Winter break is around the corner and we know how to make sure you have happy campers on your hands while school’s out! We’ve rounded up 13 winter break camps that will have your little elves making art, delving into science, riding horses, playing soccer, going surfing and so much more. Read on to learn about boredom-busting camps that will keep kids inspired and entertained.

Mini Camp in Scripps Ranch

Did someone say mini camps? We’re in. Campers in kindergarten through 8th grade fill their days with art, cooking and group games. Even more, you can add on activities including ice skating and Birch Aquarium to LEGO® classes and going to the movies.

Dates: Dec. 23, 26, 27 & 30; Jan. 2 & 3
Time: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Extended hours 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.)
Cost: Non-member $78/day; member $58/day; Add-ons additional cost.

Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club
875 Aviary Dr.
San Diego, CA 92131

San Diego Soccer Camp

Kick it out! Young athletes can burn energy and improve their soccer skills at this fun and engaging outdoor camp. Your young Messi or Rapinoe will improve his/her technical skills like dribbling, passing and receiving, shooting and finishing, speed, agility, defensive positioning and more. Kids will also play small and large sided games to further develop their skills in game situations while learning from expert coaches.

Date: Dec. 21-23
Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: $150 (Register before Dec. 1 and the price is $125.)

4S Ranch Community Park
16118 4S Ranch Pkwy
San Diego, CA 92127

Winter Surf Camp

Ride the wave this winter! Whether it’s a one-day or three-day camp you are looking for, surf's up. Teaching kids (5 and older) how to surf is the best way for your little grom to spend the holiday break. Also, they welcome beginners to advanced students who will learn the basics, etiquette, wave selection and ocean safety. So, sign up and hit the beach.

Dates: Dec. 16-20; Dec. 23-27
Time: 9 a.m.-Noon; 12:30-3 p.m. or 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: From $115-$315

San Diego Surf School
4850 Cass St.
San Diego, CA 92109

Liz Bolton Horse Camp

Horsing around is allowed at this camp where kids will go horseback riding and learn about horse anatomy, different breeds, plus how to properly care for and groom these elegant creatures. Campers range from ages 5-17 and no prior horse experience is needed.

Dates: Jan.7-11
Time: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., half-day; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., full-day
Cost: half-day, $250; full-day, $450

3390 Bridle Creek Ln.
San Marcos, CA 92069

Little Artists Winter Camp

If you have a little artist (grades K-3) who loves to paint and draw, then this camp is exactly what your blooming Picasso needs. With daily themes from nature to around the world, there are plenty of options to suit their tastes. What’s more, they get to explore the museum, which is super fun too!

Dates: Dec. 30 & 31; Jan. 2 & 3
Time: 9 a.m.-noon or 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: From $27-$30/half day; $63-$70/full day; $103-$270/week

Children’s Discovery Museum
320 N. Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025

Winter Critter Camp

A purr-fect camp for animal-lovers! Campers age preschool through 6th grade can play with the animals at the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Winter Critter Camp. Even more, create crafts and get your team spirit on with group activities. With camp offered in Dec. and Jan., there’s plenty of times to choose. Also, discover how animals adapt and survive winter, where they live, and how they move. Then, bonus time, explore the relationships that critters have with humans (you!).

Dates: Dec. 20, Dec. 23–27th (no camp 12/25), Dec. 30th—January 3 (no camp 1/1)
Time: Preschool 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; K-6th, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (Extended care is available.)
Cost: Preschool, $58/day; K-6th, $77/day

Helen Woodward Animal Center
6461 El Apajo Rd.
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067


The New Children’s Museum Camp

Whether kids drop in for the day day or sign up for a wonderful week, they’ll enjoy creative games and hands-on art activities at this cool museum designed especially for kids. Each day little campers create art based on the daily theme like Wearable Wonders, Street Art and Collaborative Creations. Campers are divided into two groups: pre-K & K and grades 1-6.

Dates: Dec. 23, 26, 27, 30, 31; Jan. 2 & 3
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Non-member, $70/day & $179-$202/week; member, $79/day & $170-$268/week

The New Children’s Museum
200 West Island Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101

Camp Fire Camp CaHiTo

The sparks will fly during the winter camps offered at Camp Fire. Nestled in the paths of Balboa Park, campers enjoy activities ranging from archery, hiking, low ropes challenge courses, fort building, nature crafts and much more. Camp Fire’s goal is to provide kids with the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice and discover who they are through outdoor games, songs, and self-growth skills. Campers are divided into the following age groups: ages 5-7, ages 8-10, ages 11-13 and 9th-12th grade.

Dates: Dec. 16-20; Dec. 23-27; Dec. 30-Jan. 3
Time: Varies, see website.
Cost: $90-$360 (From one day to four days). note: Campers must be a Camp Fire SD member for $25.

Camp CaHiTo
3101 Balboa Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101

Science Camps

Young Einsteins, rejoice! The Fleet Science Center has two weeks of winter camp on offer from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Curious scientists in grades 1-3 will experience an array of educational, hands-on activities like making their own flying device in So You Think You Can Fly or make mechanical toys in Toys in Motion. Kids in grades 4-8 will hone their computer science and technology skills with with coding and have a game jam. Fun and educational!

Dates: Dec. 23, 26, 27, 30 & 31; Jan. 2 &3
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Non-members: Grades 1-3, $65/day, members $60/day; Grades 4-6, non-members $75/day, members $70/day

Fleet Science Center
1875 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101

Nature Camp at The Nat

From discovering more about dinosaurs to learning about wacky animal behaviors, engaging, fascinating single-day camp themes will keep kids in grades 1-5 enthralled and learning something new. Register for one or all of the days offered in the week. Your young scientists will be wowed by their new understanding and appreciation for the magnificence of nature.

Dates: Dec. 26-28; Jan. 2-4
9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Extended care is available)
 $64/non-members; $59/members

San Diego Natural History Museum
1788 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Junior Theater 

All the world’s a stage for your rising star when they take part in this imaginative drama camp. Kids will learn music, games, dance and acting skills while attending four classes each day: voice, acting, dance/movement and a theater specialty topic. Campers get to put their skills on display at an end of camp performance for family and friends!

Dates: Dec. 23-Jan. 10
Time: 9 a.m.-3 p.m, Mon.-Fri. (Extended care is available from 3-5 p.m.)
Cost: From $180-$250/week

Casa del Prado Theatre
1600 Village Pl.
Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92101

Art & Music Combo Camps

These art and music combo camps will wow creative kids. At the Monart Drawing camp, kids will draw and use other art mediums to make holiday animals and snowy landscapes. On the other hand, the Holiday Rockers camp enables kids to play musical instruments like the piano, drums or ukulele. There are two age groups from ages 4-7 and ages 8-12. Sign up quickly as this camp is filling up fast!

Dates: Camp 1, Dec. 26 & 27; Camp 2, Jan. 2 & 3
Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: $165/camp

Point Loma Neighborhood
2590 Truxtun Rd., Ste. 204
Building 176
San Diego, CA 92106

Bach To Rock Winter Break Camps

Whether you have a budding rock star or an intermediate band player (for kids 7+) this local Encinitas camp will be singing their tune. Your musical camper will learn to play and appreciate music at a whole new level. There are several different camp options from half to full days and from 'Glee Club' to 'Beat Refinery DJ Camp.' Rock on!

Dates: Jan. 2 & 3; Jan. 6-10
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Varies, see website

282 N. El Camino Real, Ste. C
Encinitas, CA 92024

––Beth Shea & Nikki Walsh


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