Auburn Ave Kids
Summer vacation is the perfect time for kids to hone existing skills, explore new activities, and form special summer camp friendships. Whether your kid yearns for the stage, can't get enough of science and technology or wants nature-filled adventures, here's a sampling of South Sound summer camps in theater, music, dance, sports, nature, STEM and some in a class by themselves! For even more camp listings around the Sound, check out our other camps articles.
South Sound theater camps
AveKids Summer Theater Camp gives campers the chance to learn acting, choreography, voice, set design and more while practicing to perform Disney's The Lion King, Jr. The camp culminates in a performance of the production.
Cost: $457–$571 for three-week camp
Puyallup Children’s Theater offers three separate weeks of its Next Step Camp for ages 4–9, focused on productions of Cows in the Kitchen; The Three Little Pigs; and Tikki Tikki Tembo. Puyallup Children's Theater also offers two two-week Bound for Broadway camps. Additionally, a number of one-day dance workshops will be offered on Saturdays for ages 4–8 with themes like Star Wars, Frozen, Moana and Lego Jurassic World.
Cost: $160/week for Next Step Camps, $285/two-week Bound for Broadway camp, and $50/dance camps. Discounts for siblings available.
Lakewood Playhouse presents different types of theater camps to suit a variety of ages and interests. Preparing the Actor camps seek to impart stage skills, including movement, voice and character development, rather than focusing on putting on a show at the conclusion of camp. Early Stars camp gets little kids, ages 3–6, started exploring the fun of theater in just a couple of hours per day. For kids ages 4–12, the Process Theater camp is built around constructing their own rendition of Hamilton, while the Musical Theater Revue camp teaches Broadway-style show tunes.
Ages: 3–12, and 18+
Cost: $100 for the Early Stars camp; week-long camps range from $150–$300; and two-week camps range from $375–$500.
Olympia Family Theater's summer camps give kids the chance to dive into themes ranging from Robin Hood to Hogwarts. Improv and Broadway camps are also available. Each week has a new theme. Camps for ages 5–6 run 9:30 a.m. to noon and camps for ages 7–13 meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Camps are also available for tweens and teens, including full-day camps and two-hour evening classes from 4–6 p.m..
Cost: Two-hour evening camps are $55. Half-day weeks are $95, or $195 for a full-day week.
Metro Parks Tacoma offers a number of theater camps at different locations, generally meeting Monday through Thursday. Among the offerings are StoryBook Theater camps (such as Jack and the Beanstalk), musical theater camps, acting for film, video production and more.
Ages: 5–18 depending on the camp
Cost: $149–$289 per four-day session
South Sound Music camps
Puget Sound Brass Camp gathers experienced players on the University of Puget Sound campus for master classes, chamber groups and ensemble rehearsals. Camp requires at least two years' prior playing experience and concludes with a public performance on the last day of camp.
Ted Brown Music Outreach offers three different music camp experiences, ranging from Instrument Exploration for campers, ages 8–12, to the four-day Take 5 Jazz Exploration camps for ages 12–16 to Live it OutLoud rock-and-roll summer school, an eight-week intensive program offered for ages 12–18.
Cost: $59/Instrument Exploration, $99/Take 5, $400/Live it OutLoud (returning participants get a discount)
Rock Band Camp, also offered through Metro Parks Tacoma, gives budding rockers the opportunity to take their playing to the next level. Campers perform pieces they learned on the last day of camp.
South Sound dance camps
Pacific Ballroom Dance camps in Auburn brings its "Dancing Classrooms" program to a summer camp format for youngsters intrigued by the discipline, complexity and awesome moves involved in ballroom dancing. This year's themes include Star Wars, Avengers and Neverland Kids.
Metro Parks Tacoma presents summer dance opportunities for a variety of ages, from half-day camps teaching ballet and tap for the littlest dancers (ages 3–5) to a one-week dance intensive for ages 9 and older working on technique and choreography in the styles of ballet, jazz and hip-hop.
Ages: 3 and up
Cost: Camps start at $149
South Sound sports camps
Seattle Sounders FC spreads its love of the game around the South Sound, with soccer camps offered in Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Gig Harbor and Maple Valley. Half-day camps cater to kids who play at recreational to intermediate levels, and full-day camps welcome campers also at the recreational to intermediate level.
Cost: Camps range from $180–$300
Skyhawks Sports aims to teach life skills through sports. The organization offers camps in sports ranging from soccer to tennis and partners with local organizations to put them on. Week-long camps include an introduction to various sports for ages 4–6 in a half-day camp format.
Cost: Prices range by camp length and sport; visit the website to refine your search!
Meadow Park Golf Course is the place to learn golf fundamentals through camps offered by Metro Parks Tacoma. Camps promise to teach both the technique and etiquette of this life-long sport. Note: In addition to golf, Metro Parks Tacoma offers camps in traditional team sports, plus individual sports.
Cost: $129 per half-day week
Auburn Gymnastics Center offers eight weeks of half-day summer camps for boys and girls, focused on fun and building new skills. Themes this year include Superheroes, Beauty and the Beast, Moana and more.
Cost: Depends on the camp; check the website for details.
South Sound nature and outdoor camps
Zestful Gardens Farm Camp in Tacoma offers camps that involve farm chores like feeding animals, gathering eggs, weeding the garden and more. They'll get to snack on organic, farm-grown veggies and fruits picked fresh from the farm, too! Themes include nature art, yoga and mindfulness, survival skills, fiber arts, jam-making, among others.
Cost: $195/week with discounts available if you sign up for four or more weeks
Nature Nurtures Farm in Olympia offers Farm Day camp with free play and lessons about plants and animals in a farm environment. Campers snack from the garden, learn about farm chores and animal husbandry, plus get to ride horses. Nature Nurtures also offers "Farm Camp Plus" geared toward the beginning rider; it's a hybrid of day camp and horse camp. Horse Camp, for ages 8–12, is geared toward beginning riders who ride every day and learn about horse care, plus participate in trail and bareback rides. Camps are full day with extended care available.
Cost: Starting at $275
Wolf College's specialty is surviving and thriving in the outdoors. Its day camps for kids have four topics to choose from: Wilderness Skills Sampler, Wilderness Survival Craft, Wild Cooking & Herbology, Wildlife Search & Rescue. Camps meet in Puyallup and Olympia with transportation provided from Tacoma and JBLM. Wolf College offers extended care for its day camps; see website for details. Wolf College also offers an array of overnight camps for teens along with family camps and adult courses.
Ages: 5 and older
Cost: $275 and up per week
Tacoma Nature Center offers different nature-based day camps for ages 4–12 where campers peer into tide pools or get eye-to-eye with bugs and slugs. Camps for younger kids meet three half-days; camps for older kids meet for full-day weeks with extended care available.
Cost: $100 for three half-day sessions, $195 and up for week-long camps
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium presents camps with themes from Busy Builders — which explores beavers and other crafty builders — for the little ones, to camps like Wild Photographer for the older kids.
Cost: $45 and up for a short week, $125 and up per week; discounts offered for members
South Sound STEM camps
LeMay - America's Car Museum's camps get kids excited about all aspects of the car. The Fundamentals of Car Design and Engineering camp teaches kids how to design a car, from first ideas to 3D printing. Their High Speed Fun option is all about playing with racing simulators and learning about the engineering that goes into making high-speed cars.
Ages: Grades 4 through 9
Cost: $350 per week; discount offered for museum members
City of Auburn offers several STEM camps with themes Space camps to LEGO robotics. These camps tackle real-world concepts in physics, engineering and architecture, with tons of options available.
Cost: Depends on the age group, length and type of camp; check their full list for details.
Bricks 4 Kidz outlets are found in Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia, Kent and other Puget Sound-area locations with a variety of summer offerings at each branch. Camps meet for morning or afternoon half-days.
Cost: Prices vary by camp, see website for details.
South Sound camps in a class by themselves
Hands on Children's Museum runs half-day and full-day camps all summer with wide-ranging themes and 40+ options. Themes include: Dino Days, Ocean Adventure, To The Moon, Kitchen Lab, Toy Inventors and many more.
Ages: 3–grade 4
Cost: $127/week and up for half-day camp, $332/week and up for full-day camp; additional materials fees will be applied and vary by length and type of camp
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum offers sessions of camp where campers hear, see, taste and smell history as they learn what it was like living in the Puget Sound of the past. Camps meet for half- or full-days and vary in length from three to five days for various age groups.
Children’s Museum of Tacoma welcomes campers ages 3–6 to explore a range of themes. Camps run for half-days, from 9 a.m. to noon, or for somewhat longer days, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $130 and up; discount available for members.