Happy campers: A parent’s guide to seasonal youth activities

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

Summer is in full swing. And many parents are looking for activities to keep kids’ brains and bodies active as the school year wraps up.

Here are a few ideas to check out locally:

For budding creatives

Dubuque Museum of Art

Youth can get acquainted with the museum’s world-class art collection and explore exhibition highlights through imaginative and interactive projects in a variety of mediums. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Monday-Tuesday.

More information: dbqart.org

Captured on Canvas

The Little Artist Program, for ages 6-11; and the Advanced Young Artist Program, for ages 10-17, offers unlimited weekly creative time at the Dubuque studio. Little Artist classes take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. Advanced Young Artist classes take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays. The cost is $60 for a monthly class subscription, with a minimum of 12 weeks, or $75 for one month or four weeks. Classes and paint parties for kids, as well as summer camps also will take place, including “Drawing Still Life” from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, July 1; “Drawing Proportions” from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 2; “Drawing Animals” from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 3; “DIY 101!” from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 8, and Wednesday, July 31; “Paint Pointillism” from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, July 9 and 10; “Zentangles 101!” from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 12; “Mini Magical Gardens” from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, July 15 and 16; “Tie Dye!” from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 17; and “Extraordinary Anime!” from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, July 18, and Monday, July 29.

More information: dbqartstudio.com

Creative Adventure Lab

A play lab, pottery painting, rock climbing and more can be found at the organization in Dubuque and Monticello, Iowa, with unlimited family play lab memberships also available for $14.99 per month.

More information: creativeadventurelab.org

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra

The symphony’s String Camp, for students entering grades seven through 12, with a minimum of two years ensemble experience; and Chamber Music Camp, for students entering grades 10 through 12, with a minimum of five years playing experience, will take place Monday-Sunday, June 24-30. Campers will participate in large group rehearsals, small sectionals, private lessons, coachings, master classes and more. The String Camp will culminate in a performance at the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Melodies concert at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. The Chamber Music Camp will end in a performance at Clarke University’s Jansen Music Hall.

More information: dubuquesymphony.org

Northeast Iowa School of Music

Students can pick up an instrument either through private music lessons, duet lessons with a friend or group lessons. Virtual lessons also are available.

More information: nisom.com

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

The annual Pioneer Summer Band Camp will take place Sunday, July 7, though Saturday, July 13. It’s open to students entering grades seven through 12, with graduated seniors also welcome. Students participate in one of two concert bands, faculty led master classes, sectionals and other course offerings. The final concert takes place on the last day of camp. The cost is $525 for residential tuition and $425 for commuter tuition.

More information: uwplatt.edu/psbc

Bell Tower Theater

Elementary through high school students can learn about theater, on stage and off, through Kids Take the Stage Youth Theater Classes and the Free Summer Musical Program. This year’s high school musical production will be “Urinetown.” Open to students in grades eight through 12 during the 2024-2025 academic year, performances will take place from Friday, June 21, through Sunday, June 30. A Kids-for-Kids program, featuring “Seussical,” also will take place for ages 7-18. Performances for the Frumm Cast will be Thursday, July 18, through Saturday, July 27. Performances for the Vipp Cast will be Friday, July 19, through Saturday, July 27. There is no fee to participate.

More information: belltowertherater.net

Rising Star Theatre Company

“Small but Mighty,” a mini musical that offers songs and scenes featuring kids who fight back, will be available for those in grades second through fifth from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays-Fridays, June 10-14 and 17-21, with an invited guest performance at 11 a.m. Friday, June 21. The cost is $175 and includes a T-shirt. “Another Opening, Another Show,” for students in grades sixth through eighth, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, June 10-14 and 17-21, with an invited guest performance at 3 p.m. Friday, June 21. The cost is $175 and includes a T-shirt. “Tell No Tales,” for students in kindergarten through second grade, will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday-Friday, June 24-28, with an invited showcase at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 28. The cost is $100 and includes a T-shirt. An audition workshop, for students in grades six through 12, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, June 24-28. The cost is $100 and includes a T-shirt. “Ghost Light Improv,” for students in grades sixth through eighth, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, June 24-28, with an invited showcase at 7 p.m. Friday, June 28. The cost is $100 and includes a T-shirt.

More information: risingstartheatrecompany.com/education

The Great Midwestern Educational Theatre Company

A role-playing summer creativity camp inspired by the “Harry Potter” series, Frogwarts School of Wizardry Summer Camp is available Sundays-Saturdays, July 7-13 and 14-20. Participants will incorporate science, math, reading, writing and acting and take on a role-playing wizard persona. Campers also will use critical thinking, imagination and role-playing skills to develop a story to guide them through lessons of good versus evil, right versus wrong, empathy, creativity and fun.

More information: frogwarts.org

YogArt Camp

Challenge to Change will host a pair of SuperKids YogArt Camps Mondays, June 17 and Aug. 5, at $140; a pair of Mini SuperKids YogArt Camps Monday, July 8, and Aug. 19, at $50; and a variety of yoga classes and parties aimed at youth.

More information: challengetochange.com

AntiGravity Kids Camp

Float and Fly Wellness Studio hosts three aerial yoga camps throughout the summer. Camp 1 will take place June 18, 20, 21 and 22. Camp 2 will take place June 25, 27, 28 and 29. Camp 3 will take place July 9, 11, 12 and 13. The studio also hosts one-hour aerial yoga sessions for ages 7-12 at 11 a.m. Saturdays.

More information: FloatandFlyWellnessStudio.com

Centrally Rooted

The organization that bridges mindfulness with music and other creative outlets offers an assortment of one-on-one music lessons, as well as Mindful Musicians classes, music therapy, yoga, a free Exploration Lab and more.

More information: centrallyrooted.com

Capri Camp

Those in grades third through sixth can learn about the creativity behind beauty, as well as self-esteem, self-recognition and personal growth. The camp will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, July 10-14. The cost is $175.

More information: capricollege.edu

For young athletes

Loras College All-Sports Camp

Campers wanting to explore a variety of athletic activities can take advantage of four sessions, picking one major and two minors of sports, including archery, baseball, bowling, lacrosse, softball, biking, rock climbing and ultimate frisbee.

Sunday-Friday sessions will take place June 16-21, June 23-28, July 7-12 and July 14-19. The cost is $745 for residents, $720 for a resident second child, $575 for a day camper and $550 for a day camper second child.

More information: lorasallsportscamps.com

For outdoor lovers

Four Mounds Adventure Day Camp

Five camp sessions will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, June 24-28 for ages 11-13, July 8-12 for ages 9-11, July 15-19 for ages 7-9, July 22-26 for ages 8-10 and July 29-Aug. 2 for ages 8-10. Monday’s session will introduce campers to plants from the garden to the prairie through hands-on activities. Campers also will create a nature weaving with prairie plants. Tuesday’s session will take place at Swiss Valley Nature Center and will focus on Midwest ecosystems, learning about water ecosystems, exploring nature through the five senses and exploring the art of cairn for communication. Wednesday’s session will take place at Mines of Spain State Recreation Area to learn about animals in the creek, canoe safety and paddling strategy, and Mines of Spain history. Thursday’s session will return to Mines of Spain to hike and explore its various trails, as well as learn about plants and animals of the area, how to navigate using a compass and how to create pioneer toys. Friday’s sessions will include team-building activities on Four Mounds’ high ropes course, parachute games and other activities. The cost is $180 or $125 as part of the Family Scholarship Program.

More information: FourMounds.org

Eastern Iowa Horse & Pony Camp

From Sunday-Saturday, June 16-22, at the Jones County Fairgrounds in Monticello, Iowa, campers in third through 12th grade can participate in riding lessons, interactive learning and other activities.

More information: eihpc.com

Galena (Ill.) Art and Recreation Center

Summer camp options range from indoor and outdoor activities, including field trips, park visits, trips to the library, swimming lessons at the Galena Public Pool and a week at Camp Casper with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation. Set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, with drop-off and pick-up times between 7 and 9 a.m., families have the flexibility of choosing which weekly themes interest their children, ages 3-12. This summer’s lineup will include youth art classes, a wild clay adventure, a family birdhouse pottery class and youth cooking classes.

More information: galenaarc.org/summer-camp

Hoof It Goat Treks

Ages 5-12 will be able to explore all things goat- and nature-related through scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and other activities. Goat Camp will take place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, June 25-27 and July 9-11. Bonfires for families also will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays, June 28 and July 12. The cost is $250.

More information: HoofItGalena.com/kids-camp

Dubuque YMCA/YWCA Union Park Day Camp

The Union Park Day Camp will take place through August. Eleven one-week sessions, including a sports camp, are available to explore outdoor activities such as archery, arts and crafts, hiking, creek stomping, horseback riding, low ropes course, swimming, zip lining and more. Horse Camp also will take place in four one-week sessions for beginning, intermediate and advanced riders. Bike Camp will take place in two one-week sessions.

More information: dubuquey.org/daycamp

For lifelong learners

St. Mark Youth Enrichment’s Summer Heroes Camp

The camp is open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. It focuses on developing reading and math skills, as well as social-emotional learning, and will include field trips. It will take place from Monday, June 17, through Friday, July 26 (with no program the week of July 3) from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Dubuque and from 8 a.m. to noon in Dyersville, Iowa. Three additional classes — Foodology, Nature Navigators and Project STEAM — also will be available for Dubuque students in grades third through fifth. The cost is $500 for full-pay tuition and includes a $25 registration fee per family. Scholarships also are available.

More information: stmarkyouthenrichment.org/programs/summer

Northeast Iowa Community College

Through August, Northeast Iowa Community College will offer a wealth of virtual youth summer camps, including STEAM camps for ages 8-14 interested in video games, coding and virtual reality. Classes will include courses for YouTube, ROBLOX, Minecraft, Python Programming and Battle Royale. Northeast Iowa Community College’s Peosta, Iowa, location will host Kids on Campus from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, July 15-19, for students entering grades two through seven; and Progressive Agriculture Safety Day for ages 4-12 who live, work or visit farms.

More information: www.nicc.edu/camps

UD for Kids

UD for Kids is a summer enrichment opportunity for students in grades one through seven to build reading and math skills, while taking courses in the areas of science, math, technology, engineering, art, visual and performing arts, and aviation.

More information: www.dbq.edu/udforkids

Holy Family Catholic Schools

From arts and culinary camps to sports, faith, language and literacy, STEM and pre-kindergarten focuses, options abound for youth participants. Most camps begin in June and run through August.

More information: holyfamilydbq.org/resources/summer-camps

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

Summer Break Day Camps

Open to students entering kindergarten through eighth grade, museum camps aim to provide participants with interactive and engaging options throughout the summer months. Wrap-around care and limited scholarships are available.

More information: rivermuseum.com/summercamps

More resources

• Carnegie-Stout Public Library: CarnegieStout.org

• City of Dubuque Recreation and Leisure Services: cityofdubuque.org/439/Leisure-Services

• Dubuque County Library: DubCoLib.org

• Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: extension.iastate.edu/dubuque

• Mines of Spain State Recreation Area and E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center: minesofspain.org/education

• Swiss Valley Nature Preserve and Nature Center: dubuquecounty.org/conservation/swiss-valley-nature-center

• Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens: dubuquearboretum.com

• Dubuque County Conservation: tinyurl.com/4y99ehdd

• Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation: jdcf.org

Megan Gloss writes for the Telegraph Herald.

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