In spite of what we’re facing now with the COVID-19 crisis, as parents, we still must look forward, and we know summer is coming. For many of us, summer camps and childcare is a necessity. We are doing our best to monitor any changes, and encourage you to double-check the individual camp refund/cancellation policies. We also want to continue to support our local businesses including these beloved summer camps.

Things are looking up this summer in LA County, as vaccines become more widespread and restrictions slowly start to lift. This is great news for our favorite local summer camps, as many of them are planning to hold-in person sessions. Others are still offering awesome online programs, too, so there’s really something for every kid. Keep reading to get the scoop on summer camps in 2021.

photo: iStock

Tumbleweed Day Camp

Tumbleweed offers kids a totally unplugged experience—no screens, no apps, no social media stress. It's tucked away on 100 private acres and gives kids a chance to explore and play in a safe environment. Activities include swimming, archery, a rock climbing wall, horseback riding, DIY projects and more.

Ages: PreK-8th grade
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 13
Cost:
$850/week
Location: Los Angeles
Online: tumbleweedcamp.com

2021 Update: Tumbleweed has been operating since July 2020 with multiple layers of COVID safety practices in place, and they'll continue doing so for summer 2021. Campers are required to wear face masks and are monitored for symptoms.

photo: Camp Wildfolk

Camp Wildfolk

We are wild for this modern twist on traditional day camp that provides the freedom and spirit of a sleepaway camp in an affordable, convenient day camp program. The camp day consists of daily rotations in “Four Spheres of Fun”: Creativity & Expression, Innovation & Exploration, Movement & Teambuilding, and Group Projects. They also work on long-term group projects, just like you used to at summer-long sleepaway camp. They even have camp-ins, when campers can stay overnight for real. Every Wednesday is beach day (and you don’t have to brave beach traffic!). Camp hours are from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, with extended care available and optional early pick up at 1:30 p.m. for 4 year-olds for a reduced weekly rate.

Ages: 4-12
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 13
Cost: $390+/week
Location: West Hollywood & Valley Village
Online: campwildfolk.com

2021 Update: Camp Wildfolk will be back in action this summer! They're returning to their long-time campus in West Hollywood and also expanding to a convenient new location in the Valley. They're following safety protocols outlined by LA Public Health, the CDC, and the American Camp Association. Capacity will be reduced to allow for distancing, and there won't be field trips this year. They're going for a "back-to-basics" approach to keep things simple yet super fun.

Camp Cosmo

Camp Cosmo is a one-of-a-kind summer camp offering Los Angeles kids personalized and connection-based creative experiences designed to turn on their imaginations. This year, the camp will resume for both online and in-person sessions. 

Ages: 6-12
Dates: Jun. 14-Sep. 3
Cost: $400 per week for online camp; $95 per day
Location: Santa Monica & Online
Online: campcosmo.com

2021 Update: Camp Cosmo will be resuming in-person sessions on Jun. 14, COVID conditions permitting, and will run through Sept. Group sizes will be limited, and campers will need to sign up for a full week. The online camp will continue to be offered with daily and weekly rates available. Sign up on their website to be the first to know when registration opens (and check out their spring break camp offerings in the meantime).

Got Game

This popular and super convenient camp that takes place on various school campuses across Los Angeles, lets kids fully customize their day, based on what interests them the most. The camp offers traditional sports, both art and science projects, water play, special on-site surprises and so much more!

Ages: 4-14
Dates: 
Jun. 14-Aug. 13
Cost: $365/week
Location: Mid-City, West LA, Beverly Hills, Tarzana & Thousand Oaks
Online: gotgamecamp.com

2021 Update: They're still finalizing the details for summer 2021, but Got Game is planning to be back in person at several locations. Check their website for all the details and registration information.

photo: Camp Galileo

Camp Galileo

Camp Galileo, a beloved Bay Area summer camp, has now taken root in LA too. The imaginative curriculum and nurturing environment instill confidence alongside the learning—it’s so much fun, we hear kids beg for an extra week! Each week at Camp Galileo, little ones will have the chance to explore one of four themes that combine art, science, and outdoor activities into a narrative that keeps them engaged. Camp runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily while pre-k and kindergarten campers have a half-day option at a reduced rate. Extended care is available.

Ages: Pre-K-7th Grade
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 6
Cost: $419/week, discounts with multiple weeks
Locations: 12 locations in Los Angeles & Orange County
Online: galileo-camps.com

2021 Update: Galileo will be welcoming kids back in person this summer—their safety plan includes small pod-style cohorts of kids, daily health screenings, and social distancing.

photo: Star Eco Education

Star Eco Camp

Take a walk on the wild side and get up close and personal with the world’s most unusual creatures.  Kids join the fight to save the planet at this internationally recognized environmental science museum and exotic wildlife rescue center. Party with parrots, live it up with alligators, and get down and dirty with the dragons (that’s right, dragons!), all while discovering new and exciting ways to protect our planet’s delicate ecosystem. You can choose from weeks that focus on mammals, reptiles, winged creatures and more. Note: because of the close contact with animals and their foods, this camp is not recommended for kids with severe animal or nut allergies. Camp is in session from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. daily with extended hours available.

Ages: 5-12
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 13
Cost: $450/week
Location: Culver City & Windsor Hills
Online: starinc.org/star-eco-station

2021 Update: Eco Camp will be proceeding in person this summer with COVID protocols in place. Sign up ASAP to snag your spot, along with an early bird discount.

photo: ReDiscover Center

Tinkering Camps at reDiscover Center

If you’ve ever spent a Sun. at the reDiscover Center and thought, “I never need to leave,” then Tinkering Camp is for you (or rather, your kids). Young builders acquire the skills they need to work confidently in wood, plastic, and metal to build robust structures as wild as their imaginations. There’s an adult present to help every 4 kids and the fully stocked workshop ensures that kids are safe and can construct anything their imaginations can dream up. Each session offers five days of tinkering from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ages: 7-12
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 27
Cost: $525 per week
Location: Mar Vista & Culver City
Online: rediscovercenter.org/weeklong-camp/

2021 Update: This summer, the reDiscover Center is offering an in-person, COVID-modified version of their flagship tinkering camp program. At the end of the week, you can purchase a Tinkering Tool Kit so your kiddos can continue their creativity at home.

photo: The Unincorporated Life

Fashion Design Camp

Darling, let loose your inner Coco! Kids start at the very beginning by creating a vision board, then learn fashion sketching, fabric picking, and then they create a real-life collection! At the end of the week, the kids are transformed into fledgling fashion designers and debut their line at a fashion show that friends and families can attend (front row seats, of course).  Kids as young as 6 can get in the fashion game, and go back to school wearing their own creations.

Ages: 6-18
Dates: Jun. 7-Aug. 27
Cost: $850 per week
Location: Hollywood
Online: theunincorporatedlife.com

2021 Update: Their in-person camp will be operating at a limited capacity; check their website for all the details.

photo: iStock

Aloha Beach Camp

If your child loves the beach, Aloha Beach Camp provides the perfect setting for enjoying the sand, surf, and sun. The goal of the program is to help young children feel comfortable and safe in the ocean. Here, campers will take surf lessons and boogie board lessons, participate in group sand games and enjoy many other aquatic activities. Your little beach bunny will be sad when they have to say aloha to this camp when summer comes to a close.

Ages: 4-15
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 20
Cost: $99 per day
Location: Malibu
Online: alohabeachcamp.com

2021 Update: Aloha Beach Camp will be back this summer! They're reducing camper capacity by 50% to allow for social distancing, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible.

photo: Kallpachay

Kallpachay

Kallpachay means “to inspire” in the ancient Incan language and this summer camp inspires a sense of playfulness and ease while learning a new language. That’s right: This camp is full immersion and taught by all native Spanish speakers. But it’s not just for kids who speak Spanish, the play aspect ensures that kids of all levels of the language (even beginners) have a great time and can understand what’s happening. Kids open their day with a group circle, “ice-breaker” activities, and chants and move onto group activities. Language is learned through arts, crafting, gardening, and even daily cooking classes to introduce Latin flavors—so kids learn through practice that language emerges from culture. The camp hours are from 9-11 a.m. or 12-2 p.m.

Ages: 4-14
Dates: Jun. 21-Aug. 20
Cost: $225/week
Location: Online & Limited Person Backyard Pods
Online: kallpachay.com

2021 Update: Kallpachay is offering a new virtual Spanish immersion camp for summer 2021. Kids will have the chance to learn the language through guided participatory play, song, brain breaks, and more. They're also offering backyard learning pods for LA families who would like an in-person option for up to 5 kids.

photo: Performing Arts Workshops

Performing Arts Workshops

This summer, Performing Arts Workshops are continuing in their popular online summer camp format. Kids ages 5-to-14 will have the chance to work on their singing, dancing, and acting skills while socializing and having a blast. Workshops include theater games, improv, guitar, and sleight of hand, and each week is themed around a favorite musical, from Mary Poppins to Hip Hop Hamilton. They offer nine 1-week sessions, and you can choose from a partial day, a half-day, or a full day.

Ages: 5-14
Dates: Jun. 15-Aug. 7
Cost: $100-300/week
Location: Online & In-Person TBA
Online:
performingartsworkshops.com/online-summer-camp/

2021 Update: They're hoping to resume their in-person camps this summer in addition to the online offerings—keep an eye out on their website for updates as they become available.

photo: Rolling Robots

Rolling Robots

If you’ve got an engineer, a tinker, a robot-building thinker, these camps are for them. They offer two types of camps at Rolling Robots – Robot Inventor Camps (Robots Rock, Lego Mindstorms or Arduino Bots programming) and Video Game Creator Camps (from Scratch code for the youngest all the way up to Minecraft and Unity programming or 3D design and printing for big kids). So they really can spend the summer playing video games or playing with robots and you won’t object because they’ll be exercising their minds, not wasting them.

Ages: 5-15
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 13
Cost: $175+ per week
Locations: Glendale, Palos Verdes & West LA
Online: rollingrobots.com

2021 Update: Rolling Robots will hold both online and onsite, in-person (3 locations) camps for the summer; register now for a week-long camp. You can choose from the morning session (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) or the afternoon session (1 p.m.-4 p.m.). For onsite camps, they will be held at reduced capacity with abundant precaution measures in place. More details can be found on their website

photo: School of Rock

School of Rock

So you’ve got a little rock superstar? At this rock camp, kids learn music, performance techniques, and bond with their band. Throughout the week kids go from zero to a full set of songs and a performance. The week includes group rehearsal, music trivia, song casting, one-on-one attention from all-star instructors, gear education, and band-related activities all aimed at helping kids learn a set of songs to be totally ready to rock them by the end of the week. Your kiddos can pick from playing drums, singing, shredding guitar, playing bass, or keyboards. They’re all in the band. And you’ll be the biggest groupie.

Ages: 7-18
Dates: Jun. 1-Aug. 27
Location: Pasadena, Fairfax, Burbank & Venice
Cost: $495 per week
Online: schoolofrock.com/music-camps

2021 Update: School of Rock will be offering online and in-person camps this summer. Both types of camps will include workshops, activities, and group-based learning—by the end of the week, your mini musicians will learn how to record their own music.

Perfect Day Beach & Surf Camp

The name of the game here is “convenient,” which as busy parents, we adore. It’s convenient if you’ve got little ones of multiple ages, since they have Beach Camp for the 4-8 crowd, and Surf Camp for big kids (8-17) right at the same drop-off location. It’s convenient because of the flex scheduling, which lets you pick individual days or weeks, and lets you change those dates anytime (up until a week before the day of class). And mostly it’s convenient because you don’t spend any time convincing kids to go—they’re begging to hop out of the car and build sandcastles, body surf, wave jump, and boogie board. Even the 4-year-olds start to learn about the waves and how to catch them, and big kids spend most of their time in the water, but take breaks for volleyball, prisoner, soccer, capture the flag, dodgeball, and ocean safety. Choose from morning (9 a.m.-noon), afternoon (noon-3 p.m.) or all day, with optional extended hours.

Ages: 4-17
Cost: $350+ per week
Location: Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, & Redondo
Online: perfectdaysurfcamp.com

2021 Update: They're running their camp this year with strict COVID protocols, including staggered drop-offs, temperature/symptom checks, and required masks when kids aren't in the water.

photo: Tom Sawyer Camp

Tom Sawyer Camp

The great outdoors beckon at Hahamonga Watershed Park, above Devil’s Gate Dam in the Arroyo Seco of Altadena. While Tom Sawyer had the Mississippi River, young campers here have horses to ride (and paint), mud balls to make, and circus tricks to learn, all in a safe and nurturing environment en plein air, with no video game in sight. The four Tom Sawyer summer camps on offer are divided by age groups, starting at 3 years old and going up to 9th grade.

Ages: 3-14
Dates: Jun. 14-Aug. 13
Cost:
$660+ per week
Location: Altadena
Online: tomsawyercamps.com

2021 Update: They successfully operated a COVID-free camp in summer 2020 and plan to do the same this year! Their safety protocols include mask-wearing, physical distancing, and daily health screening.

photo: iStock

Santa Monica Playhouse Theatre Camp

Santa Monica Playhouse's summer camp 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 camps stimulate cognitive, language, social, emotional, and physical skills in a fun, comfortable, and supportive atmosphere.

Ages: 6-17
Dates: Jul. 19-23 for ages 6-14; Aug. 2-6 for ages 12-17
Cost:
$425 per week
Location: Santa Monica & Online
Online:
santamonicaplayhouse.com

2021 Update: They're offering two, week-long camp sessions this summer in person with a limited number of students. They also offer six-week online programs that you can do from home.

photo: Annenberg PetSpace

Annenberg PetSpace Kids Camp

If your kiddo’s Paw Patrol or My Little Pony craze was any indication, they’re fast growing up to be animal-obsessed. Whether you need to cover spring break (it’s around the corner!) or are ready to get your summer booked, Annenberg PetSpace Kids Camp has an ideal one-week experience at the ready. Little animal lovers between the ages of 8 and 11 will adore the line-up of daily themes, educational games and activities and, of course, animal encounters.

Ages: 8-11
Dates: Summer dates TBA; spring online camp sessions Mar. 22-26 & Mar. 29-Apr. 2
Cost:
$125/week
Location: Playa Vista
Online: annenbergpetspace.org/visit/camp

2021 Update: Plans for summer camp 2021 are still being finalized, so check back on their website for updates on the format and dates. In the meantime, they're offering Spring Camp Online and a brand new Critter Camp Online at the end of March.

Arboretum Summer Nature Camp

Nature-minded parents will love sending their kids to the Arboretum Summer Nature Camp. Explorers from ages 5-10 will dig in the dirt, plant seedlings, test their cooking skills and play plenty of games. There are eight one-week sessions throughout the summer with a different theme for each one. Prices are quoted for non-members but will go down if you join the Arboretum.

Ages: 5-10
Dates: Jun. 7-Aug. 6
Cost:
$400 per week; $430 per week for non-members
Location: Arcadia
Online: arboretum.org

2021 Update: The Arboretum's summer camp is sold out for this year, but you can join the waitlist to be notified if any spots open up.

—Susie Foresman

featured image: Tumbleweed Day Camp

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