Adler Planetarium Camps Budding Copernicuses (Copernicii?) 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 astronomer on your hands, try technology camp, where mini techies will design, build and program their own robot. 1300 S Lake Shore Dr (312-322-0329, adlerplanetarium.org/camp). Jun 17–Aug 9. $130–$295. Ages 5–14.
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. Plus, campers get to take a field trip to the beach twice a week. 810 N Dearborn St (312-337-1070, af-chicago.org). Jun 24–Aug 2. $350 per week. Ages 6–12.
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, chicagobotanic.org/camp). Jun 17–Aug 16. One-week session $40–$420. Ages 2–15.
Camp Invention Through its regional programs, this national camp endeavors to make science fun and fresh for young participants. They’ll learn physics by launching rubber ducks into the air, and problem solving working together to survive life on an alien planet. Locations vary (800-968-4332, campinvention.org). Dates vary. Prices vary. Ages vary.
Center for Gifted Every kid is gifted in his or her own way (seriously!), but these camps are full of students with off-the-charts achievement test scores (95th percentile and up). Locations throughout Chicagoland (847-901-0173, centerforgifted.org). Jun 10–Jul 19. $335–$895. Ages 4–18.
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, and work on the writing process from start to finish. University of Illinois at Chicago, EPASW Building, 1040 W Harrison St (312-355-4445). Jun 24–Jul 11. $275. 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, chicagogrammar.org). Jun 17–Jul 26, $220–$435. PreK–14.
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, innovationtrainer.com). Jun 17–Jun 21. $180–$400. 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 movies and bring home copies of the finished DVD. 5801 S Ellis Ave (866-656-332, digitalmediaacademy.org). Jul 8–Aug 9. $695–$3,105. Ages 6–18.
Emagination Techy tweens and teens can participate in a two-week computer camp at Lake Forest College, just north of Chicago. Your mini Einstein could learn Flash animation, create apps, design video games, build robots, plus spend some free time in the computer lab. Kids get the dorm-room experience when they choose the overnight option. 555 N Sheridan Rd (877-248-0206, computercamps.com). Jun 16–Aug 2. $2,595 for two weeks. Ages 8–18.
GreenApple Science and Technology Camp In programs in Lincoln Park and Naperville, campers build robots, explore video game design and dabble in LEGOs. Locations in Naperville and Lincoln Park (877-735-4550, greenapplecamps.com). Jun 10–Aug 9. $225–$650. Prekindergarten to 9th grade.
Harand Camp of the Theatre Arts Located about an hour and a half from the Loop on the shores of Lake Michigan in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this theater-arts sleepaway camp blends acting, singing and dancing with a traditional camp environment. Kids spend the first half of the day doing theater activities and the second half in classes of their own choosing, ranging from sports such as volleyball and softball to mellower activities like photography and creative writing. Carthage College, 2001 Alford Park Dr, Kenosha, WI (847-864-1500, harandcamp.com). Jun 23–Aug 4. $1,050 and up. Ages 7–18.
iD Camps The smart folks behind iD camps offer a Gaming Academy, Programming Academy and Tech camp, where kids learn the ins and outs of 3-D modeling, video-game creation and tons more. Day camps and overnight sessions (for kids ages 10 and up) are available. See “At camp, I learned…,” page 48. Locations in Lake Forest and Evanston (888-709-8324, internaldrive.com). Dates and prices vary. Ages 7–18.
Instituto Cervantes Kids dive right into Spanish, studying the language 20 hours a week through the lens of scientists, geographers, artists and writers. A low teacher-to-student ratio means a fully immersive environment. 31 W Ohio St (312-335-1996, chicago.cervantes.es). Jun 17–Aug 2. $320 per week, $256 week of July 4th. Ages 5–11.
Language Stars Children explore French, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish and German using Language Stars’ “Funimmersion” full-immersion method. Kids build language skills through indoor and outdoor activities—such as cooking, water games and relay races—all completed while communicating in foreign languages. Check website for locations (773-933-7827, languagestars.com/summer). Jun 17–Aug 24. Prices vary. Ages 1–10.
Lycée Français Whether your little guy or gal is fluent or still mastering “un, deux, trois,” this camp offering immersion-style courses will get ’em up to speed. Language programs include lessons in French, German, Mandarin and Arabic. 613 W Bittersweet Pl (773-665-0066, lyceechicago.org). Jun 24–Aug 30, $375 per week. Ages 3–18.
Multilingual Kids Camp MK Want your child to say “thank you” in another language? How about in six languages? Kids also learn about the culture and customs of the native speakers. Pick from Spanish, French, Mandarin, Hindi and Korean. 2636 N Kimball Ave (773-292-7676, multilingualchicago.com). Jun 20–Aug 8. One-week session $249, two-week session $480. Ages 4–10.
Notebaert Nature Museum With themes such as Nature Detectives and Green City Kids, children delve into the topics of nature, art, music, movement and science during these two-week, six-hour camp sessions. Campers also enjoy weekly field trips. 2430 N Cannon Dr (773-755-5100, naturemuseum.org). Jun 24–Aug 16. Two-week session $425–$640. Ages 4–10.
Shedd Explorers Summer Road Trip Camp Using the aquarium as their home base, tweens and teens visit a different nature center or ecological site every day to learn about different animals, habitats and ecosystems. Camp ends in a sleepover at the aquarium. 1200 S Lake Shore Dr (312-939-2438, sheddaquarium.org). Jun 25–29 and Aug 6–10. $265–$295. Ages 11–14.