Today’s parents are wild about creative camps, classes and innovative programs. You love your kids loving their dance, music, sports, camps and more, and your comments exude enthusiasm and zeal for these terrific spots, where children combine fun and learning.
Nature or Environmental Camp
Winner: Wilderness Awareness School
Wilderness Awareness School is a national not-for-profit environmental education organization based in Duvall, Washington. Camp locations in Seattle, Kirkland and Bothell offer Youth Programs for kids ages 4–18. Their goal is to “foster young people's understanding and appreciation of nature, community and self.” ParentMap voters think they are doing it right. “They know kids, get them excited and interested,” with “caring, creative and passionate instructors. Whole child learning and an all-around excellent program. Not a one-size-fits-all camp. Kids learn to respect their environment and appreciate their part in the world.”
If you are looking for “summer fun with a French accent” (and really, who isn’t?), check out Canoe Island French Camp, where “kids get a whole island to themselves to learn about nature and learn French. ” Kids can look forward to sunset campfires on the beach, a daytrip to Friday Harbor, and one-or two-night sailing and kayaking outings.
Oxbow Farm’s Farm & Forest Camp, a partnership with Wilderness Awareness School, is also a reader favorite. Talk about adventure! Kids ages 4–12 spend a unique week both learning woodsy skills from Wilderness Awareness School (see above) and participating in plenty of new-fashioned organic farm fun. They sow seeds and harvest; dig roots and pick fruits; make their own sun tea and fresh fruit popsicles; play in a living playground; and participate in storytelling, songs, crafts, and play that help connect the dots between farm and forest.
Itty Bitty Camps introduce the young ones and their families and caregivers to the habitats of Discovery Park. They use songs, art projects, stories and games to explore what lives at the ponds, beach, meadow, wetland and forest. “Amazing introduction to nature in our backyard.”
Seattle Tilth Garden Camps also please nature-loving ParentMappers. “So great to explore a natural, organic garden and ecosystem with kids while learning to grow and eat healthy food for our community!” The camp offered one family all they could ask for: “A beautiful time in the garden with ukulele music, making journals, gardening, learning plants, drinking tea.”
The Tacoma Nature Center Summer Camps are “extremely child-friendly,” with a “developmentally appropriate introduction to our natural world,” “thriving teen volunteer program” and a “great staff.” With a strong focus on education at all of their camps, the Tacoma Nature Center hopes that every child walks away having had a positive experience with nature and possessing more knowledge about the natural world.
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Illustrations by Alli Arnold