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 Edmonton’s TELUS World of Science are always a huge draw, as kids get acquainted with underwater creatures, dinosaurs, space, robots, stop-motion animation and much more. Full-day camps include gallery visits, an IMAX movie, and a science demonstration. The programming at Calgary’s Telus Spark is just as engaging, with camps specializing in space, engineering and robotics.
The University of Alberta also offers a range of engineering, computer, astronaut, Minecraft, nature, filmmaking, and sports camps for students from grades one to 11, with several all-girls options.
If your children are more interested in animals, check out the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo‘s five-day programs for 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. Edmonton’s Valley Zoo also hosts day camps with animals and wildlife.
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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 Alphonso Davies kicking around your backyard? Soccer-loving kids from five to 13 years are spoiled for choice with a number of week-long 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.
Want to train with an Olympic champion? The Edmonton Fencing Club is offering half-day and full-day camps with gold medalist Jujie Luan. Over the course of five days, students will learn the basics of fencing, including footwork and blade work, and take part in a tournament. High-performance camps, for those with two years of competitive experience, are also available.
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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Giddy up! Learn all about horses during week-long camps for girls at Wildhorse Ranch & Outfitters. From grooming to safety, aspiring equestrians will learn the fundamentals of horsemanship as well as ride in the fields and forests near Rocky Mountain House.
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! NAIT also offers opportunities for junior chefs and bakers. (Both institutions host programs in recreation, digital media and other subjects, too!)
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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.