After 2 and a half years of pandemic madness, kids need a summer to decompress, a summer full of indoor/outdoor freedom and as much fun and exploration as we can give them. The Pikes Peak area is full of things to do, many of them free, and we’ve rounded up just a sampling of camps and activities here that will get them creative, stretching their social skills, exercise and just be kids.
Some camps are already sold out, some opening registrations this month will fill up very quickly, and others are just making plans for the summer, so finding the perfect adventures for your kids can take some detective work.
Cottonwood Arts Center
Art-inspired day camps in June and July for children aged 6 to 12. “Collaborative project-based activities change with each passing week…Whether your child already has a passion for art or has never picked up a paintbrush, they will come home with new skills to support a lifetime of creative expression.” Enroll multiple children? Get a 10% discount.
Pikes Peak Library District
719-531-6333 | ppld.org
Hands down, PPLD is the best free thing in the Pikes Peak area. Beyond the district’s annual summer reading program for children and teens, children ages 9 and up (ages 9-11 accompanied by a guardian) can get hands-on experience with the tools and machines (including 3D printers) in the district’s creative spaces at Sand Creek, East, Library 21c and Manitou Springs Library/Manitou Art Center. Visit ppld.org/kids for activities for children ages 0-5 and click on Programs on ppld.org to find programs for teens and tweens. The most important thing: make sure your children have enough free time to read this summer.
Colorado Spring Pioneer Museum
719-385-5645 | cspm.org/summercamps
The Pioneer Museum will offer three camps this year: History Detectives for third and fourth graders, June 6-10; Discovery of the museum for students in grades six to eight, from July 11 to 15; and Museum Discovery High School for grades 9-12, July 18-22. Limited scholarships available; registration opens at 10 a.m.
Western Museum of Mining and Industry
719-488-0880 | wmmi.org/education/stem-camps.html
STEAM camps for students ages 8-12, June 20-24 and July 18-22. “With hands-on activities, experiments, crafts, plus special guest presenters. You will experience the incredible fun of geology, physics, electricity, mining and industry.”
Pikes Peak Artist Collective
717-875-5200 | pikespeakartist.com
Summer workshops for ages 5-17 will include sewing, painting, drawing, clay, sculpture, weaving, mosaic and more. “Through the open exploration of a wide variety of mediums, children become self-initiated and generate inspiration through their own personal discovery.” Registration opens in April.
Challenger Learning Center
719-598-9755 | challengercolorado.org/what-we-do/public/summer-camp.html
Aerospace Adventure Camps, with STEM exploration for students in grades one through seven in June and July, held at Legacy Peak Elementary, Bear Creek Elementary, and Broadmoor Elementary. Call now for camp descriptions and details; Registration opens at 8 a.m. on March 14.
719-255-3429 | recwellness.uccs.edu/rec-campus/rec-kids/summer-camps
Three camps in June and July. Mountain Lion Camp, for children entering first through eighth grade, includes swimming, rock climbing, gym/outdoor play, and creative crafts. The Outdoor Adventure Camp is for students entering grades three through eight, offering outdoor rock climbing, paddle boarding, hiking, fishing and more. Splish ‘N Splash Swim Camp is for children entering first through eighth grade and focuses on swimming but includes arts and crafts activities, gymnastics and field games, and wall time. ‘escalation.
• Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers (Bear Creek, 719-520-6387; Fountain Creek, 719-520-6745, tinyurl.com/epco-fun). Although nearly all summer park camps in El Paso County are already full, there will be a summer full of fun and educational offerings in Bear Creek and Fountain Creek. Check the website for offers.
• Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Youth Sports (719-385-5981, coloradosprings.gov/sports-office/page/youth-sports) include baseball, T-ball and softball for children in grades K-12.
• CityROCK (719-634-9099, climbcityrock.com) will have summer camps (details not yet available).
• Sky Zone Trampoline Park (719-354-2626, skyzone.com/coloradosprings/programs/skycamp) offers its SKYCAMP all summer long.
• Pikes Peak Children’s Museum (719-357-7726, pikespeakchildrensmuseum.org)” is a hands-on, community-built educational destination in Southeast Colorado Springs that engages ALL children… by sparking creativity and passion
for lifelong learning through focused play.
• soccer buddies (719-330-9642, coloradosoccerbuddies.com/daycares-schools-camps), half-day camps at three local parks for children ages 4-12.
Dirty your hands
• Concrete sofa (concretecouch.org/calendar.html). There is always, always something interesting is happening at Concrete Couch. Mountain bike at Concrete Coyote and learn how to build and repair trails; explore trees and plants, stream ecology, urban watersheds, ecosystem restoration and water quality monitoring; and learn how to use tools and make cool things at Concrete Couch’s Fab Lab at the Manitou Art Center.
• Rocky Mountain Field Institute (719-471-7736, rmfi.org), a non-profit organization based in Springs, offers volunteer opportunities for ages 8 and up.
• Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (303-715-1010, voc.org/youth-programs), a program with statewide trail projects and local opportunities for ages 6 and up.
For virtual explorers
Free indoor travel suggestions for the inevitable rainy days:
• Music creator Otto Fischinger (google.com/doodles/oskar-fischingers-117th-birthday). Give it time to charge…then spin it!
• National Gallery of Art NGAkids ArtZone for iPad (nga.gov/learn/kids-app.html), “interactive activities inspired by works from the National Gallery of Art’s collection, plus a sketchbook for freehand drawing and personal exhibition space.”
• Bill Nye: It’s not magic, it’s SCIENCE! (billnye.com), including experiments your kids can try at home – Barometer in a Bottle, Marvelous Marbling, Mold Madness and more.
• 42 virtual educational outings for children to help them discover the world (tinyurl.com/gh-virtual), travel from Frida Kahlo’s kitchen to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to the M&Ms factory to the world’s largest cave.
Millibo Art Theater
719-465-6321 | themat.org/summer-camps-3-7
The one or two week camps – half day and full day – for ages 4 to 18 run from June 5 to July 29. Registration is limited to 12 students per class. “With over twenty years of experience, Millibo camps are uniquely designed to allow students to express their unique creativity through theatre, movement, music, improvisation, circus and visual arts.” Registration opens March 14.
719-471-0910 | catamountinstitute.org/summer-camps
Catamount offers five-day outdoor exploration camps for kids ages 6 to 16 from June through August, with titles like Creepy Crawly Safari, Expedition Camp, and Wilderness Adventure Camp. Their Girls+ camp is for “college girls, non-binary or genderfluid students who want to go out! Scholarships available.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
719-633-9925 | cmzoo.org/events-programs/camps-classes/summer-camps
Adventures by level – K-6 (minimum age is 4) – with week-long half-day camps for the little guys and full-week camps like Wilderness Explorers for older children. “Campers meet animals up close, explore the outdoors, interact with sitters, bake treats for animals, design cool crafts and more!” New this year, Camp WILDER will allow children to grades four through six to hike the zoo’s 40-acre nature trail, exclusively for program campers/teens, to learn basic wilderness skills and learn about the natural world around them. “Scholarships available.
SoccerHaus Sports Camps
719-761-7586 | soccerhauscs.com/camps/summer-camp
Day camp for ages 5 to 13 runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 1 to July 29, with before and after play times available. Includes flag football, T-ball, basketball, soccer, kickball, dodgeball and other schoolyard games.
• Space Foundation Discovery Center (719-576-8000, decouverteespace.org) offers activities for children and families.
• Gripstone Climbing & Fitness (719-559-4747, gripstonecs.com/camps-clubs) runs day and week-long camps for ages 7-14.