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Kids Summer Camp Round-Up

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School is out for the summer!
Summer camps are up and running until mid-August in the Sacramento area, and there are plenty of children’s camps for both indoor and outdoor preferences including giraffes or superhero comic books, gravity tag, classic camp songs, 3-D abstract sculptures and even rock climbing or slime.

Parents who choose KidzArt can expect their kids to get messy and explore with different art media such as silk painting, acrylic painting, watercolor, clay, oil pastels, sand and even rock salt, centered around themes like Go Wet n’ Wild with KidzArt and KidzArt Animal Style.

“Our ultimate goal is to build self confidence, teach them some art fundamentals and make sure they have a good time,” said Paige Schulte, executive director at KidzArt.

KidzArt summer camps are organized into several theme-related projects, such as drawing animal scenes depicting monkeys going down a waterslide, 3-D abstract sculptures made out of bendable wires or dioramas of amusement water parks, which are then displayed in a gallery at the end of the camp, Schulte said.

“Every project comes with fun facts, either related to the theme or the subject matter,” said Schulte about emphasizing education while the children create art.

KidzArt serves 70 elementary schools in the after-school program and also hosts summer camps at 18 different elementary schools. The art-based summer camp runs 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and is geared for children in kindergarten through the sixth grade.

Campers can attend either five days a week, three days or two days. Camp locations include Natomas, Land Park/East Sacramento, Davis and others. For specific dates, pricing and more information click here.

Mad Science
With Mad Science, children and parents can choose from 80 different camps in eight counties around the Sacramento Valley; exploring the world of robotics, living in space, engaging in activities that teach about photosynthesis, chemistry equipment, the physics of sports and the respiratory or circulatory system.

“Our purpose is to get kids excited about science by sparking imaginative learning,” said Doug Christensen, franchise owner for Mad Science of Sacramento Valley.

Crazy Crime Lab is a CSI-like camp that teaches children about forensics, security and evidence detection, Christensen said.
The five-day Radical Robot camp allows children to build their own robot, said Christensen, and includes exploring the challenges involved in creating a gripper for the robot to grasp items.

In NASA: Academy of Future Space Explorers, children place their hands in thick gloves and experience what it might be like “being in a space suit and trying to do some manual manipulations inside of a chamber,” Christensen said, “which sort of replicates the problems people on space walks have.”

Mad Science summer camps run from now through Aug. 12. The summer camps provide two instructors per 15 children. Christensen said that Mad Science could also bring workshops to groups of 15 children or more. For more information click here.

Zoo Camp
The Sacramento Zoo features a summer camp selection of 72 different options for children in pre-school through ninth grade, and also a camp counselor program open to teens.

“The purpose is for them to learn and appreciate the world around them while they are learning and having fun,” said Lisa Hetherington, Sacramento Zoo Education Manager. “We strive to follow our mission.”

Superman-imals camp, held Aug. 1 – 5, is available for children in kindergarten through the first grade.

The camp is “all about how different animals are specialized in different things. The tallest animal would be the giraffe, and they are known as the sentinels of the savanna,” said Hetherington. “They can see really long distances, so that would be a super adaptation.”

Other animal examples that may have adaptations that seem super-hero-like include the cheetah for its speed, and the owl for its sensitive hearing abilities that allow it to effectively capture prey in pitch-black environments.

Kids who join the Superman-imals camp at the Zoo can expect to create a comic strip displaying animals and their adaptations or super-hero-like powers that they have learned about during the week, Hetherington said.

“Teachers that teach the camp are actual instructors during the year, we let them create their own curriculum,” Hetherington said.

From the 72 options Zoo Camp offers, one is called Little Ducklings and is geared for pre-school-aged children.

There are six, two-hour-long classes that teach campers about different parts of the world and the animals that inhabit places such as Sumatra, Australia, the Himalayas and Africa. The course is designed for a child and their mom, dad, uncle, grandparent or other any other buddy, Hetherington said.

“During the camp they get an up-close, personal introduction to one of the animals. Make one or two crafts, as well as participate in animal enrichment,” said Hetherington.

Animal enrichment involves creating a toy or object that will stimulate the animal’s mind, explained Hetherington.

Specific animals that children may be introduced to include the African hedgehog, the blue-tongued skink, a red tailed fox, a desert tortoise, and birds like the blue and gold Macaw.

Rocknasium offers three-hour-long, four day summer camp sessions, now through Aug. 25, for ages 6 through 14.

Children at Rocknasium can expect to learn about rock climbing and proper equipment usage as well as ropelling, or descending down buildings like super heroes often do in the movies.

Ropelling is where “there is a rope anchored to the ceiling. The kids are taught how to manage their safety using specific equipment and techniques,” said Chris Townsen, Rocknasium staffer.

“All the skills that they learn throughout the week, culminate on the last day in a really cool mission impossible adventure at the gym,” Townsen said.

They go through an obstacle course pretending to be secret agents in search of a deactivation button, said Townsen. The mission impossible involves a zip line from one side of the gym to the other, available for summer camp sessions only.

Rocknasium, located in Davis, exhibits 26 feet tall rock climbing with 24 top ropes, and an estimate of 80-120 color-coded routes for climbers.

Routes are “constantly changing so that our members are always challenged,” Townsen said. 

Camp Have-a-lot-of-Fun
This summer camp is open for ages 3 through 11 and is offered Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. for eight weeks until Aug. 12.

“The camp program is a traditional summer camp that started over 40 years ago, and in the last six years, has evolved into an imagination-based experiential camp,” said Katie Little, Camp Supervisor and former Coordinator, involved with the program for nine years.

“Each week has a theme, we transport kids into an imaginative fantasy land that has different characters in it,” Little said.

The camp is divided into age groups of three to five and kinder through sixth grade. Typical weeks include eight to ten campers’ led by one kid staffer and between two to three leaders from the leadership development program, Little said.

“Kids like to show you how fast they are and they like to show you how strong they are,” Little said about the Aug. 1 – 5, Return to Planet Superhero week theme.

The children are transported to a planet where super heroes live, said Little. They are divided into heroes and villains, learn super powers and run around in imaginary adventures.

“All the things that kids like to do, the superhero theme encompasses,” Little said.

The campers can expect to sing classic camp songs every morning, about animals like sharks and bears.

Among the weekly themed-camps that are offered, Ultimate Team Challenge, is favorite to both staffers and campers, Little said.

The week is filled with four teams of campers competing for the Sunshine Cup trophy by engaging in team relays, scavenger hunts, dance competitions and athletic activities. A mirror competition including the staffers called Unity Wars goes on at the same time.

“It builds super intense competition. The kids wear different colors every day, they come up with cheers, there is even a couple rivalries that have developed over the last couple years,” Little said.

“I have been told for years that is it the best bargain in town because kids absolutely love it and it is affordable for families of all income levels,“ Little said.

To learn more about Camp Have-a-lot-of-Fun click here.

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