Kids First

School is Out

Camps for spring and summer breaks that match your child's interests

- BY ANN MARIE O’PHELAN

Let’s face it. Keeping the young ones occupied for an extended period of time isn’t all that easy. They can get bored quickly, fight with their siblings, get too attached to their controller­s, and remain stuck on their mouse for hours. Plus, the youngest of them all needs to be supervised—finding sitters can be a challenge. The perfect solution is to send them to camp—whether it’s for spring break, summer vacation, holiday/winter break, or a teacher’s in-service day when there are no classes.

Camps can do a world of good. They can fill children’s days with constructi­ve activities, help them try new experience­s, offer them a chance to make new friends, let them learn lifelong skills and gain a sense of independen­ce. But they can also get the kids to unplug from social media, video games and Youtube—score one for mom!

A wide variety of spring and summer camps, designed to fit the needs and interests of youngsters, are offered in Southwest Florida. They range in price, hours and locations.

CAMP HIGHLIGHTS

Say spring break is just around the corner and you’ve got an 8-year-old who loves all things arts and crafts, especially if it involves glue and glitter. Cape Coral Parks & Recreation offers a full-day child care program that runs during the entire Lee County spring break, March 16-20, 2020. The camp is held at Oasis Elementary School and is open to all students (grades K-8). The children get to enjoy art projects, participat­e in indoor and outdoor games, listen to guest speakers, and go on field trips. (Register early. Space is limited.). The City of Cape Coral’s Parks & Recreation also has a few full-day K-12 summer camps to choose from, including those held at Oasis Elementary and Christa Mcauliffe Elementary, to name a few.

Summer is almost here and you have 6-year-old who is intrigued with history, science and loves all things microscopi­c. The Edison and Ford Winter Estates’ Inventor’s Summer Camp might be the ticket. The full-day summer camp is

designed for campers, ages 6-12, and runs every week throughout the summer. The theme changes weekly, but always focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineerin­g, art and math), as well as history and the natural world.

Maybe you have a 10-year-old who is a budding actor or actress. Luckily, there’s a camp for them as well. Centers for the Arts in Bonita Springs offers a full-day Theater Intensives camp during spring break for ages 8-18. The students enjoy a weeklong process of producing and acting in a oneact play. They work on auditions, casting, rehearsals and blocking. Plus, a final performanc­e for friends and family is held at the end of the week. The camps are offered in both Collier and Lee counties.

For children with interests such as clay, drawing, sewing, painting and sculpture, The Centers for the Arts offers Visual Art spring camps. Children who love to cook or bake can enjoy the center’s Cookonomic­s camps where they get a chance to learn to cook (and eat), develop culinary skills, and learn about kitchen safety.

If you’re nearer to Fort Myers, and have a young aspiring theater star, Florida Rep offers camps during spring break and summer that will ignite their creativity on stage.

A budding outdoorsma­n (or girl) might love the summer camp at Calusa Nature Center & Planetariu­m, which teaches kids how to be explorers and reinforces scientific understand­ing of ecosystems and animal life cycles. Campers enjoy private planetariu­m shows and get behind-thescenes access to the center. They also learn how to care for animals.

The Fort Myers Miracle Youth Baseball Camp, held at the Centurylin­k Sports Complex, is ideal for kids looking to sharpen their skills and fundamenta­ls under the guidance of Miracle players, coaches and staff. The summer camp for ages 6-8 is July 10-12 and for ages 9-12 is July 17-19.

Your child can become a master at paddleboar­ding and kayaking while learning about the Gulf’s ecosystem at Cape Coral Yacht Club’s Beach Buddies summer camps. A Lee County Public Schools marine biology teacher works with campers so they have a hands-on opportunit­y to interact with marine life.

Hammerhead sharks, sea slugs, osprey, tarpon—and even an overnight expedition to Belize for teens—are just some of the summer camp offerings from Sanibel Sea School. The low camper-toteacher ratio (less than 6-to-1) creates an environmen­t where kids can learn “sea” skills, biology, how to surf and more.

For more informatio­n about Southwest Florida kids camps offered during the 2020 spring and summer breaks, call or visit the websites of the camp providers.

BONITA SPRINGS

Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs Center for Visual Arts

26100 Old 41 Road

Bonita Springs

Center for Performing Arts

10150 Bonita Beach Road

Bonita Springs

239-495-8989

artcenterb­onita.org

The two centers offer camps during the holidays and spring break.

CAPE CORAL Cape Coral Parks & Recreation

(various locations)

1015 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral 239-573-3128 capecoral.net

Offering spring and summer camps.

Cape Coral Yacht Club

5819 Driftwood Parkway, Cape Coral 239-574-0806 capecoral.net

Offering Beach Buddies summer camps.

Saddlewood Horse Club

16111 Saddlewood Lane, Cape Coral 239-738-9300 capehorses.com

Offering spring camp.

FORT MYERS Alliance for the Arts

10091 Mcgregor Blvd., Fort Myers 239-939-2787 artinlee.org

Offering summer camps.

Calusa Nature Center

3450 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers 239-275-3435 calusanatu­re.org

Offering school’s out and summer camps.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

2350 Mcgregor Blvd., Fort Myers 239-334-7419 ecommerce.edisonford­winteresta­tes.org Offering summer camps.

Florida Rep

2268 Bay St., Fort Myers 239-332-4665 floridarep­education.org

Offering spring and summer camps.

Fort Myers Miracle Youth Baseball Camp

Centurylin­k Sports Complex 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers

239-768-4210 miraclebas­eball.com

Offering summer camps.

Imaginariu­m History & Science Center

2000 Cranford Ave, Fort Myers 239-243-0043 theimag.org

Offering school’s out and spring camps.

Lee County Parks & Recreation

(various locations)

3410 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers 230-533-7275 leegov.com/parks/programs/summer Offering school’s out, and spring and summer camps.

NAPLES

Collier County Parks & Recreation

(various locations)

15000 Livingston Road, Naples 239-252-4000 colliercou­ntyfl.gov

Offering summer camps.

Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples

15080 Livingston Road, Naples 239-514-0084 cmon.org

Offering spring and summer camps.

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

1590 Goodlette-frank Road, Naples 239-262-5409, ext. 158 napleszoo.org

Offering Camp Wild year-round when school is out.

SANIBEL

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel 239-472-1100 fws.gov

Offering summer camp (ages 10-14).

Sanibel Sea School

455 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel 239-472-8585 sanibelsea­school.org

Offering winter and summer camps.

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