As spring emerges and the weather turns warmer, summer plans begin to take shape. You may picture warm, lazy days with relaxed schedules, but with public schools out for 10 weeks and some private schools even longer, kids get restless and parents need safe, reliable options to keep their kids occupied. Our area’s many summer camp programs provide a range of activities to keep children active and engaged all summer long.
If your child likes sports, area organizations offer fun sports variety camps or weeks dedicated to specific sports. Camps for soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, golf, archery, football, gymnastics and more let kids try a new sport without a big commitment or hone the skills they’ve already learned.
Not into sports? No problem. Other camps focus on the performing arts, nature, gaming, cooking, technology, math and many more, including traditional day camps with a variety of activities each day.
The Fairfax County Park Authority is the largest camp provider in Northern Virginia, offering more than 1,800 weeks of camps for preschoolers to teens. Other providers include the Reston Association, the YMCA in Reston, the McLean Community Center and George Mason University. In addition, many private schools offer summer camps such as Congressional Camp, located at the Congressional School in Falls Church, Chesterbrook Academy in Vienna, and Summer on the Hill at Flint Hill in Oakton.
If your child has a particular interest such as music or art, places such as Harmonia School of Music and Art, Levine Music and the Greater Reston Arts Center offer specialty camps throughout the summer. For math enthusiasts, Mathnasium in McLean holds summer math camps. For adventurous kids, there are camps that provide daily field trips to amusement parks, local attractions such as zoos or to go river tubing.
Camps may be half or full-day and typically last one week or two. Many camps provide before and after care for an extra fee so parents can maintain their work schedules without having to arrange for an additional caregiver. Some camps offer discounts for registering early or sibling discounts. If you don’t live in Reston or Fairfax County, you can still take advantage of their camp offerings, but nonresidents pay more than residents.
Working parents who don’t want to juggle different start times and drop-off locations throughout the summer can take advantage of programs like the ones at the private schools. Parents enroll for as many weeks of the program as they want, and kids participate in traditional day camps with a variety of activities each week. These locations offer specialty camps as well.
At Chesterbrook Academy, campers can take swimming lessons or participate in sports camps. Flint Hill’s camp offers options for STEM or sports camps. Congressional Camp has some of the most varied options, with specialty camps in farm-to-table cooking, drone racing, hula dancing and learning about the care, feeding and grooming of horses.
Older kids don’t always have as many camp choices as younger kids, but they can take advantage of programs that train them to be lifeguards, babysitters or camp counselors. The Fairfax County Park Authority, Reston Association and the YMCA, among others, offer these types of camps.
It’s not too early to start exploring summer camp options for your children. With all the choices available, you may need some extra time to decide how to fit in all the camps your kids want to attend.
Fairfax County Park Authority
Flint Hill School
George Mason Summer Camps
Greater Reston Arts Center
Harmonia School of Music & Art
Jumping Jack Sports
McLean Community Center
Summer Math Camp at Mathnasium of Vienna
YMCA Fairfax County Reston