As much as most of us are looking forward to summer after this harsh winter, the long break from school poses a special challenge, especially for parents who work full-time outside the home.
Fortunately, with a great university in our midst and myriad family-centered organizations in the community, there are summer camps to bridge the childcare gap and occupy kids of all ages and varying interests.
And although it seems like summer is a lifetime away, now is the time to register for summer camps in the region.
Centre Region Parks and Recreation (crpr.org) is one of several big providers of local summer programs for kids. Its summer camps include drama camps, nature camps, art camps and the all-encompassing Kidventure Camps.
State College Area School District’s Community Education department offers its popular “Shorts and Sports” camps, with full- and half-day options and themes including art, robotics, fitness, cooking and nature. It also offers three other camps: Camp Invention, Galaxy Explorers and Art in August. Visit www.scasd.org to find out more.
Penn State is another major resource for summer camps. It hosts day and residential camps for just about every sport under the sun, run by current PSU coaches, and with options for kids of all ages and abilities (http://www.gopsusports.com/camps).
Other summer camps at Penn State include art and pottery camps for ages 6-14 (http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/hub/craftcenter/camps.shtml) at the Center for Arts & Crafts, the wildly popular Science-U camps in the Eberly College of Science (sciencecamps.psu.edu), Bug Camp offered by the Entomology Department (http://ento.psu.edu), and even cooking camps with Penn State’s College of Health & Human Development (hhdev.psu.edu/cookcamp).
Besides these large resources, there are a lot of smaller organizations in the community that offer specialized camps for kids.
For the theatrically inclined, Singing Onstage Studios (singingonstage.com) offers musical theater camps. Or try something new and different with a Puppet Camp presented by Adam Swartz Puppets (adamswartzpuppets.com) in August.
For the Lego lover (and what kid isn’t a Lego lover?), Bricks4Kidz camps are offered at various locations all summer long (Bricks4Kidz.com).
Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania (mydiscoveryspace.org) offers science camps for preschoolers and school-aged kids at their Foster Avenue location, and also at the Grange Fairgrounds and the Bellefonte Art Museum.
For young artists, The Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania (artalliancepa.org) in Lemont and Artistic Horizon (http://artistichorizon.org) in State College both will offer art camps this summer. The Studio at Contempo (http://studioatcontempo.wordpress.com) in Boalsburg is offering an out-of-the-ordinary opportunity: Fashion Camp. Participants will create a different article of clothing each day and close the week with a fashion show.
Horse lovers ages 4-14 will find the perfect summer program at Countryside Equestrian Center in Port Matilda (countrysideequestriancenter.com) .
If you would like to get your kids moving and fit this summer, check out the summer camps offered at Ki’netik Fitness (kinetik-fitness.com), Centre Elite Gymnastics (centreelitegymnastics.com) and Nittany Gymnastics (nittanygym.com), all in State College.
The YMCA of Centre County (ymcaofcentrecounty.org) has summer camps for kids who want to explore the outdoors with field trips to fun area attractions like Lake Raystown, Tussey Mountain and more. Camps are available through all three locations (Bellefonte, Moshannon Valley, and State College).
Finally, Fun Unleashed in State College (fununleashed.com) offers a summer full of general fun in their activity-filled facility, as well as weekly field trips.
There are many more summer camp offerings than I have space to list here. If you are trying to find something to fit your child’s unique interests, please email me at Karen@4kidsinPA.com and I may be able to help you.
Karen Walker is managing editor of 4KidsinPA.com. She lives in State College with her husband and two boys.