So many camps for just one summer! But how to choose? Take our handy quiz to find out what kind of camp is right for your cuties and check out our Summer Camps Guide.
#1 Which one was among your child’s first words?
D. Uh-oh …
#2 When your child was a toddler, she …
A. Walked around the neighborhood pointing out all the basketball hoops.
B. Liked playing with measuring cups and spoons and making baking soda volcano messes in the kitchen.
C. Was happiest stomping in puddles and picking up sticks.
D. Colored all over the walls with permanent marker (oops), then twirled around to the Nutcracker soundtrack until she fell down.
#3 Your child’s preschool teacher said …
A. “This kid on the playground DOES NOT QUIT. He tried to make a run for it, but we caught him before he scaled the fence.”
B. “Today he took apart the class clock to try to figure out how it works. That will be $25, please.”
C. “Sorry about all the head-to-toe dirt. You may want to consider buying stock in laundry products.”
D. “Here’s today’s finger-painting masterpiece. You can add it to your collection. I think this is Number 256.”
#4 Your kid’s idea of a perfect day in Portland:
A. Timbers game! Then a Blazers game. Then a Hops game. Any down time, play freeze tag with Mom and Dad.
B. All day at OMSI. Try every station at Science Playground, Turbine Hall, and the visiting exhibit. Go into the sub. See a movie at the planetarium. Then do it all again.
C. Hike the Leif Erickson trail. All 11.2 miles of it.
D. Children’s concert at the Oregon Symphony, or a family-friendly show at Oregon Children’s Theatre or Northwest Children’s Theater. Then sketch the sunset from the top of Council Crest.
#5 Who is your child’s hero?
A. Damian Lillard. No, wait, Simone Biles. No, wait, Christine Sinclair …
B. Bill Gates. No, wait, Madam Curie. No, wait, Barack Obama …
C. Rachel Carson. No, wait, Jane Goodall. No, wait, John Muir …
D. Pablo Picasso. No, wait, Misty Copeland. No, wait, Meryl Streep …
#6 Which one of these books would your kid be most likely to grab on a trip to the library?
A. The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, by Bette Bao Lord.
B. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden/The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan.
C. The Curious Garden, by Kevin Brown.
D. The Day The Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt.
#7 Which one of these would be your kid’s LEAST favorite activity?
A. Sitting still.
B. Following ALL the rules. So many rules.
C. Being inside all day.
D. Paint by numbers.
#8 What do you want your kid to get out of summer camp? (Besides having fun and making new friends. We all want that one!)
A. Better skills on the field/court/diamond, of course.
B. Mind. Blown. Summer academic slide, stopped in its tracks.
C. I want them to come home with tales of catching tadpoles and making their own crossbows.
D. So long as they get to create, sing, play music and act to their heart’s content, I’m good.
#9 Favorite rainy day activity for your kids? (Because even in the summer, it sometimes does rain. This is Portland, after all.)
A. Rock-climbing at the Circuit Gym. Or indoor bike track at the Lumberyard. Or trampoline time at G6 Airpark. Anything that gets the blood pumping, really.
B. Keep it real: Minecraft on the iPad. Or tinkering at Art of Stem in NoPo!
C. My kid has webbed feet. Rain, schmain. We’re going outside.
D. Robot-making at The Craft Factory, the clay studio at Portland Children’s Museum, painting projects at Scrap or Vibe of Portland.
#10 Which of these songs would have your kiddo up and dancing?
A. Take Me Out To the Ballgame and We Are the Champions
B. Conjunction Junction and I’m Just a Bill
C. This Land is Your Land
D. The soundtrack to Peter and the Wolf.
Mostly As? Grab your cleats, your mitt and your racket. Your kids are heading for a summer of athletic guts and glory (or, more likely, medals for everyone! Yay, participation!) at any one of Portland’s various sportsball-themed games. There are some fantastic choices out there for kids who love to move, whether they are just learning the rules of the game, or have a few seasons under their belts.
Check out: The camps at Glendoveer Golf & Tennis will run your kids ragged, and have them ready for Wimbledon in no time. VillaSport Athletic Club’s full-day camps including swimming, sports and games. Sharpen their soccer skills at Portland institution BaxterSports summer camp.
A mash-up? You’ve got a kid who wants to experience it all. Pick one week each from the other categories, or try out some of the city’s best general interest camps, which offer a little something for everyone.
Check out: Camp at the Portland Children’s Museum — some art, some science, some running around outside, plenty of fun. Portland Parks and Recreation’s summer camps are often very affordable, with surprisingly low counselor/camper ratios. And the camp at the Franciscan Montessori Earth School is a nice blend of indoor and outdoor fun.
Mostly Bs? School’s back in for summer — hooray! Your kid wants enrichment in the summer, and Portland summer camps have it covered. Whether they are STEM devotees or computer coding enthusiasts, jonesing to practice a foreign language, wanting to delve into the study of architecture or puzzle out the logistics of opening their own business, there’s a camp for that.
Check out: The awesome facilities and enriching activities at Catlin Gabel and Oregon Episcopal School’s summer camp offerings. Flex those second-language muscles at the German International School or the French American International School. Aspiring biologists will love the all-access camps at the Oregon Zoo, or geek out over OMSI’s science-themed offerings.
Mostly Cs? Make hay while the sun shines. Your kid is the type to bushwhack her own path, so sign her up for one of Portland’s many down-to-earth, back-to-nature, wildcraft camp choices. She can learn to whittle, start a fire, paddle her own canoe and make medicinal salves from herbs foraged from within city limits. Kids will come home tired, with smudgy knees and sunburns, but isn’t that what summer’s all about?
Check out: Trackers Earth has easy drop-off points all over the metro area; don’t be surprised when your kid comes home asking for her own pocket knife. The Audubon Society’s camps use Forest Park as a natural classroom. Kids who attend the Friends of Tryon Creek camps can cool off in the namesake creek on hot days.
Mostly Ds? Someday, this kid could be thanking the Academy, or modestly accepting a MacArthur Genius Grant, or having their own exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. Who knows? Maybe in that acceptance speech, they’ll thank you for having started it all at one of Portland’s awesome summer camps that
specializes in the arts. Got a dancer, an acrobat, a thespian, an aspiring filmmaker, a musician? Look no further.
Check out: Northwest Children’s Theater and School has rich summer camp programming for your aspiring actor. Local parents love the artsy creations their kids bring home from Vibe of Portland’s summer camps. And the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s summer camps will have your kids dancing a pas de deux before you know it.