science of palaeontology.
Image via Buzz Bishop
Pioneer Camp 7 of 20
Laura Ingalls Wilder isn't just a character in a book, she really lived in a house on the prairie. Home On The Range Camp takes that experience and makes it real life. High schoolers spend a week living in a heritage community and experience life as settlers and ranchers at the turn of the (previous) century. They live and sleep in a restored barn and work the land just like they did 100+ years go.
Image via Heritage Park
Robotics Camp 8 of 20
Comedy Camp 9 of 20
Circus Camp 10 of 20
LEGO Camp 11 of 20
LEGO isn't just a toy, it's a tool to grow imagination, and learning. Think of all the engineering skills kids can pick up just by trying to piece together bridges, buildings, and all sorts of figures. Bricks 4 Kidz summer camps cover everything from animal biology to amusement park physics with a dose of robotics.
Image via Bricks 4 Kids
Fashion Camp 12 of 20
Paintball Camp 13 of 20
Space Camp 14 of 20
Want to test if your kids are really up for the challenge? Pop in the 1986 classic, Space Camp. If they're game, then pack up the space suit and send them to Huntsville, Alabama. Recommended for kids from Gr 4-12, the real Space Camp puts kids through the paces of real astronaut training in their own simulated space mission, flying jet simulators, or engineering land, air and sea robots!
Image via Space Camp
Spy Camp 15 of 20
From code breaking to martial arts, kids at Camp Lohikan's Spy Camp program will learn all the tricks to make them the next Bond - or at least Cody Banks. For kids in 5th grade an beyond, they'll learn rope climbing, jetskiing, and mission planning all ending with a final exam rescue mission.
Image via Camp Lohikan
Wizards and Warriors Camp 16 of 20
It's Dungeons and Dragons and Harry Potter come to life. Kids create armor, weapons, take weapons training and then take their character on treasure hunts and adventures. Wizards and Warriors Camp is proud that in addition to the quests, it also teaches kids about science, mythology, history, and literatures.
Image via Sword Summer Camp
Camp Jam 17 of 20
Plantation Farm Camp 18 of 20
If you've got a digital kid, this is the perfect place to get them unplugged. Everyone lives outdoors without electricity at Plantation Farm Camp. It is about slowing down, exploring, and being a kid. There are more than 50 activities on the roster from tie dying to bareback horse riding.
Image via Plantation Farm Camp
Shark Camp 19 of 20
The most popular week of tv on cable is Shark Week, and if your kids are glued to it, why not hook them up with the real thing. Mom and Dad can take a break on the beaches of Fiji, while your kids get dropped in the ocean in a cage with some bloody chum at The Fiji Shark Studies program. If your kid is in high school and over 15, they could even collect college credit and community service points as they help collect data for The Shark Foundation Database.
Image via Fiji Shark Studies
Wakeboard Camp 20 of 20
Now for the extreme athlete in your family, a week on the water is just the fit. Wakeboard Camp gets your kid hitting some jumps but can also include adrenaline rushes in parachuting, ultra light flying, go-karting, and more. That is going to be an interesting waiver to sign before you pack the kids off.
Image via Camp Qwanoes