Review: San Francisco Summer Camps for 6 year olds

So the summer is finally over and our son is off to first grade.  We ended up going to a number of different camps and all were good but some were big hits.

JCC Cosmo Kids – We did two weeks of this and they were “just OK”.  They didn’t seem to be as organized or as interesting as other camps.   It felt a bit like day care.   They do have amazing drive-thru drop-off & pickup, but it meant that our son spent 30 minutes at each end of the day just sitting around waiting, lost opportunity for him.

JCC Arts & Splash – in contrast to JCC Cosmo, this camp seemed more organized and each day focused on a different artist.   The name is a bit misleading since they only swim 3 of the 5 days, but it was still one of teh top camps of the summer.  Will do again.

Galileo – This camp was our son’s favorite, we did it for a week.  They have a structure like school classes.  Each week there was a theme (he went for “San Francisco”) and they go to an art class, a science class and a couple other structured sessions each day focusing on the topic.   He built his own cardboard cable car and tested it on a working cable track they built.   The art projects were also spectacular.   Will do more weeks next year.

Steve & Kates – We used this as a “day here or there” camp in between other things.  It’s excellent as a drop in solution.  The Noe Valley location was well run, the Sunset one not so much.  But all had amazing ipad animation studios, bread making, sewing, music studio.  The camp is unstructured, so kids just self choose their activities.  I don’t think we’d do a week here, but definitely will do the drop in days here again.

Tenacious Tennis – We did one week at this tennis camp located at UCSF.  The instructors are fun and kept the days interesting (not 100% tennis).  Our son rated this one highly and we’ll likely do it again, but only for a week, it still is a lot of tennis.   Note: don’t skip Friday: the day they do a contest to win prizes.

Tree Frog Treks – We did one week in Golden Gate park: “Climate Pirates”.  Worth all the kudos this program gets.   They were outdoors the whole time and stuck to the theme of learning about protecting our environment.   The picked up trash one day as a way to talk about litter.  Don’t know if I love that or think they got free labor 😉   It might be a little too preachy (our son told us that if we don’t fix the ozone layer we are all going to die), but I recommend this one.

I hope this is helpful for someone!


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