Best Summer Camps for Younger Kids: Top destinations for children 3-6Christina Couch
Sports and Fitness Camps
Skyhawks Multi-Sport Camps
Where: Various Locations
What it offers: To help your child develop a love of sports and physical fitness, Skyhawks offers a half-day introduction to sports camps that allows your toddler to learn the basics of several different games. For the 3-to-4 age bracket, children work on balance, hand-eye coordination, and movement skills alongside a parent. Kids ages 4-6 can hit camp on their own to learn basketball, baseball, and soccer. On top of getting the fundamentals of each game, kids also work on team skills and cooperation.
In session: 9 am-10 am for 3- to 4-year-olds; 9 am-12 pm for 4- to 6-year-olds. Camps are offered throughout summer
What it costs: Varies by location; $30-$50 per week for 3- to 4-year-olds, $99-$120 per week for 4- to 6-year-olds
Children’s Peace Garden Art in the Garden Summer Camp
Where: Boulder, Colorado
What it offers: Children’s Peace Garden offers several half- and full-day workshops, but this one catches our eye because it mixes art with nature. This half-day camp for kids ages 4 to 6 brings children back to nature by having them work on poetry, music, and crafts while immersed in sprouting vegetables and plants. Kids learn about how to make natural dyes from the plants around them, as well as the basics of bees wax from on-site hives.
In session: June 20-24
What it costs: $160 per week. Limited scholarships are available
Mateys and Maidens Cookology Summer Camp
Where: Sterling, Virginia
What it offers: In this three-day camp, kids learn how to make snacks and dishes inspired by pirates. We’re charmed by this camp for two reasons: first, it encourages kids to get in the kitchen, learn about where their food comes from, and appreciate what goes into putting dinner on the table; and second, hearing your child explain what goes into dishes like “peanut butter cannonballs” and “walk-the-plank sweet potato fries” will probably be the most adorable thing ever. If pirates aren’t your thing, Cookology also offers camps for younger children and teens that focus on international dishes, baking and much more.
In session: 10 am-12 pm, July 12-14
What it costs: $110
Academic and Specialty Camps
Tree Frog Treks
Where: San Francisco, California
What it offers: Kids entering kindergarten or first grade will get to experience summer the way it should be: down and dirty. This hands-on, science-focused, half-day camp provides weekly outdoor adventures, each centered around nature themes ranging from “Come Fly With Me” to “Welcome to the Jungle.” Kids get up-close and personal with friendly creatures like snakes, lizards, and skunks while learning about how real scientists observe and study these creatures in the wild. Craft projects, songs, and games are in the mix, too. A full-day program is also available for first- through fifth-graders.
In session: 9 am-1 pm Monday-Friday, June 6-August 12
What it costs: $299 per week
Center for Talent Development Summer Camps
Where: Locations near Chicago, Illinois
What it offers: CTD has programs for kids of all ages, but it makes our list because of its innovative courses for high-achieving pre-K kids, kindergarteners, and first-graders. Campers actively learn about each week’s theme by creating their own Kenyan game reserve to study animals, or creating models of buildings to examine basic geometry concepts. Expect English and math skills to get a boost.
In session: July
What it costs: $600 per week for all-day courses; $335 per week for half-day camps