Summer Camps: Teen Edition

(updated on March 26, 2017)

As any mom knows, once the teen years hit, it can be really difficult to find something your kid finds enjoyable. And, if you’re a teen reading this, come on you know it’s true! Blank stares or eye-rolling are all too common when teens are asked what they want to do in the summer.

While traditional summer camps may not be what you have in mind for yourself or your child this year, the good news is there are plenty of high school camp options out there that teens DO enjoy.  No matter what your interests or goals after high school, these camps can help you accelerate your skill set, or even just plain have fun and relax before people will expect you to get a job!

Art Camps are a great way for teens to start the summer to unwind and express their creativity. Teens who want to expand their photo skills beyond the cell phone camera can learn photography and darkroom skills at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco. Art School of SF Bay offers Fan Art, Digital Painting, Advanced Manga, Comic Art and other subjects geared for teens. Camp Fashionista in San Jose has fashion drawing, embroidery and dress making classes for teens.

Blue Bear boy teen

Music camps for teens at Blue Bear Music include Recording and Songwriting

Music lovers can join a band at Rock Camp at San Francisco Rock Project or School of Rock San MateoBlue Bear of Music in San Francisco and Dandan Performing Arts Center in San Lorenzo both offer songwriting camps and more advanced music topics.

Dance and Theatre are also good creative outlets and workouts for teens. Dance intensive programs often fill up quickly.

For work experience, teens can get valuable leadership skills and experience as a counselor-in-training at Stanford All-Sports Summer CampCastilleja’s Counselor In Training (Palo Alto), Camp Gan Israel of Silicon Valley, Hi-Five Silicon Valley, or Camp Edmo.

For those who love computers and tech, coding camps at NextGen Tech Learning (in San Ramon and Fremont), Coder School of Fremont, and MathGymUSA in Mountain View are a few of the Bay Area programs that specialize in helping the next generation become coders and makers. Startup Wonder offers teen programming, app design and business camps. For a hands-on experience, check out the variety at TechShop SF.

Math Enrichment is a math and writing program to help kids get a leg up on their next report card. From basic math skills to difficult geometry theorems, students learn and have fun with field trips. It’s also very affordable with their early registration discounts. Yes, teens reading this know that academics aren’t exactly the ideal summer vacation, but when you get into a good college – you can thank your mom AND your summer camp teachers. Debate, SAT and ACT Test Prep, and Startup camps are other ways that teens can use the summer to develop these academic areas.

Sports camps can keep teens active by focusing on the same sport or trying something new. Encore Lacrosse provides lacrosse fundamentals while GameBreaker Lacrosse has day and overnight options for ages 8-18. If soccer is your game, AYSO Soccer Camps and Challenger Soccer are good ways to keep active and learn from enthusiastic soccer coaches.

Stanford Baseball offers pitching, hitting and other advanced baseball camps. Ace’s Golf Club and Shoreline Golf are great ways to get teens on the links.

SF paddling and sailing teens

Teens enjoy the day on Lake Merced at SF State Community Youth Sailing & Paddling

Overnight camps offered by Camp Chrysalis will give all city kids a chance to experience the great outdoors. The nature adventures include canoeing, kayaking, and various team building activities in the wilderness.

You’ll find more overnight and day camps that take place on college campuses. These programs are a great way to spend a week at university, including Stanford and Berkeley. You’ll find iD TechCamp BizsmartAdidas Tennis, Revolution Softball and Revolution Field Hockey at several colleges this summer.

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2017 Bay Area Camp Fairs – visit ActivityHero and 100’s of local camps

Camp fairs are a great way to meet the people who run day and overnight camps.  The camp directors and staff are there to answer questions in person and you are likely to get a better sense of the camp personality by talking to them.  You can also bring the kids to see what catches their interest.

SF Bay Area Camp Fairs Co-Hosted by ActivityHero

Marine Science Institute

Sea creatures from Marine Science Institute

Palo Alto Camp Fair
(Providers: sign up for a table)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Addison Elementary School
650 Addison Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Oakland Camp Fair
(Providers: sign up for a table)
Sunday, April 30, 2017
8:30 am – 11:00 am
Sequoia Elementary School
3730 Lincoln Ave, Oakland, CA

More Bay Area camp fairs

Fremont Unified (FUSS) Summer Programs Fair
Friday, March 10
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
American High School, Fremont, CA
More info:

San Francisco Resource Fair
Saturday, March 11, 2017
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park

Marin Camp Fair
Saturday, March 11, 2017
10:00am – 1:00pm

Dominican University, Conlan Center gymnasium (1475 Grand Ave San Rafael, CA 94901)
More than 100 day & overnight camps catering to kids from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade will be showcasing their summer camp programs during the three-hour fair. Admission is free and there will be Disney princesses, professional face painters, bounce houses, prizes and pizza – all free for families coming to learn about the camps.
More info:

If you can’t make it to one of these fairs, check out ActivityHero for the latest summer camp schedules and reviews.


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Best Discounts at Bay Area Summer Camps

It’s a great year for summer camp deals. But, many of the best early bird deals expire February 28 or March 1, 2017. Now’s the time to lock in savings at these Bay Area camps.

Save $75 or more at these camps

Tech Shop, San Francisco
Sky Kids International Camp, San Francisco
Blue Bear School of Music, San Francisco
Marin Hobby & Gift, San Anselmo
Camp Chrysalis, Berkeley
Three O’Clock Rock, Oakland
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and School, Belmont
Kuk Sool Won Martial Arts, Menlo Park
Tap in Talents, Palo Alto
Wushu Central, San Jose
Math Enrichment Summer Program, Multiple South Bay Locations

Popular camps with deals that end soon

Avid4 Adventure, Multiple Locations
Camp Edmo, Multiple Locations
Bald Eagle Sports Camps, Multiple Locations
EFBA French Immersion Summer Camps, Multiple Locations

Camp that are filling up

Some Bay Area camps are already beginning to sell out. If you want a spot in any of these, register right away:

The Decathlon Sports Club, Los Altos
Art And Soul, Palo Alto
Crissy Field Center Summer Camp, San Francisco
Kid Stock, San Francisco & San Rafael
Wheel Kids, Multiple Locations

See the latest summer camp discounts on ActivityHero and get your summer camp coupon.

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School Holiday Camps – Fall & Winter 2016

This year, there are so many school breaks that we don’t even have a name for many of them. Your school might be out for 1-5 days in October, plus a whole week of Thanksgiving, and 2-3 weeks for Winter Break.

For Columbus Day (or Indigenous Peoples Day) or October Break, you’ll find camps for basketball, art, programming, martial arts and more!

In November, most schools are off for Veterans Day on November 11. More and more schools now have the full week of school off for Thanksgiving. You’ll find camps that offer 1-4 day sessions.

And to end the year, your child can try out some new activities, like jewelry making, flight simulators, table tennis, cooking, and more over Winter Break.

To easily keep track of when your school is off, you’ll find school calendars for most SF Bay Area schools on the ActivityHero blog.

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San Francisco Summer Camps on Sale

Summer+Camp+SaleSeveral top San Francisco summer camps are offering deep discounts — but only until they fill their last few spots, or until June 30, whichever comes first.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the deals — to see the whole list, visit the Last-Minute Summer Camp Sale.


Ballet Fantasy Camp

By Shan-Yee Poon Ballet…
Sessions start Jun
Ages 4 – 8
San Francisco, CA
From $350 /week 20% off until 6/30
See Schedule


Design and Build Summer Camp
Sessions start Jul
Ages 8 – 17
San Francisco, CA
From $649 /session 20% off until 6/30
See Schedule 


Nature’s Little Gems
By Art School of SF Bay
Jun 20-24
Ages 6 – 10
San Francisco, CA
From $250 /week 50% off until 6/20
See Schedule


Chocolatier Training Camp
Jun 27 – Jul 1
Ages 6 – 12
Berkeley, CA
From $425 /week up to 20% off until 6/30
See Schedule 


Robotics Camp
Sessions start Jun
Gr 2 – Gr 8
South San Francisco, CA
From $300 /week 50% off until 6/30
See Schedule 


Jewelry Making & Design + Yoga Camp
By Dragonfly Designs…
Sessions start Jun
Ages 5 – 16
South San Francisco, CA
From $425 /week 20% off until 6/30
See Schedule 


See All Camps on Sale

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Long Waitlists at Top Summer Camps

It’s May, and you think summer is still weeks away. But given today’s 80 degree weather, it’s time to get serious about finalizing summer camp plans or your kids will be on THE WAITLIST.


Photo courtesy of Kidizens

In case you’re wondering, these Bay Area camps are at least 90% full as of May 15:

Camps that are filling up very rapidly:

If the camp you want is already full, there’s no cost to be added to the waitlist when you shop on ActivityHero. Joining the waitlist is a good idea because there’s always a chance that the camp will add more sessions when they see how many potential campers they have.

But keep in mind that the camp might not ever be able to open up a spot for waitlisted children. And even if the camp does open a spot, you might not find out until 1 or 2 days before the camp starts.

Our best advice? Register as soon as possible to secure your spot, especially if the camp you want is a popular one. And if your favorite camp is waitlisted, add your name to the list — but start looking for back-up plans right away.

If you’re still feeling iffy about your plans, look for camps that have a cancellation policy that will let you switch weeks or change your mind with a small cancellation fee.

Find camps with their availability on ActivityHero right now >>

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Summer Camp Scholarships and Financial Aid 2016

Looking for scholarships to help make summer camp more affordable?  Without compromising quality, many San Francisco Bay Area camps offer partial and full camper scholarships, including the 12 popular programs listed here.  Be sure to apply soon, for some of these deadlines are coming up quick!

Find more camps offering financial aid on ActivityHero.


uCamps Summer Camp


uCamps is an overnight camp that offers scholarships to families in need, including partial scholarships, or setting up families up with a payment plan. Parents can contact uCamps to request a scholarship.

Destination Science

Destination Science offers financial need scholarships for children entering K – 6th grade.  Destination Science offers to pay a week of camp in full for families with an annual household income less than $40,000, and to reduce the tuition price to $170.00 per week for families with an annual household income less than $55,000.

Camper scholarship application submission begins February 2016, and ends May 27th, 2016. Learn more about Destination Science’s scholarship program.

iD Tech

Each year, iD Tech provides a number of students with full and partial scholarships to their summer programs. This year, iD Tech will be giving over 200 scholarships. Because of iD Tech’s commitment to bridging the gender gap in tech, 100 of these scholarships will be reserved for girls.

Scholarship application submission begins on January 5, 2016 and lasts to March 4, 2016. All applications must be submitted by 11:59pm PT on March 4, 2016. All decisions will be communicated via email by April 2016.

wheel kids

Wheel Kids Bicycle Club

Wheel Kids 

Limited reduced price registration are available for qualified applicants.  Apply here by listing your preferred week of attendance and specify Wheel Kids as the camp you’re interested in.

Digital Media Academy

Digital Media Academy is dedicated to making world-class digital media education more accessible. Applications are taken and evaluated on a first come, first served basis to qualifying individuals.

Applications for camper scholarships will be available starting February 15, 2016

Athena Camps

Athena Camps is proud to offer partial scholarships based on financial need. Scholarships are limited to available resources.

Community School of Music and Art (CSMA)

CSMA offers 50% tuition assistance based on family size and income, merit scholarships for students who show outstanding talent and commitment, and Program Subsidies for off-site preschool classes, weekly in-school art and music classes at local elementary schools, and other programs.

Camp Chrysallis

Camp Chrysallis offers camper scholarships on a first-come, first-serve basis, but also reserves the right to make admissions decisions on other bases, such as maintaining an even gender balance in the sessions. A deposit of $200 is due at the time of sign-up, and the tuition balance is due by April 1.


To ensure that ALL girls have the opportunity to participate in summer programs, GirlVentures offers financial aid to two-thirds of all participants. Full and partial scholarships are available. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

San Francisco Maritime

It is part of our San Francisco Maritime’s mission to be accessible to campers of all financial backgrounds. Applying for financial aid will neither increase nor decrease the chances of getting into a program. We encourage you to ask for assistance if you need it and pay what you can. Details about financial aid can be found here.

Marin GreenPlay Camp

During the Summer of 2016, GreenPlay will host 80 children from socio-economically disadvantaged and underserved communities in Marin County across all of our camp offerings and age groups.  To learn more go to Greenplay Foundation.

Camp Galileo

Every year, Camp Galileo awards hundreds of weeks of specially priced camp through their financial assistance program.

Financial aid applications can be submitted January 7, 2016 to March 31, 2016. Learn more about Camp Galileo’s financial aid program.

Final note:  Many camps accept donations to help fund their scholarship program.  Find more camps offering financial aid on ActivityHero.

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Awaken Kids’ Creative Forces with Star Wars Crafts

Your arts-and-crafts Jedi will love these clever tutorials, instructions, and project ideas we’ve gathered from across the galaxy … er, internet.

By Laura Quaglio

A short time ago in a living room not so far, far away, some very excited children – and, yes, more than a few adults — were breathlessly awaiting the upcoming release of the new Star Wars movie: The Force Awakens.

Let’s face it: Even if you’re not normally huge into Hollywood hype or movie premieres, it’s tough not to be more than a little excited about this latest addition to one of the favorite movie series of all time. While you’re waiting patiently (or not) to see the film, keep your young Jedi Knights, Princesses, and little Ewoks busy with these terrific themed craft projects that we found on the Web.


Visit Matters of Grey:

DIY Star Wars Snowflakes

Whether you’re in PA or CA, there’s no snow right now — so why not create a little of your own? We bring you the “largest collection of [Star Wars] designs and templates on the internet.” offers downloadable instructions for snipping out an impressive 33 Star Wars snowflake designs, including recent additions such as the BB-8 and Kylo Ren that were inspired by the new movie, The Force Awakens. Admittedly, they might be a tad tricky for tiny fingers. That’s why we’re also offering you the next kid-friendlier craft …


Visit Kids Activities Blog:

Star Wars Toilet Roll Characters

Who doesn’t love a good toilet-paper-roll art project?! It’s always a bonus when you can use items you have on hand to help kids craft clever creations like these. offers some easy instructions for creating Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and R2D2 using some acrylics, a glue gun, and those ever-available toilet paper cores! Bonus: After crafting these characters, your kids will have a great time acting out scenes with them, too.

Pool Noodle Lightsabers

Visit MuddyBoots:

Pool Noodle Lightsabers

On the Muddyboots blog, you’ll find complete instructions on how to transform colorful swimming pool noodles into soft, gentle light sabers! This project does require a little help from an adult — namely to slash the pool noodles in half at the project’s start. (You’ll get two sabers out of one noodle.) But older kids will love creating their own handle designs with duct tape and black electrical tape almost as much as they’ll love staging mock battles with them once they’re complete. Spoiler alert: This blog ALSO offers fantastic Star Wars party ideas, including a Death Star piñata and complete instructions for a masterfully executed Commander Fox cake.


Visit Origami Yoda:

Origami Yoda

Fans of Tom Angleberger’s bestselling Origami Yoda series will love checking out the complete instructions for folding their own Origami Yoda, Darth Paper, and other favorite characters. Complete instructions are available on Angleberger’s website, along with an invitation for origami “Superfolders” to submit their own Star Wars origami creations for all to see. Additional ideas and instructions are available in the Origami Yoda companion book, Art2D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling. Who knows? These projects just might awaken your child’s inner bookworm, too …


Visit U-Create:

Perler Bead Star Wars Patterns

Does your child have an abundance of both plastic Perler Beads … and a colorful imagination? has collected a handful of fun patterns to help just such children craft perfect Perler creations of C3PO, R2D2, Princess Leia, and even the Star Wars logo. Once your kiddo completes these classics, you can search Pinterest for additional Perler Bead Star Wars character ideas, or encourage your child to find some photo reference and craft their own original designs.

Find a Star Wars Themed Activity Near You!

Want to channel your child’s forces toward good, not evil? Enroll them in a Star Wars themed camp or activity! Search ActivityHero to find lots of options that aren’t light years away.


Start your search by checking out:

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