33 Fun Summer Camps for Kids in the Seattle Area for Summer 2014
By Nancy Chaney
Editor's note: This article was originally written in 2012 but updated for 2014.
Parents of school-aged children (and younger) have a big job to do this drizzly time of year. It’s summer camp planning time! We're here to help inspire your search with suggestions for some great camps for all types and tastes.
For an even wider range of camps, be sure to check out this article on 13 one-of-a-kind camps and our big ol' camps calendar, which is jam-packed with a wide variety of camp choices for young artists, athletes, performers, gardeners, tech whizzes, adventurers, and even for those youngsters whose unique interests defy categorization (it happens!).
Jump ahead by interest:
Northwest Soccer Camps: Soccer enthusiasts can choose from Northwest Soccer Camps’ selection of day and overnight camps for players ages 7 to 17. NSC coaches are the real deal, including Edu, a Brazilian legend and teammate of Pele’s, who teaches campers the Brazilian approach to the game of futebol. Overnight camps start at $695 per session, and day camps start at $325 per week.
Moss Bay Kids Camp connects kids with the water through rowing, kayaking, sailing, and paddle-boarding instruction. Week-long camps (full- or half-day) run all summer on Lake Union for kids ages 6 to 12, and no prior experience is required. Camps run $195 per half-day week, and $310 per full-day week.
Safe N Sound Swimming in Seattle offers up a whole summer of fun camps for young water lovers. Week-long day camps for ages 6 to 10 include daily private swim lessons for each camper, plus play time in the water, crafts, field trips and more. Camps cost $425 per week.
Pedalheads Bike Camps aim to get kids moving on two wheels via half-day camps for ages 3.5 to 12. Parents choose from among eight different camps according the skill level and age of their camper. Level 1 “Newbees,” for example, are learning on training wheels, while Level 5 “Gearheads,” who must be at least 6 years old by the end of the year, advance their skills on a bike with gears. Campers provide their own bikes and helmets. Pedalheads offers camps at seven Seattle locations, plus one in Bellevue, and camps cost $189 per week.
Seattle Drum School’s Rock Band Camp allows aspiring musicians of any skill level, ages 10 to 17, work collaboratively as a band, and finish the week with a rockin’ live performance for family and friends. Rock Band Camp costs $360 per week.
Music Works Northwest in Bellevue offers camps in voice, jazz, piano, composition and even a Musical Trip to the Zoo. Camps cater to various skill levels and several camps are designed for kids with special needs. Offerings accommodate campers as young as 3 (with caregiver) and up to age 18. Prices range from $70 to $295 per week, depending on number of hours of camp time.
Theater and Performance Camps
Seattle Children’s Theatre: Kids at SCT camps work with professional artists and can take a wide range of classes, from “Magic Doorway” for little kids, to Acting, Physical Comedy, Backstage and Improv for bigger kids. Day camps for age 4 to grade 12 range in price from $195 to $300 per week, for half-day or full-day camps.
Broadway Bound:In Seattle's U-District, young thespians ages 5 to 17 explore acting, singing, and dancing in camps offered by Broadway Bound. Campers get to “break a leg” rehearsing and performing hits such as Grease, Glee, Annie, Lion King, The Sound of Music and more. Week-long day camps cost $350; special intensives and classes are offered for teens as well.
SANCA: If climbing the walls appeals to your youngster, try the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts’ circus camps (full- or half-day) for kids ages 6 to 17. No prior experience is needed, and SANCA, as it’s known, promises that families will be amazed at the skills showcased by campers at the end of each week. Camps cost $225/week for half day and $430 for full day.
Village Theatre's KIDSTAGE summer camps in Everett and Issaquah welcome pre-K through grade 12 kids with their show-based camp themes. Middle school campers can immerse themselves in Grease or Glee, while camps for elementary ages feature popular titles like “Star Wars: Jedi Training” and “Frozen”. Week-long day camps take place throughout the summer and cost $160 to $235 for half-day camps, and $270 to $350 for full-day camps.
Terra-Forma Education’s "The Secret of Sasquatch": Kids ages 6 to 10 join an adventurous quest, searching for signs of humanoid life known as Big Foot. Terra-Forma offers other week-long day camps with various adventure themes, both in north and south Seattle. Camps cost $325 per week.
Wilderness Awareness Schoolin Duvall ffers a range of award-winning summer camps that teach kids experiential knowledge of plants, mammals, tracking, birds and survival skills, including day camps for ages 4 to 12 and overnight camps for teens. Camps take place in Seattle, Bellevue and several surrounding locales. Day camps cost $185 for half-day weeks and $325 full-day weeks. Overnight camps start at $695 per session.
Wolf Camp’s day and overnight camps teach kids to survive and thrive in the wild outdoors. “Wild Cooking and Herbology” day camp has campers learning to use fire safely, identifying important edible and medicinal plants, and cooking in nature. Overnight camps, such as “The Wilderness Safari – Tracking and Photography in Wolf Country,” take older campers on adventures farther afield. Both day and overnight camps meet at a variety of western Washington locations. Day camps for ages 5 to 13 cost $280 to $300 per week and transportation from a selection of cities is available. Overnight camps are for ages 8 to 17, and most cost $580 to $595.
Arts and Crafts Camps
KidsQuest Children’s Museum: Little campers discover scientific principles cleverly disguised as fun at KidsQuest's “Engineering Explorers” half-day camp for kids ages 3 to 5. “Chemical Concoctions” and other camps let kids ages 6 to 8 dig deeper into science. Half-day camps cost $175 to $225 per week.
SAM Camp:Seattle Art Museum offers three weeks of camp at SAM downtown and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Kids in grades 1 through 5 journey through art past and present in a camp called “Time Travelers”. Art exploration includes time capsules, dressing up, comics and more. Each week of camps costs $360.
Paint Away Summer art camps in Redmond give campers plenty of time to practice painting on ceramics, as well as the opportunity to delve into other artistic pursuits such as glass-fusing and tie-dying. Half-day camps (Monday-Thursday) cater to kids ages 6 13 and cost $200. Paint Away also offers a selection of single-day camps.
The Seattle Children’s Museum offers non-stop summer fun with its “Discovery Days” single-day camps for kids as young as age 4. Days can be combined to fit any schedule; a week, a day at a time, the whole summer or half-days, which might suit preschoolers new to camp. Daily themes range from Rock Star Day to Dr. Seuss Day to Beakers and Atoms Day. Camp runs $35 per half day or $80 per full day.
Woodland Park Zoo’s “Kinder Camp." Engage in games and crafts around colors, numbers or other themes. Visiting zoo animals is on the daily docket as well, of course! First-time campers who have visited the zoo may like the familiar environment. Half-day Kinder Camp for ages 3 to 4 costs $170 per week, and full-day Kinder Camp for ages 4 to 5 costs $285 per week.
Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue:Expect loads of fun and prepares little ones for bigger camp adventures ahead. Half-day camps for ages 3 to 5 engage wee minds and bodies in learning and physical activities. When campers get a little older, they’ll be primed and ready for BGC Bellevue’s wide range of specialty, sports and all-field-trip camps. Half-day preschool camp costs $175 per week for half a day.
Youth Theatre Northwest’s “Magical Adventures” camp.This and other camps designed for ages 3 to 5 help kids explore their imaginations using voice and body. Other exciting half-day camps for this age group include “Drama Detectives” and “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Class!” Half-day camps cost $220 per week.
“Cooking Course by Course” camp at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma will hopefully train some capable dinner helpers. This and other camps for kids ages 3 to 5 run a half-day and cost $130.
In a Class by Themselves
Girls in grades 1 to 4 hone their math skills while designing a doll-sized world at Girls Rock Math’s “Miniature Math” camp. Activities incorporate working with ratio, proportion, measurement and more. Also check out GRM’s other themed camps for girls in grades 1 to 6 in Shoreline, Redmond and two Seattle locations. Camps cost $285 per week.
DigiPen ProjectFUN Summer Workshops: This Redmond camp lets campers entering grades 5 to 12 dive into gaming and engineering topics like game design, animation, robotics and more. A new camp is called “Creating Comics and Manga.” Two-week camp sessions cost $1250. Other workshops for grades 1 to 4 explore gaming topics and robotics.
Seattle Tilth’s "UFF! – Urban Farmers of the Future" day camp gets kids ages 6 to 10 gardening. Campers explore the Rainier Beach Urban Farm in south Seattle, plant seeds and learn about animal husbandry. Plus they’ll eat tasty snacks straight from the source. Other hands-on Tilth camps feature topics such as seeds, bugs, worms, dirt — all the essentials of a good garden. UFF Camp costs $250 for the week.
Other intriguing overnight camps include those of the YMCA Outdoor Leadership Development program. The boys’ program (called BOLD) invites high school-aged boys to a camp called “The Lyrical Chef: Backpacking, Cooking, and Music.” The girls’ program (GOLD) offers a camp called “Find Yourself and Go There: Yoga and Backpacking on the Olympic Coast” for grades seven to ten. YMCA Leadership coordinates other camps for boys, for girls, and co-ed camps, each with multiple activities around mountains, hiking, backpacking, yoga, fishing, art, rafting, or just goofing off.
Other intriguing overnight camps include those of the YMCA Outdoor Leadership Development program. The boys’ program (called BOLD) invites high school-aged boys to a camp called “The Lyrical Chef: Backpacking, Cooking, and Music”. The girls’ program (GOLD) offers a camp called “Rock Smith Rock! A Climbing Adventure to Smith Rock, Oregon” for grades 9 to 12. YMCA Leadership coordinates other camps for grades 6 and up, some co-ed, each with activities around mountains, hiking, backpacking, fishing, art, rafting, or just goofing off. Camp prices vary.