Blink and It Will Be Summer: Camps For Kids

Though it seems like we just recovered from yet another snow storm and freeze, the best summer plans are already being made. January’s long nights and short days quickly become June, and summer camp sign ups definitely favor the planners over the crammers.

Besides a long-standing summer tradition, summer camp has been shown to be an important factor in the development of a child. Qualities like tolerance, risk-taking and resilience have all been attributed by professionals to summer camp experience. Children are exposed to new scenes, authority figures and peers. They build skills and develop relationships.

Summer camp also plays an important role for working families to provide a safe and engaging place for their children to explore.

After scouring local options, here are some designed to meet the diverse interests and personal preferences of the campers and their parents:


For the Action Seeker
Summer and sports have long gone hand-in-hand. While camps that focus on specific sports are a no-brainer for children who already show enthusiasm for the game, they also add a valuable experience for beginners who are new to the sport. It’s an opportunity to try something new without committing to an entire season for some campers. And the confidence that comes through physical activity provides an important piece of the puzzle in their development.

Emory Total Tennis Camp
Children don’t need to express a direct interest in tennis in order to have a blast at this Amy Bryant Emory camp. Head Coach of Emory Women’s Tennis, Bryant targets this summer experience for kids who like to be on-the-move and takes a non-traditional approach to learning the game.

“Campers play a lot of games, participate in fun activities, and end up learning tennis, almost as a surprise, in the process,” she says. “It removes a lot of the frustration that can accompany learning a new technique-based sport.”


As one of the few people in NCAA history to earn a national title as both a player and coach, Coach Bryant is revered among the camper families for her hands-on approach to summer camp.

“One of the surprising elements of this camp is how well-planned it is,” she says. “It’s based on 20 years experience. Every minute has been thought out with a plan, and campers are moving and engaged the entire day.”

Bryant is an integral figure in the camp beyond planning. She plays a major role in day-today functionality as well. “I’m there in the circle when families are dropping kids off, I’m on the court all day, and I’m there when they pick their campers up,” she said.

In addition to fostering a love of the game, campers are exposed to other off-court physical activities like a daily swimming period. The Emory campus setting affords these younger students access to a bit of the college scene including eating in the cafeteria.

For more information, visit

For the Active Artist
Many of the area’s summer options for kids are based on engaging their creativity. Similar to camps that focus on sports and other physical activities, these art-based camps offer experiences to children of all skill and interest levels. Some campers will spend their entire summer in the arts, and others, a week or two in the arts stretches their imagination and innovation.

Color Wheel Studio
This art-based camp is planned and tested by degreed artist teachers. Decatur’s Color Wheel begins summer preparations all the way back in December to make sure the campers experience is top-notch during the summer. The full day camp focuses on art work in a wide range of art areas from: drawing/painting, pottery, textiles, and mixed media for a balanced creative experience.

Founder and director Cathy Spencer brings a background in child psychology and art history. Before opening the Color Wheel Studio, Spencer worked for the High Museum of Art where she saw funding cuts to the arts for children. “I founded Color Wheel in 2002, to create a situation where families could give kids the arts while meeting their need for afterschool and school break care,” she said.


Fostering that creative spirit in children is an important part of their development, according to Spencer. “It’s a bigger picture to develop people who will walk out into the world with a creative base.”

In addition to the after school programming, summer camp offers a different experience. The summer classes serve repeat campers who are there week after week as well as children from the wait list for the academic year.

Spencer says the camp serves students with families who are deeply connected to the arts as well as children who are new to dabbling in it. They always end up with a wait list.



“Parents know we’re one of the safest places in town,” she says. “We’re crazy organized. We’ve been doing our camps in Decatur for more than 15 years.”

Some of the themes Color Wheel featured themes this summer include:
• Sew, stitch and glamp
• Edible Artistry
• Arty Beach Party
• Project Printmaking


For more information, visit


Community Music Centers of Atlanta
For beginners who want a taste of something musical to students with a passion for performance, the day camps at CMC offers a summer musical adventure. Themed weeks and programs are as varied as the interests of the campers they attract. Some are rock and roll based, others musical theater. And some are focused on particular instruments such as piano, guitar, drum or strings.

Summer options also include themes such as Songwriters Camp, Schoolhouse Rock Camp, Blues Camp, Wizard’s Academy and even a Jedi Music Academy with a twist on space and the music of the cosmos.

These camps are also designed with a unique flexibility allowing parents to enroll their children just for a day with a Day Pass.

For more information, visit



Here’s a quick look at some local summer camp fun:

Atlanta Children’s Theatre Company

Atlanta Montessori International School

Briarlake Baptist Church Sports Camp

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Camp Can-I-Cook

Camp Flix

Camp Scene Environmental Adventures


Circus Camp

City of Decatur Summer Camp Playbook

Clay Camp

Cliff Valley Summer Programs

Color Wheel Studio

Community Music Centers of Atlanta

Decatur School of Ballet

Emory Total Tennis Camp

Emory’s Camp and Learning Expo

Fashion Workshops Camp

Fernbank Museum Summer Day Camp

Frazer Center

In the City Camp

Intown Stars Gymnastics Camp

Language International Kids

Little Shop of Stories


The Paideia School

Safari Camp Zoo Atlanta

Science of Fun STEM Camp

The Spanish Academy

Start: Code

Summer Intensive Therapy Social Sensory Camp

Theatre Works Summer Camp

Top of the Key Basketball

Trees Atlanta Junior Treekeeper

Waldorf Schools of Atlanta



by Mel Selcho