All-outdoor camps for 2022?
Hi, I'm looking for all outdoor camps for elementary school grades in Oakland or Berkeley for 2022 and would love recommendations. Any great ones for hikes, nature walks, outdoor education, maybe also with some crafts and play time in an all-outdoor setting? I see some recommendations for 2021 and past years, but in case some closed due to the pandemic, I'm looking for recommendations for camps that are still open.
Jan 3, 2022
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There are a lot! Here's our list: Trackers, Sees the Day, Cal Explorers, Berkeley City Camps, Kids for the Bay, A World of Peace, Wild Ones Art Camp, One Generation, Monkey Business. Some of these are on our list of camps we want to try but haven't yet. We've done:
- Trackers: focus on outdoor skills, all outdoors, they do a great job teaching how to be responsible in the outdoors including leave no trace principles, how to be safe about things like knives. They throw in some cool fantasy stuff, like there was a dragon theme day over winter break where the kids searched for "dragons" (actually birds), and that makes it really fun for younger kids. This is the one I'd recommend the most for nature and hikes.
- Cal explorers: they had a little bit of indoor time but mostly outdoors with a huge range of activities - sports, arts and crafts, science/nature projects, dance, usually they have swim lessons but they canceled last year because of COVID.
- Berkeley camps: they have a few different ones, with a range of activities and prices. We did one of the playground-based ones and it was simple but fun - lots of free play on the playground with some arts and crafts and sports activities mixed in. Some of their camps go to more nature spots like the marina and tilden, we want to try one of those this year.
Most don't have registration open, except for Trackers which is already full for most weeks!
My son was just at Trackers (trackersbay.com) this winter break and absolutely loved it! Everything was outdoors, it was fun, and well organized. Last summer, he went to Cal Youth Camp, which was all outdoors as well, he got to play a lot of different sports and made friends. My daughter went to Monkey Business Camp in Tilden Park, and everything was outdoors in nature. They played games and made crafts, and she really enjoyed it!
My kid loves Sees the Day camp, which takes place in Tilden Park. it's all outdoor, there's some hiking (nothing too strenuous), outdoor education and storytelling and tons of outdoor free-play. https://www.seestheday.org/
Our family loves Adventure Day Camp. It's in Moraga, but they have a bus service that picks up and drops off in Montclair. It's not as much about outdoor education per se as it is just about having a lot of fun outside all summer. They do have some hikes, as well as arts and crafts, swimming, horse riding, boating, archery, and so on. In non-Covid years they also do a campout, though I'm not sure they'll be doing that this summer (they didn't in 2020 or 2021).
+1 on Wild Ones Art Camp. Pamela is wonderful, great setting exploring East Bay parks, art and hiking and enjoying nature. My son enjoyed it. They also offer school break camps too! (https://www.wildonesartcamp.com/) Pamela also creatively re-uses materials for projects, greener/smaller footprint, which I appreciate.
Last summer we also tried Call of the Wild camp (https://www.inspirebehavior.com/east-bay-outdoor-camps-reading-camps-wri...)
I've heard great things about Trackers but never could register in time (see other post re already mostly full). Not sure what the travel times are now in this COVID world, but had heard previously from friend's kiddo who did not like amount of time spent on the bus.
Our family loves Call of the Wild Camp in Berkeley and Oakland. They are all outdoors and focus on both nature education and play and exploration with hikes, nature walks, scavenger hunts, games, an outdoor library of sorts with book reading, storytelling and nature journal activities that include drawing/coloring. My son loves the mix of outdoor education and free play.
We had good experiences in 2018 & 2019 with Monkey Business at Tilden, and a good experience in 2015 with Roughing It at the Lafayette Reservoir (bus service from Berkeley/Kensington/Oakland), both all outside. Monkey Business just opened registration for summer 2022. Not sure about Roughing It, which is a bit more expensive, so it dropped off my radar.