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Moms Talk: Summer Camp Tips and Tricks

Have another question to ask our parents council? Send it to emilier@patch.com or post it in the comments.

Each week in Moms Talk, our Parents Council of experts will take your questions, give advice and share solutions. (.) The question this week comes from and : 

Since we have 4- and 6-year-olds, we're relative newbies to the camp scene and would love advice about it.

  • What are your top five camp choices for 4- to 5-year-olds? 5- to 7-year-olds? Other age groups? 
  • Are there hidden gems that are kind of word-of-mouth? 
  • Are there ones you would avoid?

We've had success with camps through the , Lawrence Hall of Science, , and Kids N Clay, and are curious about others.

Come back Monday to see if any of your suggestions made our top five list. 

Joy Knott March 12, 2011 at 12:55 AM
This year I'm looking into Brushstrokes Studio in Berkeley for painting pottery and learning about clay, composition, mosaics, art history. They offer camps for 5-14 y.o and offer all day schedules. For creative writing and art for 8-12 y.o try Scratch Paper Workshops run by local artists/parents: http://www.scratchpaperworkshops.blogspot.com/, Hours: 9-1 pm. Other ideas: -Children's Fairlyland in Oakland offers camps for 5-10 y.o. focusing on theater, stories, arts and crafts. - El Cerrito Swim Camp through El Cerrito Rec. We've been really happy with camps already mentioned here: Camp Galileo. Sent our son to the camp 2 years in a row and he loved it. Lots of indoor and outdoor activities. Great counselors. CAL Athletics Soccer Camp, and Mini-hawks/Skyhawks Sports program through Albany Rec. @Suzanne Portnoy - I wondered the same thing about a closer horse camp. Heard great things about Castle Rock Arabians (my son took riding lessons there, not camp) but it's in Walnut Creek so it makes for a long trip. You could get there within 45 minutes for sure, though. :) http://www.castlerockarabians.com/Camps.html
Suzanne Portnoy March 12, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Thanks for the tip, Joy. I'll check out Castle Rock. We tried Robertson's in Hayward last year -- Anna had fun but it was really far to drive there and back twice a day (I got a good book on tape!) I always wonder about Grizzly Peak Stables (up in Tilden). It seems like they come up on old camp lists but the few times we have checked it out...well, not much seems to be happening there. By the way, we have really enjoyed the Brushstrokes camps. Our two favorites are the one that includes a trip to the SF MOMA and the tiling camp. The kids end up with really great art that is still displayed in our home, years later. By the way, does anyone else feel like they need a PhD to coordinated the multitude camps? Between coordinating friends, carpooling, drop off/pick up, and managing costs it ends up feeling like a REALLY long math word problem.
Nir Maoz April 21, 2011 at 12:57 AM
Check out the Journalism Camp For Kids camp, you can find more information in the City of Albany Recreation Guide.
JJMarieKK April 21, 2011 at 08:10 PM
My children have enjoyed the Kids on Stage, On Broadway, and Teens on Stage programs held by Stage Door Conservator - http://www.stagedoorconservatory.org/east-bay-about-plays.html. I highly recommend them for the child who loves acting, singing, and dancing. The emphasis is on working as an ensemble, where the directors emphasize teamwork and inclusion with all players in the production no matter the level of talent. My older daughter in particular has learned to interact better with other children because of this camp.
karen February 26, 2013 at 07:52 PM
We love Fencing Camp at Sport Fencing Center. You can get a great discount if you sign up at the Albany Recreation Department. Sport Fencing Center is located on Central Ave near Costco so it's easy to get to. The have full day camps with extended care and they provide ALL the equipment too:)

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