Playtime: From art to theater to science, more summer camp ideas

(Photo courtesy Soundview School summer camp webpage)

In making plans for the summer, I sometimes slip back into thinking that my pre-child pipe dream of lazy summer days filled with sleeping in, low-maintenance backyard play, and just a little too much TV is the plan. The problem is, the 1980s summer montage that plays in my head is not consistent with our reality of either work schedules or what is best for either kid.

So if this were a movie and I was staring off into space with my head nestled in my palm, my daydreams of warm, homework-free days, and no kids fighting would be rudely interrupted by say, kids fighting. As the kids get older, our needs for the summer are changing and I’ve been looking around to see what would work to supplement our mainstay camps. Locally, we have a lot of options that involve more of a variety or maybe a specialty that is a little less mainstream.

I must drive by Soundview School on 196th Street, west of Highway 99, 20 times a week, especially now that Sprouts is sending me coupons in the mail. Yet, I haven’t really considered them a resource since both kids are in public school. As it turns out, Soundview School offers summer camps for a wide range of ages — early education camps for kids ages 3 to 5, elementary school camps for those in 1st through 5th grades, and middle school camps for those in 6th through 8th grades, which isn’t always an easy age to find activities for.

Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended care available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the early education camps have a half day option. Campers in the 3 to 5 age range participate in on-campus activities and daily rest time with an emphasis on play-based learning. The six early education options have a range of subjects with “Science is Messy,” “Visual Art,” and “Farm to Fork” themed weeks. Their elementary and middle school programs offer weekly field trips and integrated, inquiry-driven instruction based on each week’s theme.

For 1st through 5th graders, themes include “Obstacle Course Adventures,” “Wilderness Survival,” and “The Great Scavenger Hunt” and “Wilderness Hiking,” “Laser Cutting,” and there is “Playwriting” for 6th through 8th grades. These camps definitely cost more than the day camps you can find through local Parks and Recs or the YMCA. Soundview School wants their programs to be accessible to all students and says some financial aid may be available. For more information and to read more of the class descriptions, you can visit

I also pass Edmonds Community College a lot, but I already have considered them a resource as their STEM department puts on great, kid-friendly events a couple of times a year. They also offer summer camps in multiple areas, though the majority of options are half-day. Kids ages 8 to 11 can take three different kinds of Minecraft-based classes — “Minecraft Designers,” “Minecraft Modders” or “Minecraft Animators” — or a “Roblox Makers” camp that is also offered to those ages 11 to 15.

Campers ages 11 to 16 can take “Acrylic Painting: Smears and Dabs,” “Clay Camp: Get Your Hands Muddy,” “Crazy About Photography!” or “Code Breakers,” which has a different age cut off of 15. These are great options for those who don’t get to take the electives they want if they’re trying to squeeze in music in middle or high school. Early Bird pricing end on March 31 for EdCC camps, and scholarships are available for tuition. You can find the link to the application with the camp descriptions and registration information on

I had a couple of friends take a Missoula Children’s Theater Camp through the Edmonds Driftwood Players at Wade James Theater on Main in Edmonds last year and both families — four different kids — liked it. Missoula Children’s Theater will be back this summer, from July 29 through Aug. 3 for actors entering 1st through 12th grades, with “The Snow Queen.”

This week of camp starts with an audition and ends with two performances on Saturday. I’ve seen this group come into an elementary school and have a full-blown play with musical numbers by the weekend, and it was great to watch the kids after just a week. The Driftwood Players are also offering other Youth Education Camps this summer. There will be a “Storybook Theatre” camp for those age 6 to 8 for the “littlest actors,” where all students are cast. There will be two “Teen Troupe” Shows. — one where actors 12 to 16 will all be cast in “Tarzan” and another, for actors 14-21, that requires an audition to be cast in “Matilda.”

For actors/stage crew there are two camps, in the second half of July. The first is an eight-day camp starting July 17, and it takes students ages 9 to 12 through the entire process of a theatrical production, which is described at an “ideal environment for beginning and intermediate actors who are excited to perform and learn more about theatre.” In this camp, students will audition, rehearse, and perform an original production while also learning key acting and collaboration skills, with all registered students being cast in the show. “Crew Camp,” for campers ages 10 to 14, starts on July 24th, and gives “gives students the opportunity to discover the inner workings of a theatre, learning about stage management, sets and set movement, lighting and sound, and more.” Both camps will culminate in a performance on July 26.

Some Driftwood Players camps have limited scholarship and work/study options and you can email for more information. For more information on camp options and for registration, you can visit

Pacific Science Center camps are offered at Brighton School in Mountlake Terrace this summer

Some camp options are out of reach for multiple reasons and for us, the Pacific Science Center camps have always been in that category due to location and tuition. If either of these are a concern for you, I have some news! The Pacific Science Center is offering camps at the Brighton School in Mountlake Terrace, just off 220th east of I-5. In addition to the local location, the Pacific Science Center says “scholarships are also available for families experiencing financial hardship to ensure accessibility for all.” Camps will be available at Brighton from July 8 through Aug. 16 in different age groups. Kindergarten through 8th grade offerings feature camps like “Cookie Caper” — where campers learn about chemical reactions with cookie ingredients — eventually making the cookies; “Science Myths Busted,” where they put the Pop Rocks/Soda myth to the test; “Zombie Survival School,” where campers make their own biocontainment suit or “Meteorologist in Training” camp, where you get to meet a real meteorologist. For more information on these and other Pacific Science Center camps you can visit

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

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