Sarah's Science

Berkeley, Oakland
No longer in business
Operated By: 
Sarah's Science
Preschoolers, Kinder, School-Aged, Preteens, Teens
info [at]
(510) 581-3739
Editors' Notes: 
  • Jan 2021: Sadly, Sarah's Science has permanently closed, a casualty of Covid.

Sarah's Science offers an array of programs designed to excite children ages 4 - 14 and their families about science and learning. Our philosophy is that children (and adults) learn best by doing. All programs feature hands-on projects built by each child to engage and delight them while making it easy to understand even complex science concepts.

We offer camps during school breaks - Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring, and Summer - as well as Saturday and evening workshops and after school enrichment classes throughout the year in Oakland, Berkeley, and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Voted Best Summer Camp, Best Winter Camp, Best Spring Camp, and Best Enrichment Program by readers of Parents' Press, Bay Area Parent, and Oakland Magazine.

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Sarah’s Science refunds?

    (2 replies)

    I was so sorry to hear that Sarah’s Science camp has gone bankrupt. What a loss! I’m trying by to figure if I will be able to get my summer tuition refunded? Does anyone know how that works? Thanks!

    I think you should have gotten a notice in the mail about the bankruptcy & I am assuming that more paperwork will be sent so that we can file a claim somehow?

    How did you pay? If it was with a credit card just contact your cc co ask for a refund. If you paid check you will have to get on the creditors list with the court. Consider yourself lucky if you even get a dollar. 

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2016

RE:  One-week camp for a 5-year-old?

Sarah Science has a great outdoor camp in Oakland and Berkeley.

Check out Sarah's Science Camp. Both of my kids have been attending since they were 4.5 and they LOVE it. The price is a bit higher than what you're looking for but it's well worth it in our book. Very high quality program focusing on science and nature with plenty of active play time. And the best part: they're outdoors all day! The regular day is 9-3 but they have extended care from 8-5:30 and we've used that on a daily basis as needed. Yesterday I signed them up for an additional week (the electricity week in July) and was told that they have space in every session right now. Berkeley Camp Dad

Sarah's Science/Camp Galileo for active 5 yr olds?

Feb 2015

We have five year old boy/girl twins who are very interested in the way the world works and who are also very active and outdoorsy. They also love art and performance, but we are sending them to a performance camp, so we feel we have that covered. In looking at the websites for Sarah's Science and Camp Galileo, it appears that SS is more nature-driven with more outdoor time and Camp Galileo is more academic, but I would love to hear from parents who have had a five year old in either or, preferably both programs to get a better sense of what might work better for our children. Debra

Hi, Sarah's science involves running around in nature. My son did Galileo at a school and really enjoyed both. It might depend on what theme is running that week as to what they learn at Sarah's science. Just so you know, at Sarah's science they provide snacks for kids including sugary pastries sometimes, crackers, and Tang to drink. For those in the aftercare, they get even more unhealthy snacks later in the afternoon. anon

I have two boys, who have attended both Sarah Science and Camp Galileo since they were 5. One boy is very, very active; the other is more in a normal range. They are now 12 and 10, and still going to both camps. Both are very good.

I sign my kids up for both because they balance each other well.

Sarah Science:

* boys love the outdoors, getting dirty, going to Lake Anza once a week, having Friday water fights, playing Magic (now they are older)
* the science projects are small, one-off activities. They can be very creative and fun, but there is less of a learning arc than in Camp G. Sarah Science does send home ''science notes,'' but I never got the sense the kids absorbed that much.
* there is music, usually guitar and singing, which my kids were indifferent to, but others like
* I liked the snacks less (Kool-aid type drinks and some sugary snacks), but they loved it, and I've decided that is is more of an old-fashioned camp experience
* Aaron, the head of Sarah Science in Tilden is wonderful, and has been there for years and years

Camp G

* I liked the more sustained learning over the week, and this camp has great art projects which you don't have at Sarah Science
* when they were young, they thought the silly games played at Camp G for outdoor play were hilarious; ditto the rubber chicken. As they grew older, this wore off a bit.
* the counselors at Camp G are incredibly enthusiastic and well-trained. Those at Sarah Science are good too, but not subject experts like at Camp G.
* Camp G in the Berkeley area has changed locations a few times, from Prospect Sierra to Cragmont to know St Joseph's (I think) in El Cerrito. I haven't seen the new location, but as schools, you lose the outdoorsy, in-the-redwoods, get dirty feel. One of my kids liked the concrete and classrooms less, not wanting to feel like he was at school in the summer.
camp veteran

Hi Debra,

I don't have any experience with Galileo but I can highly recommend Sarah's Science. My two kiddos started attending Sarah's Science at age 5 and have begged me to come back every summer. The description of your curious, active, outdoorsy kids rings true to my family and I believe is well suited for Sarah's Science.

Camp takes place outdoors which gives campers the opportunity to build forts, hike, look for lizards and get down and dirty in a safe and beautiful location. I think this is so incredibly important because our kids spend the rest of the year in a rigid indoor classroom setting. But don't get me wrong -- academics are still critically important and Sarah's Science does not disappoint. Each week of camp has a different theme (Environment, Robots, Catapults, etc.) and the kids build cool toys while learning science topics covering physics, chemistry, biology, etc. Just wait until the electricity-themed week -- I would never have guessed how much my little guys could pick up about atoms and electrons. I need to start brushing up on my science to keep up!

I think the key to Sarah's Science is the hands-on approach. The campers make and take home a science project every day. They also get to have that ''classic'' camp experience with swimming, hiking, crafts, and games. Oh, and they are super flexible with any special grouping requests. When we first started camp, we asked to have the kids placed in the same group but now they prefer to be in different groups with the friends they made at camp. We'll be back again this summer with a growing posse of camp friends!
Sarah’s Science Fans

June 2014

Re: Summer camps 8/18 to 8/29 for 5 and 9 yo
Hi J. My two kids (6 & 9) love Sarah's Science camp. They are one of the few camps open through the very end of August. They have locations in Berkeley and Oakland but I think only the Oakland site is open August 25-29. It might be a bit of a drive for you but it's well worth it. The kids spend the day outdoors learning science and playing in the woods. Both of my kids made new friends at camp last year so we're planning on coordinating sessions with them this year. Their website says they still have space in all sessions. August Campers

Aug 2013

Looking for advice on which camp in Tilden to choose for next summer: Sarah's Science or Monkey Business? Which is more engaging? What about counselor to camper ratios? Balance of free time vs structured activities? My son likes science and the outdoors, arts and crafts, drama, and free play, but less interested in organized sports. Thanks, berkeley mom

We have not been to Monkey business but my son loves Sarah's science - I always make him rank his camps and he consistently puts this at the top. They have a project where they make something everyday (this week he came home with trebuchets and crossbows et). This is the part that my son likes best so if you child likes project based stuff it would be a good fit. happy Sarah's science camper

Over the past few summers, my 7 and 9 year olds have tried a handfull of camps in Berkeley. Their favorite by far has been Sarah's Science.

The entire day is spent outdoors in the park and the staff does a great job of creating a fun, engaging and enriching program without being overly structured. My kids enojyed the flow of the day and the combination of scheduled activities and choice time. Some of the other camps they attended had back-to-back activities scheduled throughout the day and my kids found it overwhelming and exhausting. I think part of the joy of Sarah's Science is the time spent outdoors going on hikes, playing nature games, and enjoying the beautiful park. When we visit Tilden on the weekends, my kids are always excited to show me where they went hiking and where they found a deer or bananna slug the week before.

If your son likes science, the outdoors, and arts and crafts, Sarah's Science is a great fit. Each week of camp focuses on a specific theme (this year, my kids attended Go Green, Rockets Away and and All Wired Up). The kids build interesting toys and contraptions each day and many of them include an artsy component.

Although Sarah's Science isn't the smallest camp around, they are able to create that small camp feel by dividing the camp into two sites and then into groups of about 10 campers per counselor. The counselors are incredible. My kids have had many of the same counselors year after year and last summer, we hired one of their favorites as a babysitter.

Sarah's Science has also been my favorite camp. Not only because my kids love it, but because they have an incredible staff, a great program, flexible payment policies, and the ability to add whole weeks, individual days, or extended care at any time. Happy Campers

June 2013

Re: Smaller camp for 8 yr old?
Hi Camp Mom. I would like to recommend Sarah's Science. It's a very unique camp -- outdoors, science and nature based. Kids build fun toys each day while learning about all sorts of interesting science topics. While it's not the smallest camp (probably about 100 kids), they do a great job to create a small camp experience. The camp has two locations (Tilden in Berkeley and Roberts in Oakland). The kids are placed in small, age-appropriate groups of about 10 kids with each counselor. My 9 year old generally prefers smaller camps but after trying out Sarah's Science a few summers ago, we've become regulars! Happy Campers

Feb 2013

Re: Camp for 1st grader that lasts more than 2 weeks
It's still a one week camp, but Sarah's Science Camp (three locations: Berkeley, Oakland and San Ramon) has a different theme each week. Our son has done up to four weeks back-to-back. It did not feel repetitive. There are many kids that do several weeks and often they are put in a group together and with the same counselor each week. We really like it have sent our son there for several summers in a row. Happy Camper's mom

Feb 2013

Re: Playful summer camp for early elementary kids
The camp that came to mind was This Land is Your Land (Sarah Science). My son loved the camp when he was in early elementary. It was out in a park, they played under the trees, there was some structure but they really understand kids. They don't have a rule that you can't play with sticks -- just that the sticks have to be carried vertically. Hikes, swimming, and letting kids hang out. They also do science projects. My kids enjoyed them. I found them a little repetitive. If the kids don't want to do the project, they don't have to. They get so dirty, we didn't send the same backpack/lunchbox that we used during the school year. Some grime never really comes out. It's large enough that my kids always found kids that they already knew. Sign up early for cheaper rates. My kids remember it fondly

April 2012

Re: Hiking outdoor summer day camp for 9.5 yr old girl
This Land is Your Land fits the bill (the name alone!) This is the summer camp offered by Sarah's Science. My kids have attended for several summers and are always itching for more. The camp is outdoors, all summer long, in local parks in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Ramon. The kids hike, swim, build forts, create interesting inventions and contraptions, and look for lizards and banana slugs. Simply put, they have fun and get dirty every day! I've met THE Sarah of Sarah's Science at camp a few times and it is clear to me that she is dedicated to the cause. She actually has written a few very interesting pieces about children and nature. See: Woody Gutherie Fan

March 2012

Re: Camps with flexible schedule (2-3 days/week)
Hi Camp Mama, We've had a lot of luck with Sarah's Science summer camp. Although each of their sessions runs for a whole week at a time, they are happy to accommodate families who decide to send their kid for just a few days at a time. They charge $80 per day and while it often helps to register in advance, we've done walk-in registrations on the day-of and it's been fine. If you do register in advance, you can't do it online for individual days; you'll have to call their office at (510) 581-3739. If you decide to do a walk-in registration (either for individual days or the whole week), my one recommendation is to fill out the paperwork from and bring it with you to speed up the whole drop-off process. Jeanie

Feb 2012

Re: Summer camps for a shy kindergartner?
My boys (1st & 3rd grade) attended This Land is Your Land summer day camp (also called Sarah's Science Camp) last summer. This was the first summer camp that my youngest had attended (his brother had been once before). It has worked out wonderfully for us. Both my confident, older son and my shy, younger son thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and we plan on returning for several more weeks this summer. The camp does a great job of hand selecting their counselors. When my wife and I dropped off the boys we met their counselors and found them to be warm and nurturing. By the end of the first day, my youngest son was already friends with the rest of the kids in his group and by the end of the week, he asked us if his counselor could be the new babysitter. While the camp isn't the smallest (100 kids?), they are split up into different locations within Tilden Park (Berkeley) and Roberts Park (Oakland) and further divided into groups based on age. So the experience for each camper is much more intimate. The day is structured around a schedule but there are periods of free time and choice time throughout the day. The kids learn about different science topics and build great little contraptions and toys each day. But they also get to spend time outside, being kids, going on hikes, doing art projects, playing active games, and other traditional camp activities. Their website is and they are offering an early bird summer camp discount right now. Neil

July 2011

I am impressed with Sarah's Science summer camp. It was great!! My 6 years old had two great weeks full of science projects, one per day. They hike through the forest, go swimming one day per week, and truly enjoy all of the fun of being outdoors in a beautiful park. The directors and Sarah herself were there at the camp working with the children teaching them science. RR

March 2011

I'm considering sending my 4 year old (he will be a couple weeks shy of his 4 yo birthday) to This Land is Your Land/Sarah's Science camp for 2 weeks this summer. He would be there for a full day (9-5.30). I'm wondering if an all day outdoor program is too much for a 4 year old, especially if there is no nap? I'm also wondering if having the older kids on the same site poses any risk to the preschool kids? My understanding is that at schools, by law, preschool kids and elementary school kids cannot be in the same playground at the same time for safety issues. just fyi -- my child is used to being at preschool for a full day and is fully potty trained. Please send me any thoughts -- we can always wait another year or two! Thank you in advance! summer camp newbie

My son went to Sarah Science when he was four-and-a-half. He loved it, and the staff was fine with him. They warn you the kids will come home filthy and exhausted, and it is true, which is great since they spend the whole day playing outside.

Our son was almost potty trained, and the staff worked well with him. I wasn't there during the day, so it is hard to know what really goes on, but neither the staff or my son had any issues. The directors are easy to talk to as well. They split the kids into groups of similar age, and it is common to see the same kids summer after summer.

If you think your child can handle the full day, they should be fine. Bryan

I don't think Sarah's Science (This Land is Your Land) takes 4 year olds. Their website says that camper ages are 5-15. I've sent my kids to this summer camp for the last few years, and 4 (IMHO) would definitely be too young. Mom

Feb 2011

Re: Nature Based Summer Camp
Sarah's science has an outdoor camp (This Land Is Your Land) with locations in Berkeley at Tilden park, Oakland at Roberts Park and San Ramon at Little Hills Ranch. She does a great job of mixing outdoor activities like swimming and hiking with science. The kids bring home a project every day and they stay active throughout day in beautiful locations. Their website is Hope that helps. Brian

April 2010

Re: Day camps for 12 year old boy not into sports
If your son is interested in science, he should check out ''This Land Is Your Land'' Summer Day Camp in Berkeley (Tilden Park), Oakland (Roberts Regional Park), or San Ramon (Little Hills Park). As a 12-year-old, your son could be a Counselor In Training (CIT) where he assumes some additional responsibilities such as helping with snack, assisting his counselor with the daily camper projects, etc. It's also perfectly okay if he doesn't want to be a CIT. Older campers get to prepare an advanced project at least once per week. The camp is outdoors, so all kids are fully exposed to the beauty and wonder of nature and all campers complete one or more science projects and bring them home every day. Campers play typical camp games if they want but there is no pressure to participate in games if they choose not to. They hike through the forest, go swimming one day per week, and truly enjoy all of the fun of being outdoors in some of our most beautiful parks. The basic camp hours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and before/after-care is also available. My 10, 12, and 13 year-old grandsons are excited abouted attending again this summer and my 17-year- old grandson is hoping he can be a paid counselor. All of my grandsons rave about this camp and the three younger ones are eager to become old enough to become a counselor!! You can get additional information about the camp at or you can call the office and talk to the staff there. The office number is 510-581- 3739. Gran Kathy

Sarah's Science sounds like it might be a great fit for your 12 year old. The camp is an outdoor camp with locations in Oakland at Roberts Park and Berkeley at Tilden Park. Campers complete science projects to take home each day and do outdoor activities like hiking, fort building, bug hunting and swimming. They do a great job of dancing the science around the fun projects the kids create and the campers are constantly active without relying on formal sports activities. Hope that helps. Anonymous

March 2010

Re: Camp recommendations for 5 year old?
I sent my then 4 1/2 year old son to Sarah's Science camp in Roberts park last summer. It was kind of last minute, and they had space, and they came recommended on this board. And he was so excited to be off to camp with the big kids!

But he had a blast and really enjoyed the week. He's been a pretty independent kid, and he had a few pee accidents that week, but the counselors said he did fine and there weren't any issues with the other kids or the activities. As they warn you on the website, he came home filthy and exhausted every day!

We're going back for three non-consecutive weeks this summer as well. Bryan in oakland

March 2010

RE: Reasonably priced camp for almost 5-year-old
I recommend Sarah's Science camp at Tilden Park in Berkeley. The camp is a great mix of science, play and exploring nature outdoors. The kids make a science project every day and go swimming once a week. They go on hikes, play on the field, build forts and do other activities throughout the day. They group the campers by age and they have a lot of younger attendees so your son should fit right in. The staff is wonderful and attentive also. Hope that helps. Brian

Feb 2010

Re: Summer Camps in Tri Valley Area and Hayward
My daughter attended non-preshcool-affiliated camp for the first time during this past summer. She went to the Berkeley site for Sarah's Science (Tilden) for 6 weeks total, in two, 3 week stints. She loved it! There is also a site in San Ramon, though I believe it runs for fewer weeks over the course of the summer. Check them out at:

Oct 2009

Re: Summer Camp for 5-year-old who needs structure
I would recommend Sarah's Science for your child. The children have a structured day which includes music, science experiments, swimming, hiking and outdoor activities. The counselors are excellent and understanding of kids with special needs. Sarah operates camps in Berkeley at Tilden park, Oakland at Robert's Park and in San Ramon at Little Hills Ranch. The camp's age range is 5-15. The staff and program are wonderful and I'm sure your child will enjoy it. There are plenty of reviews of Sarah's Science Summer camp in the BPN archives as well. Good luck! Brian

August 2009

Re: your summer camp experience?

I've had my daughter (now 8) in Sarah Science and Galileo. I really liked both. Loved Sarah Science in the Berkeley hills with the trees and classic, natural camp setting. The counselors had great energy and warmth which was good for my then shy 6-yr-old. It's a bit of a trip going up to Tilden, but an amazing setting. You can also do it in Oakland. Also Loved Galileo (and hear people rave about it). Went to the one in Orinda, which is near the first exit after the tunnel, and maybe gets hotter in summer than Rockridge(?), but the Rockridge site books up quickly. The Galileo counselors are even more pumped up about the science and they greet you with funny hats every morning, which I liked (not sure if my daughter did as much). My daughter had good friends there, so liked it even more. I'm planning to sign both my kids up next year. My friend sent her daughter (8 yrs) to Camp Szofim, and she loved it, which was unexpected bc she usually likes staying at home. If I were you, I would also look into the Lawrence Hall of Science camps, which are really well done and focus on animals and dinosaurs, etc., as well as science, and you get to take advantage of the museum (as well as a discount if you're already members.) They're perfect for 6 yr olds.

August 2009

Re: your summer camp experience?

My children have been to Sarah's Science, Tzofim and Galileo. All three are excellent camps!

For the first time ever, I have all three kids at one camp - Tzofim - and they are all having a great time (ages 10, 10 and 6)! The camp is set up to really engage each grade level. The camp offers tons of exciting fieldtrips, small group sizes and wonderfully warm counselors. The kids come home singing camp jingles, with a dozen freindship bracelets on their wrists and a list of buddies that they want playdates with asap. The older kids have overnight camping trips.

Sarah's Science is another fantastic camp! The hands-on science projects are top-rate and worth keeping in the house! Sarah's Science also offers ''Bug of the Month Club'' throughout the school year -- highly recommended!

Galileo, another great camp with an impressive ''curriculum'' and excellent staff. mm

May 2009

Re: Day Camp for week of August 24?
If you are looking for a great summer camp for the week of August 24th, check our Sarah's Science/This Land Is Your Land Summer Day Camp. Sarah has two locations available in the final week of summer - Berkeley at Tilden Park and Oakland at Roberts Regional Park. This is an outdoors science camp with lots of fun activities for kids from 5 through 15. Basic camp hours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Extended care is available from 8:00 am to 9:00 am and also from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. My four grandsons love this camp. They come home tired, dirty and loaded with great science information! They also bring home a different science project every day. The theme for the last week is always ''Sarah's Favorite Projects'' so the projects for that week are always lots of fun. You can get additional information by going to their website,, or you can also call the office on 510-581-3739. Kathy

March 2009

Re: April vacation programs for 6 y.o. 1/2 or full day?
Sarah's Science does great programs for all the breaks, this spring week they're doing Redwoods every day and I think that's full-day. The science and the staff are incredible there.

Jan 2009

Re: Camp for high functioning spectrum/aspergers 6-year-old
Hi L! I have been involved with This Land is Your Land Summer Day Camp for several years now and I would highly recommend this camp for for your son. The camp directors have extensive experience in dealing with children on the high- functioning spectrum/aspergers and they and their counselors are kind, loving and extremely sensitive to all of the issues of their campers. This camp blends the exciting science and nature studies developed by Sarah Shaffer with art, music, hiking, swimming, and outdoor games. Campers complete and take home one or more science projects daily and get to spend quality time outdoors at Tilden Park, Roberts Regional Park, or Little Hills park. You can check out the website: or call the office (510) 581-3739 for additional information or to discuss you child's special needs directly with Sarah. Kathy

April 2008

Re: Summer camp for 4 1/2 year old?
The two best options that I found were Sarah's Science (pain to drive to) and the Emeryville gymnastics Head over Heels. HOH has a 4 year old (half-day, I think camp). Sarah is just flexible and will leave it to you to decide if your kid's ready. It's an outdoor camp. We were looking for somehting for my son to do because he hated his pre-school. We recruited some friends to go with him and he loved camp -- complained that we hadn't signed up for enough weeks. I picked him up daily at 3pm and he was asleep at 3:01 in the car. good luck

Oct 2007

Re: Winter break camp for two boys in Oakland
See Sarah's science camps ( for the Inventor's Workshop during Winter Break. We've taken a spring break camp from her and were very impressed - adults working there and really novel projects. The other bonus is that you can do single days and don't have to do full weeks and they have Oakland and Berkeley locations. Anon

July 2007

Re: Camp for one week August 20-24
Try Sarah's Science - This Land is Your Land camp in Oakland or Berkeley. They run very nice week-by-week science camps. Here is the web site: You can get the phone number and call right away. Mom

Try Sarah's Science Camp (This Land is your land) at Happy Campers

April 2007

My 6.5 y.o. granddaughter, who lives in Sacramento, spent her Spring Break with us in Berkeley. She attended Sarah Science Camp(SSC)at Black Pine Circle -- with a Thursday field trip to Bollinger Canyon. The focus of the 5-day program* was the ecosystem of the Chaparral. I can't recommend SSC highly enough! Sarah is a gifted teacher, warm, nurturing, and inspirational. The counseling staff I met were friendly, attentive, responsive, and enthusiastic. Maya was as excited to go on Friday as she'd been on Monday; she brought home interesting and illuminating science projects which she ably explained to us. I understand the preponderance of children are in the 5-8 y.o. age range, though I believe the program accepts children up to 12 y.o. Maya's already enrolled to attend one of the SSC summer sessions which will be held at Tilden Park. More info available at *children can register for anywhere from 1-5 days; before and after care is available. Bobbie

Nov 2006

My son's teacher heard about a winter break Young Inventors Camp that we both thought would be great for my very creative 8 year old, but she has lost the brochure and can't remember who runs it. I can't find anything similar. Does anyone know about a winter break (or summer!) program for young inventors? Mom of a would-be inventor Liz

You might be thinking of Sarah's Science winter camp; this year's theme is Inventor's Workshop. Check out Anon

I'm sure she was talking about Sarah's Science Winter Camp. The theme this year is ''Inventor's Workshop'' My son has been goin to Sarah's Science camps for years and he loves them. Sarah is fabulous, and the best thing she does (aside from inspiring a love of science and learning) is hire really great counselors. Check out the website at or call 510-581- 3739

June 2006

Re: Looking for a Great Camp
Try Sarah's Science (run by This Land is Your Land). A nice outdoor science camp with one day of swimming at Lake Anza/ week. You can sign up for one week or more. And (unlike many camps in the East Bay...) they offer before care and after care for a small fee; which makes it possible for us commuting parents to send our kids there. I'm sure you can find them on the web or in the phone book under Sarah's Science or under This Land is Your Land. They also run a similar camp in Oakland. Mom

April 2006

Hello -- We're about to move out to the Bay Area and I'm looking for a camp for my daughter. I've read about This Land is Your Land/Sarah's Science on the site, and it sounds like it would work very well for her. But the reviews on the website are somewhat dated and seem to get more mixed over time. Any recent experiences, especially with the Berkeley camp? How good would they be at integrating a child who knows no one? How do they balance being outside and science? How good is it overall? how would you compare the Berkeley and Oakland camps? Thanks! leslie

My daughter has attended the Oakland camp since she was 5, she is now 10 and intends to go this year again at least for a few weeks. We have tried many camps and this continues to be her favorite - and we love the fact she is outside all day. The parks are fabulous and they really are out in nature (or sitting around picnic tables) all day. The science is fun, but not too hard-core, more camp project science than intense academic science. They do a couple projects a day, they sing camp songs, play games, take hikes, make lanyards - standard camp things. The councelors are also great, there is a good return rate year-to-year. My daughter has rarely gone with anyone she knows, and she doesn't care at all if she doesn't know anyone in the group. I should note she is not an overly outgoing child, but this doesn't seem to matter at this camp, she always makes friends. I don't know if you have a boy or a girl - there tends to be a few more boys than girls at the camp. happy camp parent

My son has been going to This Land is Your Land camp in Berkeley for three years. His first year was between preschool and kindergarten at Tehiyah Day School. Because Kieran didn't know any kids yet from Tehiyah, Saul and Aaron, the camp directors, made it a point to group him with other Tehiyah kids entering kindergarten and first grade. Each year, I have found the counselors to be adept at facilitating friendships as well as creating an overall happy camp experience. The way TLIYL incorporates science into the camp is fabulous and definitely fosters a love of science. After last summer's camp, my son commented that he wasn't sure that learning about science was supposed to be so much fun! Kieran hasn't done the Oakland camp, but he does go to Winter Camp run by Sarah Shaffer, and he absolutely adores her. Jane

February 2006

Re: Spring Break Camp for 5yo in Oakland
Sarah Science (aka This Land is Your Land) was fabulous last year for my slightly less than 5 year old. We made sure he went with someone he knew, but Sarah left it to us to decide if he was ready. They were great with the little guys. Had them in a small group, really attentive counselors, and the kids had a good time. As to the science, I think my son is more interested in the snacks, although he is mildly pleased with the gizmos that he brings home. This Spring break is about wetlands, which sounds great. It appears more expensive than some other camps, as it is really full day (not ending at 3:30). website is Sarah herself is very attentive to any issues which come up and really seems to make sure that the kids are having a good time. She is very enthusiastic about the science. The kids can opt out (though I think they don't by and large). The spring break is at a downtown church, with a nice playgro und. You could take your son to a Saturday Bug class (I forget what it's called) to meet Sarah and other staff, get a feel for things, in advance of the April camp. My son would happily go to their break camps and summer camps to the exclusion of most other options. Sarah is also very flexible: they encourage two weeks consecutive enrollment for the summer, but not required and some other camps pair the weeks, so you can't do the second week of one session and the first week of the next session; she was very helpful and flexible with things that came up. The ONLY negative: the snacks are pretty junky, my son fills up on them, and doesn't eat lunch. If I packed him snacks that I (but not he)prefer, they would make sure that happened, but it's not worth it to me, when all the other kids would be eating the chocolate chip-chocolate muffins or somesuch. So, I repeat my mantra: camp is supposed to be fun, he has the rest of the y ear for nutrition. aj

February 2003

I am considering sending my 7 year old son to This Land is Your Land summer camp in Tilden park. The reviews on the web site are somewhat mixed and not that current. Could anyone comment on this camp (run by Sarah Shaffer) from summer 2002? Thanks in advance. Sima

We've been doing various Sarah's Science activities off and on for several years -- sometimes winter or spring break, and sometimes afterschool programs. We did This Land is Your Land at Tilden for two or three sessions last summer. We're very happy with it. The staff is friendly and agreeable, and the atmosphere of easygoing fun and learning seems to make the kids very relaxed and sweet -- in contrast, say, to the LHS-S2 camps where everyone seems out of sorts by the end of the day. Sarah herself does not show up much at the Tilden camp, which disappointed my son, since he likes her especially (she's usually at the Redwood camp).

I don't know if it would get boring for a kid to be there every week all summer. We try to do a little variety; I especially like it if they can swim every day. TLIYL swims once a week at Lake Anza. Letitia

My 6 yo son went to this camp in Roberts last summer and LOVED IT. He wants to go back this summer. As he described it ''it is more of a play in the woods camp then a science camp''. He came home dirty and happy every day. Though he was often clutching a small project, that was not the main focus for him (and the projects did not look like they took that much time). He described hikes and building wood forts and playing games with great enthusiasm. The counselors seemed very good. There was one teasing incident with a CIT but the director, Sarah, responded really well and handled it right away. So if you are looking for something academic I would not recommend it but if you are looking for outdoor fun I would. Leah

March 2002

Does anyone have any experience with a summer camp run by Sarah's Science called This Land Is Your Land? My 7 year old daughter is interested in science and I saw this camp advertised in Parents Press, but I would like a more personal recommendation. (She would be going to the Tilden Park location, but experiences at either location, or with Sarah's Science spring program, would be appreciated.) I did see the recommendations in the UC Parents archives but I was wondering if anyone has had a more recent experience. Thanks! Emily

I was the person who recommended This Land is Your Land camp in the past. We had a very good experience the first year my son went to TLIYL, but we had a much more mixed experience the second year. Sara had two camp sites, and seemed as though she had less experienced staff. The numbers seemed somewhat overwhelming for my fairly high maintenance son. We also found that the ''after-care'' had very limited supervision, with kids of all ages mixed together which led to lots of problems for my son. It also was quite expensive, costing somewhere in the range of $250 a week, including after-care that we ended up not using much of the time, because of the inadequate supervision.

On the plus side, the projects were fun and quite inventive, the outside speakers were quite good, and the kids were allowed to get as dirty as they liked in the beautiful outdoor setting. Most of the kids seemed to do pretty well, and enjoyed the freedom. Myriam

I highly recommend This Land Is Your Land summer camp. My son has really had fun at ''This Land'' for the past two summers. He enjoyed the science activities, as well as the singing at circle time, and the down time hanging out with new friends at the picnic tables. I've been really pleased with the attentiveness of the leaders. The camp's logistics are exceptionally well-run. Sarah Schaffer is amazing in dealing with all the details and she's very caring with the kids. This summer Sarah is starting ''This Land'' in Tilden and she'll still keep the one going in the Oakland Hills. Wilma

My daughter (then 6) went last summer and loved the camp, she might do it again this summer. The camp was well organized but I personally was not all that impressed with the actual counselors. However, as I said, my daughter was happy and excited about each day's events and had a great time. Sarah Shaffer has a wonderful reputation though unfortunately doesn't have the time to be at each session since the camp has grown in popularity.

March 2000

Last year I recommended somewhat sight unseen, Sarah's Science Day Camp. I ended up sending my little boy who was entering first grade for quite a bit of the summer . I was very happy I did. He'll do it again this summer, pretty much all summer. The camp was fun, educational (but not too educational!) and professionally run. My son had an incredibly good time and came home very dirty, quite tired and happy nearly every day.

The camp is located in Redwood Regional Park and the location is fabulous for the kind of projects she organizes around science. Each week has a theme and they are executed really nicely and in an age appropriate manner.... This summer she has Spy Science, Flinging Things, Weather, Circus Science, Eating Flies and Ice Cream among others.

There are some fun, not too competitive sports, swimming once a week (so you'll have to do swim lessons elsewhere), arts and crafts and other imaginative activities. It's completely outdoors, but not sports oriented, which is somewhat hard to find. Her staff is great with kids and really well trained.A lot of the counsellors come back year after year, it seems, so she's doing something really right there, too.

It's pretty expensive ($205 a week for 9-3, an additional $55 for extended care) and the location can be quite a haul from campus. (Making it to the top of the hill by 530 was an adventure!) but we found it to be money well spent. She's closed one week this summer (the week of 7/24).

As my son said, I liked Lawrence Hall of Science Camp and Zoo Camp ok, but Sarah's Science was the best. Myriam

echo the good recommendation already received. My children went several years ago and loved it! Marie

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