Best summer camps for kids

From computers to sports, adventure activities and entrepreneurial endeavours, camps in Canada have kids' interests covered. PeopleImages

To kids, summer represents freedom from homework and the shackles of scheduled activities — and unlimited time to chill out and inevitably complain of boredom. That’s why summer camp, whether a one-week stay or a full two-month stint, is a salve for both apathetic kids and their parents who have likely run out of ideas to keep them entertained.

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Whether your child is a sports fanatic, a programmer in the making or an artistic soul, there’s a camp for them full of enriching experiences far from video games and cellphone screens. We’ve compiled a list of summer camps across the country that will have kids covered from the first swim to the last dance.

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For adventure seekers

Northwaters & Langskib Wilderness Programs: Spend your days canoeing through Ontario’s majestic Temagami Wilderness. The beautiful and rugged countryside inspires boys and girls to commune with nature while learning valuable lessons about the principles of awareness, freedom and trust, as well as native philosophies.

Camp Summit: An overnight camp for kids aged four to 17, Camp Summit, located among the impressive mountains of Squamish, B.C., offers a two-week adventure challenge program for girls and boys 10 to 15. Activities include swimming, canoeing, archery, climbing and biking, and there’s a Choose Your Own Adventure component that allows campers to zip-line in Whistler, go white-water rafting in the Squamish River or kayak along Howe Sound.

Alberta Pioneer Camp: Overnight and day camp options abound for kids of all ages at this Christian-affiliated camp. Kids can choose from a variety of adventure activities, including horseback riding, bouldering, rock climbing and camping.

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For young artists

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Centauri Arts: An artistic camp in Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, this facility offers over 40 programs to kids aged eight to 18, including theatre, stage combat, dance, fine art, writing, music, film and television production. Teens also have the option to go on a one-week cultural tour of England.

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Royal Winnipeg Ballet Summer programs: One of Canada’s leading ballet companies, the RWB offers a variety of professional and recreational dance programs ranging from classical ballet to jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop. There’s also a residence for out-of-towners under the age of 18.

Active Minds Theatre Camps: At the University of Northern British Columbia, this camp introduces kids to all aspects of producing a theatrical show, including prop building, set design, lighting, acting, directing and playwriting. The two-week programs end with a presentation of the campers’ play.

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For future rock stars

Toronto Music Camp: If your kid is between the ages of eight and 16, and has one year of playing and learning guitar, bass, sax, keyboards, drums or voice under their belt, this is the camp for them. Little rockers will do everything from write music and play with a rock band to star in a music video and perform live at one of several local venues.

Girls Rock Camp: The week-long program at this revolutionary camp involves teaching girls, trans and gender non-conforming kids aged eight to 16 (ages vary for each location) music and performance basics, as well as self-esteem, empowerment and the importance of social justice. They’ll write music, form a band and perform live at the end of the program. There are Girls Rock Camp locations across Canada, including Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Yukon.

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For sports fanatics

Ranch Massawippi: An all-French camp in Quebec that immerses kids in the language, this is the ideal experience for equestrian-loving kids who are looking to perfect their French language skills. They’ll engage in a variety of activities like equine techniques, stable management and equestrian games, as well as more traditional camp pursuits like canoeing, rafting, zip-lining and trail biking.

Sports Camps Canada: Offering a variety of day and overnight camps across the country, this Nike-affiliated organization gives kids the chance to hone their skills in their sport of choice. Choose from camps including tennis, basketball, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, running, volleyball or multi-sport.

Camp-Ak-O-Mak: This all-girls sports camp situated on Ahmic Lake in Ontario’s Parry Sound region is completely “un-plugged” and prohibits all digital devices. Campers aged seven to 16 will hone their competitive skills in swimming, open water swimming, triathlon and sprint canoe/kayak racing, as well as running, biking and other sports, all in a rustic wilderness setting with no electricity.

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For mini-masters of the universe

Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp: This highly selective week-long camp encourages kids aged 13 to 15 to develop keen business skills they can use later in life. Campers will learn about advertising, marketing, preparing a cash-flow statement and writing a business plan. They’ll also develop their own businesses that they’ll fund by borrowing money from actual bankers. The camp ends with Business Day, where campers will launch and operate their businesses.

Youth Enterprise Camp: Kids aged nine to 13 will learn the basics of business and skills that will help them compete in the current economy. They’ll develop entrepreneurial and financial awareness by learning to be their own boss and running their own business for a day. A variety of games, activities and workshops will help them fine-tune entrepreneurial, teamwork and communication skills. This camp has several locations across northeastern and northwestern Ontario.

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The Cutting Room Summer Teen Fashion Camp: A week-long fashion camp in Vancouver, budding designers will learn the fundamentals of starting their own fashion brand and hone skills like patternmaking, illustration, draping and sewing. They’ll also meet and be mentored by some of the fashion industry’s top experts. Each participant will create up to three garments or accessories, which they’ll have a chance to unveil in a fashion show at the end of the week.

For future scientists

STEM Camp: With multiple locations across Ontario, this day camp for science- and tech-minded kids offers a variety of programs exploring popular games and toys, and how they work. Themes include Pokemon, Star Wars and Plants vs. Zombies, and engage campers in brain-tickling activities that use robotics, chemistry and math.

Digital Media Academy: This camp, with locations in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, introduces kids aged six to 17 to the wide world of technology. Campers can choose from programs like game design, programming, robotics and engineering, 3D modelling and design, music production, and film and photography. There’s also a girls-only program called Made for Girls that introduces them to STEM learning, led by industry leaders, artists and creators.

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Hatch Canada: Young computer impresarios aged seven to 17 in Toronto, Oakville and Richmond Hill can choose from week-long day camp programs like coding and space camp. Whether they’re new to coding or near experts, they’ll engage in fun and educational activities like space experiments, robot coding, and program creation with themes including Star Wars and Minecraft.

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