Our ultimate guide to Chicago summer camps has parent-to-parent recommendations for the best local camps around town!

Discover the summer camps Chicago kids love most, read parent reviews, and zoom in on our map to see the best summer camps near you. Your kids will love learning new skills, making memories, and exploring their interests at these local favorites.

What are your favorite Chicago summer camps for kids? Submit your reviews below so we can consider them for the list!

Find more favorites on our lists of nature, sports, art, dance, academic, STEM, theater, special needs and overnight camps.

    Camp Invention

     (673.6 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full day


    K-6th grade

    Brigitte Nohra Miller:  Camp Invention is one week in the summer where your child’s creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills are challenged and developed in fun and exciting ways. Their top priority is to inspire future innovators and build kids' confidence in their natural ability to dream and create. They offer STEM camps all over Chicago and the suburbs. Find a camp near you!

    Museum of Science and Industry - Summer Camps

     (724.0 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full day


    6th-9th grade

    Shila:  The Museum of Science and Industry has exciting opportunities to engage your youth in science, making, and the wonder of this exciting museum! All supplies provided and scholarships are available for students in need of financial assistance.

    Apachi Day Camps

     (724.4 mi)

    Multi-week sessions

    Full day

    2 years-10th grade

    Gina I.:  Hosted by JCC Chicago at several locations throughout the Chicagoland area, Apache camps give campers the opportunity to discover new experiences, make new friends, and embrace everything that makes them unique. Campers can explore a variety of activities, including: sports, arts & crafts, dance, cooking, music, storytelling, Judaic learning, and much more. Programs, ages and pricing vary by location.

    University of Chicago Laboratory School - Summer School

     (724.4 mi)

    3- & 6-week sessions

    Full day


    3 years-8th grade

    Lisa R:  The Summer Lab programs at the University of Chicago offer so many different opportunities for children to learn, connect, and discover—from sports and theater to urban adventure and academics. The programs are fun and like everything at Lab, they are designed to inspire curiosity, creativity, and confidence in each child.

    Hyde Park Art Center - Creativity Camp

     (724.7 mi)

    1- & 2-week sessions

    Full day

    $395/one week, $760/two weeks

    Age 4+

    Shila:  Creativity Camp provides kids the chance to explore the exciting world of art and creativity through a wide range of multi-media activities. Campers work with professional artists to produce unique and original works of art, and develop their imagination and creativity. The combination of visual art and theater art, together with outdoor play, gives campers a unique experience that is tons of fun! Camp topics include: Ceramics, Stop Motion Animation, Sketchbook Drawing, and more!

    C.I.T.Y. Club Gymnastics Academy Summer Camps

     (728.1 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full & half day

    $535/full day, $295/half day

    Age 5-12

    Molly Weber:  At this elite athletic training facility, they offer a summer camp designed to sharpen the mind and strengthen the body! Campers will learn gymnastics basics, partake in gymnastics-style games, and enjoy arts and crafts. There are ten sessions to choose from and each one has a different theme from Ninja Week, to Circus Week, to Olympic Week, and more!

    Chicago NFL Alumni Youth Football Camps

     (728.2 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full & half day

    Starting at $295

    Age 6-14

    Gina I.:  With multiple Chicago area camp locations, Chicago Bears Youth Football Camp has something for everyone! Kids will learn football and life skills from NFL Alumni Chicago Bears as well as professional coaches. Instruction focuses on proper techniques for running, throwing, catching, defending, form blocking, form tackling and exploding out of a stance. This is a non-contact camp.

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago - Summer Camps

     (728.7 mi)

    1- & 2-week sessions

    Full & half day

    $350/person for Family Camp & $600 - $1100 for Middle School Camp

    Age 4-10 with an adult for Family Camp & 10-13 for Middle School Camp

    Shila:  In SAIC's Family Art Camp and Middle School Camp, kids learn to discover, explore, and imagine in their own unique ways, experimenting with a variety of art materials and methods that encourage the development of creative thinking and problem solving skills. Children will be inspired by its fantastic downtown location & regular opportunities to explore the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Goodman Theatre - PlayBuild Youth Intensive

     (729.0 mi)

    7 weeks

    Half day for the first few weeks then transitions to full day


    Age 14-18

    Lisa R:  Learn from professional actors at the Goodman Theatre's Musical Theater Intensive (MTI) in this intense, audition-based program for serious teens. MTI acquaints students to the demanding lifestyle of performers as they refine their skills in acting, dancing, singing, storytelling, and ensemble work. The program culminates in a final performance of student work.

    The Second City - Comedy Camp

     (729.9 mi)

    1- & 2-week sessions

    Full day

    $700/1-week, $1250/2-weeks

    Age 7-18

    Shila:  Let your kids flex their funny bones this summer at Second City! Campers exercise their sense of play through improv games and exercises that are the foundation of The Second City’s unique brand of comedy. Kids will perform for friends and family at the end of each session. Students ages 15-18 who have attended two or more camps can join the Advanced Comedy Camp.

    Lincoln Park Zoo - Summer Conservation Camp and Summer Zoo Crew

     (730.1 mi)

    Weeklong sessions for Conservation Camp, Zoo Crew is 2 weeks

    Full and half day options


    Entering PreK- 8th grade

    Shila:  At Lincoln Park Zoo, summer campers can enjoy visiting the zoo as well as hands-on activities. The Summer Conservation Camp (PreK - 4th) gives campers the chance to explore the zoo and learn about animals and how to care for them. Zoo Crew sessions are two weeks long and include field trips, conversations with zoo experts, and a sleepover on the last Thursday of each session.

    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum - Summer Camp

     (730.1 mi)

    Two-week sessions

    Full day


    Age 4-11

    Gina I.:  Explore the wonders of nature at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum! Their summer camp focuses on nature and science education utilizing the Nature Museum’s outdoor and indoor spaces Campers will spend their days digging, building, nurturing their curiosity and learning about local urban habitats. A few of the many camp themes include: Nature Detectives, City Critters, and Neighborhood Naturalists.

    Brooklyn Boulders - Kids Summer Adventures

     (730.4 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full & half day

    $545/full day, $345/half day

    Age 4-14

    Gina I.:  Rock climbing is more than just a fun activity. Learning to climb teaches kids hands-on problem solving skills, helps them improve spatial & fine motor skills, and builds confidence. Best of all, at Brooklyn Boulders Kids Summer Adventures, kids will make memories that last a lifetime! Summer Adventures is their youth program that will keep your kid(s) engaged all week long with a roster of climbing challenges, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) activities, team building and more.

    Chicago Children's Theatre - Camp Red Kite

     (730.8 mi)

    A single 3 week session is offered


    Age 8-22

    Brigitte Nohra Miller:  Camp Red Kite is a summer theatre camp tailored specifically to the unique interests and needs of children on the autism spectrum. The program is led by a team of artists, and special education teachers dedicated to creating a safe, welcoming, and comfortable environment. Their aim is to encourage self expression, social engagement, creative exploration, and above all, fun! Camp culminates in a final showcase and potluck lunch to share the Camp Red Kite experience with family and friends. Camp takes place at The Station in the West Loop.

    Hi-Five Sports Camp

     (731.2 mi)

    2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8-week sessions

    Full day

    Starting at $1,500

    PreK-9th grade

    Gina I.:  Does your child eat, sleep and breathe sports? Then Hi-Five Sports Camp is the place to be! Activities include baseball, soccer, flag football, basketball, floor hockey, lacrosse, volleyball, swimming, golf, tennis, and more. No matter their skill level, kids learn to play hard, work as a team, and have fun! Bus transportation and after camp care options available for an additional fee.

    CircEsteem - Circus Camp

     (732.3 mi)

    One-week sessions

    Full day

    $355/one-week session, Early registration discount available

    Age 6-16

    Lisa R:  This high flying camp teaches kids to juggle, climb, balance and have fun on a variety of circus apparatus such as the German wheel, silks and trapeze. Professional circus staff work with program alumni to teach kids in a fun and safe way. Campers will practice five different circus skills each day. Programs are tailored to each student, so all skill levels are welcome. Kids show off their new abilities in a free performance for friends and family at the end of each week.

    Trapeze School New York - Summer Youth Adventure Program

     (733.0 mi)

    One-week sessions

    Full day

    Age 6-14

    Lisa R:  Kids don't have to run away from home to join the circus with camps like TSNY's Summer Youth Adventure Program. Kids will learn to fly on the trapeze, dance on the aerial silks and even juggle in this one week camp. Campers try out all of the activities and then choose one or two specialties to focus on. The week culminates with a special performance for families and friends. Kids devote time throughout the week to create their own costumes and props for the show.

    The Kids' Table - Cooking Camps

     (733.3 mi)

    One-week sessions

    Full & half day

    $475/full day, $375/half day

    Age 5-14

    Lisa R:  At The Kids' Table summer camps, younger kids can enjoy the perfect mix of cooking, eating & play! Campers spend about half the day in the kitchen, chopping, grating and rolling their way to delicious dishes (and enjoying the fruits of their labor, of course!). The rest of the day is full of food-themed crafts, games, kitchen science projects, park play, movie time & more. Tweens and teens can enjoy a hands-on culinary adventure. Camp is structured with small group cooking stations for maximum skill-building and growing culinary independence.

    Gus Giordano Dance - Summer Camps

     (733.3 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full day


    Age 5-16

    Molly Weber:  GUS Campers explore a variety of dance styles including Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Musical Theater, Contemporary & Modern. All campers perform multiple dances at the end of the week for family & friends. Take one, two or all three weeks - Each camp week has new classes & new choreography with fun & encouraging dance teachers.

    Chicago Gaelic Park - Irish Cultural Camp

     (733.8 mi)

    Three-day session

    Full day

    $80/1st child

    Age 6-12

    Erin P.:  Chicago Gaelic Park offers a camp for kids to learn about Irish history and culture. Campers select four areas of interest, including Irish dance, drama, language, music, art and sport. Each camp day begins with a fresh fruit snack and a large group activity before the kids break off into their two morning workshops. After lunch, kids will enjoy two more workshops before heading outside for hurling, football, and ice cream sundaes. All workshops are taught by experts in these areas of Irish history and tradition.

    Chicago Cubs Summer Baseball Camps

     (734.3 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full day


    Entering K-8th grade

    Erin P.:  Who better to learn the game of baseball from than the WORLD SERIES CHAMPION Chicago Cubs?? All children regardless of ability are welcome at Cubs camps. Camps are held at various locations throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Two camp options are available. The World Series Experience offers campers the opportunity to participate in a day-long trip to the historic Wrigley Field.

    Windy City Ninjas - Summer Camp

     (734.4 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full & half day

    $490/full day, $260/half day

    Age 5+

    Gina I.:  Calling all ninja warriors! If your kids love running, jumping and climbing at their favorite Chicagoland parkour gyms, then Windy City Ninjas Summer Camp is for them! Kids will push their physical and mental boundaries in a fun and nurturing environment while learning proper techniques, engaging in structured obstacle circuits, competitions & races, and enjoying plenty of free play time as well as other games, sports, and outdoor activities. They even offer 5 or 10 day camp punch passes, where your camper can drop in whenever camp is being offered giving you the ultimate flexibility with your summer schedule.

    The Actors Gymnasium - Circus Camps

     (735.9 mi)

    1-week/4-week sessions

    Full day

    $400 - $1600

    Entering 4th-10th grade

    Gina I.:  Soar to new heights at The Actors Gymnasium Summer Camp! This unique fitness program for Chicagoland kids is perfect for youth who want to strengthen, stretch and flex their creative muscles. Campers learn unique circus and aerial skills: juggling, tumbling, trapeze, tightwire, stilts, and more. Beginners and experienced circus artists are both welcome. Financial aid is available.

    North Shore Country Day School - Day Camp

     (739.1 mi)

    One- & two-week sessions

    Full & half day


    Age 3-13

    Gina I.:  North Shore Country Day School's summer camp offers an array of fun activities like archery, gymnastics, rock climbing, daily swim lessons, tennis and creative play.

    Oasis Summer Day Camp

     (739.9 mi)

    One-week or one-day sessions

    Full day

    $420/week or $120/day

    Age 5-12

    Lisa R:  Participants in Oasis day camps are encouraged to build their "emotional, social, creative, and athletic" abilities through traditional day camp activities and adventures hosted both on and off site. Special guests also visit the camp each week to lead additional learning activities and campers are encouraged to participate in an optional, rewards-based reading program. Parents love that extended hours are included in the base price of camp.

    Brookfield Zoo - Zoo Camp

     (741.6 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Full and half day options


    Age 4 years - 1st grade (completed)

    Shila:  Zoo Camp is the perfect opportunity for your child to connect with animals and nature in a variety of fun and exciting ways. Children explore the zoo through play and learning with skilled camp counselors. There's so much to see and do, and each weekly session offers unique experiences.

    Chicago Botanic Garden - Camp CBG

     (744.6 mi)

    Single day and weeklong sessions, 10 weeks of camp offered

    Full and half day options

    Age 2 - 15

    Shila:  Chicago Botanic Garden offers exciting and enriching camps that incorporate nature exploration, inquiry-based activities, games, hands-on projects, and planting. Single day options are available.

    Rootz - Youth Camps

     (747.4 mi)

    One- & three-week sessions

    Full & half day


    3.5 years - 8th grade

    Molly Weber:  Rootz is an enrichment center. Youth cooking camps are offered in the summer with a few different options to pick from based on age and theme. Camp options include sewing camp, dance party camp, mini musical camp, and musical theatre camp.

    Forest Preserve of DuPage County - Summer Camps

     (748.2 mi)

    Most camps are 5-day camps

    Half day

    $150/resident, $175/nonresident

    Entering 1st - 8th Grade

    Shila:  The Forest Preserve of DuPage County offers many different camps for kids throughout the county. Most nature camps are offered at Fullersburg Woods Nature Center, though many are also at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, Willowbrook Wildlife Center, Kline Creek Farm, even the Danada Equestrian Center to name a few. Many of the camps focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

    Nike Soccer Camp

     (750.4 mi)

    3-day & 5-day sessions offered

    Overnight or day camp

    $525 - $695 for overnight or $365 for day camp

    Age 8-18 (must be 9 to stay overnight)

    Gina I.:  Looking for a fun, co-ed camp experience where your child can sharpen their soccer skills? Nike Soccer Camps at Elmhurst College are the perfect choice for players looking to improve their footwork, shooting, defending, and decision making skills on the soccer field.

    Decoma Day Camp

     (750.7 mi)

    4. 5. 6, 7, & 8-week sessions

    Full day (shortened day for age 3-5)

    Full day program starts at $2900

    Age 3-13

    Gina I.:  Located in Northbrook on 11 beautiful, wooded acres, Decoma Day Camp has been helping kids make wonderful summer memories for 70 years! Campers enjoy an array of fun activities like sports, mini golf, a ninja course and inflatables. Kids are enrolled for a minimum of 4 weeks, but those weeks don't need to be consecutive!

    Emagination Computer Camps

     (752.2 mi)

    2-week sessions, overnight

    $3249/overnight, $1695/day

    Age 8 - 17

    Gina I.:  At Emagination Computer Camps, kids enjoy the perfect mix of technology learning and summer fun! Hosted at Lake Forest College, campers are assigned to small groups by age and enjoy hands-on learning from well qualified camp counselors. Kids stay in the college's dorms with supervision.

    Banner Day Camp

     (753.8 mi)

    4 or 8-week sessions

    Full day

    $3185-$4735/4-week session

    Age 3-14

    Lisa R:  This fifty-year-old Lake Forest camp teaches sportsmanship and team work through typical day camp activities. Kids learn to take safe risks, build confidence, and make friends, for a total experience that parents have called "transformative". Typical activities include sports, swimming, and ropes courses. The youngest campers are supervised at a 3-1 camper to counselor ratio.

    Families can opt in to bus service, extended day care, lunch, and overnights for tweens and teens for an additional fee.

    Tamarak Day Camp

     (754.4 mi)

    4, 6, or 8-week sessions

    Full day (half day option for PreK)


    PreK-9th grade

    Gina I.:  From its beautiful grounds and enthusiastic staff to its engaging programs, Tamarak Day Camp is the perfect destination for summer fun! All ages enjoy sports, nature activities, and arts & crafts, while older campers have the opportunity to participate in outings and optional programs.

    Morton Arboretum - Summer Science Camps

     (757.3 mi)

    Weeklong sessions, 10 weeks of camp offered

    Full and half day options

    $245/half-day camp (nonmembers), $410/full-day camp (nonmembers)

    PreKindergarten - 8th Grade

    Shila:  There are over 100 camp opportunities at the Morton Arboretum. Through science experiments, art, and creative play, kids become "a champion of trees!" Camps include: Leaf Zoo, Forest Fairy Friends, Magic Forest Adventures, Kids vs. Wild, and Eco-Challenge along with many others.

    Topgolf Summer Academy

     (760.8 mi)

    1-week sessions

    Half day


    Age 6-12

    Gina I.:  Junior golfers will love everything Topgolf Summer Academy has to offer! From chipping, putting and full swing to the rules and etiquette, kids will learn everything they need to know about the game of golf. Sessions are one week each and include Topgolf play and instruction, lunch and Togolf gifts! And if they get hooked, explore opportunities to continue kids golf lessons throughout Chicagoland year round.

    Naper Settlement - Camp Naper

     (761.9 mi)

    3, 4 & 5-day sessions

    Full day


    1st-8th grade

    Brigitte Nohra Miller:  Explore Naper Settlement in summer day camps that capture a child’s imagination with unique hands-on camps that provide immersive experiences where learning is fun! Several weeks focus on STEM subjects like space travel, inventions and architecture.

Primary photo:   Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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