Whether you need a safe and engaging place for your kids to spend their no-school days while youâ€™re at work, or you just want to keep them entertained for a day or two while you do some holiday preparation, winter break camps can be the key to a happy holiday season for parents and kids alike. To help you find a great program for your child, weâ€™ve compiled a list of some of the areaâ€™s best camps for this yearâ€™s winter break.
NOTE: Camps run Dec. 23-Jan. 3, with no camp Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, unless otherwise noted.
Hereâ€™s to a happy holiday!
Learning, fun and nature for kids in grades 1-8. Different themes and age groups on different days, from â€śsnowshoe hares to polar bearsâ€ť for younger campers to a â€ścooking at the cabinâ€ť overnight adventure for older kids. Most camps run 8:45 am-4:15 pm. $70-$150 per session, discounts for members. 5151 NW Cornell. 971-222-6120.
Circuit Bouldering Gym
Fun, non-competitive rock climbing camps for ages 5-11. 9 am-2 pm. $50 first day, $40/day after that. Two locations: 6050 SW Macadam, 410 NE 17th. 503-719-7041.
Create, play, make holiday gifts, explore northwest Portland. Ages 5+. 8:30 am-3:30 pm. $52/day. Creative Roots, 2277 NW Irving. 503-451-5179.
Fun activities focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. Ages 5-14. Dec. 30-Jan. 3. Half day $35 (9 am-12 pm or 1-4 pm). Full day $50 (9 am-4 pm). 10110 SW Nimbus, Tigard. 503-372-9817.
Two-day baking camps. Ages 9-13 Dec. 30-31. Ages 6-10 Jan. 2-3. 10 am-12:30 pm. $75/session. 5202 NE 72nd. 503-946-8375.
Mittleman Jewish Community Center
Everyone age 3-11 is welcome, with sports, swimming, gymnastics, arts and crafts, games and more. Half day $22 (9 am-1 pm). Full day $44 (9 am-4 pm). Before and after care available. (No camp Dec. 25, 31, Jan. 1.) 6651 SW Capitol Hwy. 503-244-0111.
Northwest Childrenâ€™s Theater & School
Drama games, acting, crafts, plus campers get to see a performance of Peter Pan. Grades K-5. 9 am-4 pm Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. $175. 1819 NW Everett. 503-222-2190.
Oregon Zoo Art-ic Adventure
Learn about animals and art. Make your own animal masterpieces, plus games, songs, zoo tours, more. Grades K-4. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-4 pm. $45/day, member discount. Before and after care available. 4001 SW Canyon. 503-226-1561.
Explore Washington County’s pioneer heritage with a different theme daily. Ages 8-12. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-4 pm. $50/day or $175/four days, member discount.â€¨Bring lunch, outdoor clothing and pioneer clothing if youâ€¨have it (not required). Washington County Museum, 120 E Main. Hillsboro. 503-645-5353, ext 133.
Play Boutique Holiday Workshops
Make holiday gifts, decorate gingerbread houses, more. Ages 1-10. 9:30 am-1 pm. $35/day ages 3-10, $45/day ages 1-2. Two locations: 464 First, Lake Oswego, 503-675-7529; 12345 SW Horizon, Beaverton, 503-352-5202.
The Playground Gym
Skill building, group games, team building, plus open play, field trips, art, more. School-aged kids. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-3:30 pm; half days and after care available. $20/day, 75/week. 505 NE Grand. 503-235-7529.
Portland Childrenâ€™s Museum
These popular camps connect kids with their natural creativity. Hands-on activities use a variety of art materials such as clay, paper, paint, and fabric. Ages 4-6. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-2 pm. $160, member discount. 4015 SW Canyon. 503-223-6500.
Portland Parks & Recreation
Dozens of winter break sessions at community centers around Portland for kids preschool age and older. Sessions run around $20/day for residents. 503-823-7529. portlandoregon.gov/parks/ (select â€śsearch for classesâ€ť then choose a category on the left).
From chemistry to creating video games to an engineering class called â€śRube Goldberg,â€ť budding scientists will be entertained and educated at Saturday Academy. Class schedules and prices vary. 1100 NW Compton, Beaverton. 503-200-5858.
Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District
Nature-themed camps with different topics daily. Outdoor activities, crafts, science, stories, more. Ages 7-11. 7:45 am-5:15 pm. $49 in-district, reservations required. Nature Park Interpretive Center, 15655 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton. 503-629-6350.
A variety of unique single day programs for adventurous campers. Ages 4-14. Most run 8:30 am-3:30 pm, with before and after care available. (No camp Dec. 24, 25, Jan. 1.) Little ones can attend the â€śSchool of Magicâ€ť or other themed sessions and older kids can head up to the mountain for snowshoe adventures or explore archery, blacksmithing and more. $59-$98/day (higher for later registrations). 5040 SE Milwaukie. 503-345-3312.
Different nature theme and age group daily, with hikes, crafts, activities. 9 am-3 pm, except 9 am-1 pm Dec. 24, 31. $10 members, $50 non-members. ($5 members, $45 non-members Dec. 24, 31.) Pre-registration required. 11321 SW Terwilliger. 503-636-4398 ext. 225.
Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation
Field trips, swimming, climbing wall, games, crafts, more. Ages 4-6, 9 am-noon, $58 week. Ages 6+, 9:30 am-4:30 pm, $35-$40/day. Before and after care available. Firstenburg Community Center, 700 NE 136th, or Marshall Community Center, 1009 E McLoughlin. 360-487-8311.
Make gingerbread houses, Christmas ornaments and cards, holiday crafts, more. Local excursions for campers at the Pearl location. Ages 4-12; drop-in care available for younger kids. 9 am-5 pm. (No camp Dec. 25, 26, Jan. 1.) $65/day members, $85/day non-members. Before and after care available. Two locations: 1024 NW Glisan, 503-935-5590, and 1295 NE Orenco Station Pkwy., 503-640-7529.
Zenger Farm Cooking Camp
Campers harvest herbs; cook winter squash; make soap, candles and more. Grades 4-6. 8:45 am-3 pm. $55/day, $150/three days. After care available. 11741 SE Foster. 503-282-4245.
photo provided by Trackers Earth.