Spring break is likely top of mind right about now, but summer will be here before you know it. And as fun as Mommy or Daddy Camp can be, it’s tough to sustain for eight weeks. The D.C. area has plenty to offer by way of day camps, but if you – or your kids – are looking for something off the beaten arts-and-crafts path, well, there’s no shortage of options there, either. Here are 20.

virginia space flight academyPhoto: Virginia Aviation Flight Academy


Aviation Ed
The structure of a typical day here includes crafts, engineering labs, games and flight simulators. Each camp, divided by age, will also include a “Discovery Flight” on the last day. The youngest campers will perform experiments related to rocket propulsion, for instance, while the older group will use virtual reality to take to the skies.

Session Cost: $250, including snacks and a T-shirt
Ages: 5 to 14 years
Where: 10629 Observation Rd. (Manassas, Va)
When: July 11 to Aug. 19; 9 am-1 pm
Online: aviationed.net

Virginia Space Flight Academy
Campers ages 11 to 15 will build several types of rockets, including an Estes Alpha III, which can fly as high as 300 feet, at this sleep-away camp. They will also use Lego Mindstorms to design, build and program robots, and they will tour the nearby NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Returning 13- to 16-year-olds may do Advanced Camps, which offer more difficult challenges.

Session Cost: $925
Ages:  11 to 16 years
Where: 21100 Dulles Town Cir. (Sterling, Va)
When: June 26 to July 29, July 31 to Aug. 5 for Advanced Camp
Online: virginiaspaceflightacademy

mad-science-dcPhoto: Mad Science of D.C.


Mad Science
With a different science theme each week, there’s plenty to keep your child entertained. Themes include Flight Academy, which looks at all things that fly, including kites, blimps and hovercrafts; Knowledge College, which explores mysteries of earth, space, sports, secret codes and the animal world; and Red Hot Robotics, in which campers build their own bots.

Session Cost: $190/half-day, $325/full-day, $20 materials fee for robots
Ages: grades 1 to 6
Where: See website for list
When: June 20-Aug. 29, 9 am-12 pm, 1 pm-4 pm or 9 am-4 pm
Online: dc.madscience.org

Federation of Galaxy Explorers for All Humanity
For 14 years, this camp has been offering STEM fun in the sun – er, moon. The four primary camps are Moon Base, Mars Base, Robotics and Rocketry. Parents can watch campers launch their rockets at the end of the summer.

Session Cost: $300-$425
Ages: grades 3 to 12
Where: See website for list
When: See website for list
Online: foge.org

horseback-riding-crdtPhoto: Carol Ann Short via Flickr


Summer Safari Day Camp at the National Zoo
Kids will explore animals from around the world and their habitats through hands-on activities, lessons, crafts, science experiments and walks through the zoo. Note: There is no direct contact with animals.

Session Cost: $400/member/five-day sessions, $500/nonmember/five-day sessions; $320 and $400, respectively, the week of July 5
Ages: grades kindergarten through 7
Where: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW (Woodley Park)
When: June 20 to Aug. 12, 9 am-3 pm
Online: nationalzoo.si.edu/Education/Camps/DayCamp

Twin Oaks Riding Academy
Geared toward kids who have little to no riding experience, this camp offers an introduction to riding and basic horse care instruction. An optional third hour costs $99 and lets campers participate in extra activities such as obstacle courses, bareback riding and a costume parade. Campers ages 9 to 14 can opt for Field Trip Camp and visit places such as a breeding farm and equine therapy barn.

Session Cost: $199-$400
Ages: 5 to 14 years
Where: 40788 Red Hill (Leesburg, Va)
When: June 17 to Aug. 26, 9 am to 11 am
Online: twinoaksriding.com

Professional_CT_Pictures_011Photo: Cooking Thyme


L’Academie de Cuisine
At this 40-year-old culinary and pastry arts school, kids will learn techniques of French cuisine, including cookies, cakes, veggies, pasta and, of course, chocolate. Campers will also be exposed to other international foods such as Asian and Italian. Morning and afternoon sessions are available.

Session Cost: $425
Ages:  9 to 17 years
Where: 5021 Wilson Ln. (Bethsda, Md) and 16006 Industrial Dr. (Gaithersburg, Md)
When: 9 am-noon and 1:30 pm-4:30 p.m.
Online: lacademie.com

Cooking Thyme
Drop kids off for Little Chefs at Eastern Market, where they will shop for fresh ingredients. Camp themes include outdoor cooking, Little Iron Chef and Hawaiian Luau. Overall, kids will learn about making healthy choices while preparing delicious eats.

Session Cost: $360/half-day, $560/full-day
Ages:  3 to 9 years
Where: drop off at 7th and North Carolina streets, pick up at 4th and D streets
When: June 20 to Aug. 19, 9 am-1:30 p.m. for half-day, 9 am-5 pm full-day
Online: cookingthyme.com

11036527_951165578283254_3034144434407115646_nPhoto: Alliance Francaise


Alliance Française
The kids and teen programs are both full immersion to enable children to speed their learning. Children 5 to 8 will sing songs, play games and enjoy weekly themes such as pirates, scientists and the Olympics. The teen camp is more academic, including French Advanced Placement test review. Bonus: Free before-care from 8:30 to 9 a.m.

Session Cost: $445 for kids, $485 for teens ($395 and $420, respectively, for members of the alliance)
Ages:  5 to 18 years
Where: 2142 Wyoming Ave., NW
When: June 27 to Aug. 12, 9 am-3:30 pm
Online: francedc.org

D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation’s Verano Spanish Camp
This camp caters toward little ones who are learning Spanish. It teaches the language through music, stories, theater, arts and crafts. Note: You must be a Washington, D.C., resident to attend.

Session Cost: $290, $10 field trip fee
Ages:  3 to 5 years
Where: 3600 Calvert St., NW or 3725 10th St., NW
When:  June 20 to Aug. 12, 9 am-5 pm
Online: dpr.dc.gov

12032078_10153121932773085_3482985472737402340_nPhoto: Round House Theatre


Round House Theatre
Kindergartners through third-graders will learn about theatrical storytelling through drama, design, music and movement. Classes take place in the morning, while afternoon projects put the skills learned to use. Fourth- and fifth-graders create original performances. Each week ends with a performance for family and friends.

Session Cost: $300
Ages:  grades kindergarten through 5
Where: 925 Wayne Ave. )Silver Spring, Md)
When: June 20 to Aug. 26, 9 am-4 pm
Online: roundhousetheatre.org

Camp Shakespeare
Wherefore art thou Romeo? Because Camp Shakespeare. Campers will study the bard’s prolific writing and learn how to become his characters through voice, movement, improvisation and other acting skills. Each session ends with a show for family and friends at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Cost: $350/week, $725/two-week Performance Intensive, $1,100/three-week Advanced Camp
Ages:  7 to 18 years
Where: See website for list
When: June 27 to Aug. 20, 10 am to 5 pm
Online: shakespearetheatre.org

terrapin-adventurePhoto: Terrapin Adventures


Adventure Links’ Adventure Summit Camp
Choose from day and residential camps and expeditions, where activities include rock climbing, hiking, tubing, canoeing, kayaking and challenge course. Each age grouping participates in age-appropriate activities.

Cost: Price varies by camp choice
Ages:  grades 2 through 12
Where: See website for list
When: See website for list

Terrapin Adventures’ Ultimate Adventure Camp
Open to campers who weigh at least 70 pounds and are ready to learn outdoor leadership skills. Twenty-four campers per session will get to bike, kayak and river tube – not to mention tackle a 40-foot High Ropes Challenge Course, 43-foot Terrapin Tower and 330-foot zip line.

Session Cost: $350 before April 1, $295 after (July 5 and Aug. 1 weeks cost $325 because they’re four-day weeks)
Ages:  8 to 14 years
Where: 8600 Foundry St. (Savage, Md)
When: June 20 to Aug. 4, 9 am-4 pm
Online: terrapinadventures.com

11988366_690162717750614_7752669947463011589_nPhoto: Breathing Space


Breathing Space Yoga Camp
Kids can find their heart center through movement classes, mindfulness activities, relaxation, games, crafts and the great outdoors. Most camps have 14 to 18 children with two yoga instructors and an assistant.

Session Cost: $85 per day or $75 when purchasing seven or more days (use discount code 7CAMP2015 at checkout)
Ages:  grades pre-k to 5
Where: 1123 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, 2nd Floor
When: June 27 to Aug. 29, 8:30 am to 4 pm
Online: breathingspacedc.com

Summer Camp at Circle Yoga
Now in its 14th year, this camp provides mindful yoga and movement, arts and crafts, playing at a park, group games, relaxation, journaling, and the requisite camp songs. Additionally, campers will make a yoga journal with pictures of themselves in each pose covered at camp.

Session Cost: $250/half-day, $365/full-day (10 percent off if you register for multiple full-day weeks before March 18)
Ages:  4 to 12 years
Where: 3838 Northampton St., NW
When: June 20 to Aug. 19, 9 am-3 pm
Online: circleyoga.com

spy-museum-summer-campPhoto: International Spy Museum


SI Shark Tank: American Entrepreneurs
Smithsonian Institution campers will visit the kid-loved Air and Space Museum, Q?rius Lab and the new innovation-focused wing at the American History Museum to learn about entrepreneurs and their effect on American culture. Kids will come up with their own inventions to present to judges at the end of the week.

Session Cost: $395/member, $460/nonmember
Ages:  grades 4 to 6
Where: All of the camps drop off and pick up will take place in front of the Freer Gallery and The S. Dillon Ripley Center on the Smithsonian Mall.
When: week of June 20, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Online: smithsonianassociates.org

Grow Together Gardening Camp at Brookside Gardens
This parent-and-child camp means three hours a day of becoming one with dirt. You and your kiddo will learn gardening techniques and tips for growing flowers, veggies and herbs. Children will learn about the seasons and put together a pollinator container garden full of plants that attract bees and butterflies.


Session Cost: $150
Ages:  3 to 6 years
Where: 1800 Glenallan Ave. (Wheaton, Md)
When: week of June 15, 9:30 am-12:30 pm
Online: montgomeryparks.org

Spy Camp at the International Spy Museum
Wannabe spies can get daily top-secret briefings and learn from real spies before putting their knowledge to the test on the streets to run training sessions. Kids will develop disguises, make and break codes, learn escape and evasion techniques, and create and use spy gadgets.

Session Cost: $415/nonmember, $395 member
Ages:  10 to 13 years
Where: 800 F St. NW
When: Aug. 1 to 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Online: spymuseum.org

Art Camp at Strathmore
Budding Picassos and Monets will work in a real art gallery on an arts campus. The kids group will test out various media, while the teens will also go on a field trip to Glenstone, a museum of contemporary art in Potomac, Md.

Session Cost: $425/week
Ages:  grades 1 to 10
Where: Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike (Rockville, Md)
When: July 25 to 29 for teens, Aug. 1 to 12 for kids, 9 am to 3 pm
Online: strathmore.org/artcamp

What other cool camps have you heard of in the D.C. metro area? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

—Stephanie Kanowitz