Seasoned parents know that coveted summer camp spots usually open up — and sometimes fill up — in January. But who among us hasn’t gotten too busy to stalk a summer camp and missed the deadline? And for newish parents, it can be quite an unpleasant surprise to realize you’ve missed the summer camp boat six months before summer even starts. Luckily, there are still plenty of options for procrastinators, newbies and those who just couldn’t get it together in time (#nojudgementhere). No matter what your plan is, though, be sure to sign up for one of these camps ASAP.
These two stellar gymnastics playgrounds in Silver Spring or Bowie are known for expertly guiding children through the ins and outs of balance beams, trampolines and climbing ropes. Kids don’t even realize how much exercise they’re getting, and parents love that these gyms almost always have space available in their well-run summer camps. Kids can either bring their lunch or sign up to receive a slice or two of pizza and a drink each day.
Price: $265 per week for half day and $330 for full day
Age range: 3.5-15
You’ve cooked enough meals for your children—perhaps it’s time for them to return the favor. This weeklong summer camp offers a few different options with an emphasis on teaching kids how to cook Italian and Spanish food, among other options. Located in the Ebenezer United Methodist Church on Capitol Hill, each day starts with a shopping trip to Eastern Market. A huge bonus for parents is that you won’t need to pack any food for the entire week.
Price: $365-$565, depending on the week and and whether you opt for whole day or half day
Age range: 3-8
This 45-year-old camp nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in West Virginia aims to nurture such skills as confidence, independence and self-discovery while kids choose among daily activities like horseback riding, arts and crafts, tubing or tennis. Of course, each day ends with a campfire by the lake, just as every sleepaway camp should. The length of stay is completely customizable, and kids can stay as long as seven weeks.
Price: $1,350 for one week; $2,600 for two weeks; $3,700 for three weeks
Age range: 7-16
Unlike many other camps that run for a week, this private school in DC’s Colonial Village neighborhood near Silver Spring holds two three-week camp sessions that are open to the public. Really little ones have a daily routine of outdoor play, storytime and swimming instruction, while older kids can customize their experience with classes like hip hop dance, beginning guitar, sports and fashion design.
Price: $890-$1,600 for three weeks, depending on age and if it’s a specialty camp
Age range: 2.75-15
Commonly referred to as CASA, this popular summer program in Cleveland Park/Van Ness caters to just about every creative and active pursuit your child could dream up. Soccer, swimming, robots, glee club, modern dance, cooking, clay art and acting — this place has it all. Some sessions are full, but Auxiliary Programs Director Nathalie Šviedrys encourages folks to get on the waiting list, so you’ve still got a chance.
Price: $828-$920 for a two-week session; $500 for one week
Age range: 3-14