Some kids just feel more at home in a beret than a soccer uniform. That’s great when the result is an adorable family sketch, and less so when li’l Picasso considers the walls an acceptable medium for finger paint. Channel those creative instincts productively with one of these artistic summer camps around the city.

Take note — even though munchkin won’t be out of school for another few months, signup for these camps is now in progress and spaces go quickly.


Color Wheel Studio

Overview: Contemporary artist Donald Jackson was inspired by his son to open a kids’ art studio in Bucktown. The atmosphere is familial, warm and inspiring.

The grand oeuvre: Each week, campers study a famous painting (among them, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and Piet Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie”) and reproduce it as large, 3-D form. At the end of each camp week, friends and family view finished pieces in a gallery setting.

The skills: Kids learn about each artist and the techniques used to create the original painting, and work together to interpret a 2-D piece of art as a 3-D form, which takes problem solving and teamwork.

The bonus: At least 95 percent of the materials used are recycled.

The details: From July 8-August 9, four one-week sessions are available for kids ages 5 and up. Sessions run Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The cost is $300 per session, with a 10 percent discount for siblings.

2016 W. Concord Pl.


Hyde Park Art Center

Overview: The popular, day-long Creativity Camps have a dual focus: visual arts in the morning and theater arts in the afternoon.

The grand oeuvre: Each session ends with an original performance written, designed and performed by campers. Kids can also do watercolors, sew stuffed dolls, make paper and complete ceramics projects, depending on the week.

The skills: Discovering the creative process and developing problem-solving skills under the guidance of professional artists.

The bonus: Campers take field trips to cultural institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

The details: From June 17-August 30, two-week-long camp sessions are available for kids ages preschool to 5th grade. Sessions run Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The cost is $710 per session ($685 for Center members); an early registration discount applies if you sign up by April 29 and scholarships are available through the website.

5020 S. Cornell Ave.
Hyde Park


One Strange Bird

Overview: The inviting studio supports local artists and hosts a variety of full- and half-day mixed-age summer classes for kids ages 4-11. Our favorite class is Comic Book Heroes.

The grand oeuvre: Kids dream up their own super hero and create a comic book based on it.

The skills: Basic drawing, story development and bookmaking.

The bonus: During pickup and drop-off, parents can browse attached shop of handmade gifts, home décor, and bath and body products — all created by area artists. Plus, before and after childcare is available for $10 an hour.

The details: Camps are held all summer long. Full-day camps run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, while half-day camps take up either the morning or afternoon. The cost is $200 to $350.

2124 W. Division St. (the studio is moving from Humboldt Park to this new location in May)
Wicker Park


Wishcraft Workshop

Overview: The sunny, colorful craft workshop runs a variety of camps held both indoors and outdoors, including the extremely fun Sewn Silly, geared for kindergartners through 3rd graders.

The grand oeuvre: Kids create their own stuffed softie toy.

The skills: Hand sewing and embroidery, math, engineering, design and spontaneity because as founder Candice Blansett-Cummins says, “there’s a lot of impromptu dance-party action.”

The bonus: Many projects use recycled materials and most days include indoor and outdoor time.

The details: Sewn Silly runs June 18-21, from 9:00 am to noon. The cost is $245. Camps in general are held June 10-August 23 and run Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (with half-day options in June). Most camps are recommended for ages kindergarten through 8th grade. The cost ranges from $245 to $345 per week.

2312 W. Roscoe St.
Roscoe Village


Beauty & Brawn Gallery & Think Space

Overview: Photographer and mixed media artist Lindsey Meyers believes children should be connected to their neighborhood. Camps encourage a wide range of artistic expression, including drawing, painting, clay work, photography and even hip hop dance.

The grand oeuvre: Projects vary depending on the day or week, but can include two small paintings per day or one larger project over a series of days. “We plan as we go,” Meyers says.

The skills: Learning to express themselves through art. This is fostered particularly through open sketching and journaling every day for at least 15 minutes.

The bonus: Each camp day begins with a walk around the neighborhood for inspiration and focus, as long as the weather cooperates.

The details: Full- or half-day camps run June 24-August 9. You can sign up for individual days and/or weeks. The cost is $65 for one full day and $35 for one half day, with a 10 percent sibling discount. Recommended for ages 4-12.

3501 W. Fullerton Ave.
Logan Square

Which one of these camps would your little artist want to try?

— Rebecca Little

Photos: Courtesy of Color Wheel Studio, Hyde Park Art Center, One Strange Bird, Wishcraft Workshop, Beauty & Brawn Gallery & Think Space