Summer Break

Raising happy campers: Top Austin summer camps for every kid

Raising happy campers: Top Austin summer camps for every kid

Wonder Space Tech Camp attendees
CultureMap looks at best summer camp options in Austin. Courtesy of Wonder Space Tech Camp

For youngsters and teens, summer is a time for camping... in front of the television, tablet or gaming console. Passive activities are no way to spend prime out-of-classroom time. Your kids may balk at the idea of summer camp, but they’ll be hard pressed to turn down options that let them explore and create. Instead of watching movies, they can make movies. Rather than playing apps, they can make apps. There are even (still) camps that take place in the great outdoors. Whatever your kids are into there’s probably a summer camp for that. 

Here’s a sampling of camps and activities that will keep any young Austinite active. 

Screen It! Mexic-Arte Museum 
The art of silk screening has undergone a revival over the past few years. Everything from t-shirts to bags to fine art posters are being screen printed, giving new life to this classic art from. At Screen It!, the Mexic-Arte Museum will teach teens digital and hands-on screen print and design techniques. Let their artistic side shine with this screen printing class. 

Central Market Kids Camp
“I’m huuuungry.” You’ll (hopefully) never hear these words again after put your kids in a cooking class. The culinary staff at Central Market will teach your child (ages 7 and up) one to make an easy and nutritious meal. Both Austin locations offer various Kids in the Kitchen classes throughout the summer. They may need some guidance from you, but you can’t go wrong with a culinary child in the kitchen. Watch out Paul Qui. 

Art Classes at Revival
Revival is a home design and gift store that emphasizes hand-made and vintage pieces in an age of big box off-the-shelf options. The Camp Revival kids art classes will introduce them to the Art of Weaving Paper, and their Beyond the Basics classes in painting and drawing will have them using new techniques and materials like watercolors, chalk and oil pastels. The classes emphasize exploration, giving each child the chance to express themselves. Hand crafted is better, especially if they’re the artist. 

Austin Film Festival Summer Film Camp
You’ve taken enough videos of your kids — let them tell their own stories. For the budding actor or director in the family, a film camp will give them exposure to every aspect of filmmaking. The Austin Film Festival offers summer classes in filmmaking. There’s animation, comedy, scary shorts and a general filmmaking 101. As a bonus, they get to see their final film on the big screen. 

This isn’t the Y you remember. Austin YMCA Summer camps are for creative, athletic and adventurous kids of all ages. Kinder Camp (4-5) offers games, field trips and crafts for the little crowd. Theme Camp (5-12) has daily activities focused on themes like responsibility and honesty. Sports Camp (8-12) tackles different sports activities, while Adventure Camp (11-14) brings all of the other camp topics together into a well-rounded experience. It’s fun to play the Y-M-C-A. Oh... you knew it was coming. 

ZACH Summer Camps
Imaginary friends and plush animals make for fine audience members. If every day is showtime, perhaps you should give your child the chance to perform on the big stage. A summer camp at ZACH Theatre will give them more than stage presence; performance increases self-confidence, creativity and imagination. There are classes for every age, each with different topics like “Create-a-play: Hogwarts” and "Artsplosion: Myths and Monsters."

Round Rock Express Summer Camp
The boys of summer shine at the Round Rock Express Summer Camp. Let your boys develop their baseball skills on the same field that hosts the future stars of the Texas Rangers. Former major leaguer Matt Kata leads camps for ages 6 and up that will teach them solid baseball fundamentals, as well as leadership and mental skills. If your boys sleep with their glove tucked underneath their pillow, this is the camp for them. 

Tap. Jazz. Flamenco. Ballet. Break. If there’s a dance style, then there’s probably a camp for it in Austin. For graceful daughters (and sons), dance is a great outlet for self-expression. The well-known dance camps at Ballet Austin, Synergy Dance, Spectrum Dance Studio and Dance Discovery are great starting points — each offering different dance styles and classes.     

Wonder Space Tech Camp
Tech camps aren’t new. Your author took a summer camp on programming the Apple IIe. Now, "computer camp" can mean game, app, web design or even programming and coding. Wonder Space Tech Camp teaches kids the basics on these and many other kids of computer applications. Be warned: Taking one of these classes my cause your kids to pawn off XBox time as research and development.