Updated 2014 Ann Arbor Summer Camp HERE.

Today I am excited to introduce guest blogger, Anna Mae Trievel from the blogs Ann Arbor with Kids and Fun with Your Kid. She shares with us some great information on Summer Camps in the Ann Arbor area. Be sure to check out her site as she updates often with her great family finds!

And, don’t forget, it’s the last day to enter the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum Giveaway!


Summer Camps Around Ann Arbor

Summer is fast approaching and it is time to start deciding if your child will be attending summer camps. The Ann Arbor area offers a great selection of camps so you should be able to find camps that fit your schedule, child’s interests, and budget (although it can be challenging to meet them all at the same time).

My daughter has attended a couple of camps each summer. As an only child whose two neighborhood friends are in camp most of the summer, she gets bored without the camp activity. This year, she is registered for Girl Scout Camp, Star Wars Camp, and Vacation Bible School. We are also doing two weeks of “friend camp”. I have partnered with 4 friends to each host two days and plan activities for the kids.

“Must Do” Camp

Image via Ann Arbor with Kids

Do you have a child entering Kindergarten? If so, I strongly recommend SafetyTown. Kids will learn safety information such as calling 911, escaping fire, bike safety, and much more.  My daughter attended the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed Safety Town in 2011 and loved it. It is offered through Ann Arbor Rec & Ed at Dicken Elementary as a half-day class for one week with 4 sessions to choose from and an option for full-day camp. Saline Community Education offers Safety Town as a 2-hr/day, 9 day program with three sessions to select from. Lincoln School District offers Safety Town as a 9a-3p Monday through Friday one week class with two sessions to choose from. Dexter Community Education offers Safety Town as 2 hour classes on Monday-Thursday for two weeks (several sessions are full already). If you live beyond these districts, you should be able to find Safety Town for your community by searching “<yourtown> Safety Town 2013”.

Camps for Younger Children
Many camps are not offered until children are either entering or have completed Kindergarten. My Urban Toddler offers camps for children ages 2-5. The camps are 2 hours long Monday through Thursday with a morning or afternoon session. Parents have to remain on site, but do not need to participate in class. Themes include Little Sports, Knights and Princesses, Making Music, and Little Scientists. They would be a great way for your little one to participate in camp like their older siblings.
At age 5, my daughter loved GymAmerica’s preschool camp for ages 3-5 . Their website does not currently have a schedule for summer camp (I have contacted them, so stay tuned to my website). Leslie Science and Nature Center offers camps starting at age 4. My daughter did a week last year as having completed Kindergarten and loved it.
Wild Swan Theater also offers camps for children as young as 4.
Camps for Elementary School Children
Last summer my daughter loved dinosaur week camp at Leslie Science and Nature Center. She also had a great time at a volunteer run Girl Scout camp at Camp Crawford. This year the volunteer run camp will be held at Loonfeather Point Park in Ypsilanti. With the new Girl Scout facility off of Whittaker Rd they will also be holding 8 weeks of staff-run Girl Scout camp there with topics ranging from Animals/Ecology/Science to Fashion/Princess/Art, your daughter is sure to find a camp that interests her. My daughter is signed up for a week of Staff Run camp, and I am eager to see how she enjoys it.
There are is such a variety of summer camps offered for elementary school children that it shouldn’t be hard to find camps that interest your child. Camps around town include sports camps, theater camps, science camps, LEGO Camp, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Hobbit, foreign language, writing, gymnastics, animals, outdoor exploration, dinosaurs, super heroes, and much more.
So many organizations offer summer camps for elementary school aged children that it is hard to create a comprehensive list. Most Parks Departments or Rec Centers offer summer camps (Ann Arbor Parks, Washtenaw County Parks – at Rolling Hills, Independence Lake, and Meri Lou Murray Rec Center/County Farm Park, Saline Rec Center, Pittsfield Township, etc). School Districts offer summer camps (Ann Arbor Rec & Ed, Saline Community Ed, etc.). Several private and charter schools offer summer camps including Summers Knoll, Emerson, and Honey Creek. Athletic Clubs like the YMCAand Liberty Athletic offer summer camps. Many places that offer children’s programming offer summer camps – Leslie Science and Nature Center, Great Lakes Zoological Society, Ann Arbor Martial Arts, Humane Society of Huron Valley, Wild Swan Theater, Planet Rock, Girl Scout camp (Cub Scout day camps are offered in Temperance and Jackson which are a little far for day camp), etc. Many churches also offer Vacation Bible School, so I suggest checking with your church.
Camps for Older Children
There are less camp options for children once they hit middle school or beyond. Camps for older children tend to be more specialized and are often more intensive – ie sports training camps or multi-week theater camps for active participants.
Leslie Science and Nature Center offers camps through students who have completed seventh grade. Ann Arbor Parks offers Argo River Camp for students who have completed grades 6 through 8. Ann Arbor Rec and Ed offers camps for both middle school and high school students. Planet Rock offers half-day camps (with a full-day option) for kids through age 15.
Camps with Half-Day or Partial Week Options
One of the difficulties that I have run into with camps is that they run Monday through Friday which can make it difficult if you have a vacation that straddles weeks. I have also considered half-day camps to stretch my camp budget since 3 weeks of half-day camp can cost about the same as 2 weeks of full-day camp. Since most camps offer full-day Monday through Friday sessions, I want to highlight a few places that offer flexible camps.
Michigan Academy of Gymnastics offers wonderful flexibility. You can sign your child up by the week for full-days, by the week for half-days, by individual full-days, and by individual half-days. My daughter has never attended their camp but has several friends (some with and some without gymnastics experience) who have for the flexibility.
Saline Recreation Center also offers the option of registering for individual days. One of my daughter’s friends has enjoyed their summer camp.
Planet Rock offers week-long half-day camps for kids 4-7 (10a-1p) and 8-15 (9a-2p).
In addition to their full week camps, Great Lakes Zoological Society offers several 3 day sessions throughout the summer.
University of Michigan offers half-day camps through the Natural History Museum and KidSport. My daughter had friends who did the afternoon Natural History Museum camps. I may register my daughter for the morning session next year when she is 8.
Wild Swan Theater offers half-day camps from age 4 through completed grade 8.
Honey Creek offers the ability to sign up for individual days or by the week.
Camps Further Away
Another suggestion that I want to make is to look at camps not just near your home, but also near or on your way to work. Several interesting camps are in areas that people may commute to. I loved the description of the Henry Ford camp for my daughter’s age, but I could not justify driving her there and back everyday and either making two round trips or spending 5 days in Dearborn. Both Toledo Zoo and Detroit Zoo offer summer camps.
Anna Mae Trievel writes the blog Ann Arbor with Kids about family events and activities in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She recently launched Fun with Your Kid to provide information about events happening across the country or region, product reviews, travel experiences and more.