Pretty Damn Cool Summer Camps for 2019


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If your childhood was anything like mine you spent the summer doing one of two things; Hanging out with your cousins at Grandma’s house or in a park district. Believe me, it was a great time. However, there are so many options that most parents don’t know where to start. Lucky you, the Insane Mama is going to make your decision a little easier. Here are our top eight summer camp picks for Chicago!


Flexible Camp

The Little Gym is providing flexible camp for many ages! The main requirement is that your child needs to be able to use the bathroom independently by him/herself. Whats pretty cool about this is it provides a camp option for kids as young as three years old. The only downside is that it is not an all day camp. It is a half day program. I would totally recommend this program for any little busy body you have at home.


Cooking Camp

For ages 4-7/ Lake view and Wicker Park

Calling all budding chefs! Join us this summer for some fun foodie adventures. In these 2-hour camps, kids get to chop, grate and roll their way to different delicious dishes each day,  and of course, enjoy their creations together at the end!

Part Day Cooking Camps are available in our Lakeview location for the weeks listed below. Looking for another week? Be sure to check out our Full Day Cook & Play Camps too!

Monday-Friday, 10:00am-12:00pm: $195/week
Mon/Wed/Fri, 10:00am-12:00pm: $130/week
Tue/Thu, 10:00am-12:00pm: $90/week

JUN 10 – 14
| Theme: Bake It Up!
JUL 1 – 5 | Theme: Noodle This
JUL 8 – 12 | Theme: Snack Attack
JUL 29 – AUG 2 | Theme: Art of Pizza
AUG 19 – 23 | Theme: Breakfast Bonanza
AUG 26 – 30 | Theme: Kid Classics


UN 10 – 14 | BAKE IT UP!

MON: Build-Your-Own Calzone & Lemon Bars
TUE: German Pancakes & Mini Cheddar Frittata
WED: BBQ Cauliflower Nuggets & Apple Crisp
THU: Baked Spaghetti & Snickerdoodle Cookies
FRI: Pizza Party & Cupcake Wars!


MON: Build-Your-Own Pasta Bowl & Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
TUE: Enchilada Lasagna & Dulce De Leche Sundaes
WED: Ramen & Chow Mein Haystacks
THU: No camp – Happy 4th!
FRI: Pizza Party & Cupcake Wars!


MON: Tomato Basil Bruschetta & Berry Oatmeal Bars
TUE: Mini Pitas with Hummus & Organic Dirt Cups
WED: Build-Your-Own Nachos & Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies
THU: Pretzel Bites & Fruit Kabobs with Honeyed Yogurt Dip
FRI: Pizza Party & Cupcake Wars!


MON: Deep Dish Pizza & Dessert Pizza
TUE: Mashed Potato Pizza & Chocolate Clusters
WED: Breakfast Pizza & Citrus Fruit Salad
THU: Popeye Pizza & Cinnamon Sugar Twists
FRI: Build-Your-Own Pizza Party & Cupcake Wars!


MON: Build-Your-Own Breakfast Sammies & Blueberry Muffins
TUE: Breakfast Tacos & Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread
WED: Biscuits n’ Gravy & Fruity Granola Parfaits
THU: Build-Your-Own Pancakes & Sunrise Smoothie
FRI: Pizza Party & Cupcake Wars!


MON: Baked Mac n’ Cheese & Build Your Own Cookies
TUE: Build-Your-Own Grilled Cheese & Fruit Kabobs with Chocolate Fondue
WED: Build-Your-Own Chili Bowls & Vanilla Bean Milkshakes
THU: Build-Your-Own Tacos & Brownie Sundaes
FRI: Pizza Party & Cupcake Wars!


Camp DJ

Master Mix Academy, 6701 S. Crandon Ave., Unit 10a. July 25-August 22, 10am-12pm. Ages 8-14. (773)501-6797

Camp DJ is exactly what it sounds like—a camp that teaches the art of DJing to Chicago-area youth. It teaches both traditional and technological approaches, including analog and digital sound perception. In addition to educating youth on how to use various technologies needed to DJ, the camp also focuses on hands-on exercises and practices, so students learn by doing. The camp will include a workshop on the “History of DJ” as well as one on how to use DJ audio equipment. The final focus of the camp is “DJ 101,” in which students learn how to use time signatures in music transition, cueing, and beat matching and BPMs. To “impact the community one DJ at a time,” Master Mix Academy has created a survey course for kids of how to create an art form that does not seem untouchable. (Lauren Poulson)

South Side Junior Tennis Camp
South Side Junior Tennis, 1362 E. 59th St. Saturdays, June 6-July 11 (Session 1) and July 18-August 15 (Session 2), 10am-11:45am. Ages 5-14.

Founded in 2011, the South Side Junior Tennis Camp offers an affordable introduction to tennis with an emphasis on sportsmanship, perseverance, and healthy living. All coaches have experience playing collegiate tennis, ensuring that each student receives one-on-one instruction focused on developing fundamental skills and basic stroke mechanics. This year the organization will offer two sessions of weekly Saturday classes, with three levels of instruction split between students aged ten and under, beginners aged eleven to fourteen, and advanced beginners aged eleven to fourteen. Class sessions will be one hour for students ten and under, and two hours for older students. Tennis rackets and other equipment will be provided, with junior sized rackets and courts available for younger participants. (Peter Gao)


Project SYNCERE Middle School Summer STEM Camp

Olive-Harvey College, 1001 S. Woodlawn Ave. June 26–August 4 in one-week sessions. Monday–Friday, 8:30am–4:30pm. Grades 6–8. $275/session, income-based discounts available. (773) 982-8261

Decode a self-driving car, design a house to survive extreme weather, and take on other engineering challenges in this project-based summer camp meant to inspire students about the possibilities of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Divided into separate weeklong sessions, each focuses on a specific real-world engineering problem, where students learn how math and science can be used to solve them. Project SYNCERE seeks to diversify the STEM fields through their inspirational and innovative curriculums. (David Struett)

IIT Computer Discovery Camp for Girls

IIT Main Campus, 10 W. 35th St. July 10–July 20. Monday–Thursday, 9am–2pm. Girls in grades 7–9. $75; limited number of need-based scholarships. Lunch provided. (312) 567-3025

This camp for middle-school girls will introduce attendees to the basics of computer science and robotics, teaching them skills in spatial visualization and problem solving. But it’s not all boring ones and zeroes—this year’s theme is “Dancing Queen.” Campers will get to make their own Lego robot and program it to dance. (Hafsa Razi)

Super Summer Sports Camp

UofC Henry Crown Fieldhouse, 5550 S. University Ave. and Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, 5530 S. Ellis Ave. June 12–August 14, Monday–Thursday, 8:30am–4:30pm; Friday, 8:30am-noon. Morning, afternoon, and full day sessions available. Grades K–8. Morning session starting at $265/week, afternoon session starting at $230/week, full day session $430/week. (773) 702-9065

For many children, summer fun means making new friends through the shared enjoyment of sports. In that spirit, the UofC Super Summer Sports Camp engages children of all ability levels, with the guidance of current UofC coaches and student athletes. Coaches stress team-building, self-awareness, and relationship building, and work to prevent teasing and bullying. Campers will learn how to play and compete in team sports like basketball, soccer and volleyball, and will work on individual skills in sports like tennis and archery. This camp also includes a traditional swim program, as well as outdoor water activity sessions. Campers should bring a bathing suit and sunscreen to each session. (Adia Robinson)



Newsroom @ Urban Prep Academy Englewood

Urban Prep Academy Englewood, 6201 S. Stewart Ave. July 5–August 10. Monday–Thursday, 10am–2pm. CPS grades 9–12 and class of 2017 graduates. Free, possibility of stipend. (312) 742-4182

Explore your interest in media and work with other teen photographers, writers, and journalists in a newsroom at Urban Prep Academy charter school in Englewood, in collaboration with After School Matters. The end result will be a collaborative blog published by the participants for teens in their communities and in the city. (Sam Stecklow)

photo credit: Frank Morrison (The Urban Jazz)

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