Summer Camps to Get Kids Outside

It’s hard to believe, but summer break will be here before we know it. There are so many great summer camp options for kids in Central Oregon – whether they’re interested in science, technology, art, theater, cooking, music, sports … the list goes on!

The warm months and longer days ahead will also give kids the chance to play outside more. It’s the perfect time to explore nature and maybe discover a new way to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. [Remember, you don’t have to travel far or plan a complex adventure to enjoy outdoor spaces. You can be in your own yard, community park or garden, or anywhere you feel comfortable.]

In addition to spending time outside as a family, here are some great local camps that can help your kids enjoy the outdoors this summer. Several are filling up quickly, and we omitted a few from this list that are already at capacity. And of course, this list is incomplete! What other camps do you love?

Shameless Plug…The Environmental Center team is excited for our own summer camps this year, Eco Hero and Forest Explorers, to help students build leadership skills, live lighter on the planet, and explore their interconnectedness to the natural world. You can learn more about those and register here.

Bend Endurance Academy: Do you have a young cycling enthusiast? BEA will offer Mini Bikers MTB for ages 6-8, Mightly Bikers for ages 9-11, and teen camps for skills-based group riding. They also have all-girls camp options for girls who want to ride together with female coaches.

Bend Montessori School: Two awesome teachers have put together an outdoor-based, 5-week summer program for children ages 3-6. Participants will spend the majority of their days at our Kansas Ave. Learning Garden, with regular outings around the downtown area. Sign up for one, a few, or all five weeks.

Bend Park and Recreation: Browse the Summer Playbook for a variety of summer fun, including several adaptive recreation programs. Your child can learn the basics of nature photography, gain survival skills, create artwork inspired by nature, explore caves, become a fly fisher, and more. Redmond and Sisters districts both have great outdoor summer programs, as well.

Bend Rock Gym: The camps may take place inside, but think of the confidence and skills your kids will build for outdoor climbing experiences! Bend Rock Gym offers Camp Pebble for ages 4-5 and Camp Rock for the older kiddos. There is also an all-girls outdoor day camp at Smith Rock!

Bend Science Station: the Bend Science Station on OSU’s campus offers a variety of themed camps for students of all ages. Register for elementary science days and scientist camps that will help your child understand the natural world around them, from critters to rainbows to fossils.

Boys & Girls Club of Bend: A 10-week summer program for current club members, featuring lots of outdoor time and visits to our Kansas Ave. Learning Garden. Space is still available for older grades.

Camp Fire Central Oregon: Camp Fire is offering several great programs, including: SummerKids theme-based camps for K-6, Tumalo Day Camp for K-8, and a Robotics Program. They also have teen summer programs focused on giving back and building leadership skills.

Camp Tamarack:  For over 83 years, Camp Tamarack has been providing kids with amazing summer experiences to inspire them to find their true potential. There’s very limited space left – but check out their website to see what camps you can still join.

Kid Made Camp: A week-long camp in Sisters and Bend for children entering K-8. Your child might learn to cook, run a food cart, produce a newspaper, design sustainable packaging, or put on a show. All along, kids learn how business can be a positive force in the world, promoting values like sustainability, creativity, and ethical entrepreneurship.

Little Naturalist Summer Camp: Ke Kula Pono Preschool from Hawaii will hold its first Summer Camp in Bend for littles ages 3-5. The camp will be here at The Environmental Center. Sign up to secure your child’s spot by calling Malia at (808) 635-1626.

R.A.D. Camps: R.A.D. Camp explores over 50 unique summer locations in the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests. Perfect for ages 7-17, campers will have the opportunity to explore pristine destinations while learning about their natural surroundings. R.A.D. Camps emphasize fun, free play, camaraderie, and an appreciation for the natural world.

Sunriver Nature Center & Oregon Observatory Summer Programs: A variety of summer camps and programs for children of all ages – including Kinder Critter Camp, Space Rovers, Rocket Science, and more. SNCO Members receive a 15% discount on camp registration fees.

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe: Paddlers will gain confidence and awareness as they get ready for a lifetime of paddling the rivers of the great Northwest. Tumalo Creek’s team will emphasize both safety and fun as they introduce campers to moving water. Check out their paddle sports adventure week (SUPing, kayking, rafting and sailing) and the whitewater kayaking camp.

Upper Deschutes Watershed Council: Join the UDWC for their first ever summer program! This 4-day adventure camp will have participants exploring four different sites throughout our watershed. Campers will hike and explore some of our most beautiful sites along streams while engaging in hands-on scientific field studies.

Wildheart Nature School: Offering seven weeks of summer camp for children ages 5 -12. Popular themes include Unicorn Whisperers, Witches & Wizards, Juniper Jedis, Hobbit & Faerie Hunters, Mythic Mermaids, Dragon Riders, and more.