Camps for Preschoolers!

Summer can be a hard time to juggle child-care and activity needs for your kids, especially preschoolers. We’re happy to report that we have found a bunch of great options for preschoolers, many open to preschool + elementary age kids. If you’re dreaming of  summer weeks with a single drop off point, read on!

May14_campdoodlesCamp Doodles NEW Hayes Valley location in San Francisco for 3 – 4 year olds.  Weekly themes, full and part-days June 22 – August 21, 2015

They are still running their full summer camp program for 4-11 year old at their original Hayes Valley location at the French American International School. Weekly themes, full and part-days June 15 – August 14, 2015


may14_kidsoutdoor Kids Outdoor Club In the idyllic setting of the Presidio, kids from 3 to 11 years old play sports, hike, climb trees, build dams, visit the police horse stables, tromp through the sand dunes of Ocean Beach, explore Land’s End and Sutro Baths and play games in the woods such as capture the flag. Full and part-days/weeks May 18 – August 28, 2015


may14_wiseforestWise Forest Preschools Nature Immersion Preschool Camp for 2.5-5 years in Golden Gate Park. Modeled after the popular European Forest Kindergarten concept, activities include dramatic play, circle time, creative arts, learning plant and animal names, fort building, nature journaling, and more! Students explore and engage the natural world with science tools, digging implements, and musical instruments from our popular tool wagon. Daily 9:00am-12:00pm, Weekly and Partial Weeks May 4-Aug 28, 2015


may14_elsaMiss Marian’s Dance Garden’s Preschool Dance Camp The Richmond District In a fun, supportive environment, campers will explore a variety of activities and lessons: arts, crafts, dance, sewing, yoga, cooking, gardening, and more!  Daily 9am-1pm, 3 weeks:  Jun 8-12, Jul 6-10 and Aug 3- 7, 2015


may14_danceCreative Movement Summer Dance Camp at Dance Mission, One week of half-day camp for little dancers! June 1-5th, 2015

 


may14_adventureAdventure Camps, Mobile Camp with 2 Pick up spots including Julius Kahn Park in the Presidio and Midtown Terrace.  This mobile day camp uses the Bay Area as their playground. Everyday is different. They love to explore the BayArea’s wonderful parks, playgrounds, and beaches. Ages 4-14 years. Weekly, 9am-3pm, June 15 – Sept. 4, 2015


may14_eureka_kidsEureka Valley Arts Summer Camp Kids 4-13 create great projects, enjoy awesome adventures in and around San Francisco, and build amazing friendships. They will explore in and around San Francisco, have outdoor/indoor activities at Eureka Rec. Center, and a special field trip once a week. 9:00am-4:30pm, Extended day 8am-6:30pm June 1 – August 28, 2015


may14_soccerFun in the Sun Camp, Super Soccer Stars’ camp in Mission Bay for 3-5 year olds. Kids enjoy active fun in the fresh air all summer long. Two hours of outdoor soccer fun through skill-building games and activities. Camp runs weekly 9-11am, June 15 – August 15, 2015


Camp Edmo has a few sessions for 4 year olds at Rooftop School in Twin Peaks:
Earth Explorers Camp Discover curious creatures, magical habitats and unique cultures from around the world! You’ll swing through the Amazon rainforest, cross the African savanna on the backs of antelopes and play a didgeridoo invented 1,500 years ago by indigenous Australians.  Offered full day, 2 weeks: Jun 22-26, 2015, Jul 20-24, 2015
may14_edmoGames and Gizmos Inventors, tinkerers and creative thinkers wanted! Enter a world where your imagination transforms everyday objects into quirky machines, mind-bending puzzles, mini-pet robots, original board games and one-of-a-kind creations! Offered full day, Jun 29-Jul 3, 2015


Steve and Kate’s Camp Design-your-own Camp (lunch included) for 4-12 year olds. Now with 2 locations in San Francisco, they offer supreme flexibility. Kids get lots of time Steve_and_Kate_youngcampers9_1to choose from a huge variety of activities including daily and weekly specials. Parents love that everything is included (lunch + extended day!) and flexible attendance. Full Day Lycee Francais de San Francisco: Ortega Campus,  Jun 22-Aug 14, 2015
Alvarado Elementary School  Jun 1-  Aug  7, 2015


may14_yoga It’s Yoga, Kids Summer Yoga Camp for 4-11 year olds. Campers stretch their minds and bodies with art, dance, music, nature and yoga with the most talented team of professionals from ABZ Music, ARTifact, Caring Creatives, Children’s Center for Dance, and It’s Yoga, Kids. Daily 9:00am-1:00pm, Jun 15-19, 2015


may14_malltalkSee Saw Studio’s Small Talk Summer Camp, Ages 3 – 5 Hayes Valley. Led by speech language pathologist. Seesaw provides: healthy snacks, group lessons & activities, child-directed free play time, social skills, communication & language-rich exercises.
Daily:  8:30am-3:30pm, Jun 15-19, 2015

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Special summer camp discounts end May 3

hotsavings_piggyGreat discounts on unique camps! There’s something to match every kids’ interests – tech, art, sports, music, cooking and more!  Click below to see details and reviews for each camp.

Free sound even better? We’d love to make your day! Enter for a free week of camp at Brainvyne, Explore Science Camp, Camp Marco Polo, or TechKnowHow!

South Bay/Peninsula

Sparkiverse Tech Camp
Sparkineers spend their days switching between activity blocks: tech lab, art lab, outdoor play, group skits, spirit building, carnival, and more! Get $250 off camp until May 3rd.
Palo Alto


may1_artwjennyArt With Jenny
Kids draw, color, paint, get messy, sculpt and craft. The projects are all very age appropriate and are great for boys AND girls. 10% off camp until May 3rd.
Mountain View


may1_christinasChristina’s Art Adventure Camp
Girls are excited about their own creativity when they experiment in various artistic media, culinary projects, and acting techniques. Sign up for camp for only $275/week.
Palo Alto


may1_exploreExplore! Summer Camps
Learn about the natural world through personal exploration and become responsible stewards of the Earth. Receive 20% now through May 3rd.
Palo Alto


may1_journeysJourneys Across Time
A unique, hands-on, role playing summer camp program that immerses kids into a different place and time each week. Receive $25 off camp until May 3rd. Extended care is always free. Palo Alto


may1_kidventuresKidventures Summer Camp
Lots of adventures, outdoor play, nature exploration and fun await your kids. Receive 20% off sessions 2 and 3 of Adventure Camp.
Stanford


731f7d80-737c-4da9-b2c1-40a92bd6b2e2Young Outliers
Activities inspire students to experiment to learn and space to invent– shape new ideas and learn without fear. Receive $50 off camp registration.
Palo Alto


may1_brainvyneBrainvyne
Parents write, “Our boys’ favorite camp! They built great models, and best of all made an animated Lego movie with the iPad. Wonderful.” Receive 10% off until May 3rd. Refer a Friend and save $25. Palo Alto


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEmbark Labs: Coding Together!
Learn creative problem-solving, critical thinking and leadership skills. Parents write, “This is such a great alternative to the standard summer camp!”. Receive 10% off camp registration. Menlo Park


may1_wheelkids Wheel Kids Adventure Riding Camp
Kids explore the Bay Area on their bikes! They get excited about cycling adventures and learn how to keep their bikes and themselves in good shape! $50 off until May 3rd.
Palo Alto


East Bay

may1_mrDMr. D’s Music Club summer camps get kids ages 8–13 movin’, groovin’, singin’, dancing, and laughing. Parents report, “My son had a blast at this camp.” $50-$100 off camps until May 3rd. 15 percent off ongoing classes.
Oakland


may1_shurenShu Ren International School
For K-8 camp ONLY & limited time – $50 each session if sign up for 2 or more sessions
Berkeley


may1_wheelkids Wheel Kids Adventure Riding Camp
Kids explore the Bay Area on their bikes! They get excited about cycling adventures and learn how to keep their bikes and themselves in good shape! $50 off until May 3rd.
Walnut Creek


 

may1_21academyThe Academy of 21st Century Learning. Month-long academic morning programs and week-long afternoon classes. Kids will laugh, learn, experiment, and challenge themselves. Buy 3 get 4th session free! Vacaville


San Francisco & Marin County

may1_skykidsSky Kids International Camp
Fun camps in creative and performing arts, science and nature, plus cultural exchange and Mandarin instruction. Save $100 until May 3rd.
San Francisco


may1_xkids The X Kids Tech Camp
Children as young as four get exposure to Robotics, computer programming, chess and 3D printing. $75 off until May 3rd.
San Francisco


may1_clinical_girlsSan Francisco Clinical Psychology Camp Seminar-style psychology program for high school students. Small groups foster accessible, fascinating talks on the workings of the mind. Save 20% until May 3rd. San Francisco


may1_marianMs. Marian’s Dance Garden
Musical Theater, Fairy Princess Dance and Sewing Camps. Week-long camps for Pre-k up to 8th grade. Save $25 off camp registration ends May 3rd.


may1_kidsoutdoorSan Francisco Outdoor Camp
A great opportunity for 4-6 year olds to spend their days exploring some of San Francisco’s natural gems! Weekly visits to Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach (weather permitting) and Lands End. Save 15% on 2+ weeks


may1_makerMaker Camp, sponsored by MAKE magazine, focuses on creating, building, and discovering. Makers complete engineering and art projects designed to teach them to innovate & solve problems using science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Save $75 until May 3rd. San Anselmo


  Overnight Camps

may1_wanderersWanderers Yosemite Hiking Adventure.
Explore and learn about the natural history of the Giant Sequoia, visit to Hetch Hetchy reservoir with a swim in the pools below spectacular Wapama Falls and hike to the top of Sentinel Dome. $75 off Yosemite camps until June 1st


may1_natomaCamp Natoma
A traditional summer camp located on California’s Central Coast. Parents write “he loved it so much that he begged to go every year.”  Outdoor activities including archery, swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, music, team-building and more! Get $25 off when you register by May 3rd.

 

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Family events in the SF Bay Area for May 2015 – Kite Day, Cinco de Mayo and Fun Runs

Cheerful Children Playing Kite Outdoors ConceptThis May brings more outdoor events to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.  Here are the event’s we have marked on our calendar.

Menlo Park’s annual Kite Day
Saturday, May 2, 2015 – Noon to 3:00 pm. Bedwell-Bayfront Park.  Bring your own kite or buy a new kite when you get there.  Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help you assemble and fly your kite.

City of Palo Alto May Fête Children’s Parade & Fair,  May 2, 2015.  Parade begins at 10am, University Avenue.  Fair is at Heritage Park from 10am-1pm.

YMCA Summer Camp Fair, Learn about the YMCA’s summer camps while playing camp games, playing in bounce houses and running obstacle courses. Free camp T-shirts.  May 2, 1-3 p.m at the El Camino YMCA in Mountain View.

Cinco De Mayo Festival, May 2, 10am – 6pm in San Francisco.  Valencia Street between 21st and 24th Streets

Children’s Day Festival, May 2, 11am – 4pm Japantown’s Peace Plaza, Buchanan and Post Streets

Healthy Parks, Healthy People, May 2, 2pm – 4pm Presidio of San Francisco, 50 Montgomery at the corner of Lincoln Blvd.

Mother’s Day Concert at Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA)  Saturday, May 9, 2-3pm in Mountain View.  Free!

Sunday Streets, May 10, 11am – 4pm in San Francisco.  Valencia Street between McCoppin and 26th Streets

Mother’s Day Kids Run, May 10, 9:45am – 10am in San Francisco.  East Beach at Crissy Field

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Olympic triple jumper Erica McLain combines sports and academics into a new summer camp

AH blog pathworks 1PATHworks is a unique summer camp that focuses on both sports and education. We spoke with Erica McLain, the founder and camp director, about the PATHworks program and what it was like to participate in the 2008 Olympic Games.

1. Tell me what a typical day of camp is like. Will there be any athletic activities or is it all in the classroom?

The PATHworks day is a fluid mix of academic and athletic activities rotating throughout classrooms and athletic facilities. Our athletic activities focus on key fundamentals, such as balance and agility, and technique training, such as running form and vertical max, that are critical to nearly all sports.

Every morning begins with core strength and mindfulness exercises that will help students learn about their muscle structures and how to consciously control their movements. From there the daily adventure begins as students learn to connect their grade level math and language arts learning objectives to the skills and technical aspects of their favorite sports. Students will get to apply their new sports skills to a competition in the afternoon. The day of learning and fun will end with science, technology and nutrition activities.

On Fridays, students will have opportunities to focus on their sports of choice and we will host special guest speakers from the sports and fitness industries. Our special guests will introduce students to how they can apply academic concepts in cool ways, both on and off the field, and how this will enable them to accomplish amazing things in their own lives.

2. What if my child is not into sports?  Would he/she feel out of place in the PATHworks program?  

Our primary goal is that students learn while having fun! If your child simply hates sports this might not be the camp for them; however, we don’t expect students to be super athletes. Our activities are designed to enable students of a wide range of athletic abilities, from beginner to advanced, to reach their personal best. If your child is new to sports and nervous about fitting in then PATHworks is the perfect place! Our curriculum will help provide an introduction to a variety of different sports and our students are taught to collaborate with and support one another.

  1. What motivated you and the team to start this camp?

My team and I all share personal stories of how involvement in sports has positively impacted our own lives and examples of how we’ve each been able to use various aspects of sports to inspire others. While we certainly believe that the entire course of a student’s academic career is critical to their development, we’ve found through our individual experiences that the middle school years seem to be the most challenging for students, teachers, and parents alike.  During these pivotal years, students are going through important yet difficult physical, emotional, and psychosocial changes. Surprisingly though, less that 15% of youth development programs aim to directly address the unique needs of middle schoolers. Perhaps this is because the middle school ages are among the most difficult to teach as students are going through significant hormonal changes but my team and I are up for the challenge!

We chose sports not only because they’ve personally played relevant roles in our own lives but also because scholarly research proves that sports participation can improve cognitive development, train critical thinking skills, empower students to excel under pressure, and cultivate essential soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence. With nearly 75% of our nation’s middle school students engaged with some level of athletic participation, sports provide a popular vehicle to reinforce academic concepts in ways that are fun and engaging.

4. What was it like to be in the Olympics? 

AH blog pathworks 2Surreal! It was exciting, humbling, terrifying, and amazing all at the same time… it truly was a dream come true! I’ve been in sports my whole life, playing eight different sports… gymnastics still is and always will be my #1 love. I didn’t really get involved with track & field until my freshman year of high school after volleyball and basketball seasons had ended. I actually discovered the triple jump by way of doing a gymnastics move called a “split leap” at the track. The jumps coach saw me doing one and asked if I could demonstrate that move to her jumpers. Who knew that in that moment I had stumbled upon the event that would, years later, earn me a full-ride scholarship to Stanford, a contract with Nike, and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. This is just one example among many of why I encourage kids to be curious and try new things… you never know where it might lead!

One of my favorite things about being in the Olympics was being surrounded by the top athletes in the world from a wide variety of different sports. On the field, sure they’re your competitors, but off the field it was amazing to experience the camaraderie of the biggest names in sports all just hanging out playing in the arcade, sharing a meal, etc. I even got to play scrabble with Michael Phelps and talk about my hobby of photography with Carmelo Anthony… it was super cool!

See more information about PATHworks or sign up for camp.

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5 Awesome Ideas for a Spring Break Staycation to Save Money & Have Fun!

blog spring jump for joyJump for joy – it’s Spring! 

It’s Spring Break time. Kids have Spring fever and are itching to get out and have fun in the warmer weather, but what if your budget or time are too tight for a full-on vacation? Not to worry. You can still have fun with a well-planned staycation. The key is to approach your stay at home week as you would any other vacation. Organize activities that will get your kids excited, spare your wallet and get them out from behind their digital device or the TV. Here are five great ideas for the week off of school.

#1 Cousins Camp

This is a great idea for parents who, for whatever reason, can’t take the week off work. The idea behind cousins camp is that you consolidate all the cousins – your brother’s and sister’s kids plus yours for some intense family fun. You can either get a grandparent to host the camp or take turns with your siblings by each taking one day off work. Cousins camp can be a day camp activity or, if grandparents are farther away, a sleep-away camp. Grandparents will consider it a treat to spoil your kids for a week, and your children can bask in the attention of adults they may not get to see as often. Load them up with board games, art supplies and whatever else the host family member needs to keep the kids busy.

#2 Geocaching Extravaganza

If you can take some time off during Spring Break but want to save up your money for your splashier summer vacay, Geocaching is a great cost-saving activity. You can do it every day all day or for a few hours here and there between other activities. There are literally blog spring geocachingmillions of geocaches all over the US. Load up a cooler with bottled drinks, take a bag of snacks or a picnic lunch, download the app and go. If you’ve never tried Geocaching, you’ve got to get into this GPS scavenger hunt game. You’ll find hidden caches in the grocery parking lot down the street, off the trails at a nearby park and on mountain tops.

#3 Ticket to Ride

For those that don’t live near public transportation or rarely use it, this is a cheap way to do something different. Head into town, take a ride on the subway or bus and head to a great park you’ve been meaning to check out. Or head to a hip kid-friendly eatery in a part of town where you rarely venture. You avoid traffic, get mobile and let your kids experience something new. If there’s no public transport near you or you use it every day, take a train adventure. Pack a backpack for a day trip and head to a nearby city you’ve never seen. You can hop an Uber or bus for local sightseeing, have a picnic then catch the train back home.

#4 Oh-so-silly-Olympics

If you’re concerned about your kids being sedentary over Spring Break, this idea can get them out and moving their bodies every day. And if you’re a desk sitter for work, it’ll be blog spring olympicsgood for you too. Design some at home Olympic event ideas, host an opening ceremony by letting everyone parade in their best athletic gear and then get started! Print out ribbons from the web or buy some cheap ones from the local party store. Pair up little kids with bigger ones so everyone wins. Eschew the traditional 100 yard dash in favor of a 10 yard dash wearing mom’s high heels or long jump with an egg under each armpit. Make sure everyone wins awards. And if it rains, add water sports to the schedule!

#5 Hotel at Home

Even if you can’t make it to a hotel for the week, you can set up a cool experience at home. After all, kids love being spoiled and pampered (don’t we all?). Add a pile of throw pillows to your kid’s bed, give them fold down service, add a chocolate to their pillow and leave room service menus hanging from their door. Serve breakfast in bed, run a bath with a mound of bubbles, and try out a silly British accent to make it more fun. Offer afternoon tea or juice in a champagne flute. If you’ve got several kids, assign one kid a day to get the hotel experience and put the others to work as staff – this will give them all a kick. Save the last day for yourself and have them pamper you with a pedicure and treats.


Your kids will appreciate the effort and as long as you create buzz and excitement around your staycation concept, you’ll get enthusiastic buy-in from your kids. And if you’re stuck at work all week, but still want your kids to have an awesome time, consider a day or sleepaway camp for the week devoted to their special interest.

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Is Your Child Interested in Sailing?

It’s that time of year again: parents everywhere are thinking about and booking their children’s summer camps. Often we choose the same camp year after year, but sometimes we think about being more adventurous, and offering our kids a totally different experience that could spark a new passion that lasts a lifetime.

Kid's at a sailing camp

San Francisco Maritime Camp

That’s what got us thinking about the unique and educational San Francisco Maritime sailing camp. As a non-profit partner to the Maritime National Parks, Maritime Sailing Camp gives kids an insider look at our bay’s maritime history and the opportunity to explore the Maritime National Park and San Francisco Bay just like a sailor or scientist would.

Campers also get the chance to test water samples, go rowing in whaleboats, and examine the bay’s mud and the creatures who live in it. They’ll also get to check out the World War II submarine Pampanito and go sailing for a day on the historic scow schooner Alma.

A fabulous option for boys and girls alike, San Francisco Maritime camp starts at $250 (aftercare is extra), and sessions run weekly throughout the month of July.

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Five Affordable Camps in San Francisco

It takes a lot of time to find the right camps and they can be really expensive. As a parent myself, I’ve done a lot of camp research and here are my five favorite affordable local camps in San Francisco.

Mariposa Kids, the Mission District
Offering weekly programs through June and July, Full day 8:30am-6pm,
$275-$350 (STEM) 5 Days, $165 for 3 Days
Mariposa’s Summer Adventure camp is back! Includes weekly themes of Art, Food,  Museums, Wheels and STEM Camp weeks with Engineering for Kids

Jamestown Community Center, Mission District
Offering 3 2-Week long sessions from June 8-July 24th,
Half-day $171 (morning or afternoon) or Full-day $360
Morning choice of sports or enrichment activities. Afternoon “Summer Playhouse” includes engaging arts and crafts, dance, theater, cooking and media activities aimed at building new skills and forging a strong summer community. Youth will also participate in weekly field trips and will work together to plan an end-of-the-summer showcase!

Epic Summer Camp, Richmond Village Beacon, Richmond District

Offering Weekly programs June 8- July 17th, 10am-4pm $100
Campers choose a morning skill squad to explore math, science, history, reading and writing through EPIC activities and adventures. In the afternoon, campers gather with grade-specific leagues to train, prepare, and compete in EPIC competitions ranging from performance art, craft and design to old-school waterbattles.

Maritime Summer Camp, San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
Weekly program in July, 9am-3pm $250
Kids have a chance to experience San Francisco Bay through the eyes of a Sailor and a Scientist. Campers explore all the different activities the Park and the surrounding SF waterfront have to offer. Campers will also get to row and sail the many small craft in the park and learn the basics of marine biology including water quality tests, species identification, clam dredging, & tide pooling.

Camp Edmo near Twin Peaks has an Animal Survival camp session. Your child will learn about animal behavior, what they do to find food, how they communicate, survive disasters and avoid predators while in one of the most forested parts of the city. Parents love this camp. A full week at Camp Edmo costs under $389.

Considering Overnight Camp?

KS-5For an affordable overnight camp near San Francisco in the Santa Cruz Mountains, UCamp is a great option. Try out their Discovery Camp for new campers. If your child enjoys sports, art, outdoor adventures and meeting new friends, they enjoy this five day session at the beginning of August. Book before March 1st and get $100 off of registration bringing your total to $695 for the week.

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