16 Super Summer Camps
From coding, cooking and theater to fun in the great outdoors, these camps are sure to inspire smiles. Register now before they fill up.
It may only be January, but summer camps fill up fast in this town, and some have already opened for registration. Trying to get a handle on the vast array of options in and around Arlington? Here are more than a dozen day camps where kids from tots to teens can thrive.
Registration open: March 1
Choose from three behind-the-scenes camps for teens at this local nonprofit, which has provided media training and facilities to the community for more than 40 years. AIM’s Field Production camp teaches participants how to gather footage for unique video projects using professional-quality equipment. The Non-Linear Editing camp then guides campers through the process of editing their films, including how-to instruction centering on music and graphics. In the Studio Production camp, participants will produce an interview-format program featuring work from the prior two camps, all of which will be unveiled at an end-of-summer premiere. Want to do it all? Teen producers may register for each camp separately or all three. // 2701 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Ages 14-18; July 10-Aug. 18; $600 per week. Camp hours 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Registration open: Mid-to-late March
Arlington Parks and Recreation offers a wide variety of summer camps with themes such as visual and performing arts, cooking and wellness, nature and history, and sports. Fee reductions are available for those who qualify. Click here to sign up to receive a catalog once it’s released in February. // Locations vary. Ages 3-21; June 20-Aug. 25; $58-$1100 per program. Camp hours vary.
Registration open: Jan. 20
This arts center on Langston Boulevard offers several visual arts camps for the elementary and tween set. Offerings include Arts and Crafts of the Americas, Fiber Arts, Asian-Pacific Arts and Crafts and a food-meets-art camp titled Calling All Foodies and Artists. Want a full-day experience? Campers can participate in morning and afternoon camp, with a supervised lunch from home in between. // 5537 Langston Blvd., Arlington. Ages 5-11; $395 per week per morning or afternoon camp. Camp hours 9 a.m.-noon for morning camps and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. for afternoon camps.
Registration open: Dec. 28
A Best of Arlington winner (STEM Camp), Boolean Girl offers camps for girls and nonbinary children ages 7+ who are interested in coding and engineering. Each camp is led by women who are college-level, STEM students from schools across the country. The weekly sessions explore topics such as Code Your Own Adventure, Introducing Artificial Intelligence and Microbit Robotics. Scholarships are available for campers who need financial assistance. //Marymount University-Ballston Center, 1000 N. Glebe Road, Arlington. Ages 7-13; June 18-Aug. 18; $399 per week. Camp hours 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration now open
This social skills camp from Progressive Pediatric Therapy allows children with special needs to practice fine motor, gross motor and sensory-processing skills in the pool and on dry land, led by an occupational therapist and physical therapist. Visit the clinic website for more information on this and their other camps. // Chinquapin Recreation Center, 3210 King St., Alexandria. Ages 4-10; July 17-21; $1800 for the week. Camp hours 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Registration open: Jan. 2
This local camp got its start 10 years ago when brothers Jake and Brody Karton, who loved playing outside in their Barcroft neighborhood, were asked to create a week-long camp for their community. Originally called Camp SCAM (Sports, Crafts And Memories), the rebranded Camp Sarraka is still all about being outside. A typical day includes outdoor sports (such as Capture the Flag and street hockey), arts and crafts (painting, T-shirt decorating) and other fun activities. (We’re told there may be a few lip-sync battles.) For children who need financial assistance, the brothers have also formed a nonprofit that provides scholarships. // Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 4444 Arlington Blvd., Arlington. (Pickup and drop-off location) Ages 5-12; June 21-Sept. 1; $435 per week. Camp hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with half-day options available, as well as extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: Jan. 20
Since 1940, Congressional Camp (a.k.a. “Congo Camp”) has offered local kids a host of outdoor summer adventures. Its primary campus now spans 40 acres in Falls Church and is home to horses, ponies, a creek, pools, ropes courses, a 40-foot climbing tower and an archery range. A variety of weeklong day camps, travel camps, specialty camps (Outdoor Adventures, Robotics and Coasters, Star Lab) and academic enrichment programs are available. // Three locations in Arlington and Falls Church. Ages 4-14; June 12-Aug. 18; $690 per week. Camp hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: Feb. 1
Looking for a way to reduce your workload in the kitchen? Or solve the riddle of a picky eater by broadening their food horizons? Put the kids to work with this culinary summer camp in Ballston. Children from kindergarten through high school can tie on an apron and participate in an array of cooking programs, from Baking Boot Camp to Around the World Cuisine. Each camper will prepare “adult-level” recipes and bring home what they don’t eat in class. //4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Ages 5-17; Dates June 19-Aug. 25; Pricing details to be announced. Camp hours 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for morning camps and 1:30-5 p.m. for afternoon camps.
Registration open: Jan. 16
Kids ranging from pre-K through 12th-grade can find their muse in some 28 different camps staged by this Arlington-based arts education organization, including Richard III: A Shakespeare Camp, Page to Stage (a playwrighting camp) and Fairytales: Happily Never After. Theater professionals lead the workshops, which culminate in a performance for family and friends. Fee reductions and scholarships are available for campers needing financial assistance. //Locations vary. Ages 3-18; Dates Jan. 16-Aug. 15; $385 per week. Camp hours 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with half-day options available, as well as extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: Dec. 17
Whether your children are tots or teens, there’s a performance opportunity for them with Encore this summer. Camps for kids ages 3-5 focus on movement, music, storytelling and crafts. Early elementary-age campers can participate in weeklong adventures such as Gnomes, Nymphs and Fairies; the Wizarding World of Encore; and Broadway Kids: Disney. There’s also a host of camps for tweens and teens, including Modern Day Myths and the Stage Door and Tech Camp, which explores the many facets of staging a production, from stage combat to makeup design to the rehearsal process. Fee reductions and scholarships are available for campers who need financial assistance. //Locations vary. Ages 3-15; Dates June 20-Aug. 25; $265-$1,175 per program. Camp hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: Feb. 8
Each week at this day camp features a different theme, from “Going Green” to “Decades” (we expect the daily attire to be entertaining for that one). Campers at the KC spend plenty of time playing sports, working on arts and crafts and swimming at the site’s multiple outdoor pools. //5115 Little Falls Road, Arlington. Dates June 12-Aug. 11; $328-$410 per week. Camp hours 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: Early February
Artsy campers ages 5-18 will find many ways to get creative at this recently renamed arts center in Virginia Square. Find more than 50 camps that explore art history and teach methods for crafting original two-dimensional and 3D works. Register for MoCA’s mailing list to see the 2023 offerings once they’re announced. Tuition assistance is available. // MoCA Arlington and MoCA Arlington at Marymount University. Ages 5-18; June 19-Aug. 18; $270-$640 per camp. Camp hours vary with location and extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: End of February
Looking for a camp where kiddos can blow off steam and get all that excess energy out of their systems? This active camp off Columbia Pike promises just that, providing campers with classes in mixed martial arts, arts and crafts, and four field trips per week, with outings to places like Roer’s Zoofari and the International Spy Museum. Plus, they’ll be learning school-ready skills such as “respect, discipline and self-control.” //1041 S. Edgewood St., Arlington. Ages 5-11; Dates June 26-Aug. 25; $590 per week. Camp hours 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Registration open: Jan. 12
For more than a half-century, Summer at Potomac has offered children an array of camp experiences on the 90-plus acres of The Potomac School campus in McLean. Surrounded by streams and nature trails, rising kindergarteners thru 10th-graders can take advantage of weeklong and multiweek camps such as Discovery Camp, Fashion and Machine Sewing, and Flag Football. //1301 Potomac School Road, McLean. Ages 5-16; Dates June 20-Aug. 4; $295-$2000 per program. Camp hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: Dec. 1
Now in its 40th year, this summer camp pairs technology enrichment with athletic activities, allowing campers to get a full day for their brains and their bodies. Tech offerings include Robotics, Minecraft Modding and Filmmaking. During the other half of each day, campers can explore a variety of sports or opt for alternative enrichment such as Chess or Drama at an additional cost. //Various locations. Ages 7-15; Dates June 20-Aug. 11; $1050-$1130 per two-week session. Camp hours 8 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended hours available at an additional cost.
Registration open: Dec. 28
There is no shortage of specialty camps, travel camps and sports camps with the YMCA Arlington Summer Camp. Take your pick of themes like Under the Big Top, Goop and Magical Solutions, Destination D.C. and Sports Festival. The nonprofit also offers a weeklong leadership training camp for counselors in training, who can then assist with other camps this summer. And if you need financial aid to help send your kid to camp, or want to help a child in your community, the YMCA also has a camp scholarship fund. //Locations vary. Ages 5-15; Dates June 20-Aug. 18; $235-$435 per week. Camp hours 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with extended hours available at an additional cost.