There are moms who carefully stake out their children’s summer enrichment camps, wake at 5am to beat the registration rush, and have it all loaded onto the family calendar before the kids have even gotten bored of their Christmas or Hannukah presents.
And then there’s the rest of us: so caught up in the daily frenzy of navigating school lunches, dinners, playdates and meltdowns that the summer break hits us like a stealth ninja attack.
Well, here are some counter-punches to throw: summer camps in Vancouver that float beneath the radar and still have spots available. You’re welcome!
Cliffhanger’s Kidrock Summer Camp
Got kids that literally climb the walls? A week of Kidrock Summer Camp, which runs mornings at this indoor climbing gym, will have them doing it in a safe, supervised environment. Open to ages nine to 16, the camp still has room available in a number of weeks. No special equipment is necessary—comfy clothes and the will to defy gravity will suffice. Cost is $225 per child.
Colourstrings Music Conservatory
A music conservatory that uses an acclaimed Finnish teaching method to instruct music students from infants to adult, Colourstrings is offering a variety of camps for preschoolers up to ten-year-olds. Some weeks are full, but space still remains in the ukelele and guitar camps running mornings in August, as well as their World Explorer afternoons that combine music, games, movement and drama. Lunch supervision is available for an extra $10, or free if you sign the kids up for full days by combining programs. Costs run from $120 to $154, depending on program.
If it’s flexibility you’re after, Jump Gymnastics offers that both literally and figuratively. If your kids are between six and eight years old within this calendar year, you can sign them up for full weeks or single days at either Jump Gymnastic’s Yaletown or North Vancouver location. They’ll participate in a well-rounded variety of activities, from time in the gym to crafts, stories, and time outdoors. Every day, which runs 9am to 3pm, explores a different theme, such as dinosaurs, transportation, or cooking. Costs are $73 per single day, or $340 per five-day week.
Learn & Play Ball Academy
(Formerly known as All Stars Baseball) With baseball season well under way at the Nat Bailey Stadium, you can ride your kids’ enthusiasm for the sport all the way to Hillcrest Park, where this baseball camp operates just meters from the Canadians’ home stadium. Kids aged six to 13 get coached in fundamental skills and techniques, with options from half-day to full-day weeks ($150/half day, $250/full day; plus $25 registration/uniform fee), or daily drop-ins ($40/half-day, $60/full-day). Extended care is available for $5/half hour. Kids four to six can also take part in a half-day foundations program, which makes it a great option for multi-age siblings.
From sailing to beach soccer for ages five up to 18, this camp, in the heart of Jericho, provides the ultimate summer experience in half days or full days (9am to 4pm). Kids will spend their time on the water, the beach, or both, depending on the program. Costs aren’t insignificant at $225/half day to $405/full day per week, but sometimes you just can’t put a price on your sanity.
Pear Tree Education
A private education centre and school based in Kitsilano, Pear Tree Education offers summer camp options for kids aged five to 10 out of three locations: Kitsilano, East Vancouver, and Burnaby. Each week explores a different theme, from arts and crafts to science and nature, taught by school teachers. Cost is $240 per week, with extended care available ($15 for before; $20 for after; $25 for both). If you can fork over another $65, they’ll also provide your child with a healthy morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack.
UBC Summer Camps
It may be a bit of a trek if you don’t live near the campus, but UBC has a host of summer camps for kids of all stripes, from the nature lover to the pint-sized Picasso to the budding engineer. Their half-day camps are grouped into Adventure, Arts and Music, Enrichment, Sports and Recreation. You have the option to combine half-days to create full-day camps, with before- and after-care available. The options are too many to list here, but registration is open for a number of choices, for kids from preschool age all the way to high school. Costs vary depending on age, week, and length of day.
Photo: Kidrock Summer Camps