16 winter break camps to book now for your kids

Winter break can be a double-edged sword. You’re excited to have the kids off school, but you might still have to work or have a ton of tasks that are easier to accomplish without them. That’s when these winter break camps can be a lifesaver. 

For the littles

My Gym Chicago

When: Dec. 23. 26-27, 30-31

Where: 1461 W. Webster Ave., Chicago

Cost: $40 per camp session, $35 per session for members

Kids age 2 1/2-8 get a half-day of games, relays, arts & crafts, stories, music and more. Kids are divided into age appropriate groups.

For creative crafters

The Wishcraft Workshop

When: Dec. 26-28, 31 and Jan. 2-4

Where: 3907 N. Damen Ave., Chicago

Cost: $90 per camp session

At the Make A Day Of It Camp, kids can let their creative side flourish with time spent in a creative arts and crafts camp. Children ages 5-12 do arts and crafts and play games.

Bit Space

When: Dec. 23, 26-27, 30, Jan. 2-3

Where: 1135 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette and 2541 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago

Cost: $125

Kids can use power tools, laser cutters, 3-D modeling software and game development platforms for their projects. Since each day’s project is up to each camper, every visit is different. Before and after care available.

For science fanatics

Noggin Builders

When: Dec. 23-24, 26-27, 30-31, Jan. 2-3

Where: Various locations in suburbs

Cost: $35-95 per day depending on age, $190 for Makers Camp

Sneak in some learning while school is out. Noggin Builders offers hands-on science and engineering classes for PreK through eighth grade with a variety of fun themes. There is also a Makers Camp for grades 5-8.

Kids Science Labs

When: Dec. 23, 26-27, 30-31, Jan. 2-3

Where: Various locations in city and suburbs.

Cost: Varies.

Students can learn more about science with the innovative projects taught by Kids Science Labs. Only a few spots left at some locations. Camps available in South Loop, Roscoe Village, Lincoln Park, Wheaton and Northbrook.


When: Dates vary by location

Where: Naperville, Wilmette, Lincoln Park

Cost: Varies

First-graders to eighth-graders build mobile games, create robot obstacle courses, 3-D print and more.

The Laboratory

When: Dec 23, 26, 27, 30, 31, Jan 2, 3

Where: 2349 W. North Ave., Chicago

Cost: $90

Kids 6-12 will love spending the day learning robotic engineering where they get to design and build their own robot or drive in a Brickworld of their own creation. Before and after care available.

For starry-eyed kids

Emerald City Theatre

When: Dec. 23, 26-27, Dec. 30-Jan. 3

Where: Athenaeum Campus, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago

Cost: Sessions start at $50

Children can unleash their inner stars at a winter theater camp. Emerald City Theatre in Chicago offers various themed camp days with singing, dancing and fun for ages 3 1/2-15 including Winter Wonderland (one-day camp), Snoopy’s Snowball (two-day camp) and Arctic Adventures (two or four day camp).

The Actors Gymnasium

When: Jan. 2-3

Where: Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston

Cost: $85 per day

Kids in third grade or older can spend some of their break in workshops of circus, drama and movements. They will learn aerial skills as well from juggling and tumbling to trapeze and stilts. There’s no experience needed.

For sports fans

Chicago Fire Holiday Camps

When: Dec. 23-24, 26-27, 30-31, Jan. 2-3

Where: 3626 N. Talman Ave., Chicago

Cost: $75 full day, $40 half day

The camps focus on individual skill development, helping kids with their soccer skills and their knowledge of the game in a fun setting.

For animal and nature lovers

Lincoln Park Zoo

When: Dec. 23, 29, 30-31

Where: 2400 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago

Cost: Sessions start at $35

In half day or full day camp, your child can go behind-the-scenes at Lincoln Park Zoo. Some of the themes include Beneath the Surface with river otters and fish, Cool Climbers with the primates, Rapid Runners with the savannah animals and Frequent Flyers with birds, bats and insects. Spots available for PreK to fourth grade.

Brookfield Zoo

When: Dec. 26-27, 30-31, Jan. 2-3.

Where: 8400 31st St., Brookfield

Cost: $75

Campers will also get a taste of tropical rainforests, deserts, savannahs and ocean. Each day camp focuses on five different animals in each of the five types of habitats.

Notebaert Nature Museum Winter Camp

When: Dec. 31-31, Jan. 2-3

Where: 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago

Cost: $85, $75 members

Kids will enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer through child-led outdoor play, science activities, animal encounters and more.

Winter Break Camp

When: Dec. 23, 26-27, 30, Jan. 2-3

Where: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

Cost: $79 per day

Kids in grades K-4 can engage in hands-on indoor and outdoor activities while discovering the Botanic Garden in winter. They’ll investigate weather, explore seasonal adaptations of plants and animals and dabble in art. Themes change daily.

For the foodies

The Kids’ Table

When: Dec. 23, 26-27, 30-31

Where: Wicker Park and Lakeview

Cost: $90 per day

Each day, kids will spend half of the day cooking up a dish with the help of their chef instructors. The rest of the day is spent with food-themed crafts, games and more. Some dishes on the menu for camp include calzones, sloppy joes and pea & scallion risotto.

Taste Buds Kitchen

When: Dec. 23-27, Dec. 30-Jan. 3

Where: 2521 Waukegan Road, Bannockburn

Cost: $60 per day

Two themes are available at Taste Buds Kitchen winter break camps. The first session is the winter mystery basket where campers learn to cook a starter, main course and dessert with mystery items in the basket, the second is the cupcake and cookie challenge.

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