Chicago Area Summer Camps

A terrific resource is, a site that gathers Chicago area family-friendly events, activities and more into one easily searchable database. Here are a few camp suggestions from Jean Lemke and Nina Taluc, co-founders of kidwinks. There are many more camps to be found on their website through their on-line Summer Camp Guide.

Camp Invention

A week of daytime excitement, children attending Camp Invention are immersed in imaginative play that both reinforces and supplements school-year learning through inquiry-based activities in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), as well as history and the arts. Each day of the program week, children rotate through five integrated modules that require creative thinking to solve real-world challenges. Working together, children learn vital 21st century life skills such as problem solving and teamwork through hands-on activities disguised in fun.

Camp Invention is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation in partnership with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Where: Various Locations, Chicago and Suburbs, IL

When: Dates vary by location; most sites M-F, 9:00am - 3:30pm

Cost: $210 - $235 range

Ages: Children entering grades 1 through 6.

Rock Music Day Camp DayJams

DayJams is America's Original Rock Music Day Camp for beginners to experienced players. Every week at camp you will: Live Your Rock Star Dreams! Whether you're an absolute beginner or a more advanced player, DayJams offers you the opportunity to learn and improve your skills on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, vocals, or horn from professional musicians and teachers in a friendly and creative curriculum-based environment. You'll play in a band, write an original song, perform in a rock concert, record your performance live, and design a poster, t-shirt and CD cover for your band!

Where: Des Plaines and Winnetka

When: July 12 - 23. Camp Hours: Monday - Friday 9am-5pm

Cost: $610 per week; full

Ages: 8 - 15 years.

Summer Camp Emerald City Theatre Company

Emerald City Theatre School is proud to offer our critically acclaimed summer camps for children! Step into a world of creative play and fantastical journeys as campers use their imaginations to discover new characters, locations, and even write their own dialogue. Performance is held the last day of camp. This is one inspiring and fun summer you won't want to miss!

Camps focus on: Friendship, laughter, ensemble, acting, singing and dancing

Where: Chicago, IL

When: June 7 - Aug. 27

Cost: $225 for 1-week, half-day sessions; $750 for 2-week, full-day sessions 9am - 3pm

Ages: 3.5, 5-8 and 7-12 years

Chicago Bears Youth Football Camps

Non-contact football camps are led by professional educators with supplemental instruction from Chicago Bears heroes like Robin Earl, Allan Ellis, Kris Haines, Jim Morrissey and others. Through station based training, we teach kids to run, throw, catch, defend, form block, form tackle and exploded out of a stance with proper technique and improved speed.

Learn to play the Chicago Bears way!

Where: There are 30 camp locations throughout northern Illinois.

When: June 14 - July 30; see website for schedule

Cost: $385 for full-day (9am - 3pm), week-long camp

Ages: 6 - 14 years

Kinkoona Farm

'Kinkoona' is Australian Aboriginal for 'laughing'. That is what we love to hear. We are Australian and even call the sheep in with a traditional "Coo-wee". We home school and farm in a chemical-free way. We share the work. We try hard to be stewards of the earth. Our camps will encourage immersion into farm life and our goal is to heighten children's awareness of nature that is around them and to foster responsibility, caring for each other and creativity.

Where: Broadhead, WI

When: June 21 - August 25th. The camps will extend for 3 days each, on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday sequence at certain weeks throughout the summer.

Cost: $150 per child

Ages: The camps are open to elementary school-aged children. A mixture of ages is encouraged so that sharing will occur at a variety of levels. An ideal number of children per camp will be six.

The Hooked On Drums Summer Camp

This camp will give kids a fun, funky and challenging experience learning West African drumming on authentic instruments from the continent. They'll learn to play intricate, exciting, traditional drum music, and study and perform with a special guest Master Drummer from West Africa. You'll be amazed at how quickly your kids will grasp music that challenges most adults, thanks to Hooked On Drums' fascinating and involving teaching techniques.

Where: Hooked On Drums Studio in Kennicott Park, 4434 S. Lake Park Ave., Chicago

When: June 21 through July 30

Cost: $290, with scholarships, discounts and vouchers available

Ages: Grade School through High School

A New Dawn Cooking Camp

This summer kids can tie-on an apron and take over the kitchen at A NEW DAWN cooking school in Whole Foods Market-Northbrook! Campers will have gallons of fun while learning solid cooking fundamentals and healthy eating habits and leave with the skills and confidence to make delectable meals and snacks at home for family and friends.

Where: Whole Foods, Northbrook, IL

When: June 28 - August 6; check website for schedule

Cost: $250 - $325, depending on camp

Ages: 6 - 17 years

Language Stars Summer Camp

Join us for fun, games and learning all summer long in our day camp and summer classes! Children 3-10, in age appropriate groups, love our Kids Only indoor and outdoor activities, water games, relay races, arts & crafts, cooking projects and interactive snack time, all in the foreign language. Our unique FunImmersion® method ensures that children build key language skills in a full immersion context, and our dynamic teachers from around the world ensure an engaging, active learning experience!.

Choose from five language programs: Spanish, French, Italian, German, or Mandarin Chinese.

Where: Various suburban locations

When: Curriculum allows entry into the 10-week program at any time throughout the season; languages and schedules vary by location.

Cost: Varies based on length of day selected (85 minutes - 6 hours)

Ages: 3 to 10 years

Shedd Explorers - Shedd Aquarium

Become the next generation of natural world ambassadors. Join us as we dive into the world of aquatic animals. Explore stories of a changing climate and how animals, environments and even humans are changing. Journey with us to a local ecosystem to help make your positive mark on the environment and work with other tweens and teens to spread the word about the power of making a difference.

Also available are one-day programs and a Summer Worlds Tour Camp which includes activities at the Shedd, Adler Planetarium and Field Museum.

Where: Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL

When: Jun. 21- July 16; week-long, full-day (9am - 3pm) sessions; select camp based on camper's age

Cost: $295/person; $265 for Shedd members

Ages: 11 - 14 years

Summer Camps Notebaert Nature Museum

Fun-filled camps connect children to the wonders of nature through a unique combination of art, music, movement, hands-on science activities, and live animal encounters led by Nature Museum staff. Camps include family open houses the last Thursday evening of each session.

Where: Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, IL

When: June 21 - August 13; two-week, six hours/day camps; check website for schedule of open camps

Cost: $500 - $600, depending on camp and membership status

Ages: 5 - 10 years

Adler Planetarium Summer Camps

Several different camps are offered that teach children about astronauts, space and technology. Many camps are waitlisted, but some are still open.

Where: Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL

When: June 21 - August 6; see website for schedule

Cost: $125 - $285

Ages: 5 - 14 years

Naper Settlement Summer Day Camp

Attention adventurous, fun-loving kids! Get ready for exciting treasure-hunting experiences when you enroll in Camp Naper Summer Day Camp at Naper Settlement. Each fun and educational Summer Day Camp is a great value, close to home! In Treasure Hunters, hunt for hidden treasures from the past to the present using clues, maps, compasses, puzzles, secret codes and high-tech GPS devices. During T.H.E. Detectives - Treasure Hunters Extreme, solve intriguing mysteries and puzzles from the past as a summer sleuth in this action-packed camp. In the all-new Secret Seekers camp, unlock the secrets of Naperville with special access to hidden doors throughout the city. Explore behind-the-scenes places on the museum grounds and at off-site locations. Our newest adventure camp, a Civil War Encampment for grades 6-8, immerses campers in a fun and educational experience while participating in activities that transform history into reality as they live the life of a Civil War soldier. Summer will never be boring again!

Where: Naper Settlement, Naperville, IL

When: June 14 - August 6; week-long, full-day camps; check website for schedule

Cost: $190 per camper; discount of $20 for early registration by April 30th

Ages: Grades 3 - 6

ABOUT KIDWINKS.COM is a boutique website that caters to today's generation of parents who are time-crunched, socially conscious and internet reliant. Kidwinks provides one-stop access to information about kid-friendly events, activities, restaurants, shops and services in the Chicago area. There is no charge to use kidwinks and membership is also free. Members enjoy additional benefits including email reminders and the ability to sort search results by mileage from their home. Developed by two Park Ridge, IL moms, kidwinks has grown to thousands of members. For more information, please visit

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