summer camps for creative kids

You’ve found the right spot for our day camps and summer camps for kids! Click here for a printable Summer 2016 brochure. Scroll down for 2016 day camps for a potential CPS strike
We do camp awesome.

summer camp STEM STEAM Art camp summer chicago 2016

Summer Camp 2016 for
Creative Chicago Kids

June 20-September 2, 2016
#STEMsneedflowers #smallonpurpose #openended #docampawesome

fashion camp geography art camp in chicago fashion camp art camp music camp for chicago kids sewing camp art camp DIY camp for chicago kids fashion camp confidence camp sewing camp in chicago art camp science camp STEM STEAM for chicago kids fashion camp technology camp writing camp for chicago kids art camp art supplies STEM STEAM chemistry camps chicago doll camp superhero camp art camp for chicago kids art camp for chicago kids eco planet friendly art camp for kids in chicago travel camp geography camp art camp for chicago kids science camp physics camp art camp for chicago kids STEM STEAM building camp art camp engineering camp for chicago kids

Make art, sew, design, build, learn + play with us.

We grow artists— creatively confident kids who approach obstacles with curiosity, unafraid to explore and even fail along the way to a solution. Creatively confident people grow up to solve problems big and small, globally and locally.

STEMs need flowers.
Campers learn about their world and creative voice with open-ended learning experiences in the arts that include subjects like science, social studies and math. All campers are eligible to earn Chicago City of Learning STEAM-focused digital badges representing their effort and accomplishment.

Small on purpose.
Quality over quantity. Process over product. We’re big on mission and intentionally small. Campers get to know one another and our entire team: we get to know your camper, their needs and interests. We make ample space for leadership and self-advocacy skills to bloom while investing in purposeful relationships with each child, creating a comfortable learning environment for the most gregarious or shy camper. There’s no way to get lost in the crowd in our camp.

Do camp awesome.
We take full advantage of our big, beautiful space, technology, quality materials and proximity to outdoor spaces and local businesses to stretch our minds and bodies. We delve deep into the weekly topics to inspire ideas and sharpen skills, then end each week with shows, recordings and photo shoots.

How to register

Each camp is offered by-the-week 9am-3pm* (or by-the-day for Idea Playground camps for Grades K-3. Day-spots are released for booking at least 3 days prior to camp.) Registering by the week is encouraged if you’re really excited as day-spots may be limited by the time camp rolls around. Camp policies can be found on this page– please read them before registering and pre-register as camps tend to fill. We keep it small on purpose and we think you’ll be glad we did. All camps are $395/week and include all materials.

Start by reading the registration options below. Then, if you already have an account with us, click the option you prefer. If this is your first booking with us, create an account here (use the Login/Register link at the top of the screen.)

  • Save $300 with a 4-week membership– Purchase an Idea Playground (Grades K-3) or Spoolhouse Rock (Grades 3-6) membership. We’ll take care of camp registration for you. Memberships include drop-off at 845am and pick-up any time before 6pm.
  • Save up to $2200 with an All-Access Summer Pass– A limited number of full-season passes are available here: Idea Playground (Grades K-3 and Spoolhouse Rock (Grades 3-6.) Talk about easy.
  • Register for a week of camp– After creating an account, select a camp name from the calendar below or here. Week-long after-care* can be booked this way, too (you’ll find the offering listed on the Monday of each camp week.) Week-long registration is required for Spoolhouse Rock camps and suggested for Idea Playground camps.
  • Register for a single day of after-camp activities*—  After creating an account, choose that activity from the calendar.
  • Register for a single day of camp–  After creating an account, choose that day from the calendar (just remember, single days are made available approximately 3 days before the first day of a camp week and we cannot guarantee a spot.) Single-days can be booked for a single-day price or by using a 5-day or 10-day pass. Single-day registration is available every week with open spots for Idea Playground camps and July 5-July-8 for Spoolhouse Rock camp.
  •  Click here to learn how to save $150 on 3 camps by registering with a friend.

*After-Camp 2016
Summer Crafternoons™ 3pm-6pm for Ages 5-9
Pincushion Social Club™ 3pm-6pm for Ages 8-12
$75/week for enrolled campers or $95 for a 5-visit membership

Creative Summer Camps For Younger Campers Ages 5-9: It’s An Idea Playground™

idea playground art camps STEM camps STEAM camps sewing camps for Chicago kids

We play with important ideas, learn art and craft technique with open-ended projects of our own design, get kinda messy, make new friends and know every child by name. As always, all campers are welcome to bring their music players and play DJ. No stickers or pre-fab here.

June 20-
June 24
art camp art supplies STEM STEAM chemistry camps chicagoMixie Dust 9am-3pm
The chemistry of art, the art of chemistry and the magic of bringing the two together. Melting, mixing, blowing, exploding– this week’s campers get logical, experimental and artistical*. No magic wand required. * We made up this word. This camp is offered twice in 2016: June 20-June 24 and August 1-5.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
June 27-
July 2
eco planet friendly art camp for kids in chicagoGreenie Pants 9am-3pm
Campers get wild about their inner-naturalist as we travel around the planet with our green-colored glasses. Campers learn about the geometry of a beehive, explore natural dyes found in plants and flowers, make a clay planter that also functions as a wind-chime and more! This camp is offered twice in 2016: June 27-July 2 and August 15-19.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
July 5-
July 8
doll camp superhero camp art camp for chicago kidsLittlelandia 9am-3pm
Imagine a universe of you. The people. The culture. The language. The environment. Every aspect of their Littlelandia universe is theirs to design and make using a variety of mediums and techniques. Then, they bring their microcosm home for an endless world of play. This camp is offered twice in 2016: by the day Jul 5-July 8 and by the week August 29-September 2.
(Single-day registration only this week.)
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
July 11-
July 15
summer camp art camp for chicago kidsHopscotch Hullabaloo 9am-3pm
Round up fun for the urban outdoors! We’re making big games and little toys including the fantastical, geometrical, make-a-choice-ical (eat a popsicle?) cube and a jump-the-moat sculpture for big fun in little spaces and more than a little fun in big spaces.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
July 18-
July 22
summer camp travel camp geography camp art camp for chicago kidsFly, Bobbin, Fly 9am-3pm
Travel the globe one stitch, one dab, one pluck at a time. Our itinerary includes stops in Russia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, working with paper, thread, clay and wood. Campers in this terrific taxi of a week are going to need a bigger suitcase.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
July 25-
July 29
summer camp art camp science camp STEM STEAM for chicago kidsThe Doppler Gang 9am-3pm
Get down with the world of sound. Music, science and the visual arts come together for a week of mind-bending, mind-blowing, mind-growing experimentation and creation, music and motion.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
August 1-
August 5
summer camp art camp art supplies STEM STEAM chemistry camps chicagoMixie Dust 9am-3pm
The chemistry of art, the art of chemistry and the magic of bringing the two together. Melting, mixing, blowing, exploding– this week’s campers get logical, experimental and artistical*. No magic wand required. This camp is offered twice in 2016: June 20-June 24 and August 1-5. * We made up this word.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
August 8-
August 12
summer camp building camp art camp engineering camp for chicago kidsBlock Party 9am-3pm
Engineer a week of architectural wonder from the small to the grand. Campers this week imagine and build bridges and mazes, cities and skills.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
August 15-
August 19
summer camp eco planet friendly art camp for kids in chicagoGreenie Pants 9am-3pm
Campers get wild about their inner-naturalist as we travel around the planet with our green-colored glasses. Campers learn about the geometry of a beehive, explore natural dyes found in plants and flowers, make a clay planter that also functions as a wind-chime and more! This camp is offered twice in 2016: June 27-July 2 and August 15-19.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
August 22-
August 26
summer camp science camp physics camp art camp for chicago kids STEM STEAMCreative Momentum 9am-3pm
Get going with the artistic side of science. Campers paint with a pendulum, draw with light and come home feeling like a rocket scientist with a heart for art.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm
August 29-
September 2
summer camp doll camp superhero camp art camp for chicago kidsLittlelandia 9am-3pm
Imagine a universe of you. The people. The culture. The language. The environment. Every aspect of their Littlelandia universe is theirs to design and make using a variety of mediums and techniques. Then, they bring their microcosm home for an endless world of play. This camp is offered twice in 2016: by the day Jul 5-July 8 and by the week August 29-September 2.
Summer Crafternoons 3pm-6pm

spoolhouse rock fashion camps art camps STEM camps STEAM camps sewing camps for Chicago kids

Creative Summer Camps For Older Campers Ages 8-12: It’s Spoolhouse Rock™ (previously known as Project Wishcraft)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ve taken the best of what kids loved about our most popular fashion camp and mixed it with modern ideas. Fashion is a business and style is a choice: we focus on the latter because we believe it goes much further in supporting the development of self-esteem. Campers learn about design, patterning and machine-sewing, guided by their interests. Camps include a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it a hoodie, a guitar strap, a messenger bag or a complete outfit. They decide. It’s confidence-building bootcamp for blossoming artists and thinkers of all genders. Campers can design for themselves or a friend: add measurements and math to design and we can make almost anything. No previous sewing experience is required and those with experience take on new challenges. [click to here to find out what happened to Project Wishcraft]

June 20-
June 24
summer camp fashion camp art camp music camp for chicago kidsThe Rocker 9am-3pm
Voice your confidence*. Campers learn about graphic design and grommets, confidence and self-expression alongside the week’s design, patterning and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes an on-stage photo shoot at Martyrs’.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
June 27-
July 2
summer camp fashion camp technology camp writing camp for chicago kidsThe Blogger 9am-3pm
Design and document your life. Campers learn about home pages and logos, inspiration and motivation alongside the week’s design, patterning and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes a walking field-trip to Crush on Roscoe.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
July 5-
July 8
summer camp sewing camp art camp DIY camp for chicago kidsThe Maker 9am-3pm
Discover your DIY attitude. Campers learn about print-making and zines, reuse and resourcefulness alongside the week’s design and machine-sewing projects. Each camp day includes a machine-sewing project. (Single-day registration only for this week.)
(Single-day registration only for this week.) Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
July 11-
July 15
summer camp fashion camp geography art camp in chicagoThe Traveler 9am-3pm
Chart your global citizenship. Campers learn about typography and embroidery, self-awareness and diversity alongside the week’s design, patterning and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. (Walking field-trip TBA.)
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
July 18-
July 22
sewing camp art camp DIY camp for chicago kidsThe Maker 9am-3pm
Discover your DIY attitude. Campers learn about print-making and zines, reuse and resourcefulness alongside the week’s design and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes a walking field-trip to Union Handmade.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
July 25-
July 29
summer camp fashion camp confidence camp sewing camp in chicagoThe Independent 9am-3pm
Speak up for your style. Campers learn about journaling and refashioning, consumer literacy and point-of-view alongside the week’s design and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes a walking field-trip to Flirty Cupcakes.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
August 1-
August 5
fashion camp art camp music camp for chicago kidsThe Rocker 9am-3pm
Voice your confidence*. Campers learn about graphic design and grommets, confidence and self-expression alongside the week’s design, patterning and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes an on-stage photo shoot at Martyrs’.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
August 8-
August 12
fashion camp technology camp writing camp for chicago kidsThe Blogger 9am-3pm
Design and document your life. Campers learn about home pages and logos, inspiration and motivation alongside the week’s design, patterning and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes a walking field-trip to Crush on Roscoe.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
August 15-
August 19
fashion camp geography art camp in chicagoThe Traveler 9am-3pm
Chart your global citizenship. Campers learn about typography and embroidery, self-awareness and diversity alongside the week’s design, patterning and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. (Walking field-trip TBA.)
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
August 22-
August 26
sewing camp art camp DIY camp for chicago kidsThe Maker 9am-3pm
Discover your DIY attitude. Campers learn about print-making and zines, reuse and resourcefulness alongside the week’s design and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes a walking field-trip to Union Handmade.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm
August 29-
September 2
fashion camp confidence camp sewing camp in chicagoThe Independent 9am-3pm
Speak up for your style. Campers learn about journaling and refashioning, consumer literacy and point-of-view alongside the week’s design and machine-sewing projects. Camp includes a machine-sewing project(s) of their own design be it garments or other machine-sewn projects guided by their interests. Includes a walking field-trip to Flirty Cupcakes.
Pincushion Social Club 3pm-6pm

How does it work?

  • Drop-off begins at 845am (if they can wait that long!)
  • Campers are welcome to arrive anytime. We always have a full-day of open-ended, creative hoopla planned with projects that begin by 930am.
  • Mid-morning (and mid-afternoon for those campers enrolled in the after-camp programs*) wholesome snack is served. The workshop is planet-friendly and allergy-conscious: nut-free and/or gluten-free snacks are available.
  • Campers break for lunch mid-day and are encouraged to pack lunches in reusable containers.
  • Campers who attend through 3pm have the best opportunity to complete all we have planned for them (and learn about things like wavelength and stitch-length, capability and miscibility, automation and celebration, parallelism and pointillism, citizenship and artisanship… we can keep going if you want..)

Other cool stuff about Summer Camp 2016

(Read about what’s new and why in greater detail here).

  • We make camp convenient for you while facilitating immersive experiences that make campers jump out of bed each day.
  • We differentiate with innovative activities to encourage creative campers of every age + gender to stretch and still feel like they’re just stretching out in a beanbag.
  • We make ample space for leadership and self-advocacy skills to bloom while investing in purposeful relationships with each and every child.
  • We incorporate time outdoors in an essential way that captivates even the “do-we-have-to?” camper.
  • We celebrate our vibrant neighborhood of independent businesses to amplify learning, thinking and smiling.
  • We keep young minds fresh during the school intermission while giving them the “break” in summer break. [Read more about our philosophy here.]
  • New themes! We’ve kept around some goodies, turned some on their head and introduced new ones. Wonder what’s up with this “STEM” and “STEAM” stuff? We’ve been up to it since we opened in 2008..we just didn’t realize that what we thought was natural approach to learning through art and play had a special acronym.
  • While the entire facility is used by all campers, we’ve opted to return to a two-track calendar. For kids in that in-between age, we trust that you know them best and to choose the camp that will be the best environment for your child. We're always here to answer your questions so that your child gets the best we have to offer.
  • Believe it or not, not every camper wants to play outside (despite your encouragement and our best planning.) We’ve added outdoor activities for 2016 that are fun with a purpose by connecting to the week’s activities so that everyone can get excited about venturing outside.

Why are we still so in love with sewing machines? We always will be. Sewing is a useful skill that requires the application of math, spatial reasoning, patience, hand-eye coordination…and respect for safety while using a power tool. What’s not to love?

Funordinary Art Camp

Spring 2016 School-Year Dates
April 1, 2016 SOLD OUT April 8, 2016 SOLD OUT
April 13, 2016 SOLD OUT April 18, 2016
April 19, 2016 April 20, 2016
April 21, 2016 April 22, 2016
May 23, 2016 May 24, 2016
May 25, 2016 May 26, 2016

The only thing predictable in this art camp is the fun. Each camp offers a new theme, new skills and new friends. The day’s activities are planned just before the camp date to consider the ages and interests of our enrolled campers. Each day includes multiple art+craft projects, mid-morning snack (provided, nut and/or gluten-free available) and fun+games. Campers bring their own lunch. Grades K-5 suggested (talk to us about your child.)

CTU STRIKE UPDATE: We’re watching the news and watching your back. We hope it doesn’t come to it, but should there be a CTU Strike, we will have camp and activities daily through 6pm. We currently have 4 placeholder days on the schedule (May 23-26). If you register for the first day of “strike camp” (ugh) the reservation will be automatically transferred to whichever date constitutes the first weekday of the strike (and for the second, third and fourth, respectively.) If an agreement is reached and no strike is required, full credit will be applied to your account. Early drop-off (745am) is also available for all furlough and strike camp days (register by choosing the activity from the appropriate date on the calendar.) Please let us know if you have any questions or information you think we should know to be of best support to our community.

If you already have an account with us, register for camp here. If this is your first booking with us, start by creating an account here with the Login/Register link at the top of the screen.

9am-3pm $75/participant ($55 for Crafter-School Students) After-Care 3pm-6pm $25. 9am-3pm camp registration is required for After-Care enrollment.

Pincushion Social Club Camp

Winter/Spring 2016 School-Year Dates
April 13, 2016 SOLD OUT April 18, 2016
April 19, 2016 April 20, 2016
April 21, 2016 April 22, 2016

Needles and thread (including the sewing machine) making art, accessories and who knows what else! Each camp offers new projects and new friends. Some days include multiple smaller projects while others include a full-day project. All camps include mid-morning snack and topical games. All materials are included unless otherwise specified. No experience required. Grades 4-8 suggested (talk to us about your child.) Bring an ipod and get ready to rock ‘n sew.

If you already have an account with us, register for camp here. If this is your first booking with us, start by creating an account here with the Login/Register link at the top of the screen.

9am-3pm $85/participant ($65 for Crafter-School Students) After-Care 3pm-6pm $25. 9am-3pm camp registration is required for After-Care enrollment.

Did we miss a day? We might be able to schedule something for your school and your friends. Just ask!

We love our new camp icons. Thanks to the following artists making their elegant work available on nounproject.com: Samuel Miller, Oly Ozi, Patrick Morrison, Blake Thompson, Gregar Cesnar, Dan Hetteix, Nate Eul, Gregory Sujkowski, Wayne Middleton, Richard Pasqua and Guilherme Simoes.

ask a question