Whether you have a budding Broadway star, promising painter or emerging engineer, there are a variety of specialty summer camps designed around the specific skills and interests of your child.
Specialty camps provide many benefits including the opportunity for your child to participate in something they love, improve skills or try something totally new.
Making Learning Fun
If your child loves to tinker, play video games or participate in hands-on learning, you might want to consider a tech-based or science camp, which mixes fun and education.
“These educational programs during the summer, whether it’s Classroom Antics or something else, are extremely helpful in reducing the summer slide,” says Toby Foote, of Classroom Antics in North Royalton, which caters to elementary and middle school kids with programs such as video game design, robotics, stop motion animation, coding and video production.
There is a big push around the U.S. and the world to get kids involved in science and STEM-related activities. Many camps in Northeast Ohio provide these opportunities, from technology to working with animals — and instead of thinking about learning, kids are just having fun.
At first glance, it might seem like a camp for kids who love Legos, but owner and instructor Janice Buildt says at Bricks 4 Kidz summer camp, there’s actually a lot of STEM learning going on.
“It’s a child enrichment program where we use Lego bricks to engage creativity, education and play,” she explains. “And we use a lot of engineering basics.”
Many of these types of camps also offer hands-on experience and an opportunity to learn about careers, and can relate to campers’ current school education.
“They get special encounters with some of the animals and some camps get to go behind the scenes at the zoo, which a lot of people don’t ever get to see,” says Elena Bell, marketing and group sales manager for the Akron Zoo.
Alaina Rutledge, director of educational programs for the National Inventors Hall of Fame, says the summer program is implemented within many local school districts and is taught by local teachers with the guidance of NIHF.
“The students will be doing things like investigating intellectual property, looking at 21st century skills, creativity collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving,” Rutledge says. “We believe that these types of experiences will build confidence in students and enhance their ability to problem solve, create and innovate.”
If your child is the creative type, a camp focused on the arts will give them an imaginative spark that will last all summer.
Ed Gallagher, director of education at Beck Center for the Arts summer camp in Lakewood, says summer is the perfect opportunity to try something new.
“We see a lot of new faces in the summer and if they like it, they stick around during the year,” he says.
He adds that Beck Center works with all experience levels at summer camp and every child will have an opportunity to shine.
“We want them to grow in their art skill and have fun,” Gallagher says. “We’re more focused on the process rather than a finished product at summer camp.”
Summer camp also can provide a creative outlet that will enhance your child’s talents.
Rozenia Cunningham is a local artist and owner of Art It Yourself, which offers a summer camp program in Euclid that offers painting, drawing, cartooning and field trips to local museums. Students also work on a mural every year, as well as participate in an art exhibit and learn how to sell their artwork.
“A lot of the kids have never experienced that before,” Cunningham says. “It does a lot for their self-esteem.”