RVA summer day camps round-up 2016

It’s summer camp time again. Sorry, we should be more clear: it’s summer camp registration time again! These here are your local options.

Photo by: Peter Blanchard

Update #1 — April 11, 2016; 12:35 PM

We’ve had some updates and some additions. Since our initial posting more than a month ago, some camps have opened registration. Take a look through and get your kid signed up! Or, if you are a kid, get your parents to sign you up! Or, if you’re neither a kid nor a parent, just wish that you were of the appropriate age to do these camps, because dang, do they look fun.

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Original — February 29, 2016

Judging by this weekend’s weather, spring is just around the corner…which means we’re all going to blink and then summer–the time of year that’s perhaps most stressful for parents–will be upon us.

Fear not, moms and dads. The Richmond-area offers a plethora of quality summer day camp options for your little poppets.

Some of these organizations have already started signups, while others will do so in the next few weeks, so be sure to visit each camp’s website for the most up-to-date scheduling, registration, and pricing information.


Brilliant Summer Day Camp at St. Catherine’s

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.

Camp Blue Sky

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).

Camp Ganim

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.

Camp Hilbert

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

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.

Center for Creative Arts

Choose from sessions focusing on ballet, art, musical theater, chess, and robotics–all taught by professionals or seasoned coaches and mentors.

Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Summer Camps

Chesterfield County offers a variety of camp options for kids, including sailing, archery, stand up paddle boarding, arts and crafts, horseback riding, and more.

Collegiate School Summer Quest

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 bajillion other things, too.

Hanover County Parks and Recreation Summer Camps

Hanover Parks and Rec has some great camps lined up for school-age kids this summer including Mega Middle with activities designed just for those hard-to-please middle schoolers; Discover Camp for kids ages 7 to 12 looking for an art-centric experience; and Summer Sneakers for those looking for traditional day camp activities. Registration begins in early April, so be sure to check back in with the website in the next few weeks for more details and sign-up info.

Henrico County Parks and Recreation Summer Camps

Choose from day camps focused on sports, arts, nature appreciation, history, and more. More info–and registration details–will be posted on the site mid-April.

Mary and Frances Youth Center

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. Registration opens March 16th.

Richmond Parks, Recreation, & Community Facilities Summer Programs

Go for one of Richmond Parks & Rec’s specialty camps for dance, drama, and sports, or opt for a multi-activity experience like the Great Summer Escape Day Camp for ages 6 to 11, or Generation Z for ages 12 to 14.

Richmond Waldorf School

This program is open to all (not just RWS students) and promises nature-based, homespun activities that will excite your child’s imagination and immerse them in creative explorations in baking, gardening, music, crafting, and water-play.

Romp n’ Roll at CMoR

Romp ‘n’ Roll’s West End, Midlothian, and Mechanicsville locations will host week-long summer camp programs for kids ages 2 to 5 (no potty training required). Each week-long session will feature music, movement, art, sports, and science activities, all focused on a special theme. Morning and afternoon options available!

Summer Experience at St. Christopher’s

Held on St. Christopher’s campus in the Near West End, Summer Experience is a coed day camp offering swimming, tennis, basketball, soccer, archery, bowling, music, computer, arts and crafts, and more.

YMCA Day Camps

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, generalist camp experience for your kids.)

Visual Arts & Writing

All Fired Up

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 Visual Arts Studio

ArtHaus Studio offers loads of summer courses, some for kids and some for teens (and adults). Class descriptions and registration info is coming soon, so keep an eye on the website.

Art Works

Kids ages 6 to 13 enjoy morning art classes in ceramics and painting–class info coming soon!

Creative Arts Day Camp at VCU

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. The theme for Summer 2016 is “RevolutionARTists!”

Richmond Young Writers Summer Sessions

Richmond Young Writers Summer Sessions include courses on fairy tales, comics and graphic novels, screenwriting, and so much more. Course offerings are divided into ages 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15 to 17.

Spirited Art

Spirited Art gives artists ages 5 to 12 the opportunity to create brand new paintings each day as they learn about technique and art history. Class details coming soon!

Visual Arts Center of Richmond

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” and “Summer in the Studio” 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 sessions are available throughout the summer, and courses offerings include drawing, painting, sculpture, illustrating, digital art, photography, and more.

Music & Performing Arts

ComedySportz Kidz Camp

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. 2016 registration is open

Greater Richmond School of Music

Summer Camps for Rising 1-12 Graders at their Mechanicsville location (Atlee area near 295/301): Piano Adventure Camp, Uke ‘n’ Roll, Guitar Fundamentals, Guitar Pro, Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced Band, Intro to Violin, Elementary Strings Ensemble, and Summer String Thing.

Latin Ballet of Virginia

Kids can choose from two-week 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. Camps will be offered at the following locations: St. Catherine’s School, Dominion Arts Center, and Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.

Magical Movements Summer Workshop Series

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. 2016 camp details coming soon!

Next Star Performing Arts Center Film Camp

This four-week day camp will let kids ages 6 to 15 explore all aspects of filmmaking as they create their own comedy movie: story development, script writing, casting, filming, editing, and more.

Minds in Motion

Minds in Motion has been working with Richmond City fourth graders for over 20 years–and now they’re offering a summer camp option to all rising fifth and sixth graders. Each 10-day session runs Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and will be filled with Minds In Motion dance and performance training, creative movement, choreography tools, and music, in addition to a mix of theatre and music-related arts and crafts. On the last day, campers will perform for family and friends in the VCU Dance Center’s Studio Theater or Richmond Ballet’s Studio Theater. Minds in Motion is offering two sessions: one in July at VCU Dance Center and the other in August at Richmond Ballet.

Orchestra Project: String Odyssey

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.

School of Rock

School of Rock out in Short Pump will offer three five-day summer camps, including Led Zepplin Camp, Vocal Diva Camp, Rock 101 Camp, and Songwriting Camp. All sessions promise lots of chances for students to jam together.

Summer Shakespeare Camp

Quill Theatre will offer three, week-long camps this summer: The BARDway, an exploration of scenes, music, and stage combat for 8th through 12th graders; Shakespeare Superheroes, where 5th through 8th graders will meet some of Shakespeare’s most beloved–and notorious–characters; and Royals & Knights, a camp for 10- through 17-year-olds looking to learn more about the art of acting and improvisation before taking the stage at the end of the week to perform The Triumph of Trevor Truelove.


With summer course offerings for preschoolers up through age 18, SPARC is sure to have something to keep your little theatre kid 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.

Swift Creek Mill Summer Theatre Camps

Exploratory Camp (ages 8 through 15) includes music, acting, and movement classes. Performance Camp (ages 10 through 15) serves as a two-week master class in acting, singing, and dancing. Both camps close out with a final performance!

Virginia Repertory Theatre Summer Camps

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); Musical Theatre Skills Intensive (rising 3rd to 8th graders); Young Performers Institute (rising 7th to 10th graders); Summer Showtime! Day Camp (rising 3rd to 10th graders); and Virginia Rep in Hanover (rising 1st to 8th graders) in partnership with First Baptist Church in Ashland.

Sports & Fitness


The ACAC offers an all-day camp with dozens of activities for rising kindergarteners through 8th grade, as well as more advanced sports camps and academies.

Camp AmFam

American Family Fitness’s locations around Richmond will host sessions focused on basketball, racquetball, soccer, and more. Summer 2016 info coming soon!

Camp Tuckahoe

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 Kids Academy

CORE offers programs for children from preschool age (no potty training required) all the way up to teens! Campers are split into small groups based on age and/or ability, so children get lots of time to spend with peers and receive individual instruction.

Flying Squirrels Baseball Camp

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.

Greater Richmond Sailing Association 2016 Summer Sail Camps

US Sailing certified instructors will hold week-long sailing camps for kids ages 8 to 17 on the Swift Creek Reservoir. Camps are available for all skill levels, but all campers will need to complete a swim test of approximately 150 feet before climbing aboard!

Master Cho’s Martial Arts Camp

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. 2016 camp info coming soon!

Midlothian Athletic Club All Sports Summer Camp

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. All campers receive one hour of golf instruction from the First Tee.

Richmond Spiders Sports Camps

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.

SCOR Indoor Camps for Kids

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 13 can also take part in All Sports Camp where they’ll get to try soccer, dodgeball, wiffleball, kickball, flag football, basketball, and much more.

Washington Redskins Kids Camps 2016

Non-contact flag football instruction for boys and girls ages 6 to 13 years old.

Outdoors & Nature

Green Adventure Summer Camps

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. Camps are divided up by age and include offerings like Growing Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Bricks and Sticks, Wild About Bugs, and more.

Henricus Historical Park Day Camps

Henricus Historical Park will offer two day camps this summer: Camp Pocohontas (two sessions available), in which campers ages 6 to 10 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 the occasional animal encounter.

Passages by Peak Experiences

Outdoor skills and all sorts of cool activities for the adventurous kid aged five to 17, with a very small camper-to-counselor ratio. Both day camps and overnight camps available.

Passages by Peak Experiences

This 23-year-old camp offered by Peak Experiences gives kids a chance to foster lifelong outdoor skills through rock climbing, kayaking, rappelling, zip lining, mountain biking, trail running, and stand-up paddleboarding. Snacks, lunch, and necessary gear are all provided.

Riverside Outfitters

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. New this year is Paddleboard Camp where your kids will get a full week of instruction with RO’s expert instructors.

Rockwood Nature Center

Wilderness survival, archery instruction, and all kinds of critter-centric day camps for kids of all ages.

Virginia Fishing Adventures Camp

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.

Special Interests

Bricks 4 Kidz

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.

Camp Can-I-Cook

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.

Commonwealth Computer Training: Keyboard for Teens

Texting is one thing, but typing is another. This Monday through Thursday camp allows rising 8th graders through rising high school seniors to improve their typing speed and accuracy. Topics include the five key phrases, finger placement, capitalization, punctuation, plus speed and accuracy drills. Hands-on training includes take-home manual and take-home practice software. Morning and afternoon sessions are available and spots are limited!

Camp C.H.E.F.

Edible Education’s Camp C.H.E.F. incorporates culinary arts, healthy resources, exercise, and farming into a week of fun, friends and food. Children with food allergies and/or speciality diets are WELCOME!

CodeVA: Eureka Workshop

CodeVA’s super popular week-long sessions for kids of all ages combine artistic activities and computational thinking to create “a fun and exciting portal to the growing field of Computer Science.” Registration for summer 2016 isn’t open yet, but the promised offerings include Minecraft, robot-making, e-textiles, stop motion animation, and more.

Colonial Kids Camp

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!

Film Production Project at Dominion Arts Center

Kids ages 12 to 18 will learn the ins and outs of visual storytelling as they–with the guidance of professional actors and flimmakers–write, film, and act in an original film. No prior experience necessary!

Lego Robotics Camp at Benedictine College Preparatory

Imagine it, build it, and make it go! At Robotics Camp, campers will use Lego Mindstorms EV3 to learn the fundamentals of building and programming a wide variety of robots.This is a unique camp that challenges students to think creatively while exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles through design and programming. It teaches students to lead as well as work together to overcome challenging obstacles. Activities may include tug-of-war, where gears come in to play, or even an obstacle course that challenges their programming abilities.

Mad Science Camp

Mad Science Central Virginia is heading out to locations all over Henrico, Chesterfield, and Richmond for the summer to offer a variety of sure-to-be wacky and fun classes. Before and after camp care is also available for an additional fee.

SPCA Critter Camp

With camps 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.

2016 STEM Summer Youth Camps

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.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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