CHICAGO — Like many parents, perhaps you had high hopes for activities with your kids this summer. Beach trips, nature hikes, myriad afternoons whiled away in the picture book section of the local library.
But now you realize you’ve already blown through all your summer activity ideas and still have over a month left until school and day care starts again. The kids are climbing the walls, screen time is rising and many of the city’s park district day camps filled up immediately.
Fortunately, Chicago is filled with last-minute options for procrastinating parents with a little cash left in the summer budget. Here’s a list of several day camps filled with activities to help your kids — and you — get through these dog days to the halcyon times of fall.
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Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
The longtime nonprofit that focuses on creativity and innovation in film still has a few camps left available for your budding little Hitchcock or Meryl Streep. Kids from 8 to 17 Film learn the basics of editing, acting, digital animation. Your teen or tween can even learn how to start their own YouTube channel.
Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave.
The South Side center is offering week-long Creativity Camps in unique disciplines for kids 4 and up. Your youngster will be able to tap into their creative side with mixed media offerings, as well as special topics like stop motion animation, sketchbook drawing and ceramics.
Camp Galileo, multiple locations.
This camp is for rising kindergarteners through 10th graders, with a focus on innovation. Campers work on a variety of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and music) projects, combined with outdoor fun.
West Loop, Galileo Scholastic Academy, 820 S. Carpenter St.
Wicker Park, A.N. Pritzker School, 2009 W. Schiller St.
Lincoln Park, Newberry Math and Science Academy, 700 W. Willow St.
Lincoln Square, Waters Elementary School, 4540 N. Campbell Ave.
Ultimate Ninjas at Bradley Place, 2500 W. Bradley Place.
The gym hosts different-themed weekly camps for kids 5 and up, in full-day and half-day options. Like a much pared-down “American Ninja Warrior,” Ultimate Ninjas offers obstacle-course training and competitions, including wall-climbing, to help burn off your kids’ frantic summer energy.
Hoping that your child will become a budding musician? It’s not too late to sign them up for a music camp at Chicago Center for Music Education (1148 West Chicago Avenue). This West Town music education center has July and August classes open for 4 to 12 year olds in everything from beginning instruments to radio to ukulele.
South Side YMCA, 6330 S. Stony Island Ave.
A wide variety of day camps are available for kids 5 through 13, including art, robotics, Lego and tons of sports (football, basketball, tennis), as well as a “Wet & Wild” camp and a more traditional camp adventure. The Y boasts that many of their counselors attended Y camp themselves as kids.
Lill Street Art Center, 4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
The Ravenswood creative art workspace offers classes in a variety of art disciplines. Lill Street’s “KIdstreet” section extends those opportunities to kids in day camp for the summer — like painting, drawing, pottery, chess, creating graphic novels — including after-care for ages 6 to 16.
Steve and Kate’s Camp, various locations, available through Aug. 11.
The national chain offers summer day camps for kids aged 4–12 in Little Italy, Lincoln Park, North Center and Lakeview. Best of all, Steve and Kate’s is completely flexible, perfect for last-minute childcare needs: You can buy a certain number of camp days and then just drop the kids off by the day. Any unused sessions will get refunded at the end of the summer.
Lakeview, Audubon Elementary, 3500 N. Hoyne Ave.
Lincoln Park, LaSalle Language Academy, 1734 N. Orleans St.
North Center, Coonley Elementary, 4046 N. Leavitt St.
Little Italy, Chicago World Language Academy, 1340 W. Harrison St.
Hi-Five Sports, 2641 W. Harrison St.
This is a great match if your Pre-K to 9th grade kid is sports-minded, or just needs to use up as much energy as possible. Hi-Five is running high level sports camps at a state-of-the-art facility that includes two gated large outdoor fields, a 400-meter track and four full-sized indoor basketball courts. Bus transportation to the facility is available in certain areas for an additional fee.
Merry Music Makers, 3759 N. Ravenswood Ave., Suite. 119
This is offering weeklong Summer Jam + Swim Camp until Labor Day for ages 4 to 9. The sessions combine music and swimming for the best of two summer worlds: Kids spend half the day learning to make music and the other half swimming in the Edgewater Athletic Club with swim instructors.
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