Kids delight in a winter break from school, but it can be a very inconvenient time for working parents. Fortunately, our regional camp providers have come through. Here are more than a dozen day camps to engage, entertain and exercise your youngsters.
And a few tips from us: Note the dates for each camp, as some are operating Monday–Wednesday plus Friday, some for partial weeks, while others offer single-day enrollments. Also, check your local community center; many also offer winter break camps.
Pacific Science Center Camps
Where: Pacific Science Center, Seattle (Lower Queen Anne)
Dates: Dec. 19–22, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. (extended care available)
Ages: Grades K–6
Pacific Science Center offers a variety of specialized, age-appropriate camps. PSC's offerings also include several camps held at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue.
SANCA Circus Camp
Where: School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, Seattle (Georgetown)
Dates: Dec. 19–22 and Dec. 26–29, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Ages: Ages 6–17
Price: $250 for half-day camps
Do your kids dream of running away to the circus? Seattle's premier circus arts school is the place for them. SANCA’s day camp activities include lots of work on physical skills such as tumbling and trampoline. No prior experience is needed.
Watts Basketball Camp
Where: Villa Academy, Seattle (Laurelhurst)
Dates: Dec. 19–23 and Dec. 26–30, 9 a.m.–noon (grades 2–5) or 1–4 p.m. (grades 6–8)
Ages: Grades K–4
Local hoops legends Slick Watts and Donald Watts offer three-day clinics. Coaches emphasizes ball handling, shooting and defensive movement, plus teamwork and keeping a positive attitude, because Watts Basketball’s mission is to help kids be the best they can be, in basketball and in life. Camp is appropriate for kids new to the game, as well as experienced players.
Where: The Moonpaper Tent, northeast Seattle (Maple Leaf)
Dates: Dec. 19–23 and Dec. 26–30, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages: 4 and up
The Moonpaper Tent, a beloved art and theater center in Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood, knows how to feed kids’ imaginations so they grow and grow.
Seattle Children's Theatre
Where: Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle (Lower Queen Anne)
Dates: Dec. 26–30, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (extended care available)
Ages: Grades 1–5
Price: $300 for the week
SCT will be a great venue for your budding actor. There are also a variety of one-day drama seminars for children grades 6-12.
Seattle Children's Museum: Discovery Days
Where: Seattle Center
Dates: One-day camps, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (with a half day option), on days from Dec. 19-23 and Dec. 26-30
The Children's Museum has a bevy of cool-themed activities planned for each day camp. Inquire about sibling and 5-day discounts available.
Seattle Gymnastics Academy Winter Camp
Where: Lake City, Ballard and Columbia City Gyms, Seattle
Dates: Winter camps held from Dec. 19-23 at Lake City and Columbia City with single-day options for the Ballard gym
Price: Starts at $230 for a five-day, half-day camp; single-day options available
Seattle Gymnastics promises campers plenty of action with games, tumbling, the ever-popular foam pit and more. Parents can look forward to plenty of energy expended. No prior gymnastics experience is needed; ages 3–5 may register for half-day only and must be self-sufficient in the bathroom.
Woodland Park Zoo
Where: Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle (Phinney Ridge)
Dates: Dec. 19–23 and Dec. 27–30, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (half day and extended care available)
Ages: 4–9 (full day option available only 5 and up)
Price: 1-day camps at $100; 4-days for $265; 5-days for $295.
Campers sharpen their observation skills while learning about how to find, follow and identify animals in the wild, using the same techniques real scientists employ.
Dizzy’s Winter Wonderland Camp
Where: Dizzy’s Tumblebus & Bus Stop, Bellevue
Dates: One-day camps: Dec. 19-23, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (half day and extended day options)
Price: Starting at $45
In addition to tumbling and active play, campers at Dizzy’s will celebrate the cold, snow, ice and wind with projects and crafts around magical winter weather.
Samena Winter Break Camp
Where: Samena Swim & Recreation Club, Bellevue
Dates: One-day camps, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (extended care available)
Price: Starting at $55/day
Swimming might not spring to mind when you think of winter recreation, but swimming is Samena’s specialty and kids never tire of pool time here. Campers will also enjoy dry land activities, like sports, games and arts and crafts. Note: Children age 5 must be in kindergarten to attend.
SJCC Winter Break Camp
Where: Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island
Dates: One-day camps: Dec. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31, 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. (half day and extended care options available)
Ages: Grades Pre-K–5
Price: Starting at $60
The "J" delivers its usual action-packed camp days this winter break, with widely varying themes each day. Choose any or all days to suit your needs.
Arena Sports School's Out Camp
Where: Arena Sports, Redmond, Issaquah and Seattle
Dates: One-day camps, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (half day options; extended care available for ages 6 and up)
Ages: Ages 3–12
Price: Starting at $35
A sampling of activities at this super-active camp includes dodgeball, soccer, the ultra-popular Inflatable Fun Zone, Capture the Flag and much more. If you’re exhausted just thinking about it, that’s the point. Arena Sports offers camps at all three of its locations; children ages 3–5 may enroll in half day camps only.
Magical Journey Camp
Where: Olympia Family Theater, Olympia
Dates: Dec. 19–23 and Dec. 26–30, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Price: tarting at $95
Olympia Family Theater makes fast-paced fun the focus of its camps, with participants creating their own fantasy worlds as they explore character development and participate in creative drama and storytelling activities.
YMCA Winter Break Camp Seymour
Where: Morgan Family YMCA, Tacoma
Ages: Ages 5–12
This winter break camp is just like summer camp, but colder! Each day includes cabin group activities, all camp events, and camper’s choice time. Winter is a great season to experience camp, participate in creative programs, and make new friends.
HOCM Winter Camps
Where: Hands On Children’s Museum, Olympia
Dates: Three-day camps: Dec. 19–22; Dec. 27–30, 9 a.m.–noon or 1–4 p.m. (full day and extended care available for grades 1–4)
Ages: Age 3–grade 4
Price: Starting at $85
Younger campers (age 3 through kindergarten) explore themes such as the ocean, cooking and art. Campers in grades 1 to 4 have the chance to design wearable art pieces, play with chemistry and engineer exciting Lego creations.
My Gym Holiday Break Camps
Where: My Gym Kent/Covington, Kent
Dates: One-day camps, 12:30–3:30 p.m.
Ages: Age 3 and up
Price: $30–$35/day (sibling discounts available)
Sometimes during school breaks kids have been known to utter that dreaded phrase, “I’m bored.” Fear not, this junior ennui can be quickly addressed at My Gym’s half-day camp. Just deliver your youngsters for three hours of tumbling, climbing, games, circle time, stories and art projects.