Summer camps are a win-win proposition for both parents and their children. They’re a way to keep the kids entertained and motivated outside of school. And many camps, especially the overnight variety, put children in environments where they learn independence and self-confidence. But not all summer camps are created equal. How do you choose the ones that are going to fully engage your child, while offering the greatest bang for your buck? Here are our top picks for Alberta summer camps this year:
Summer camps at Telus World of Science–Edmonton are always a huge draw, as kids get acquainted with explore underwater creatures, reptiles, space, robots and much more. Full-day camps include gallery visits, an IMAX movie and one show in the inflatable planetarium. The programming at Calgary’s Telus Spark is just as engaging, with camps specializing in science, engineering and robotics.
What kid doesn’t like dinosaurs? Junior Science Camps at Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller are the ultimate experience for budding palaeontologists. Activities include tenting in the Alberta badlands and digging for real fossils. There are only two of these week-long camps so book early.
If extinct animals don’t quite excite your little ones, the Calgary Zoo’s summer camps are a good alternative to enrich your children’s knowledge of animals that live among us. These five-day programs cater to kids from kindergarten to grade nine. The younger ones partake in games, songs, stories, crafts and zoo walkabouts (with some close-up encounters), while the older kids learn about wildlife conservation and zoologically inclined career options.
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The ever-popular Lego-workshop franchise Bricks 4 Kidz offers summer camps at several Calgary locations for children from five to 12 years. There are 15 themes incorporating robotics, software and other scientific tools to inspire imagination and foster creativity. These camps also utilize proprietary kits following a curriculum designed to provide hands-on and minds-on learning, which can be a much more stimulating experience than simply playing with Lego sets at home.
SPORTS AND RECREATION CAMPS
Is the next Lionel Messi kicking around your backyard? Soccer-loving kids from five to 13 years are spoiled for choice with a number of weeklong programs offered by the Royal City Soccer Club. Camps are hosted at multiple locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Sherwood Park and St. Albert, with full-day, and morning- or afternoon-only options.
Sure, you can teach your child to ride a bike, but do you really want to experience those heart-stopping moments when she falls and scrapes her knee? Pedalheads bike camps have amazing instructors that teach techniques for riding safely and smoothly—skills that campers will remember for life. The programs, with eight instructional biking levels, are offered at multiple Edmonton and Calgary locations.
At Camp Maskepetoon by Pigeon Lake, campers get to experience the great outdoors in the prime summer months, with canoeing, archery, sports, campfires and more in a structured environment starting from morning call to when the lights go out. Camps run a little longer—from five to eight days—and are open to kids in grade three and up, so there will be opportunities to make great friends and potential for self-discovery.
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Did you know that the Edmonton Snow Valley Aerial Park offers summer day camps? For three hours, participants navigate up to three levels with more than 100 elements, which include a ski bridge, snowboard balance bridge, picnic table, bicycle and a few surprises. There is a dedicated kids route on the ground level—for those who don’t meet the height requirements for full tower access. The day-camp rate, effective from June 29, is a cost-efficient at $25 per person. The only catch is there’s a 15-camper minimum, so the experience may be more ideal for school bookings or birthday parties.
If you child has shown keen interest in the kitchen, then enroll him in a summer cooking camp with Atco Blue Flame Kitchen. Whether they’re learning to make breakfast, appetizers, breads or desserts—and dabbling in Italian, German, Mexican and Asian cuisines—campers gain confidence in the kitchen, meaning you’ll soon have a little helper at mealtimes. These full-day camps are offered in Calgary and Edmonton, and are open to children age nine to 12.
SAIT summer culinary camps are so delightfully delicious, you’d best reserve a spot immediately. Suited to kids in grade four and up, there are three levels of baking and cooking courses that teach kids everything from cooking fundamentals to more advanced techniques. By the time the week is over, you’ll hardly be able to keep them out of the kitchen!
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Even if you’re children won’t be attending summer camp this year, it’s easy to get in on the fun at kid-oriented attractions across the province. AMA members save 10% on admission to Telus World of Science–Edmonton, for example, and save 20% on admission to the Calgary Zoo. Visit AMARewards.ca to access even more deals at favourite museums and more in Alberta.