Best Kids Summer Camps In 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 2024 at 8 a.m.

417 Magazine's Kids Camps
Photo courtesy Shutterstock

Get ready for an unforgettable summer packed with adventure and learning. Explore a variety of enriching experiences at some of the top summer camps in southwest Missouri. From hands-on educational opportunities at Springfield Public Schools to creative exploration at Discovery Center or Springfield Little Theatre, there’s something for every child to discover and enjoy. Dive into the excitement and enroll today.

Choose a Summer Camp


Ballerinas at Springfield Ballet in Springfield, MO.
Photo courtesy of Springfield Ballet.Children will learn from seasoned dancers at Springfield Ballet’s summer camps, intensives and classes.

Springfield Ballet

411 N. Sherman Pkwy, Springfield, MO 65802, 417-862-1343

Dates: June through July 2024
Cost: Varies, see website for details
Best for: all ages 
Type of camp: Day and half-day camps

What it offers: Summer is the perfect time to devote yourself to dance and Springfield Ballet offers camps, intensives and classes to meet any interest or ability level. For young dancers, they have two half-day, weeklong camps. Fairy Tale Ballet Camp for ages 3-5 runs June 3-7 and Prince & Princess Ballet Camp for ages 6-10 is June 10-14. In both camps, participants explore their creativity in ballet and dance classes while also learning about music and drama. They have daily crafts, story and snack time. Each camp concludes with a special performance for parents and guests! Springfield Ballet also offers two four-week summer class sessions, June 3-27 and July 1-25 that include their Dance With Me parent and child class and Open Adult Ballet and Conditioning.

What's unique: Seasoned dancers will enjoy the immersive experience of Springfield Ballet’s summer intensives. These full-day, by-placement intensives provide instruction in a variety of disciplines from regional and national guest artists in addition to our faculty. Their Primary Intensive for ages 7-14 is July 8-12, the Junior Intensive for ages 9+ is July 15-26 and the Senior Intensive for ages 11+ is July 8-26. Junior and Senior intensives can be one or multi-week experiences.

Get more info: Learn more and register for Springfield Ballet's Summer Programs.

Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Springfield Little TheatreChildren can dive into a creative and exciting summer at Springfield Little Theatre’s summer workshops.

Springfield Little Theatre

237 S. Florence Ave, Springfield, 417-413-2287

Dates: June through August 2024
Cost: Varies, see website for details
Best for ages: 4-18
Type of camp: Varies, see website for details

What it offers: Let your child try something they’ve never tried before, or follow their passion and improve their craft at Springfield Little Theatre! SLT offers multiple one-week and two-week summer workshops during the months of May through August. These camps serve beginner to advanced students ages 4 to 18. SLT is proud to provide enriching, entertaining and exciting summer theater camp experiences in acting, musical theater, dance, performance, technical theater, film or theater administration for every child who participates. 

At the conclusion of the summer season, participating families are invited back for the SLT Education Department’s Big Summer Blowout, a culminating celebration of all of the workshops and open house showcasing fall opportunities. 

What's unique: Youth involvement at Springfield Little Theatre encourages a love and respect for the community, the arts and all aspects of theatricality. It promotes discipline and the pursuit of excellence, and also provides an outlet for friendship and fun! 

Get more info: Program spots are limited. A detailed listing of offerings, descriptions, and registration information can be found on the Springfield Little Theatre's website.


Get active this summer with Redline Athletics.
Photo courtesy of Redline AthleticsRedline Athletics offers sports performance training programs for children all year round.

Redline Athletics

4234 S Reed Ave, Springfield, 417-319-5766

Dates: Year-round
Cost: Varies, see website for details
Best for ages: 8-18
Type of camp: Varies, see website for details

Jump into the fun with Redline Athletics’ youth programs! Under the ownership of Lisa Tinkler, Redline Athletics stands by its motto, “greater than yesterday.” 

What it offers: Specializing in sports performance training for all sports year-round, their program offers daily sessions for athletes aged 8-18, regardless of skill level.

What’s unique: As a renowned national sports performance brand, they prioritize comprehensive athletic development and speed and agility training. Redline Athletics emphasizes posture and core strength, proper technique and functional movements that apply directly to on-field performance. They also track each athlete’s progress to adjust future programming. Ensuring inclusivity and growth for all, they can customize workouts to accommodate individuals with cognitive disabilities.

Operating daily from Mondays to Saturdays, their program is a pathway to enhanced sports performance and personal discipline. While the journey to being “greater than yesterday” demands dedication and hard work, the rewards are immeasurable.

Get more info: Learn more about Redline Athletics


Young girl at Cub Creek Science Camp
Photo courtesy Cub Creek Science CampMany campers discover a passion for animals, science and nature while at Cub Creek Science Camp.

Cub Creek Science Camp

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

Dates: Weekly from June 2 to August 10. 
Cost: $1,290
Best for ages: 7-17
Type of camp: Overnight camp

What it offers: Imagine a summer camp where kids eat breakfast in the company of ring-tailed lemurs, zoom down a zip-line and kiss a camel before lunch, try their hand at 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 arts and crafts, digital photography, chemistry, entomology, crime science, pottery, culinary science and more, Cub Creek is not your average summer camp. 

What’s unique: Cub Creek Science Camp is dedicated to cultivating and nurturing friendships, creating lifelong memories and enriching the lives of all campers ages 7-17. After 25 years, they have 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 nurture right here at camp. Facilities are air-conditioned and meals are served buffet style with alternative meal options available.

Get more info: You can read more about camp on the Cub Creek Science Camp website, or give them a call at 573-458-2125 and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Kids conducting a science experiment at the Discovery Center summer camp in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Discovery CenterThe Discovery Center’s summer camps offer hands-on learning opportunities throughout the summer for children ages 3-14.

Discovery Center

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

Dates: Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 20 through August 16, with additional extended care options available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $100-275
Best for ages: 3-14
Type of camp: Day and half-day camps

What it offers: Campers can reignite their love of learning after a long school year at the Discovery Center’s summer camps with everything kids love, like NERF, cosplay, video games and more! The Discovery Center is the perfect weather-proof summer camp destination with over 30 hands-on camps that run all summer long for kids ages 3–14. With different camp sizes, your camper can make friends in big groups at Crew Camp or in a smaller setting at Discovery Camp—whichever is best for them! Regardless of what they pick, they’ll get a summer to remember from an award-winning team.

What’s unique: Campers will turn up the heat in the kitchen and learn the science of cooking, race with Mario and friends in a hover chair, explore the colorful world of Dr. Seuss, gear up for outdoor adventures and be wowed through memorable hands-on learning they won’t want to miss. The Discovery Center provides inspiring hands-on education that kids love at a price that’s an easy parenting win. Discovery Center members can save up to $55 on each camp registration. Best of all, every membership 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.

Get more info: Spots are limited and camps can sell out quickly, so don’t regret waiting and register with the Discovery Center today.

Springfield Park Board has summer camps with activities for all ages!
Photo courtesy of Springfield-Greene County Park BoardKids can enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities and destination field trips at Park Board’s summer day camps.

Springfield-Greene County Park Board


Dates: June through August 2024
Cost: $35-250
Best for ages: 5-14
Type of camp: Day camp

Registration is now open for Park Board summer day camps, including SPARC’s Ritter Springs, Summer Adventure and Summer Quest, open all summer long!

What it offers: Campers play games and sports, swim, take field trips, have cookouts and go home exhilarated from a day of adventuring. Summer Adventure takes place at Bingham Elementary and Jeffries Elementary, with weekly themed activities for ages 5-12. Outdoor Ritter Springs includes hiking, creek walking, archery, caving and more, for ages 5-12. Summer Quest is for older kids, ages 11-14, and includes video games, movies and destination field trips.

What’s unique: Check out the Park Board’s specialty day camps: farm and animal camps at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park, horseback riding at Valley Water Mill Equestrian Center, rock climbing and kayaking with Outdoor Initiatives, sports camps, and week-long SPARC camps focused on outdoor adventures, exploring Springfield and youth sports.

Get more info: Learn about the Springfield-Greene County Park Board camps and register early as space is limited. SPARC: 417-837-5737. Park Board: 417-864-1049.

Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Wonders of WildlifeExplore a variety of Summer Camp EdVentures at Wonders of Wildlife.

Wonders of Wildlife

500 W. Sunshine St., Springfield417-225-1162

Dates: May through August 2024
Cost: $200-350
Best for: all ages
Type of camp: Day camp

What it offers: Dive into a fun-filled summer 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. Camps run from mid-May to August and allow students to test out their survival skills, encounter live animals, explore nature and create lasting memories. From kindergarten to high school, attendees learn through games, crafts, experiments and more during a summer they will never forget!

What's unique: The Dogwood Canyon Summer Camp EdVentures! Students grades 3-8 explore nature and embark on new adventures at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park! Students will have the opportunity to observe and discover the canyon while witnessing a unique Ozarks ecosystem by touring the park by foot, vehicle and even horseback! Enrolled students can meet at Wonders of Wildlife and ride a bus to and from Dogwood Canyon, making it super convenient for parents in the Springfield area.  

Scholarships are available for Wonders of Wildlife’s Summer EdVenture Programs, Homeschool EdVentures, Parent-Child EdVentures, Overnight EdVentures, and WOW School. Financial scholarships are intended to allow under-resourced children to take part in Conservation EdVenture Programs. Each request is reviewed and awarded based on need by the Director of Conservation Programs. Please note 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. Get more information about and apply for a Wonders of Wildlife scholarship.

Get more info: Get more information and register for Wonders of Wildlife's Summer Camp EdVenture


Kids First Early Learning Academy
For children ages 1-6, Kids First Early Learning Academy offers many activities to keep your children engaged and learning this summer.

Kids First Early Learning Academy

1507 E. Lark St., Springfield, MO 65804417-887-2151

Cost: Varies, email or call 417-887-2151 for details. 
Best for ages: 1-6
Type of camp: Day camp

What it offers: Kids First Early Learning Academy is offering another sensational summer in 2024! Kids First’s summer programs are a perfect blend of education and fun–a surefire way to keep your children interested, engaged and excited about learning during the summer months.

What’s unique: The curriculum is jam-packed with exploration, hands-on activities and opportunities to discover new talents and interests. Minds and bodies stay active through art, cooking, science, outdoor play, picnics, music and movement, water days, visits from special guests and so much more!

Get more info: Enrollment is open to children ages 1 to 6 years old. To reserve your child’s spot, email or call 417-887-2151. Space is limited, so contact Kids First Learning Academy today!

Summer School with Springfield Public Schools
Photo courtesy Springfield Public SchoolsSpringfield Public Schools provides a variety of courses catering to diverse student interests.

Springfield Public Schools - Explore

All ages

Dates: Seated classes are offered June 3-28, and virtual classes are offered June 3-28 and July 8-August 2.
Cost: Varies, see website for details
Best for: all ages
What it offers: Learn. Create. Invent. Discover. Explore!

Springfield Public Schools is here to make sure your students have some fun this summer and keep them engaged and learning, too! Elementary and middle school students are sure to find a course that interests them with their large selection of seated and virtual classes. Students will find opportunities to blaze local hiking trails, paddle down streams, bird watch, learn Spanish, build video games and even learn how to write poetry. The fun doesn’t stop there—creative students in grades 3-5 will love attending Artworks, which features in-person classes at three locations. The Middle School Fine Arts Academy gives learners a chance to try their hand at puppetry, pottery, improv and more. There are also courses available for students in grades 9-12.

What’s unique: By earning required credits in the summer, students will have more room in their schedules to take the classes they love next year.

Get more info: Interested? Learn more and enroll for Springfield Public Schools Explore.

*Free meals and bus transportation are available for eligible students.

Virtual Learning this summer with Springfield Public Schools
Photo courtesy Springfield Public SchoolsStudents can check off required courses over the summer with Launch Virtual Learning.

Springfield Public Schools - Virtual Learning

All ages

Dates: Seated classes are offered for K-8 students June 3–28, and virtual classes are offered for grades 1-12 during two sessions, June 3–28 and July 8 through August 2.
Cost:Varies, see website for details
Best for: all ages

Summer Your Way with Launch Virtual Learning

What it offers: Students can have it their way with Launch Virtual Learning! By enrolling in a summer course and earning required credits (Personal Finance, anyone?), they’ll have more room in their schedules to take classes they’re passionate about next year. They can even make up credits for courses they previously failed. 

What’s unique: Launch has more than 500 courses to choose from. The best part? Students can log on whenever they want and work from wherever they want (so those summer jobs—or hanging out by the pool all day—are still an option).

Get more info: Interested? Learn more about Launch summer courses online on the Springfield Public Schools website. Registration opens March 4 through SPS Explore.

Campers at Camp Raven at The Summit Preparatory School in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy The Summit Preparatory SchoolYour child can continue learning throughout the summer at Camp Raven at The Summit Preparatory School.

Camp Raven at The Summit Preparatory School

202 E. Walnut Lawn St., Springfield417-869-8077

Dates: June through July 2024
Cost: $125- $140
Best for: all ages
Type of camp: Day and half-day camps

What it offers: Spend your summer at The Summit with Camp Raven! Camps provide a fun and enriching way to continue learning over the summer. Weekly sessions are available for students of all ages! Jr. Camp Raven (PreK) is offered in the mornings for our youngest learners and features exciting and engaging themes in a playful environment. Elementary camps are available morning (K-5th) and afternoon (1st-5th) and feature a field trip almost every week! Campers can sign up for morning and afternoon camps the same week, bring lunch and stay all day! Middle and high school students are invited to enrich their summer at Sr. Camp Raven with a series lineup to meet a variety of interests. 

What’s unique: Each session, led by talented and enthusiastic instructors, focuses on a central theme from explorations in STEM and art to music and movement. 

Get more info: To learn more about camp offerings, schedules, and pricing, please visit the Summit Preparatory School's Camp Raven page. Space is limited, so don’t delay! Register today!

Prices on this page are accurate as of March 1, 2024. Please refer to the camp websites for the most up-to-date information and cost. 

This content is sponsored by Springfield Ballet, Springfield Little Theatre, Redline Athletics, Cub Creek Science Camp, Discovery Center, the Springfield Greene-County Park Board, Wonders of Wildlife, Kids First Early Learning Academy, Springfield Public Schools and The Summit Preparatory School.