Unique Summer Camps in San Francisco

A Little Yumminess - San Francisco Bay Area
January 29, 2013

It's that time of the year again when parents try to figure which camps to enroll their children in over the summer. The options for summer camp in San Francisco are varied and endless, and it can be challenging and time consuming to figure out which are the "better camps" with some actual content as opposed to something that's more like daycare for your kids while you work.

Here are some things to consider as you search for summer camps for your little ones:

  • Full day, half day or sleep-away camp: Does the camp provide after-care at a reasonable cost to accommodate your work schedule? If it is a sleep-away camp, is your child capable of being away and taking care of him/herself?
  • Enrichment: What skills will your children learn?
  • Budget: The cost of camp adds up in a hurry, especially for multiple children.
  • Your child's interests: It is summer after all, so do not force your child to do something they have no desire to do.
  • Reviews: Does the camp come highly recommended by other parents and children?
  • Most of all: Is the camp fun, safe and engaging?

Below are some summer camps in San Francisco worth considering for your little ones, getting rave reviews from both kids and parents

Tree Frog Treks

Started by the irrepressible and inspiring Chris Giorni, Tree Frog Treks is about making science fun, connecting with nature, and exercising the imagination. Children love the exposure they get to nature, the outdoors, and all the animals they get to see and touch.

Their motto of "Get Out and Get Dirty" resonates well with the little ones, many of whom beg to be enrolled in Tree Frog Treks' multiple programs. They offer summer camp for preschoolers to soon-to-be fifth graders with counselor training programs for teenagers. With themes like "Welcome to the Jungle," "Pirates: Catapults and Canons," and "Wild, Wild West," you will be spoiled for choice when deciding which camp to enroll your kids in.

The full-day camp runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with options for early drop-off and late pick-up for an extra fee, making this camp an attractive option for working parents.

Around the World Cooking Camp

A newcomer to the summer camp space this engaging and fun "Around the World Cooking Camp" comes highly recommended by parents and their little ones.  It was held for one week last year at 18 Reasons (Bi-Rite's community space dedicated to all things food) and this year is back with two weeks at Seesaw (www.seesawsf.com) in Hayes Valley.  The camp is run by the creators of a the blog A Little Yumminess (that's us!) and focuses on food adventures with kids and exposing your kids to international and diverse food at home.

The two one-week half-day camps will take the children from Japan, to Argentina to Norway and beyond and children will learn to make delicious treats from around the world. It's a vacation without leaving home.  In addition to some hands on cooking, kids will get involved in some fun food related arts and crafts as well.  Children will be exposed to world cultures and cuisines, pick up some useful life skills and also become more adventurous eaters.

Currently offered to entering first to third graders, this specialty camp has a high student-to-teacher ratio. Options are also available to become a junior counselor at this camp and to assist the teachers. For now, it is a half-day camp with plans to expand to a full day offering in the near term. However, if you have a flexible schedule and prefer shorter camps for kids, this is a "must-do."

Legarza Basketball Camp

Legarza has been offering very well run camps since 1989. The camp counselors are young and engaged and love passing on their love of basketball. In addition to just basketball skills, Legarza teaches good sportsmanship, tenacity and teamwork making it more than just a regular sports camp. This is a great camp if your child is interested in basketball or sports in general.

The camp is offered at various locations throughout the city and their schedule and locations are finalized in early February. There are discounts for signing up for multiple camps and with friends or siblings. This camp has the option of being full day or half days based on your family's needs.

Chris Babcock Art

Chris Babcock offers some of the best art classes in the city of San Francisco at her art worksop/gallery in the Richmond district. She teaches drawing and painting to kids, teens and adults using the finest professional art supplies and museum quality archival paper.

Chris's summer camp is offered throughout the summer from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Campers create their own art using Sharpie pens and sketch pads. Chris Babcock gives the campers step-by-step instructions and constant visual demonstration using a simple and easy-to-understand grid system to draw and paint three artworks by modern and contemporary masters: one animal, one still life, and one figure painting. By the end of each camp, each child creates three glossed 15 by 20 inch acrylic paintings on high quality archival paper, which can be easily framed for display.

If your child is into art Chris Babcock's camp must be considered!

Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are San Francisco Bay Area moms and the creators of A Little Yumminess, a family food blog where they share spiced-up recipes and kid-friendly food adventures. You can also find them on Facebook.

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