Let’s Play! 9 Unique and Fun Summer Camps for Chicago Kids

Chicago Bulls Kid Nation Basketball Clinic

It’s officially spring and it’s officially the time I start thinking about summer camp for Luke. I still can’t believe he’s almost done with his 1st grade year!

You have to excuse me for my enthusiasm and planning for summer camp so early. We have two more months until the school year is over. I’m new to this whole summer camp thing. With only one summer of camp experience under my belt, I feel like I have so much more to learn and know about what types of camps are offered in Chicago – the before/after care services, and how much the camps cost, and where Luke will enjoy his summer days with little worry from me while Charlie and I are working.

I’m trying to make every summer for Luke to be a memorable one, in terms of learning and experiencing new things and meeting new friends. Last summer was memorable for all of us because the twins arrived in the middle of it. Although Luke loved staying home with me and my mom while I was on maternity leave, he also wanted to go play outside. So this year, I’m going to try to give him every opportunity to go play outside with some indoor play as well!

I’ve rounded up my top picks of summer camps in Chicago, keeping in mind some of these are what Luke has expressed interest in as well.

Lincoln Park Zoo Summer Conservation Camp

I was excited and surprised to hear that Lincoln Park Zoo is offering a Summer Conservation Camp. I mean…seriously….summer camp at a zoo? Yes, please! This summer camp lets kids explore the zoo and participate in activities to discover animal diversity, environmental conservation, and some behind the scenes ways Lincoln Park Zoo cares for the animals and conserves them in the wild.

Use code SecondCityMom to receive 10% off of camp registration!

Price: $350/week ($300/week for members). Hours: 9am – 3 pm. After care is available.

Chicago Bulls’ Youth Hoops Camp

Last month, Luke took part in the Chicago Bulls’ first-ever Youth Hoops camp to celebrate the launch of its new youth basketball program. We had fun watching Luke practice while the twins met Chicago Bulls mascots! The camp was meant to serve as a showcase and a preview for what you can expect from Youth Hoops moving forward. When we told Luke he was practicing on the same court the professional basketball players practiced on, he was blown away! He told us he learned so much about the game of basketball during the clinic.

The newest addition to Bulls Kid Nation, Youth Hoops encompasses camps and clinics that take place across Chicagoland. The Youth Hoops program consists of 1-day clinics ($50 per participant), 3-day camps ($100 per participant), 5-day camps ($175 per participant) and premium clinics ($200 per participant) that run year round. The Youth Hoops camps are great for kids ages 5-14 of all talent levels. Camp registration includes a premium gift bag, tickets to a Bulls game and more.

Chicago Fire Summer Camp

Chicago Fire Summer Camp 2018

Last year, Luke started his first summer camp experience at soccer camp with the Chicago Fire, Chicago’s major league soccer team that also offers youth summer camp in Chicago and around Chicagoland. The location in the city is at the CIBC Fire Pitch (3626 N Talman Ave, Chicago, IL 60618) and where Luke will be attending. He loved it so much that he wants to do it again this year. The camp is outdoors for most of the day so place make sure your child brings and drinks plenty of water and has ample sunscreen.

Price: $350/week. Hours: 9 am – 3 pm. After care is available to 5 pm.

Galileo Summer Camp

Luke at Camp Galileo in 2018

Last summer, Luke participated in the Galileo Summer Camp in Lincoln Park, which was filled with different themes each week for him to learn and explore! I shared a blog post on it last year to recap Camp Galileo why we all liked it so much.

Price: Varies by location. Hours: 9 am – 3 pm. After care is available to 6 pm.

Adler Planetarium Summer Camps

If your kid is into science and space, the Adler Planetarium Summer Camps seems to be the right answer. The Adler Planetarium is one of our favorite places to visit in the city and the planetarium is so big and filled with endless learning possibilities! And how cool is it to say you explored the planetarium for part of the summer?

Price: $325/week ($295/week for members). Hours: 9 am – 3 pm.

Summer Comedy Camp with the Second City

One of Chicago’s gems is The Second City for comedy and improv. It’s always a fun night at The Second City but I really think a few weeks during the summer at Summer Comedy Camps would make the summer even more fun and funnier for kids. Campers exercise their sense of play through improv games and exercises that are the foundation of The Second City’s unique brand of comedy.  Summer camps are one or two weeks long with classes Monday through Friday each week. One-week camps will have an informal end-of-camp demonstration during the last 30 minutes on the last day of camp.

Price: $500/week. Hours: Unknown

Alliance Francaise French Summer Camp

Being a huge Francophile and the fact that Luke is learning French in school, I’m so happy to know that the Alliance Francaise Chicago offers summer camps with activities conducted in French. While being exposed to French, children will develop new skills, broaden their horizons, and make new friends. Activities include: field trips to the beach, cooking, French speaking, sports and games, arts and scrapbooking.

Price: $425/week. Hours: 9 am – 4 pm.

Codeverse – Kids Coding Camp

Charlie believes that coding is the wave of the future. At Codeverse’s Kids Coding Camp in Lincoln Parks, kids of all skill levels can discover and create as they learn to code on their own video games and explore the fundamentals of technology for a week during the summer.

Price: $800/week.

Emerald City Theatre Camp

For theater lovers, Emerald City Theatre is offering is summer camps for ages 3.5–15 that includes a world of creative play and fantastical journeys as campers use their imaginations to discover new characters, sing their favorite tunes, and learn some new dance moves. I mean…there’s a Hamilton (the musical) summer camp. How fun would it be to watch the kids perform the musical at the end of the camp?

Price: $750 for two weeks. Hours: Unknown

Chicago Architecture Center’s Architecture Summer Camps

My initial was 9 camps but I just wanted to add one more about the summer camp program at the Chicago Architecture Center. As a lover of the Chicago’s architecture myself, this camp is a great way for kids to explore the city’s buildings and iconic structures along the Chicago River. The week will include walking tours, sketching exercises and model building.”

Price: $455/week for the public; $365/week CAC members. Hours: 9 am – 3:30 pm

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