With summer around the corner, nothing sounds better than letting your kids out of the confines of your home to enjoy the fresh air and release some creative energy. When running around the playground gets a bit tired, these drop-in camps are a godsend: They offer flexible schedules—choose your days or weeks—for kids to explore music, art, science, and of course, the great outdoors.
RECOMMENDED: Chicago summer camp guide
Drop off your kids (2 1/2–5) for fun with sports, art, music, science and more with other kids their age. The three-hour program follows a different theme each week, from trains and planes to pirates and mermaids. You can choose from a few days, a week or two, or even the whole summer. 9am–noon, May 27–Aug 29. One day: $65 per child; one week: $275 per child.
Kids (3–8) can enjoy exploring, climbing and learning during Little Gym's Super Kids' Quest camp. Each week is a different theme where the little ones spend three hours on an adventure that can include everything from storytelling to science experiments. Schedules are flexible, so you can choose the week or days that work for your family. 9am–2:30pm (9am–noon, 11:30am–2:30pm options also available, depending on days) Jun 16–Aug 22. Must have $40 family membership; one day/week $50, two days $90, five days $180.
Little kids (2 1/2–4 1/2) can spend time exploring the little town of Little Beans, a playspace complete with fire station, auto shop and doll house. The counselors will lead circle time with music and crafts and there will be plenty of time to venture outside onto the adjacent deck for fun with some of its outdoor toys. 9am–noon, 2–5pm May 5–Aug 29. $40 per day.
Budding little artists (4 and over) will enjoy learning all things art at this Bucktown summer camp. Partnering with local businesses like Zen Yoga Garage and Lookingglass Theatre, kids will get exposed to music, dance, drama and the visual arts in addition to participating in various art projects each day. Each week will be based around a differnt theme. You can choose to sign up for a few days or a full week. Kids must be potty-trained. 9am–1pm Jun 16–Sept 5. $50 per day, five-day pass $225.
For the musically inclined child, The Music Playhouse on Southport offers three hours of jam-packed dancing, instruments and singing. The program also makes sure to let kids explore outdoors each day as well. The session ends with a performance and cookie reception to celebrate your kid's accomplishments at camp. 1–4pm Jun 9–Aug 18.
The Tiny Tots Sports Camp helps kids ages 4–6 develop motor skills, teamwork and sportsmanship through a variety of games like kickball, soccer and T-ball. Kids can come for two sessions a day to make it an all-day camp or choose morning or afternoon. 9am–noon, 12:30–3:30pm. $50/day, $200/week.
Lakeshore's active PeeWee Camp exposes kids ages 2–4 to a variety of learning and fun. Each day they will participate in activities like the circus arts, practicing balance and coordination, and swimming, getting the little ones used to the water safely. Kids will also explore foreign languages, storytelling, math and imaginative play. You can choose the days and weeks that work best for your family. 9am–3pm Jun 9–Aug 29. $120/day, $550/week; members $90/day, $420/week.