My kids love LEGOs, so naturally we're big fans of Play-Well, the amazing LEGO activity center in San Anselmo. Play-Well operates on the belief that kids learn best through play, and their activity center is a fantastic place for children to explore, problem solve, and create through the world of LEGO. My kids always have so much fun here they don't even realize they're learning about engineering!
Play-Well will be holding a free preview of their summer camp offerings on Sunday, June 16, from 1–5 pm. This summer, kids have the opportunity to create with more LEGO than they know what to do with. With access to over 100,000 pieces of LEGO, they can tinker, experiment, invent, and explore engineering in a fun safe atmosphere through play.
During the preview you can:
Get a tour of Play-Well Marin and find out about their workshops, camps, and parties (their birthday parties are fantastic!)
Enter the LEGO BattleTrack Challenge and participate in other fun LEGO games
Allow your child to explore his or her creativity this summer by attending an art camp! Art camps are offered in a variety of locations through a variety of providers throughout Marin County this summer, and present the opportunity for children to experiment with a variety of artistic themes and media. Here are a few of our picks:
Art Reactor The Image Flow, Mill Valley
Art Reactor offers a summer digital art camps for kids entering 4th–12th grades. Explore many ways to create artwork using digital tools! Learn to use a digital tablet to draw and paint in the computer, learn to draw using vector based tools, create simple 2D animation, sculpt using virtual clay, and manipulate digital images. The cost is $250–$475 depending on the class per week. For more info, visit their website.
de Young Museum
Spend your summer making art at the de Young! Summer art classes for children ages 5–14 are taught by professional artist-teachers.The five-day sessions run Monday through Friday from 9 am-3 pm; classes are June 17 through August 9. Classes include explorations of the museum’s galleries, adventures in Golden Gate Park, and visual and performing art activities. An optional Open Studio from 3 to 5:30 pm allows for less-structured time in the studio classrooms. A supervised lunch period is provided for all campers. Campers must bring their own lunch. For more info, visit their website.
Doodlebug is offering a summer camps for ages 3–15 from June 17-August 23. Each week try a variety of different projects—from building things from clay to painting fabric and canvas. You'll use all sorts of materials from glitter and glue to paint and paper. Some of this year's themes include Summer Art Adventures, Clay on the Wheel and Off, Sewing on the Machine and Off, and Mosaics and Mixed Media. Prices rage from $90–$195. For more info, visit their website.
This summer, San Rafael's Country Club Bowl will be participating in Kids Bowl Free, a summer activity program where any child aged 18 and under can bowl two free games a day! There's no catch to Kids Bowl Free—all you do is register online, and you'll receive a weekly printable coupon that allows your children to bowl for free. Kids Bowl Free was created as a way to give back to the community and offer a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this summer.
Kids Bowl Free also helps local teachers with their classroom costs—elementary and middle school teachers can apply for grants to help offset the cost of classroom supplies. For more information, visit www.kidsbowlfree.com.
Kids Bowl Free times at Country Club Bowl are Monday and Tuesday from 11 am–7 pm, Wednesday–Friday 10 am–7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am–1 pm, May 6–September 1. All participants must wear bowling shoes (bring your own or rent them at the bowling alley), and the family pass coupon is not good for daycare, business, or club outings, birthday parties, or league and tournament play.
Do you have a budding Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, or John Grisham at home? If your child or teen loves to write, check out these fun summer writing workshops.
Through interactive games and activities, young writers learn to wow readers with exciting scenes, compelling dialogue, and active language that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Then, they write original short stories that are published in a professional-style class anthology.
Whatever your young writer’s level, these workshops will help ramp up their skills so they can impress their teachers in the fall. In the end, they’re proud of the published book they can show off to family and friends. This camp is run by Brenda Zahn, a professional writer/journalist with 20 years of experience.
Workshops are for kids ages 8 and up (and teens, too!), and are held at Northbay ArtWorks in Novato. The cost is $110 per session. Two sessions are offered: June 24–27 and July 22–25. Sessions take place Monday–Thursday from 10 am–noon. For more information or to register, contact Brenda Zahn at email@example.com or (415) 893-0426 or visit the Young Writer's Workshop Facebook page.
Still looking for a fun camp for your kids this summer? Novato's Rolling Hills Club has been a favorite spot for summer fun for many Marin families for decades, and this season the club offers a full program of exciting and active summer camps for kids ranging in age from 3 to 13.
Nestled at the foot of Mt. Burdell, the club's seven-acre campus features two outdoor swimming pools, 12 tennis courts, two racquetball courts, an outdoor sports court, an outdoor playground, grassy fields for outdoor play, and more—making it the perfect place for the perfect summer experience.
Summer camps at Rolling Hills Club for 2013 include:
Sports & Splash Camp for ages 5–12, features fun weekly themes like "Magical Mayhem," "Super Heroes," and "Weird & Wacky Science." Campers will join teams and play basketball, tennis, soccer, and more—and of course swimming, in the form of free swim or group lessons, is offered every day, too. Weekly sessions run from June 17–August 16, Monday–Friday, 9 am–4 pm. Cost is $250 members/$300 guests per week, or $55/$65 per day for drop-in registrations. Extended care is available from 8:30–9 am ($3 per day) and 4–6 pm ($5 per day).
Kids get a hands-on experience with a variety of animals with the Marin Humane Society's 2013 Animal Care Summer Camps.These popular camps teach children important skills in animal handling, care, and welfare.
Children from grades 1 through 6 can attend Junior Animal Camp, Animal Care Camp, and Senior Animal Care Camp, where activities include animal-centered arts and crafts, games and activities, an introduction to careers involving animals, and the MHS's Animal Ambassadors. Older children in grades 7 through 12 can attend Advanced Animal Care Camp where teens will experience the daily work at an animal shelter. They will learn about animal related careers, animal care and behavior, and animal welfare. Daily hands-on experience with shelter and volunteer animals.
Junior Animal Camp (entering grades 1 or 2 in fall 2013) has two one-week sessions starting June 24 and July 22. Camp hours are 9 am to 1 pm and registration is $200. Animal Care Camp (entering grades 3 or 4 in fall 2013) has four sessions starting June 17, July 8, July 29 and August 12 and runs from 9 am to 3 pm; registration fee is $285. Senior Animal Care Camp (entering grades 5 or 6 in fall 2013) has two sessions starting July 15 and August 5, and runs 9 am to 3 pm; registration is $285.
If you're trying to make a decision on the perfect summer camp for your kids, don't miss this Saturday's Marin Camp Fair, which takes place March 9 from 11 am-2 pm at Conlan Center Gymnasium at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael. There will be pizza, snacks, and a bounce house for the kids while parents visit representatives from over 100 local summer camps.
If you want to explore a variety of camps in one location, this is your best bet. I attended last year and it was fantastic. I brought my kids and they got a chance to discover some new camps and talk with camp representatives.
Nearly every local day camp for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students will be represented, as well as several of the most popular sleep-away camps throughout California. The Marin Camp Fair is a community event managed by the Dominican University athletic department and Camp Doodles.
The fair is a free event and takes place from 11 am to 2 pm. Conlan Center Gymnasium is located at 1475 Grand Avenue. For more information, visit www.MarinCampFair.com.
If you haven't been to the PlayLand indoor bounce house experience in the MLK Gym in Sausalito, it's definitely worth a visit, especially if it's rainy or cold and you can't play outside. PlayLand is a full-sized gymnasium full of inflatable bounce houses, including a 40-by-20-foot sports arena, a 15-foot slide, a bounce house with basketball hoop, and a toddler bounce zone.
My kids always have a blast playing here—sliding, jumping, bouncing, and playing games in a warm, safe, indoor environment. PlayLand was started by Marin dad Jeremy Williams, who also runs Mt. Tam Adventure Camps. He's often on site with several coaches who make sure that everyone has fun. During our last visit, a coach was making balloon animals for the kids, and there was even a remote controlled flying giant clownfish roaming the room. It's a fun and cool place to play in Marin.
This summer, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito offers a variety of exciting summer Discovery Camps for children ages 3 to 8. Weekly camps start June 3 and run through August 23. Kids can sign up for a different camp each week and enjoy guided exploration and open-ended creative play. The museum's experienced educators and camp counselors will be on hand to help provide direction and guidance for the campers.
The museum's 2013 camps include an expanded Big Discovery Camp for three-year-olds, an afternoon Summer Camp Sampler featuring some of the most popular camp themes, and a multiple week discount—get an extra $25 off when you sign up for four weeks, $50 off or five weeks, $75 off for six weeks, and $100 off for seven or more weeks.