Even though you just finished that trip to the pumpkin patch, it’s already time to start thinking about booking winter break camp. Whether your kiddo is an athlete, a thespian, a nature nut, a chef, or a little bit of each, we have the lowdown on can’t miss winter fun.

emerald-city-winter-campsphoto: Emerald City Theatre Company

Emerald City Theatre 
Have Frozen fanatics in your house? Prepare to let it go at this camp themed around the Disney flick. More of a traditionalist? Little ones will enter Winter Wonderland and older kids can Jingle Bell Rock. In all sessions, young thespians will play drama games, create mini plays and sing songs inspired by winter fun.

Held Dec. 27–Jan. 6
Cost: Frozen, $235 & $315; Winter Wonderland & Jingle Bell Rock, $195 & $375
Ages:  3½-5 & 6-10

Athenaeum Theatre
2936 N. Southport Ave.

Little Theatre
2933 N. Southport Ave.

Menomonee Club
Drucker Center
1535 N. Dayton St.
Lincoln Park
Online: emeraldcitytheatre.com

The Kids’ Table
We’ve all heard that one of the best ways to raise healthy eaters is to have them help in the kitchen. At The Kids’ Table winter camps, kids prepare healthy fare with a twist. During week one’s “Cupcake Wars”, young chefs will prepare both lasagna and taco cupcakes as well as Tres Leches and German Chocolate cupcakes. Week two features comfort food favorites like grilled cheese and chocolate chip cookies, as well as healthy twists like Eggplant McMuffin and veggie chili.

Held Dec. 26-30 & Jan. 2-6
Cost: $60-$400 (depending on number of classes & half or full-day)
Ages: 4-10

2864 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lakeview (half-day only)

2337 W. North Ave.
Wicker Park (full-day only)
Online: kids-table.com

lincoln-park-zoo-campphoto: Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo
With the opportunity to pick one day or every day, the Zoo’s camp has both variety and flexibility. This year’s theme is “Animal Opposites” with a different take on that theme every day. Mini zoologists explore the habitats, learning about creatures big and small, young and old, and quiet and loud. Art projects, animal observation and interaction give kids an insider experience. Discover animal diversity, environmental conservation and ways the Zoo cares for animals at the zoo and conserves them in the wild. Bring your snow boots! The kiddos will go outside.

Held Dec. 27-30
Cost: Full-day: $68/day; Half-day: $34/day (after care also available)
Ages: 4-11

2001 N. Clark St.
Lincoln Park
Online: lpzoo.org

The Little Gym
If they’re going to bounce off the walls this winter, they might as well do it at a safe, padded gym with instructors that teach valuable skills. It’s high-energy fun with gymnastics, games and crafts at the three-hour Winter Wonderland Camps (for ages 3-8). There are morning and afternoon sessions, and no two days are the same. They  also host a “lunch bunch” from 12:00-1:00 for anyone who would like to extend their day.   If your little one is more of a thrill seeker, there are grade-school Skill Clinics (for ages 6-12) to take skills to the next level with a more intense three-hour program.

Held Dec. 26-30
Cost: $50/first camp; $45/second camp; $40/third camp; $35/additional camps; Lunch Bunch, $10 (must bring nut-free lunch)
(current membership required)
Ages: 3-12 (must be bathroom independent)
3216 N. Lincoln Ave.
Online: thelittlegym.com/chicagoil

Windy City Fieldhouse
Sign up for one day or every day of this sports camp that even has free childcare between sessions. Active kiddos will tire themselves out with either a dedicated soccer skills camp or a multi-sport camp that includes practicing skills for football, baseball, kickball, hockey and basketball. Little ones (ages 3-5) are introduced to soccer, basketball, t-ball, football and kickball while also learning about good sportsmanship (and who couldn’t use that lesson?).

Held Dec. 19-23, Dec. 26-30, Jan. 2-6
Cost: $50/day
Ages: 3-13
2367 W. Logan Blvd.
Lincoln Park
Online: windycityfieldhouse.com

actors-gym-campphoto: The Actors Gymnasium

The Actors Gymnasium 
Juggle, tumble and dance your way through winter break. Budding circus performers learn to walk the tight wire, fly on the trapeze, walk on stilts and more at this energy-boosting camp. As well as being physically fun and challenging, this camp is good for boosting courage and self-esteem.

Held Dec. 27-30 & Jan. 3-6
Cost: $280/session or $545 for both sessions (single day packages also available)
Ages 9-14
927 Noyes St.
Online: actorsgymnasium.org

Kids STEM Studio
If you have a kid, we’re pretty sure Minecraft is a word in your daily vocab. As is LEGO, for that matter. Keep those brains moving this winter break by incorporating these kid favorites into STEM-ulating camps. Choose between Minecraft, Lego Robotics and Hands on Engineering camps. Campers learn basic redstone engineering in Minecraft using electrical circuits, build cool robots and toys learning various Engineering principles which they see and experience on a daily basis. Bonus: Campers get to take home their engineering creations! Register by Nov. 30 and save $75/week.

Held Dec. 27-30 & Jan. 3-6
Cost: $300/week
Grades K-6
Kids STEM Studio
1319 S. State St.
South Loop

Held Jan 3-6
Cost: $320/week
Grades K-6
Kids STEM Studio at Menomonee Club
1535 N Dayton St
Lincoln Park
Online: kidsstemstudio.com

Science Night Out: Glow-in-the-Dark SciencePhoto: The Laboratory

The Laboratory
What little kid doesn’t have dreams of becoming a Robotic Engineer or taking a few days to travel to the magical world of Hogwarts? At The Laboratory, they can forget hibernating over winter break and spend it learning brainstorming and collaboration skills building an array of robots or using elements of physics, chemistry and biology in Harry’s favorite wizarding classes. What are you waiting for, muggle? Sign up!

Held Dec. 26-30 (Robotics); Jan. 2-6 (Harry Potter)
Cost: $90/one day; $395/weeklong
The Laboratory
2349 W. North Ave.
Wicker Park
Online: thelaboratorychi.org

Bulls/Sox Academy
Whether you have a baseball fanatic, basketball enthusiast or both, these three-day pro sports-affiliated camps get your little athlete ready for the season. Choose from baseball, basketball or a combination camp where coaches work with kids on fundamentals and fine tuning key skills.

Held Dec. 26-28
Cost: $175/sport or $325/both sports
Ages 5-14

6200 River Bend Dr.

800 St. Charles Rd.
Glen Ellyn

536 East Ave.
La Grange
Online: bullssoxacademy.com

dupage-winter-campphoto: DuPage Children’s Museum

DuPage Children’s Museum
With both art and science inspirations, the DuPage County Children’s Museum’s camp offers many choices to get hands and minds moving. In Construction Zone kids use real tools and math to explore building. Discovering Great Artists: Leonardo da Vinci uses da Vinci’s works as inspiration for creating innovated pieces. Move It teaches children about how force makes things move and BIG Messy Masterpieces lets everyone get messy as they paint, sculpt, and more.

Held Dec. 28-29 & Jan. 4-5
Cost: $125
Ages: Grades K-5
301 N. Washington St.
Online: dupagechildrens.org

Second City
Have a budding comedian tickling your funny bone daily? Sign ‘em up for classes by some of Chicago’s funniest folks. In the Improv & Clowning class, students learn to think on their feet, build self-confidence and creativity – and wear a clown nose sometimes. Improv & Stand Up helps students develop their jokes and delivery. Be prepared for a winter break full of laughs after this camp!

Held Dec. 21-23 & Dec. 28-30
Cost: $210/class
Ages: 8-18
Second City Training Center
1608 N. Wells
Online: secondcity.com

Chicago Botanic Garden
This indoor/outdoor camp gives little botanists the chance to explore the garden in winter. Kids learn how weather affects the plants and animals found in the garden and create art inspired by the garden in winter. Plus, all campers enjoy a trip to the Botanic Garden’s holiday favorite, the Wonderland Express holiday train display.

Held Dec. 19-23
Cost: $75/day (discount for members)
Ages: Grades K-5
1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Online: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/winterbreakcamp

A home for imaginative kids looking for an artistic outlet, Wishcraft Workshop’s winter break camp even has a one-of-a-kind name: Make A Day Of It Camp. At this camp the only thing predictable is the fun. Each day includes multiple art, building, and sewing projects, fun and games, and a mid-morning snack.

Held Dec. 27-30 & Jan. 3-6
Cost: $85/day (after care available for an additional fee)
Ages: Grades K-5
3907 N. Damen
Online: growartists.com

How will your kiddos spend winter break? Let us know in the Comments below!

— Jen Peterson