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Kids Summer Camps Around Southwest Missouri

Help your child develop character, learn life skills and discover new interests. No matter what your child is into, there’s a summer camp for every kid in and around the Ozarks.

Mar 01 2020 at 9 a.m.

417 Magazine's Kids Camps
Photo courtesy Shutterstock

Summer is a magical time for kids. School's out and the opportunities feel endless. Keep them active, physically and mentally, while you also help them develop character, learn life skills and discover new interests. No matter what your child is into, there’s something for every kid at one of these summer camps in and around the Ozarks.

Photo courtesy Code Ninjas

Code Ninjas Summer Camps

3202 W. Republic Rd., Suite 100, Springfield, 417-319-7996

Does your child love to build and create? Want to help prepare them for the future? Code Ninjas Summer Camps are an amazing place to have fun and learn new skills. During these camps, kids ages 6 through 14 will spend time learning to code, participate in fun STEM activities, make friends and be prepared for a future where coding will be a required skill!

Spark your child’s interest with these day camp options:

Minecraft Create: Limited only by imagination, kids will learn how to create 3D models, solve puzzles, play capture the flag and more!

MineCraft Modding: Learn how to make custom content and your own series of mods!

Roblox Royal: Take your love of Fortnite, and put it to good use by unleashing the power of game development!

Roblox Create: Using Roblox Studio, you will create your own worlds!

RoboPro: Calling all builders, creators, coders and future engineers to learn all about robotics and automation.

Game Builders Club: Learn how to build your very own video games using the characters you love and the coding skills you learn!

Python: This camp will teach concepts like strings, variables, functions and more. Your child will learn how to make games, work with an IDE and write code in Python!

young girl at Cub Creek Science Camp with a Ringtail Lemur
Photo courtesy Cub Creek Science Camp

Cub Creek Science Camp

16795 State Hwy E., Rolla, 573-458-2125

Imagine a summer camp where kids eat breakfast in the company of Ringtail Lemurs, zoom down a zip-line and kiss a Camel before lunch, attempt making pottery on the wheel in the afternoon, and play a camp-wide game of Capture the Flag after dinner. Cub Creek Science Camp is that camp! With over 300 animals, a 6-element ropes course, archery and riflery ranges, and activities in chemistry, arts and crafts, digital photography, entomology, crime science, pottery, culinary science (and more!), this is not your average science camp. Cub Creek Science Camp is dedicated to creating lifelong memories, cultivating and nurturing friendships, and enriching the lives of all campers ages 7-17. Since 1993, they've had campers join them from all over the world, facilitated thousands of strong and lasting friendships, and introduced countless individuals to some of the wonderful animals we share this planet with. Foxes, lemurs, alpacas, miniature horses, parrots, lizards, armadillos, sloths, ferrets, porcupines, pigs, and snakes are just a few of the 100+ different kinds of animals they love, care for, and respect at camp. Facilities are air-conditioned, meals are served buffet style with alternative options available, and accreditation by the American Camp Association. Register Today! For teens looking for more adventure, check out Animal Camp Jamaica! Teens spend 13 days on the gorgeous island of Jamaica, exploring both land and sea!

Kids at Discovery Center summer camp in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Discovery Center

Discovery Center

438 E. St. Louis St., Springfield417-862-9910

Be the hero who conquers brain drain and summer boredom with the Discovery Center’s summer camps—for everything kids love, like LEGOs, dinosaurs, Minecraft, NASA space exploration, spa science, Nerf-ology and more! The Discovery Center is the perfect weather-proof summer camp destination, with over 10 hands-on half day, two day and weeklong camps that run all summer long for kids in preschool through high school. Campers can explore the cosmos in search of aliens, test their skills at the Spy School, become a veterinarian in training and learn from STEM instructors at the award-winning Discovery Center in downtown Springfield. The Discovery Center is focused on providing inspiring, hands-on education that kids love and at a price that is an easy parenting win. Class sizes are always small with a guaranteed 1:8 staff-to-child ratio and a limit of only 20 students per camp. Discovery Center members can save up to $50, with camps starting at just $80! Best of all, every camp registration helps support the Discovery Center’s nonprofit mission to bring world-class experiences through cutting edge science, while inspiring curiosity and a life-long love of learning to learners of all ages. Before and after care is available for all camps that meet from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and is available starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. This is an exclusive and limited camp experience, so register today at discoverycenter.org/camps.

Summer Camp at Diventures in Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Diventures

Diventures

5225 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield417-883-5151

Kids of all ages will have a splash this summer at Diventures. A mix of learning and fun, summer programs include Summer Splash Sessions and Scuba Rangers. Looking for a day camp? Try a Summer Splash Session—a week-long day camp that focuses on improving swimmers’ confidence. Want adventure? Try Scuba Rangers, a five-day session for kids ready to reach new depths. Rangers learn water safety and teamwork while discovering fun facts about the ocean and marine life.

Does your swimmer love mermaids or sharks? The Mermaid and Shark Camps are designed to help swimmers learn to swim as gracefully as creatures under the water. Camps include mermaid makeup and hair, underwater photo shoot and a personal mermaid tail to keep. Shark fins are available. 

Diventures’ summer schedule also includes Snorkeling Classes and more. Classes begin in June. See the full summer schedule and reserve your spot at diventures.com/camp.

Girl Scouts of America Summer Camps, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland

Girl Scouts Summer Camp

877-312-4764, info@girlscoutsmoheartland.org

Fun. Summer camp. They’re pretty much synonymous. This summer local Girl Scouts will have plenty of fun with hiking, canoeing, archery and more! Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland’s summer camps offer girls opportunities to have exciting outdoor adventures while learning important skills like self-reliance, leadership and perseverance.

And more, girls take the lead! Girl Scout camps provide an all-girl safe space where they’re free to explore, learn and have fun being themselves.

Being a Girl Scout isn’t required; plenty of girls come with no previous Girl Scout experience. They leave with new friendships, leadership skills and tons of fun memories.

Itty Bitty City in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Itty Bitty City

Itty Bitty City

3640 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-202-2025

Itty Bitty City provides a play-based learning environment that preschoolers truly enjoy, as it allows them to do what they do best: imagine, play and learn!

Itty Bitty City welcomes your 3 through 6 year olds to three exciting summer camps! June 22-25 is Pet Parade, where campers will meet a different live pet each day! July 27-30 is Oceans of Fun, featuring a focus on sea life and ocean exploration. August 3-6 is Super STEAM, with adventures in science, technology, engineering, art and math. Each camp includes play time in the City, crafts, movement activities, circle time and more. Camps also include free admission to Itty Bitty City for the enrolled child anytime throughout the week of camp.

Set in the creative play centers of Itty Bitty City, these camps include both open-ended play and structured activities to ensure that your children have fun, learn about the world around them and develop social skills for school-readiness.

Lake Country Soccer Camps, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Lake Country Soccer

Lake Country Soccer

2334 E. Pythian St., Springfield417-862-3211

Lake Country Soccer is the leader in competitive and recreational soccer in Southwest Missouri with programs for boys and girls ages 3–19 as well as adult leagues. With over 55 acres of soccer facilities, 20 outdoor soccer fields and two indoor soccer fields, it's easy to see that LCS really does have it all. 

No matter what your child’s soccer goals are, Lake Country Soccer’s summer camps can help reach them. For younger players between the ages of 7 and 18, LCS offers a variety of camp options: 

Skills Clinics (ages 7–15): June 22–26, 9 a.m.–noon; July 13–17, 9 a.m.–noon or 5:30–8:30 p.m.

Turf Tykes Camp (ages 3–6): June 22–26, 9–10:30 a.m.; July 13–17, 9–10:30 a.m. or 5:30–7 p.m.
     
Agility & Skills Clinic (ages 8–18): August 3–7, 9 a.m.–noon

For more information, call or go online to lakecountrysoccer.org.

Photo courtesy Missouri State University

Missouri State Soccer School

On the campus of Missouri State University, 417-836-3743, msusoccer.com

Missouri State Soccer School was established in 1992. After all these years, their motto still holds true—they are “committed to excellence.”

The Missouri State Soccer School, known as one of the finest quality teaching camps in the nation, is now entering into its 28th exciting year. The camps offer players the opportunity to enhance their technical skills and further develop the concepts of tactical play. Players who are serious about improving their game will train and develop under the guidance of the Missouri State University coaches along with a first-rate instructional staff.

The camps provide an ideal environment for players to take their game to the next level. Please join us and come and experience what thousands of players from around the nation have chosen as their home for soccer!

Camps are available for boys and girls ages 7–18. They include day camps, residential camps, team camps and goalkeeper camps.  For more information and to register online go to msusoccer.com.

RedLine Athletics, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Shutterstock

RedLine Athletics

4234 S. Reed Ave., Springfield417-319-5766

Maximize their potential. RedLine Athletics helps take athletes ages 8 to 18 to the next level. This summer, have your young athlete try out the clinics they offer in speed and agility, basketball, baseball, softball, football, soccer, golf, vertimax resistance, strength and conditioning and more. RedLine adds the element of the training process as well as the skill of each sport to their clinics, making it a one of a kind athletic experience. 

RedLine’s goal is to transform each child into the best young athlete they can be. No matter which sport your child wants to pursue and no matter what their current skill level at that sport is, RedLine will make them a better athlete first and then work on sport-specific skills. 

Located near Farmers Park, their brand new training center is over 8,000 square feet and the preeminent facility for sports performance training.

Get customized training for nearly every sport that’s professional, affordable and convenient. Summer is just the beginning… RedLine offers these opportunities for young athletes all year long, even on weeknights and weekends. Interested in semi-private, one-on-one or group training? RedLine Athletics’ sports performance specialists are experts at helping your child become a better athlete!

Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Springfield Little Theatre

Springfield Little Theatre

311 E. Walnut St., Springfield417-869-3869 x21

Try something you’ve never tried before, or follow your passion and improve your craft at SLT! Springfield Little Theatre offers multiple one- and two-week workshop sessions during the months of May through August. Serving beginning to advanced students ages 4 to 18, SLT is proud to provide a unique, enriching, entertaining and exciting summer theatre camp experience in Acting, Musical Theatre, Dance, Performance, Technical Theatre or Theatre Administration for every child who participates. Summer Camps are held at the Judith Enyeart Reynolds School of the Performing Arts for Springfield Little Theatre just 1.5 miles from the Landers Theatre. Youth involvement at Springfield Little Theatre encourages a love and respect for community, the arts and all aspects of theatricality, promotes discipline and the pursuit of excellence, and provides an outlet for friendship and fun!

Summer School with Springfield Public Schools
Summer School with Springfield Public Schools
Photos courtesy Springfield Public Schools

Springfield Public Schools

417-523-4747, sps.org/Explore

Elementary & Middle School
Explore is an exciting opportunity for students to participate in fun and engaging learning experiences this summer. Enriched by immersive field experiences, hands-on activities and unique classes, Explore offers something for every child from kindergarten to high school. Best of all, it is fun and free! Students may design their experience to best align with their personal interests or goals, while attending classes Monday through Friday. Explore offers two sessions: June 3-30 and July 6-31. Elementary school hours are 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. (with the exception of Hickory Hills and Westport, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.). Middle school classes are in session 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Partnerships with Askinosie Chocolate, Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield Watershed Center and other partners enhance field experiences for students. Online classes are also offered. Free breakfast and lunch will be served at all schools except Cherokee, Gray Wilder and Wilson’s Creek, which are not eligible for universal free meals. Before- and after-school care is available. Artworks, our premier fine arts summer experience, is offering more than 80 free classes offered at two schools, June 3-16 or June 17-30. To make it more convenient for everyone to attend, classes are held at more than 25 schools, and free transportation is available for eligible students. Enroll now at sps.org/Explore.

High School
There are dozens of ways high school students can take credit for their summer with Explore. Teens can learn anytime, anywhere and even earn credit for summer activities they already had planned, like a P.E. credit earned working out or an elective credit for a summer job. With a wide variety of free seated and online classes, Explore offers teens the flexibility to choose the path, place and pace of learning to meet their personal goals. Students can earn some basic credits, like English, Biology or Algebra, in a seated class at Parkview High School. Or, busy teens can learn when it fits their schedule with more than 80 online classes, including basics like Algebra, Health and Chemistry, or electives like American Civil War, Web Design or Accounting. Students can even get credit for real world experiences like visiting college campuses, an employment internship or volunteering. Whether high school students want to earn basic credits, repeat a class for a better grade or learn online, Explore can help them succeed. Explore offers two sessions: June 3-30 and July 6-31. Check out the options and enroll in free classes available to any high school student in the area at sps.org/Explore. For general Explore questions, call 417-523-4747 or for questions about online classes call 417-523-0417.

SPARC Ritter Springs Day Camp
Photo courtesy Springfield-Greene County Park BoardSPARC Ritter Springs Day Camp

Springfield-Greene County Park Board

417-864-1049 

Kids! The Springfield-Greene County Park Board has a camp for you this summer! Check out SPARC day camps, offered all summer at Ritter Springs Park, as well as before and after Explore at school-park sites, with field trips, swimming, games, crafts, sports, nature activities and team building! Or choose from specialized day camps, like learning about animals at Dickerson Park Zoo, Junior Golf Clinics and Skateboarding Camps. Valley Water Mill Park Equestrian Center hosts beginning to advanced horse-riding camps. Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park offers half-day and full-day seasonal farm-themed camps. The Park Board also has summer figure skating, ice hockey, archery, swim lessons, baseball, tennis, day trips with Outdoor Initiatives and more! There’s something for everyone!

Sylvan Learning Center
Photo courtesy Sylvan Learning Center

Sylvan Learning Center

1830 E. Independence St., Springfield, 417-268-9392

Sylvan Learning Center is designed to increase education in a fun and interactive way! Sylvan has been in business for 4 decades, and Sylvan of Springfield has been helping students for the past 30 years. This local academic location offers personalized solutions for each family!

When considering how to help your child get ahead this summer, consider what sets Sylvan apart: they employ certified educators, develop personalized plans for every learner and offer small group instruction. They’re open all summer, June through August, to avoid Summer Learning Loss and—yes!— they work with Home School students!

This summer, Sylvan will provide general tutoring hours Monday through Saturday for grades Kindergarten through 12. Whether your student needs help with reading, math, Algebra, study skills, writing or homework support, Sylvan offers sessions from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., and from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. to accommodate your busy schedule.

For grades 9 through 12, Sylvan will also offer exam preparation courses, including ACT Prep, ACT Prep Plus, SAT Prep, SAT Prep Plus and Advanced Reading. Students can also receive additional web-based instruction, reviews and practice tests via SylvanPrep.com.

With so many summer options, contact Sylvan Learning Center today!

Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Wonders of Wildlife

Wonders of Wildlife

500 W. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-225-1162

Dive in with a Summer Camp EdVenture at Wonders of Wildlife. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of some of the wildest places on earth and learn about the many creatures that call Wonders of Wildlife home. From June to August, campers will test out their survival skills, encounter live animals, explore nature and create lasting memories. From pre-K to high school, your campers will learn through games, crafts, experiments and more, it will be a summer they will never forget! For more information and to register, visit wondersofwildlife.org/camps.

Scholarships are available for the following types of programs at Wonders of Wildlife: EdVenture Programs, Homeschool EdVentures, Tiny Tot EdVentures, Parent-Child EdVentures, Overnight EdVentures, and WOW School. The Wonders of Wildlife Financial Scholarship is intended to allow under-resourced children to take part in Conservation EdVenture Programs. Each request will be reviewed and awarded based on need by the Director of Conservation Programs. Please be aware that 100% scholarships are not awarded and you will be asked on the application how much you can contribute to the cost of the program.

NEW: Dogwood Explorers Summer Camp!

Join us August 3–6 for a nature adventure at our Dogwood Explorers Summer Camp! Begin each morning with an outdoor investigation and excursion to a specific location in the park where we’ll observe, discover, and explain how this unique Ozarks ecosystem operates. In the afternoon we’ll tour the park by foot, bicycle, and even horseback! Enrolled students will meet at Wonders of Wildlife and ride a bus to Dogwood Canyon, making it super convenient for parents!

YMCA Camp Wakonda, Missouri
Photo courtesy YMCA

YMCA Camp Wakonda

22237 Lawrence 2080, Ash Grove417-491-4206

Do you want to enjoy your summer building friendships, learning new skills, and participating in activities that will gain lifetime experience? The mission of the YMCA is, ‘To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy Spirit, Mind and Body for all’. At YMCA Camp Wakonda we strive to provide campers, of all ages, the best experience of their year, in an outdoor setting.

The heart of YMCA Camp Wakonda is a close-knit group of campers led by mature, caring counselors who share a variety of fun, exciting and safe activities. Grow in confidence and self-esteem by engaging in challenges and adventures that afford unique opportunities for campers.

YMCA Camp Wakonda is located just 30 minutes west of Springfield. Camp offers activities including: archery, canoeing, swimming, 300-foot zip line, arts & crafts, rock climbing, basketball, field games, outdoor cooking, ropes course, and so much more! YMCA Camp Wakonda lives through the core values of the YMCA, caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

From June through August, campers going into second grade through senior year of high school can enjoy a week at YMCA Camp Wakonda. See personal growth through challenges and activities each day. End the week feeling impacted by every experience that camp has to offer. A week at YMCA Camp Wakonda will easily be the best week of your year!

For more information, you can visit campwakonda.org or our Facebook page YMCA Camp Wakonda. Be sure to register now!