Save the drama for your mama? No need. Now’s the perfect time to sign up those spirited children of yours for a summer camp that pushes the realm of reality – from high shenanigans clown training to aerial arts circus acts to “let’s play pioneer.” We know summer’s short and camps are a ‘plenty. Here are a few oddballs that’ll have you and your kiddos reenacting their experiences the rest of the year.

SANCA's Circus Camp

Circus Camp
Run by SANCA (The School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts) in South Seattle, circus day camps (for children ages 6 and up) include acrobatics, juggling, tight wire, trampoline and even a flying trapeze! Think gymnastic camp, only crazier, with kids and balls flying through the air. Before you get all freaked out about safety, know that they have a staff to student ratio of 8:1 (so you can rest easy when you’re kid literally runs off to the circus).

SANCA Circus Camp
674 S. Orcas Street
Seattle, Wa
206-652-4433
Online: sancaseattle.org

Laura Ingalls Wilder Camp
Little House on the hill in North Seattle! Perfect for the Little House-obsessed, anyone reminiscent for simpler times, or kids who could use a good old-fashioned detox from everything e-oriented in the modern world. Activities include “Ma’s chores” like quilt making, cooking authentic pioneer recipes (corn mush or vinegar pie, anyone?), churning butter, doing laundry by hand, and more sewing. This camp is geared towards girls ages 6 and up (younger campers can attend if they can sew in a straight line) and is held in the camp director’s home in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Northeast Seattle. Pioneer dress-up clothes are provided at camp.

Pioneer Camp for Girls
206-526-1373
online: pioneergirlsummercamp.com

Ferries, Trolls & Fairies: StoryStage on Vashon Island
Under normal circumstances you wouldn’t venture all the way to a rustic and artsy-fartsy island just so your kiddos can attend a drama day camp…but life is short and so is the ferry ride. Vashon Allied Arts offers a range of creative camps for kids this summer including arts, ceramics, pirates and more. StoryStage popped out at us because it’s basically an improv camp for preschoolers. Kiddos will “explore various archetypes” (like heroes, villains, animals, dragons and of course princesses), experiment with role-play and generate a collaborative performance that the kids make up themselves. Insider tip: stay over for July 4th and join the locals for an island-style celebration, complete with impromptu picnicking at the Country Club and fireworks put on by the Hardware Store.

Blue Heron Arts Center
19704 Vashon Hwy Southwest
Vashon, Wa
206-463-5131
Online: vashonalliedarts.org/documents/classes.pdf

Clown Camp at Camp Zinzanni
Remember that line in the opening Portlandia montage when Carrie says, “I gave up clowning years ago”? Here’s a way to keep your dream of the 90s alive in Seattle by sending your kids to clown camp. Perhaps you weren’t aware that slapstick is a basic skill that can be taught (and learned). Or, that silly clown routines can actually help kids with hand/eye coordination and body awareness. Appropriate for kids ages 5 – 8, junior clown camp also includes circus-related arts and crafts, clown makeup and costumes. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Teatro Zinzanni
222 Mercer Street
Seattle, Wa
206-802-0011
Online: zica.zinzanni.org/camp-seattle/

Steam Punk Camp
C’mon, why didn’t they have these kinds of camps when we were kids?! Check this out: Time travel, futuristic cowboys, Victorian robotics, steam engines, and spaceflight. Spaceflight? Oh, right, it’s a fantasy camp. Kids will have fun mixing past with future at Steam Town, geared towards ages 4 – 7. Note: Moon Paper Tent camps tend to fill up fast so get on this one before the train leaves the station.

Moon Paper Tent
918 NE 64th Street
Seattle Wa
206-708-6741
Online: moonpapertent.org

–Allison Ellis