Happy (Summer) Campers: Hidden Gems for Silicon Valley Kids

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
February 19, 2013

A few weeks ago we featured some fun, unique summer camps for families in the San Francisco area; this week we've got a great selection for families living farther south. Parents from San Mateo to San Jose have plenty of options for their kids to learn new skills, make new friends and have fun. But when you have a child with a particular set of interests, skills or desires, it can be a challenge to find a camp that's the right fit.

Here are five unique and unusual camps that will give your little one a summer experience that's one-of-a-kind:

Techie Kids

With high-tech companies in every garage and every corner, it's no wonder that high-tech camps are in high demand around Silicon Valley.  idTech Camps offer sessions in robotics, video game design, web design, programming and more, giving Silicon Valley kids the opportunity to get an early start in their local industry.

Girls Rule! 

Show your daughter that girls can do anything at a Sally Ride Science Camp. With locations at Stanford University and UC Berkeley, Sally Ride Science Camps give future female scientists and mathematicians the opportunity to explore science, technology and engineering through hands-on science learning and activities, all in a fun environment.

Drum Roll, Please....

Parents seeking relief from their child's constant karaoke sessions or makeshift drum sessions (aka pots and pans) can enroll their child in Mo Music's Percussion and Voice camp. Drum instructors will teach campers the basics of reading and writing rhythms, and introduce them to hand drums, conga drums, bongo drums, snare drums, cymbals, drum sets, marimba, orchestra bells, castanets, and more. In addition, voice instructors will help students develop their singing voices through warm-ups, breathing and articulation exercises, plus group and solo singing in a variety of styles.

Try a New Sport

Sports camps are as easy to find around the Bay Area as trees—if your child happens to like soccer, baseball, swimming, gymnastics, tennis, or flag football. If he prefers a less traditional sport, or wants to try a new one, the options are few and far between. Fortunately, many of Stanford University's athletics departments offer kids' summer camps. Sign your budding athlete up for Stanford's lacrosse, field hockey, volleyball, water polo, fencing, sailing or wrestling camps, and she'll get to spend a week with Stanford faculty or members of the varsity teams learning the FUNdamentals of the sport they love.

Join the Circus

Let your child run away and join the circus! At Oakland's Trapeze Arts Circus Camp, they'll learn an array of circus acts including the flying trapeze, acrobatics, clowning, juggling, stilt walking, rolling globe, tight wire, rolla bolla, trampoline, aerial arts, circus music and much, much, more.  At the end of the week, parents are treated to a performance that gets their children's minds and bodies soaring sky-high.  

A Date with Steve & Kate 

Steve & Kate's Camp has many of traditional features that make a summer camp great: arts and crafts, group games, a weekly special event like water slides or inflatables, lots of free choice time so kids can engage in unstructured play. What makes Steve & Kate's different is their schedule: kids can attend camp any number of days, any time of the day between 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at any of twenty locations around the North Bay, San Francisco, East Bay, Peninsula and South Bay. It's the perfect solution for families taking half a week off for a road trip, or stay-at-home parents who just need a day or two to run errands without the little ones underfoot.     

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