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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