With all the talk of blizzards and subfreezing temps it seems unnatural to even think about summer camp signup. But, not unlike holiday decorations popping up months in advance, the chatter about camp options starts earlier and earlier each year. Some camps began registrations way back in November and while you’re likely not too late to the game, it’s definitely time to start doing your research. From a focus on films to learning new sports, read on to find our favorite picks for camps to sign up for now.

Facets Film Campphoto: Facets Film Camp

Facets
Don’t let the venue fool you, this camp is much more than sitting around watching movies all day. Here, campers learn storytelling, acting, casting, production, directing and all that goes into the art of filmmaking. At the end of each camp, your budding Hitchcock will be celebrated in a small film-festival-like atmosphere at a camp graduation screening open to campers and their families.

Dates: (Ages 7-10) Jun. 19-24, Jul. 17-21, Jul. 31-Aug. 4; (Ages 11-14) Jun. 26-30, Jul. 10-14, Jul. 24-28
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ages: 7-10 & 11-14
Cost: $450
Facets
1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
Lincoln Park
Online: facets.org

Dates: (Ages 7-10 & 11-14) Jun. 12-16
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $500
Gorton Community Center
400 E. Illinois Rd.
Lake Forest
Online: facets.org

Dates: (Ages 7-10 & 11-14) Jul. 24-28
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $500
Benedictine University
5700 College Rd.
Lisle
Online: facets.org

Creative Activities and Campsphoto: Galileo Innovation Camp

Galileo Innovation Camp for Kids
This camp is really the perfect combination of learning and fun with weekly themes like: Space Explorers, National Parks Adventure, Galileo Olympics and more. Galileo presents art, science and outdoor activities on a daily basis. They can provide before and after care and have a healthy lunch option if you’re not interested in packing your own each day.

Dates: Jun. 19-Jul. 28
Hours:  9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Extended care, 8 a.m.-9 a.m. & 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Ages: 4-12
Cost: Before Feb. 28, $374/week; After Feb. 28, $399/week; Discounts offered for multiple weeks
St. Joan of Arc School
9248 Lawndale
Evanston
Online: galileo-camps.com

Dates: Jul. 10-Aug. 18
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Extended care, 8 a.m.-9 a.m. & 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Ages: 4-12
Cost: Before Feb. 28, $404/week; After Feb. 28, $429/week; Discounts offered for multiple weeks
Oscar Mayer Magnet School
2250 N. Clifton
Lincoln Park
Online: galileo-camps.com

Dates: Jun. 19-Jul. 28
Hours:  9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Extended care, 8 a.m.-9 a.m. & 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Ages: 4-12
Cost: Before Feb. 28, $394; After Feb. 28, $419; Discounts offered for multiple weeks
Sacred Heart School
1085 Gage St.
Winnetka
Online: galileo-camps.com

Dates: Jun. 12-Jul. 21
Hours:  9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Extended care, 8 a.m.-9 a.m. & 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Before Feb. 28, $364; After Feb. 28, $389; Discounts offered for multiple weeks
St. Peter Lutheran School
111 W. Olive St.
Arlington Heights
Online: galileo-camps.com

laboratory-campphoto: The Laboratory

The Laboratory
Imagined by Amy and Dr. Ed, this tag team of super-friendly educators were truly thinking outside the box when they opened The Laboratory. Their goal was to promote innovation through modern technology, like giving kids access to super cool 3-D printers. Your kids won’t even notice these curriculum-based camps are tied to Common Core and Next Generation Science standards. They’ve got everything from a Harry Potter: Back to Hogwarts camp, The Science of a Zombie Apocalypse camp as well as Lego Robotics camp. Bonus: No summer slide here.

Dates: Jun. 12-16; Jun. 19-23; Jun. 26-30; Jul. 10-14; Jul. 17-21; Jul. 24-28; Jul. 31-Aug. 4; Aug. 7-11; Aug. 14-18; Aug. 21-25; Aug. 28-Sept. 1
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Ages: 7-12
Cost: $405/session
The Laboratory
2349 W. North Ave.
Bucktown
Online: thelaboratorychi.org

Banner Day Camp
Much like the kind of summer camps you see in the movies, Banner has it all. There’s a 3 to 1 camper to counselor ratio, which gives your little ones access to extra special attention while participating in all the activities they could ever ask for. Banner offers swimming, yoga, a climbing wall, arts, fishing, archery, dune buggies . . . you name it, they have it. While Banner Day Camp is in Lake Forest, they do offer supervised round trip bus service for city dwellers.

Dates: 8-Week Session, Jun. 19-Aug. 11; Session 1, Jun. 19-Jul. 14; Session 2, Jul. 17-Aug. 11
Hours: Varies
Ages: 3-18
Cost: Varies by age, number of days attending & length of session, check website.
Banner
1225 Riverwoods Rd.
Lake Forest
Online: bannerdaycamp.com

Steve and Kate's Campphoto: Steve and Kate Camp

Steve and Kate Camp
Perfect for the camper that needs a flexible schedule (pick a day, a week or a month) AND has a wide range of interests. S&K really lets kids just be kids. Your camper can sing, bake, sew, make a movie, dance or even code their own computer game in one of the several studios scattered throughout. Want to get outside? Jump in on a constant game of hockey, basketball or soccer likely happening all day long. Need some fuel? They have an in-house chef making globally inspired street foods. Sounds amazing — can parents sign up?

Hours: Pick up and drop off anytime between 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ages: 4-12
Cost: Varies by location; day passes and memberships available; check website for details
Online: steveandkatescamp.com

Lakeview
Dates: Jun. 26-Aug. 25
Bell Elementary School, 3730 N. Oakley Ave.

Lincoln Park
Dates: Jun. 26-Aug. 25
Alcott Elementary School, 2625 N. Orchard St.

West Loop
Dates: Jun. 26-Aug. 25
Andrew Jackson Language Academy, 1340 W. Harrison St.

Evanston
Dates: Jun. 13-Aug. 18
Chiaravalle Montessori School, 1325 Hinman Ave.

River Forest
Dates: Jun. 12-Aug. 18
St. Vincent Ferrer School, 1515 Lathrop Ave.

Game On Sports Camp for Girls
Where “playing like a girl” is a form of praise, this specialized camp is focused on empowering girls in a positive and spirited environment. This camp is well-known amongst parents as being a confidence booster for daughters and is a great way to introduce new sports in fun and exciting ways. They offer tennis, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, flag football and horseback riding, just to name a few.

Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Ages: 4-16
Cost: Attending 3–4 weeks, $575 per week; Attending 5–8 weeks, $540 per week through March 1; Attending 5-8 weeks, $560 per week after March 1

Buena Park
Dates: Jun. 26-Aug. 18
Walt Disney Magnet School
4140 N. Marine Dr.
Online: gameonsportscamp.com

Lake Forest
Dates: Jun. 19-Aug. 5
Woodlands Academy
760 E. Westleigh Rd.
Online: gameonsportscamp.com

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago’s Summer Language Immersion Camp
Daily lesson plans are created for campers to achieve linguistic, cultural and educational goals. Children will have the unique opportunity to learn Spanish in a playful and enriching environment through total immersion of language while highlighting each student’s creativity and capacity to learn with projects, songs and activities.

Dates: Camps available June-August
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Ages: 4-16
Cost: $335
31 W. Ohio
Online: chicago.cervantes.es

old-town-school-of-folk-campphoto: Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk Music 

Summer Arts Camp for 4-6 Year Olds
In this camp, the littlest campers work, learn and play in small groups as they explore music, storytelling, visual art, theater, dance and movement. Each session ends with a student showcase.

Dates: Jun. 26-Jul. 14 & Jul. 17-Aug. 4
Hours: 9 a.m.-noon
Ages: 4-6
Cost: $900 per session
990 W. Armitage
Lincoln Park

Summer Arts Camp for 7-11 Year Olds
Led by Camp Leader John Huber and other Old Town School teaching artists, campers explore music, visual art, culture, theater, media, dance, movement and much more! They’ll gain artistic confidence, create new things, play hard, learn a lot and dream big!

Dates: Jun. 26-Jul. 21 & Jul. 24-Aug. 18
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Ages: 7-11
Cost: $1,600 per session
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue.
Lincoln Square

Summer Fiddle Camp
Aspiring fiddlers will explore the instrument through playing, singing and dancing. They’ll collaborate with other fiddlers and build friendships along the way. Camp ends with a student showcase.

Dates: Aug. 7-11
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Ages: 7-14
Cost: $500
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue
Lincoln Square

Online: oldtownschool.org

Do you have a favorite summer camp tradition? Share in the Comments below!

— Amy Bizzarri and Nicole Morris