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10 Outside-the-Box Summer Camp Ideas

posted: 05/16/16
by: Katie Morton
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  • Image Credit: iStock
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    Summer Camp Ideas

    Summer's lazy days will be here before we know it. For some of us, that means sending the kids to sleep-away camp to make memories they'll always treasure. If your child is bored with yet another summer floating around the rec pool, roasting marshmallows, and playing kick-the-can, then one of these out-of-this-world programs may spark your interest. And even if these camps aren't in the budget, borrow some of their ideas for keeping kids busy this summer or look for day camps near your home.

    Read on for phenomenal camps that you've never considered. Be warned: You may be tempted to enroll as a counselor-in-training, so you can go too!

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    Swim With the Fishes

    The once-in-a-lifetime experience offered by Fiji Shark Studies summer program allows students to observe sharks in their natural habitat. Your student will journey with others across the globe to learn onsite at Fiji's Shark Reef Marine Reserve. Budding marine biologists study shark biology and behavior, while assisting with research and conservation.

    Upon completion, students may earn community service hours and college credit. One disclaimer: All participants must be scuba certified.

  • Image Credit: iStock
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    Apple Camp

    If you've ever taken your Apple device for trouble-shooting at the Genius Bar, the good news is that you can send your own little genius to learn the tricks of the trade. For FREE!

    Apple offers a free, nationwide 3-day program to teach kids (ages 8-12) valuable tech skills--from shooting videos, to writing songs, to making digital films. At the end, campers show off their work at the Apple Camp Film Festival.

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    Blast Off

    Most kids are fascinated with the idea of space travel. If your child is an aspiring astronaut, make their dreams come true by sending them to Space Camp at the US Space & Rocket Center, in Huntsville, AL.

    Your child will learn about science, technology, and engineering through hands-on activities. The coolest part of all--your kids will train for their own simulated space missions, such as walking on the moon! Kids who finish the program can move up to Advanced Space Academy courses, which can help high-schoolers explore space careers.

    For an East Coast space camp option, the Kennedy Space Center offers weeklong sessions for campers (ages 7-14) in Orsino, FL. The Kennedy Space Camp teaches about the center and its various missions. The week culminates with your child taking their seat on a simulated space shuttle mission.

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    Circus Camp

    For every kid who has ever wanted to run away and join the circus, here's the chance! At Camp Winnarainbow in Berkeley, California, little performers ages 6-12 can learn trapeze, magic, and juggling. At the end of the camp session, campers show off their new skills by performing for their families and friends.

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    Boom, Boom, Pow!

    If your child is interested in science and engineering, then the Missouri University of Science and Technology has a bombastic camp for them. Drumroll please... introducing Summer Explosives Camp.

    This week long camp in the Missouri Ozarks shows kids the ins and outs of explosives engineering. Where else can a kid (safely) blow up rocks in a mine, melt steel beams, or set off a wall of fire--who says science is dry?

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    Music to Your Ears

    Remember learning to play that elementary school torture device, the recorder? Yeah, this is nothing like that. Back to Rock: Rock City Camp introduces budding Beethovens or Beyonces (ages 4+) to all types of music. There are several locations across the Mid-Atlantic--from Virginia to New York.

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    Stunt School

    Movie star stunts are the best part of any action movie. If your throat is hoarse from telling your kids to stop jumping on the couch, then Hollywood Stunt Camp in Running Springs, California, may channel that energy in a cool new direction.

    Your kids will learn how to (safely) fall, jump, sword fight, and tumble from heights. Later, they'll collaborate with other campers to showcase their new skills in camp-directed movie productions.

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    Day at the Museum

    If you're lucky enough to live close to DC, you know that their Smithsonian museums are a national gem. The Smithsonian offers half and full day camps at their museum of Natural History (ages 5+). Topics range from Dinosaurs to Printmaking.

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    Roller Coaster Camp

    For the thrill seeker, look no further than Thrill Coaster Tours in East Brunswick, New Jersey. The name says it all; your teen will travel around the country (or Canada!) hitting up the most scream-invoking coasters. We recommend you pack motion sickness meds in their backpack, just in case.

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    Summer Camp in China

    If cost is no object and your child has a passport, then global offerings provide amazing opportunities. 360 Student Travel takes students to China to spend three weeks learning and exploring as part of their Ancient Empires to Modern Wonders camp.

    Each day there's a variety of active and cultural learning--from biking to calligraphy to rock climbing. Highlighted local excursions include: The Forbidden City, The Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, Tiger/Bear Mountain Village, and interacting and caring for indigenous pandas.

    Did we mention interacting with pandas? Told you that you'd want to go!