Academic camps | 2012

Smarty pants kids will love these summer camps that get brains going.

Kids build robots at iD Tech Camp.

Kids build robots at iD Tech Camp. Photograph: Courtesy of iD Tech Camps

Adler Planetarium Camps
Budding scientists will learn about the sun, solar system and space-shuttle technology with hands-on activities in camps with different themes. If you don’t have a wee astronaut on your hands, try technology camp, where mini techies will design, build and program their own robot. There’s also the Summer Worlds Tour camp, which gives kids some time at the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum in addition to Adler. 1300 S Lake Shore Dr (312-322-0329, Jun 18–Aug 3. Two-day session $150, one-week session $285. Kindergarten to 9th grade.

Alliance Française
Your little monsieur or mademoiselle will say oui oui to all things French at this language-immersion camp with arts and crafts, games, cooking and more. The Chez Kids Academy’s six-week camp is taught by instructors who specialize in early- childhood French as a second language. 810 N Dearborn St (312-337-1070, Jun 18–Aug 3. $340 per week. Ages 6–13.

Camp Chicago Botanic Garden 
Kids soak up science, art and nature in the natural surroundings of the garden through a variety of hands-on activities, such as planting an herb garden and solving a CSI-like mystery using forensics. 1000 Lake-Cook Rd, Glencoe (847-835-5440,  Jun 18–Aug 17. One-week session $82–$420. Ages 2–15.

Camp Invention
Through its Spark, Discover and Create programs, this national camp endeavors to make ordinary skills like problem solving “fresh, fun and exciting” for young participants. Visit website for locations (800-968-4332, Dates, prices and ages vary.

Center for the Gifted
Every kid is gifted in his or her own way (seriously!), but these camps require off-the-charts performance (95th percentile and up) on achievement tests. Camps focus on topics like roller-coaster physics, chess and archaeology.  Locations throughout Chicagoland (847-901-0173, Dates and prices TBD. Prekindergarten to 12th grade.

Chicago Area Writing Project
If your future author craves a taste of the college experience, he or she can get the appropriate kind on the UIC campus. In Youth Writing Camp, students dabble in different genres and styles. Digital Storytelling campers work on writing, digital photography, recording and movie-making. See “My camp,” page 45. University of Illinois at Chicago, EPASW Building, 1040 W Harrison St (312-355-4445). Writing Jun 25–Jul 12, Digital Storytelling Jul 16–Jul 20. Prices vary. Grades 7 to 10.

Chicago Grammar School
While CGS’s summer program main focus is academic enrichment programs for kids looking to advance in reading, writing and math, there are also sports and creative projects that encourage kids to use their imaginations, to learn visual-arts skills, or simply romp about. 900 N Franklin St (312-944-5600, Jun 18–Jul 27. Prices vary. Kindergarten to 7th grade.

Destination ImagiNation
Accept the Challenge Camp Brainiacs will love immersing themselves in problem solving this summer—and parents will dig the activities designed to help kids grow in the area of teamwork. Quest Academy, 500 N Benton St, Palatine (847-682-4093, Dates and prices TBD. Ages 7–13.

Digital Media Camp at University of Chicago
Tech-savvy kids and teens apply cutting-edge computer and technology techniques in courses such as 3-D gaming and cartoon creation. Kids also develop, film and edit their own movie, and they’ll bring a copy of the finished DVD home. 5801 S Ellis Ave (866-656-332,  Jun 25–Jul 27. $825–$3,650. Ages 6–18.

GreenApple Science and Technology
In programs at DePaul and Loyola, kids are schooled in science, mathematics, engineering, robotics and more. Campers build robots, machines, castles and models of cities and sports parks. A new program helps kids imagine, design and create their very own amusement park as they learn about the science behind those gravity-defying roller coasters and rides. Locations in Naperville and Lincoln Park (877-735-4550, Jun 11–Aug 31. $225–$650. Prekindergarten to high school.

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