30-plus Super Summer Camps for Kids in the South Sound
South Sound summer camps in theater, music, dance, sports, nature, STEM and more
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 complete camps calendar as well as our other camps articles.
South Sound theater camps:
AveKids Summer Theater Camp gives campers the chance to audition and perform in a production of Shrek the Musical, Jr. Participants learn voice, acting, choreography, set design and more. The camp culminates in several public performances of the production. Auditions take place Saturday, June 18.
Cost: $457–$571 for three-week camp
Puyallup Children’s Theater offers three separate weeks of its Next Step Camp for ages 4–8, focused on productions of Green Eggs & Ham; The Very Hungry Caterpillar; and The Little Engine that Could. Puyallup Children's Theater also offers two 2-week Bound for Broadway camps during which campers ages 8–16 will stage productions of Annie and Legally Blonde. Also offered is a one-week Stewpot camp for students ages 9 and up with special needs, which will also feature Green Eggs & Ham. Additionally, a number of one-day dance workshops will be offered on Saturdays for ages 4–8 with themes like Star Wars, Frozen, Superheroes and The Little Mermaid.
Cost: $140/week for Next Step and Stewpot camps, $270/2-week Bound for Broadway camp; discounts for siblings, $50/dance camps. Discounts for siblings available.
Lakewood Playhouse presents three different types of theater camps to suit a variety of ages and interests. Skill-building 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. Musical Theatre Technique camp has campers learning and practicing singing, acting and dancing in equal measure and Technical Theatre Camp has campers learning lighting and sound. Performance Camps at Lakewood Playhouse include Process Theatre camps, where groups collaboratively reinterpret classic literature and then put on an original show, two-week camps focused on rehearsing and performing a full-scale show and musical, and a week-long camp where students put on a radio play. Early Stars camp gets little kids, ages 3–6, started exploring the fun of theater in just a couple of hours per day.
Cost: $100–$200 per half-day week, $225–$300 per full-day week; $450–$500 for two-week camp
Olympia Family Theater's summer camps give kids the chance to dive into themes ranging from Musical Theater to Fairy Tales to Wild Things. 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. Also offered are workshops for teens that meet from 4–6 p.m. in the afternoon.
Cost: $95 per half-day week, $190 for full-day week
Metro Parks Tacoma offers a number of theater camps at different locations, generally meeting Monday through Thursday. Among the offerings are a pair of coordinated camps titled Acting for Film and Video Production. The first group of campers creates and directs short films while the second group learns to film and edit the shorts using professional equipment. Acting for Film is for ages 9–18 and Video Production is for ages 11–15. Metro Parks also offers StoryBook Theater half-day camps for ages 5–8 and intensives for ages 9–18.
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. Instrument Exploration introduces campers, ages 8–12, to various instruments in preparation for band or orchestra programs at their school. Camps meet two hours for four mornings and different weeks focus on Woodwinds, Brass, Strings and Percussion. The four-day Take 5 Jazz Exploration camps for ages 12–16 are offered at two different levels, will help young musicians develop and practice jazz techniques and stylings. "Live it OutLoud" rock-and-roll summer school is an eight-week intensive program offered for ages 12–18, during which campers will participate in weekly clinics with professional musicians, learn about performance techniques and participate in several club showcases.
Cost: $59/Instrument Exploration, $99/Take 5, $325/Live it OutLoud
Rock the Guitar Camp, also offered through Metro Parks Tacoma and held at the School of the Arts — Broadway gives budding rockers the opportunity to take their playing to the next level. Campers perform pieces they learned on the last day of camp.
Cost: $179 for four-day session
Songwriting 101/Music Production, another Metro Parks Tacoma camp held at the School of the Arts — Broadway, takes young composers through the creative process of writing, composing, recording and performing original songs.
Cost: $350 for five-day session
South Sound dance camps
Pacific Ballroom Dance 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. Younger campers learn American-style standard and Latin dances, while older campers perfect their skills. Note: No prior experience necessary.
Let it Go Dance Camp is a morning dance camp for kids ages 3–7 offered through Auburn Parks, Arts and Recreation. Campers will receive early ballet instruction with students tip-toeing, turning and leaping, as well as doing crafts, with themes drawn from the movie Frozen.
Cost: $80 per week for City of Auburn residents, $100 for nonresidents
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. Dancers aged 6–11 can sign up for camps focusing on ballet or Broadway.
Ages: 3 and up
Cost: $149–$179 per session
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, ages 4–15, and full-day camps welcome campers ages 7–15, also at the recreational to intermediate level.
Cost: $170 per week for half-day camp, $240 per week for full-day. Note: Information not yet confirmed for 2016.
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 Mini Hawks, an introduction to various sports for ages 4–6 in a half-day camp format. Note: Skyhawks earned a finalist spot in the Camps and Classes category in ParentMap's 2015 Golden Teddy Awards.
Cost: $109 and up per half-day week, $185 and up per full-day week
City of Auburn sports camps include baseball, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, dodgeball, flag football and more in half- and full-day format. Camps meet at various local parks. For half day camps, campers must have completed Kindergarten and seven is the minimum age for full-day camp. Extended care is available.
Cost: $95 and up for half-day camps, full-day $130 and up; discounts for residents
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. A week of FootGolf camp is also offered; sign up to explore this fun new sport. Note: In addition to golf, Metro Parks Tacoma offers camps in traditional team sports, plus individual sports including kayaking, sailing, fishing and backpacking at locations around Tacoma.
Cost: $129 per half-day week
Auburn Gymnastics Center offers eight weeks of summer camps for boys and girls, focused on fun and building new skills. Camps are half-day for ages 4–6 and full-day for ages 7–13.
Cost: $97 and up for half-day camps, $168 and up for full-day
South Sound nature and outdoor camps
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: $275–$425 per week
Wolf College's specialty is surviving and thriving in the outdoors. Its day camps for kids have four topics to choose from: Wilderness Survival, Wild Cooking & Herbology, Wildlife Search & Rescue and Wilderness Skills Sampler. 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.
Cost: $275 and up per week
Northwest Trek Family Camps welcome families with kids ages 5 and up for together time, games, activities plus an evening wildlife tour at this weekend overnight camp, running from noon Saturday to 11 a.m. on Sunday. Campers will enjoy a hot breakfast on Sunday morning.
Ages: Families with children ages 5 and up
Cost: $60 per person
Tacoma Nature Center offers 14 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. Select camps include a one-night overnight or other field trip.
Cost: $100 for three half-day sessions, $195 and up for week-long camps
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium presents two- and three-day half-day camps with themes like P.B. and Jellies and Nocturnal Neighbors for the youngest campers (ages 4–6) to get their feet wet in a camp setting. Elementary-age campers explore land and sea animal themes and go on fun scavenger hunts. Teens experiment with hands-on science in a special camp on zoo forensics. All camps run for half-days but could be combined with another camp for full day experience. Register through Metro Parks Tacoma.
Cost: $47–$63 per short week, $137 and up per week; discounts offered for members
South Sound STEM camps
LeMay - America's Car Museum's camps get kids excited about speed and energy. Campers practice skills on Speed Zone racing simulators, meet local race car drivers and learn what makes cars fast, safe and fuel efficient through daily science and design challenges.
Cost: $300 per week; discount offered for museum members
City of Auburn teams up with Play Well TEKnologies to offer several LEGO camps with themes such as Pre-engineering, Construction Vehicles and Machinery, Eco Engineering and Engineering FUNdamentals. Working with Play Well instructors, campers will apply real-world concepts in physics, engineering and architecture to their building projects.
Cost: $140 per week for City of Auburn residents, $175 for nonresidents
MultiCare Nurse Camp invites high school sophomores and juniors to apply to spend a week learning the ins and outs of a career in nursing or as a comparable health care professional. Camp is free and open to qualified sophomores and juniors who live in the South King, North Thurston, Kitsap and Pierce counties. Applications accepted until March 4.
Ages: Applicants should be entering grades 11 or 12
Cost: Free, after competitive application process
Bricks 4 Kidz, through various local franchises, offers camps in Legos, robotics, stop-motion animation, Minecraft, "Teenage Brick Turtles," "Pocket Brick Monsters" and more. 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 and accept kids ages 5–12 in divided age groups.
Cost: $135 and up per half-day week
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: tinkering, Legos, animal fun, Jurassic explorers and much more. Half-day camp meets from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.; full-day camp meets from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Ages: 3–grade 4
Cost: $137/week for half-day camp, $350/week for full-day camp with discounts for members; 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.
Cost: $80–$190 per session
Children’s Museum of Tacoma welcomes campers ages 3–6 to explore a range of themes from silly science to cooking to story telling. Camps run for half-days, from 9 a.m. to noon, or for somewhat longer days, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each Friday, campers’ friends and family are invited to an end-of-camp celebration.
Cost: $130–$200 per week (half- and longer-day); discount offered for members