Who says learning has to be limited to the classroom? Summer break may be months away, but now is the time to sign your kids up for adventures that will keep them active and engaged all summer long. We’ve found eight of the best day camps for both littles and bigs, and they guarantee big fun all summer long!
photo: Audubon Society of Portland
The Audubon Society’s camps prove that they’re about much more than bird-watching. Check out an array of outdoor adventures, including Animal Tracking, where kids in first and second grades learn to recognize signs of wildlife that have crossed their paths.
Full-day camps are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Half-day camps are 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
5151 NW Cornell Rd.
The YMCA offers Camp Collins, a day camp that puts Christian principles into practice through traditional outdoor camp activities. Archery, swimming, capture the flag, art and horseback riding are just a few of the options for campers. Character-building and outdoor skills combine for a well-rounded camp experience.
Day camp schedules can be found when registering online.
3001 SE Oxbow Pkwy.
photo: Camp Namanu
Namanu Day Camp in the City
Campers experience hands-on learning opportunities to combat summer learning loss in this fun and active city adventure. The staff encourages kiddos to use their voices and work together as a group as they develop using Growth Mindset concepts. Once per week, the group travels to Camp Namanu, just outside Sandy, Oregon, for traditional camp activities such as hiking, crafts, archery and swimming.
Day camps are 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. with extended care available from 7 a.m.- 6 p.m.
10300 SE Camp Namanu Rd.
This school offers a variety of day camps for all ages with extended care available in the morning and afternoon. Two of their more popular camps for littler kids include the PreK-K Summer Beehive Camp and their Honey Hollow Adventure for kids in 1st-4th grades, focusing on woodworking, imaginative play, sports and media. Kids don’t need to be enrolled in the school to participate in summer camps or enrichment programs.
Day camp schedules vary by program and extended care is available. Visit their website for program schedules.
Catlin Gabel School
8825 SW Barnes Rd.
503-297-1894 Ext. 613
photo: At The Oregon Zoo by Joshua Smith via flickr
Oregon Zoo Camp
Kids go zany for the zoo’s weekly day camps. Full-day camps start for those entering kindergarten through eighth grade, while half-day camps are available starting at age four. Weekly themes include Wild Creature Features and Home Sweet Habitat, and all campers get to explore the zoo and learn about the enrichments that keep the animals comfortable and active at home.
Day camps are 8:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. with extended care available from 7:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Friends of Tryon Creek Nature Day Camps
Tryon Creek Park is the perfect setting for half- and full-day camps for outdoor lovers. There’s plenty of green space to explore and programs to choose from here. Programs like Forest Magic, Nature Illustrated and The Kingdom of Fungi are a few of the options for scientific exploration.
Full-day camps are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Half-day camps are 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd.
photo: Portland Children’s Museum
Portland Children’s Museum Day Camp
Ages 4-8 can have the experience of a lifetime at the museum built just for them. With programs like Scientist Studio and Clay Explorers, little hands are kept busy through an abundance of hands-on experiences that will keep their minds and bodies active. After-care is available for a full day of museum fun.
Day camps are 8:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. with extended care available until 5:15 p.m.
Portland Children’s Museum
4015 SW Canyon Rd.
Trackers’ camps are known for their commitment to outdoor education with a knowledgeable and dedicated staff. With camp locations throughout the city and a variety of topics to learn about (Wizards Academy, anyone?), this camp is a crowd-pleaser for ages 4 and older.
Day camps are 7:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. with flexible drop-off and pick-up times and extended care available. Visit their website for more details.
Trackers Earth Portland
4617 SE Milwaukie Ave.
Rose City Park School
2334 NE 57th Ave Portland, Or
West Sylvan Middle School
8111 SW West Slope Dr Portland, Or
What’s your family’s favorite day camp? Let us know in the comments below!
— Marianne Walters