Richmond’s summer day camp offerings in one spot–right where we frazzled parents can find them.
Yes, I know the memories of snow covering the ground are still fresh in your minds, but summer is, in fact, just around the corner, my fellow parents.
No need to hyperventilate. I know it feels like a daunting task. Our school-age kids are normally occupied for at least six hours a day the rest of the year, and now it’s up to us to figure out how to fill that time–preferably with activities that entertain them and, hopefully, give them some fulfilling experiences on which they can look back wistfully once school starts again.
Lucky for us, the Richmond area has a plethora of day camp options, both of the standard, multi-activity variety and those geared towards developing specific skills, hobbies, and interests. Check out our round-up below. And remember: many of these programs have already started the registration process, so no dilly-dallying!
(Be sure to visit each camp’s website for the most up-to-date scheduling, registration, and pricing information.)
This co-ed camp for kids ages 3 1/2 through rising 10th grade features courses in physical education, outdoor adventures, science, creative writing, foreign languages, and more. Specialty day camps in theater, dance, biking, and fishing are also offered.
Rainbow Station hosts this traditional day camp program for kids ages 4 to 13 where campers are divided into four groups based on age: Pee Wee (ages 4 and 5/rising kindergarteners); Junior (ages 5 and 6); Middle (ages 7 to 9); and Senior (ages 10 to 13).
This day camp for preschoolers, run by the Weinstein JCC, has been around for more than 30 years and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Campers ages 2 to 5 will enjoy water play (toilet-trained children also get daily swimming instruction), outdoor play, arts and crafts, puppet shows, and special performances from guest artists and musicians.
Also run by the Weinstein JCC, Camp Hilbert offers kindergarteners through 10th graders a traditional camp experience in a peaceful, 110-acre, rustic setting. Campers can take part in canoeing, archery, swimming, pottery, and eight different sports. Each of the four sessions (each lasting two weeks) also offers field trips, overnight stays, and visits from special performers.
Camp Hanover offers faith-based, week-long day camps for elementary school age children at 12 locations. throughout the greater Richmond area–a great option for younger kids who aren’t quite old enough for the Camp Hanover sleep-away experience.
Choose from sessions focusing on ballet, art, musical theater, chess, and robotics–all taught by professionals or seasoned coaches and mentors.
Chesterfield County offers a variety of camp options for kids, including sailing, archery, stand up paddle boarding, arts and crafts, horseback riding, and more.
Summer Quest boasts over 100 programs for preschoolers and up. Course offerings include academic enrichment classes, karate, fishing, mountain biking, foreign languages, engineering, dance, art, pretty much every sport you can thinking of, and about a bagillion other things, too.
Hanover Parks and Rec has five great camps lined up for school age kids this summer: Creative Campus, perfect for kids with a love for performing arts; Mega Middle with activities designed just for those hard-to-please middle schoolers; Secret Agent Camp for kids jonesing to channel their inner private eyes; Summer Sneakers for those looking for traditional day camp activities; and Time Traveller Camp where kids will explore the ins and out of decades past (and those to come).
Choose from day camps focused on sports, arts, nature appreciation, history, and even Lego®!
This youth center affiliated with VCU offers two summer programs: “Lobs & Lessons”, focused on healthy lifestyle activities, and “Discovery”, a fun, challenging, and creative program offering a variety of in-depth experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts, and health science.
Go for one of Richmond Parks and Rec’s specialty camps, such as dance, drama, sports, and Lego®, or opt for a multi-activity experience like Fantasy Island, a day camp for ages 6 to 11, or Generation Z for ages 12 to 14.
This program is open to all (not just RWS students) and promises your kids fun, carefree summer days consisting of getting dirty, gardening, singing, and enjoying plenty of free play.
Romp ‘n’ Roll will set up shop at all three Children’s Museum of Richmond locations for its award-winning summer camp program for kids ages 2 to 6 (no potty training required). Each week-long session will feature music, movement, art, sports, and science activities, all focused on a special theme. Theme examples include Firefighters to the Rescue, Rompin’ Robots, The Days of the Dinosaurs, Knights, Princesses & Dragons, and Beach Party.
Held on St. Christopher’s campus in the Near West End, Summer Experience is a co-ed day camp offering swimming, tennis, basketball, soccer, archery, bowling, music, computer, arts and crafts, and more.
Choose from 17 branch locations in the Richmond area for summer childcare and day camp options. Programs vary greatly at each location, so visit the website to see what summertime fun your local branch has to offer. (And be sure to check out Camp Thunderbird if you’re looking for a traditional camp experience for your kids.)
Visual Arts & Writing
Week-long, themed day camps give kids the chance to explore clay, ceramics, glass fusing, drawing, wheel throwing, tie-dye, and painting. Teen editions and all-day camps are also available for some sessions.
ArtHaus Studio offers 17 summer courses, some for kids and some for teens (and adults), focused on a variety of topics like Picasso, 20th and 21st century Americana, color theory, collage work, and more.
Kids ages 6 to 12 enjoy morning art classes in ceramic and painting.
Held by The Department of Art Education at VCUarts, this day camp for kids in grade K through 9 will provide campers with experience in a variety of media, including sculpture, digital media, printmaking, painting, drawing, bookmaking, fibers, and more. Classes are held on the VCU campus and are taught by undergraduate and graduate art education students.
Summer Blast at EICC offers writing classes in the morning and art instruction in the afternoon. Six, week-long sessions are available; art projects are based on that week’s writing theme.
Richmond Young Writers Summer Sessions include courses on short fiction, blogging, brainstorming, character creation, screen writing, and tons more.
Spirited Art offers three different levels of camp: Matisse (four 2-hour sessions for ages 5 to 7); Van Gogh (three 3 1/2-hour sessions for ages 7 to 12); and O’Keeffe (three 3 1/2-hour sessions for ages 7-12). Campers will create brand new paintings each day as they learn about technique and art history.
ArtVenture at the Visual Arts Center hosts week-long workshops giving your young artist the chance to try his/her hand at everything from ceramics to cartooning, from writing to painting, from photography to metalsmithing–seriously, the course offerings are incredible.
Summer Art Adventure at VMFA features sessions tailored to specific age groups that provide access to high-quality materials and a world-renowned art program. Morning and afternoon and sessions are available throughout the summer, and courses offerings include drawing, painting, sculpture, illustrating, digital art, photography, and more.
Music & Performing Arts
ComedySportz Improv Camp for Kids is a half-day camp for your child to get wacky, meet some new friends, and grow in confidence. Each week the kids meet with a certified ComedySportz Intructor who teaches them the basics of improvisation. Campers will close out their session with a Friday night performance to show off their new skillz.
Henley Street Theatre and Richmond Shakespeare team up to help your kids discover the world of Shakespeare through a three-week intensive class taught by theater professionals. The camp will culminate in a special one-hour performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed entirely by the campers.
Choose between two locations–the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen or Richmond Center Stage–for your child to take part in a two-week camp with the Latin Ballet of Virginia. Classes focus on topics such as drums and percussion, arts and crafts, dance history, storytelling, dance-theater, Latin ballet, Spanish language through dance, Hip Hop, and Latin and Spanish dances.
Magical Movers (for ages 3 to 6) and Summer Arts (for ages 5-10) give kids the chance to explore the worlds of dance and music (and more!) through activities based on a new theme each week.
This program welcomes students who have been playing their instruments for a minimum of two years and are ready to advance their skills by working with professional musicians. Students do not have to audition to register for String Odyssey, but there will be placement auditions on the first day of camp.
Prestige Dance Studio offers morning classes for kids ages 3 to 5 and ages 6 to 9 where they’ll learn ballet basics, creative movement, try out some tap and jazz, and have fun with music, crafts, and dance stories.
School of Rock out in Short Pump will offer five camps for your young rockers this summer: History of Punk; Led Zepplin; The Beatles Camp; Rock 101; Build Your Own Guitar/Bass Camp. All sessions promise lots of chances for students to jam together.
With summer course offerings for preschoolers up through age 18, SPARC is sure to have something to keep your little drama nerd happy. Each session concludes with a final performances from the campers so they can strut their stuff and show how well they’ve learned to work together.
Week-long offerings include performing arts camp, musical theatre camp, dance camp, music camp, and guitar camp.
Choose between the Exploratory Theatre Camp (for ages 8 through 15) or Performance Camp (ages 10 through 15). Exploratory Campers will finish their week-long sessions by taking part in a variety show. Performance Campers will close out this two week-long master class in dancing, singing, and acting with an evening performance of a yet-to-be-announced (but sure-to-be-exciting) production.
Virginia Rep’s day camps provide an exciting and comprehensive understanding of professional theatre performance and production for students from preschool through 10th grade. Options include Dramatic Adventures Half-Day Camp (ages 3 to 5); Stage Explorers (rising 1st to 6th graders); Young Performers Institute (rising 7th to 10th graders); and Summer Showtime! Day Camp (rising 3rd to 10th graders).
Sports & Fitness
American Family Fitness’s locations around Richmond will host three-day sessions focused on basketball, racquetball, and soccer. Camp offerings vary a bit around town, so be sure to check with your branch for specifics.
Rising 1st graders through 5th graders can take part in week-long, themed camps focused on interactive baseball and softball, fun games, and relays.
CORE’s preschool camp (ages 2 to 4) is a weekly themed camp where campers will play interactive games, learn and practice gymnastics, and make crafts. School-Age Camp (ages 5 and up) is focused on creating a solid gymnastics foundation or building on existing skills–but no prior gymnastics experience is necessary!
Choose between FUNNdamentals Camp for ages 4 to 8 and Baseball Camp for ages 7 to 14. Both camps are open to boys and girls, and all campers will get instruction from Squirrels coaches and players.
Immerse your kids into the world of Tae Kwon Do with all-day camps at Master Cho’s. In addition to Tae Kwon Do classes, campers will also enjoy multiple field trips each week.
MAC’s All Sports Summer Camp aims to keep its campers (kids ages 4 to 13) active and engaged through team sports and team building activities. Campers are also given time each day to explore science, do arts and crafts, or take part in creative thinking activities.
University of Richmond camps and clinics are open to any and all interested participants (in accordance with NCAA rules). Camp options are: baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer (girls only), swimming, diving, tennis, and track & field.
Campers will play on the same floor as the VCU Rams as they work with the coaching staff on the fundamentals of shooting, passing, dribbling, rebounding, and defense. The camp is offered in three sessions, with session one open to rising 3rd through 12th graders, and sessions two and three open to rising 3rd through 7th graders.
Kids ages 3 to 9 can take part in Lil’ Kickers, a camp composed of three-hour, high energy classes focused on the fundamental of soccer, while Soccer Skills Camp helps kids ages 8 to 16 work on their technical skills. Kids ages 5 to 12 can also take part in All Sports Camp where they’ll get to try soccer, dodgeball, wiffleball, kickball, flag football, basketball, tug-o-war, relay races and much more.
During week-long “retreats”, campers will learn how to live yoga through the philosophy of yoga, eat amazingly healthy food, create art projects, perform in a play, take a trip to Yogaville, do daily hatha yoga-meditation-journaling, and much more.
Kids ages 6 to 13 will receive non-contact football instruction. Choose from a variety of locations around town, including Poor Farm Park, Patrick Henry YMCA, Midlothian YMCA, and the Steward School.
Outdoors & Nature
These week-long, themed summer day camps allow campers to explore the grounds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to find out about the plant kingdom and their connection to it. Weekly themes include Garden Critters, Forest Fairies and Summer Sprites, Camp Cuisine, Care of Magical Creatures, and more.
Henricus Historical Park will offer two day camps this summer: Camp Pocohontas (two session available) in which campers will explore the environment and the life of Pocahontas and the Powhatan people through activities and arts and crafts; and James River Camp in which they will discover the environmental features of the historic James River as 17th century Virginia Indians and the Colonial English would have encountered it.
Maymont’s Children’s Farm and Nature Center serve as the setting for a variety of themed day camps for ages 3 through rising 6th graders as they explore the grounds, learn about plants and animals native to Virginia, and even have to occasional animal encounter.
Riverside Outfitters offers three camps for kids itching to get outside, climb trees, and soak up all that nature has to offer. They’ve got Sapling Camp for ages 6 to 9; O.A.K. for ages 9 to 12; and Old Growth Camp for ages 12 to 15, with activities and challenges getting tougher and more technical as they go.
Wilderness survival, archery instruction, and all kinds of critter-centric day camps for kids of all ages.
Day camp for ages 6 to 8 focuses on the basics of freshwater fishing in local ponds and rivers. Camp for ages 9 to 14 teaches the entire process of fishing from rigging rods, tying knots, baiting hooks, to driving boats with trolling motors. Both camps meet at Forest Hill Park.
Bricks 4 Kidz offers tons of classes all over the Richmond area all year long, but they’ve really beefed up their schedule for the summer. Pick the theme that best suits your LEGO® lover’s fancy (and the date and location that best suits your schedule) and go nuts.
Whether you’ve got a KinderCook (ages 3 to 6), a Jr. Chef (ages 6 to 12), or a Sr. Chef (ages 11 to 16) on your hands, Young Chefs Academy has plenty to keep him or her busy in the kitchen throughout the summer.
Edible Education’s Camp C.H.E.F. incorporates culinary arts, healthy resources, exercise, and farming into a week of fun, friends and food. During breaks from working in the garden and preparing good, campers also get time to exercise and work on crafts.
Minecraft! LEGO®! Robots! Ciphers! Parents of future engineers, mathematicians, scientists, or overall smarty-pants, this is the camp you’re looking for.
Explore Colonial Virginia with this week-long day camp at Wilton House. Campers will learn to churn butter, decorate a floor cloth, design their own colonial chambers, create watercolor paintings, make their own wigs, and play like they’re living in the 18th century!
Glen Allen Learning Center will host a series of Engineering for Kids Camps, including Engineering of Pirates; Engineering of Medieval Times; Electronic Game Design; LEGO® Robotics; and more.
(I know, who knew, right?) At this FREE Summer Camp Challenge, campers will experience fun and games as they use reasoning to solve puzzles, crack clues, and answer riddles about resources, innovation, entrepreneurship and prices. Camps are scheduled according to age groups: kindergarten through 2nd grade; 3rd through 5th grade; and 6th through 8th grade.
Mad Science Central Virginia is heading out to six locations in Henrico, Chesterfield, and Richmond for the summer. Choose from eight different classes, each surely to be whacky and super fun.
With a variety of camps available catering to a variety of ages (as young as rising 1st graders), the SPCA’s summer camp offerings are sure to have something to keep your young animal lover happy.
Kids ages 8 to 12 can create their own apps, learn coding basics, create 3D video games, and geek out (I mean that in the most lovingly way possible) over Minecraft. All sessions take place at the J. Sergeant Reynolds Parham Campus.
GSES offers a wide array of competitively-priced summer camps, including Performing Arts, Digital Photography, Art, Filmmaking, Baking, Cooking, Minecraft, Lego, Tennis, Basketball, and much more. Camp providers include Bricks4Kidz, Little Scholars, Mad Science, and Virginia Rep. Morning, afternoon and full-day schedules are available.
Know a camp that should be added to this list? Send us the info at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by: Jinx!