Don’t have time to plan out each summer day with special something to do? Yeah, us either! Which is why we scoured Los Angeles for summer programs and camps geared specifically toward toddlers and pre-schoolers, and are sharing the amazing camps that welcome the not-quite-in-kindergarten crowd with open arms. Scroll through to see which camp will work best for your kid’s budding personality and get ready for a summer of learning and fun.
photo: Summer at Brentwood
For an educationally fun time, check out Summer at Brentwood, held at Brentwood School. Run by teachers at the synonymous school, the weekly lower division day camp gives kids who will be entering Kindergarten a preview of what’s to come in the fall through a variety of activities from activities that includes mathematics, reading, writing, science, dramatic play, visual arts, and outdoor education. There are five one-week sessions to choose from and each offers different courses.
Cost: $550 per week
For parents looking to get their toddlers prepped and ready for preschool and kindergarten, St. Matthew Parish School offers an enriching summer program that will set them up for success. Hands-on science, language arts, math, dramatic arts, and visual arts are all part of the specially designed program that is offered in either half or full days.
Cost: $570 & Up
Toddlers That Need Variety
Tocaloma Summer Day Camp, located at Berkeley Hall School, offers sessions for kids ages 4-14 (a bonus when you have older siblings). The preschool group features a ratio of 1-to-4 staff to campers during activities and is sure to keep your intrepid kiddo entertained. There are tons of fun events lined up from the basic like music, arts, sports, movement) to the not-so-basic like theme day carnivals and mystery week. Another perk? Transportation is an option.
Cost: $1595 & Up
photo: Camp Shi’ini via Yelp
Future Park Rangers
Camp Shi-ini, another option for kids from ages 4-13 with a great counselor to camper ratio of 6:1 camp-to-counselor ration, is held at Arroyo Park. The Native-American themed camp keeps kids happily entertained with adventures like archery, horseback riding, extraordinary treasure hunts, bear hunting (say what?!), canoeing plus plenty of plain old fun and games. Choose from two days per week all the way up to five, but hurry—this camp is 90% booked as of this publishing.
Cost: $1140 & Up
Nature-minded parents will love sending their kids to the Arboretum Summer Nature Camp. Explorers from ages 5-11 will dig in the dirt, plant seedlings, test their cooking skills and play plenty of games. There are nine one-week sessions throughout the summer and there’s a choice of daily attendance without committing to a couple of days or the full week. Prices are quoted for non-members but will go down if you join the Arboretum.
Cost: $70 per day; $180 & Up
Toddlers can slip and slide with the best of them at Camp Keystone located in Agora Hills in the Santa Monica Mountains. Jr. Camp consists of kids ages 3-5 in groups of 12 campers to with a minimum of 2 staff members will have the ultimate summer experience with a variety of activities (from arts and crafts and fishing to sports and water play) to enhance their developmental skills and coordination. Choose from two days per week all the way up to five. Bonus? Transportation is also available for an additional fee.
Cost: $220 & Up
Super energized tots ages 4-6 can get their wiggles out at Junior Camp at Prime Time Sports Camp offers basketball, baseball, soccer, flag football, tennis, golf, volleyball and much more. Plus there’s a“Theme Of The Week” that drives the daily art and enrichment projects. You can even pay to have lunch included!
Cost: $475 & Up
West LA, Santa Monica, Silverlake and Hancock Park
For the Pre-Schooler Who Loves Being All Over the Place (That’s All of Them!)
Campers ages 4-12 can experience fun beach days, field trips to amusement parks, and fun dress-up days (such as super hero day) at the Summer AdventureCamp at AdventurePlex. They get a full day of crafts, exercises such as yoga, obstacle courses, hands-on activities, and outdoor fun all in a day’s play. Choose from daily enrollment to weekly sessions—perfect for those parents who can’t commit.
Cost: $60 per day; $250 & Up
Drama Queens and Kings
The Early Stages workshop at Santa Monica Playhouse for 4-to-6-year-olds focuses on the delights of creativity, self-expression, and imagination, instilling a true love of sharing, caring, and performance. Structured creative activities such as story-telling, crafts, songs, movement, make-up, and costumes culminate in a live performance. The workshop stimulates cognitive, language, social, emotional and physical skills in the early stages of a child’s development in a fun, comfortable, and supportive atmosphere. The Early Stages Workshop has one session, Jun. 25 to 29 and meets Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. – Noon.
What are your summer plans? Got a favorite pint-sized camp we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
—Sommy Rhee & Andie Huber