By Betsy Natter
School is out and kids are ready for summer fun. It is often a challenge for parents to fill their childrens’ long summer days with activities that keep them active, learning and engaged with others instead of absorbed with the TV or electronic devices. And while Montgomery County is filled with dozens of opportunities for traditional overnight and day camps, VBS programs, sports and tech camps, and free county library programs, we’ve highlighted six unique camp programs to pique your interest to perhaps try something different this summer.
The Young Creatives – Towne Book Center & Café
220 Plaza Drive, Suite B-3, Collegeville, PA 19426
If your junior or senior high age student loves to read, write, ponder and simply be creative they will find their “happy place” at The Young Creatives meetings at the Towne Book Center and Café. Meeting Tuesday evenings from 5-7 pm beginning June 13 – August 5th, the group and a staff facilitator will focus on a different theme each week and explore ideas via art, writing, reading, journaling and discussion. Themes include FANDOMS – celebrating human connections through pop culture, MAGICAL & FANTASTICAL WORLDS – what makes something magical, and MASHUPS – classic stories retold in unexpected ways. Three of the sessions will be followed by a meeting of the YA Book Club, discussing the book selection for the month. Each session costs $5 and participants should bring their own creative writing/drawing mediums and a journal. See the bookstore’s website for a complete listing of meeting dates and topics as well as YA Book Club titles.
Colonial History Experiences – Peter Wentz Farmstead
2030 Shearer Road Lansdale, PA 19446
Your children can step back in time this summer and experience life on a farm during the colonial period of America at the Peter Wentz Farmstead in Worcester. “Colonial Camp” runs from June 26-30th and is for children entering grades 4-6th, offering a full day of early American crafts and activities. Half day programs for the younger ones include “Mitte Camp” for students entering grades 1-3, running from July 10-14th and “Wentz Kids Wonder Camp” for 4 and 5-year-olds, running from July 24-28th. The Farmstead is one of Montgomery County’s preserved historic sites, with the farm buildings, livestock, and kitchen garden depicting early Pennsylvania German farming culture and practices in the region. Visit the farm’s website for registration forms and details.
Spanish Immersion Camp – Spanish Workshop for Children
St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, 750 Skippack Pk., Blue Bell, PA 19422
Challenge your kids with learning a new language this summer. Spanish Workshop for Children offers an interactive, immersive program that allows children to learn a new language in the same way native speakers learn. The activities include playgroup lessons, games, water games, movement, sports, culture, art & crafts, drama and music. Camp runs from June 19 through July 14th for ages 31/2 through 9 years-old. A toddler program is also available for children ages 15 – 36 months. For more information or to register online click here.
Culinary Arts Camp – The Culinary Arts Institute
Montgomery County Community College
1400 Forty Foot Road, Lansdale, PA 19446
Aspiring chefs will love the opportunity to work in the professional kitchens of the Culinary Arts Institute during a variety of camps teaching skills ranging from learning the basics of cooking or baking to expanding their horizons with regional American or international dishes. Participants will learn everything from how to properly handle a knife to preparing cream puffs or the cuisine of the Caribbean. Courses are for cooks ages 10-14 and ages 14-17. See the school’s website for a complete description of camp offerings as well as dates, times and online registration.
Orchard Explorers – Weaver’s Orchard
40 Fruit Lane, Morgantown, PA 19543
If you want to know and see firsthand where your family’s food comes from and how it grows then this is the place for you. More of a parent/child workshop, Orchard Explorers is a summer-long program taking visitors through the orchard and all the behind the scenes processes and practices of planting, pruning and harvesting fruits. The brand new program is offered every Tuesday morning from 9-11:30 am and is geared toward ages 7-10. Some topics include grafting, pollination and bees, irrigation, harvesting crops and a chance to cook with some of the end products! Each week, a new fruit will be featured as crops ripen and are ready for picking. Weaver’s Orchard is less than an hour’s drive from many Montco communities and offers lots to do in addition to the workshop. Pick-your-own fruit is available throughout the summer as well as a fresh farm market featuring homemade baked goods, a garden center and an ice cream stand. Click here for the workshop schedule and registration information.
Farm Camp – Fun-E-Farm Too
3488 Church Rd., Gilbertsville, PA, 19525
Kids will experience life on an active farm when they attend camp at Fun-E-Farm for either full or half day programs. “Farm Fun” teaches children how to care for farm animals as they participate in themed activities and “Horsing Around” offers age-based programs that includes riding and horse care and an opportunity to learn about these wonderful animals in a safe, instructive environment. Riding lessons and activities will be tailored to each rider’s skill level. Programs are offered for ages 4-8, 9-12 and age 13 and over. A special “clinic week” will provide teens with a chance to learn horsemanship and how to start a young horse under saddle. Visit the farm’s website for more details on the camps, schedules and pricing.