Half Day & Partial Week Camps

Parent Q&A

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  • I am interested in care for my 7 and 10 year old daughters for this summer.  Because their father and I work "non-traditional" hours, we mostly only need care some Wednesdays and for a few hours on Thursdays. 

    Are there drop-in camps or camps with flexible schedules that have half day options?

    Thank you!

    Steve and Kate's. It's fun, well run, and has a good deal where you can buy a certain number of days and I think they give refunds for the ones you don't use. The more you buy, the cheaper they are. But if that's still too expensive, I would recommend city rec camps -- do a little homework - some are a little better run than others.

    Dimond Rec Center through Oakland Parks & Rec often has a pay-per-day policy or less expensive for the whole week.  But I'm not sure if they do it for their summer daycamps.  

    Bridges Rock Gym in EC offers drop-in option, although it's more expensive. I'd recommend trying it together at their afterschool class if you haven't been before; apparently rock climbing is a love it or hate it activity for kids! (both my 6 yo daughter and 8 yo son love it).

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Camps with flexible schedule (2-3 days/week)

March 2012

I am looking for a camp with a lot of schedule flexibility. I only work part-time, so a full-time camp doesn't necessarily work. I end up paying for days that I don't need and sometimes I really want to do things with my kids on my days off. Ideally, the camp would allow them to attend 2-3 days/week. I know Adventure Time has such a camp, but was hoping to find other options as well. camp mama

We are in the same situation - my husband works from home some days each week. After throwing money away on all-week camps, we switched to Steve and Kate's . You can go any days you want, in any location you want. You pre pay based on the number of days you think you'll need in the summer - and at the end of the summer they refund any days you didn't use at the full rate. Steve and Kate's fan

I asked this question on my school listserv and got several recommendations for Steve & Kate's camp . They have many locations throughout the bay area, you can drop in any day, and it looks like great fun! My kids will be going there for several partial weeks this month. I attended an info night at the new Oakland location a couple weeks ago and was very impressed.

Head Over Heels Gymnastics in Emeryville also has a daily rate of $70/day (9-4 PM) but you may have to register in advance. frequent camper

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 www.sarahscience.com and bring it with you to speed up the whole drop-off process. Jeanie

Half-day camp for 7-year-old

Feb 2008

I'd like to send my 7 year old boy to one or two camps or classes to break up the summer, but I mostly see all-day schedules. I'd rather have him go fewer hours in the day so he can have more weeks of the fun (and so we can afford it). Can anyone recommend fun classes/camps that are half day? (preferably Berkeley and north) jenny

The Cal Strawberry Canyon camps all have half day options (9-1). My 7-year-old had a great time at this camp last year, met a lot of new friends. http://calbears.berkeley.edu/
The Lawrence Hall of Science offers many half day summer camps. There are morning and afternoon camps, multiple topics from chemistry to biology and physics and super great teachers. And you get to run around the exhibits every day as well and participate in the Wednesday Fundays! I wholeheartedly endorse these camps and know them well as I work there (but not in the summer camp realm). You can sign up online at http://lhs.berkeley.edu/ . Sue Guevara

the ones I'm aware of are: 1. Lakeridge athletic club in El Sobrante has half-day tennis camps and I think half day general day camp with a really nice swimming pool with huge 2 foot depth shallow area. 2. RAC richmond art center art camps are 3 hours am or pm, 4 days a week. They do great projects with excellent materials. chris

Aurora School www.auroraschool.org has wonderful half day summer camps that are open to all kids ages 5-12. My kids have taken these classes for several years, they have always been terrific. Usually about half the kids taking them do not attend Aurora during the year. In June and August they offer a variety of half-day week long camps--sports, arts and crafts, Lego engineering, Spanish. The half day classes are particularly great for younger kids as they are small classes, and 5-7 year olds are together. In July there is a Theater Arts camp, where they will put on a production of Mary Poppins. It runs from 9-3. I know many of the teachers for this summer and they are all wonderful, creative people who are great with kids. You can be there for as little as 3 hours or take both am and pm classes, with extended care which runs from 7:30-6. Aurora is located off of Broadway Terrace near highways 13 and 24, also close to Broadway and 51st. Lori

See my advice above for Alameda Park and Rec Department and also Lawrence Hall of Science. There's also a 3/4 day option at Park Day Summer Camp - My kiddo's all time favorite camp. Summer Camp Mom

Bay Island Gymnastics has half day summer camps for ages up to 6. They also have full day for the older kids. They do a lot more then gymnastics and have cute themes for each of the weeks. All the information is on their website - www.bayislandgymnastics.com Camper

Aurora School hosts many half-day camps (9am - 12pm and 1pm - 4pm) offered by a variety of children's programs that bring their expertise to Aurora School. MONART Drawing and Art Camps, TEK for Legos, Fiber Arts, Design and Build Architecture, 3-D Wonderland, Intro to Tennis, Basketball and Spanish are just a few of the camps offered. Most sessions are offered twice, once for 5-7 year olds, and once for 7-12 year olds. All camps include an outdoor snack break and all morning campers can stay through lunch or afternoon campers can come early and join in the lunch break with others. You can download the all camp descriptions with registration matrix at http://www.auroraschool.org/docs/AuroraCamps2008-Brochure.pdf or view it all on their website at http://www.auroraschool.org.

My children have been going to Aurora Camps for years. They like the variety of activities in a full-day combo, and I like the intimacy of their programs. Their sessions are never too large, it is always experienced and creative adults leading the camp. I really like the half-day option, so that when we have swimming lessons in the afternoons, our day is not jammed packed with too many activities. It makes for a nice balance.

MONART Drawing Studio also has half-day morning art camps from 9am to 12:30pm for children 6+ years old. They include a morning MONART drawing lesson, an active break with a healthy snack and engaging projects that all complement a weekly theme. All camps incorporate age appropriate academic material and the camp ends with a small art reception where the campers showcase their week's work. MONART's Cartoons & Clay and Ocean Exploration camps are very popular. For more details go to http://oakland.monart.com/camps/summercamps.html or http://alameda.monart.com/camps/summercamps.html Jana

Camp with a short day for 6-year-old

Feb 2008

I am looking for a summer camp in the East Bay with a short day, 3-4 hours, for my six year old son. He's not crafty, and not into competitive sports, but he does love to race around and play games. Basically, I want to get him outside and socializing in moderately organized activities. The goal is for him to be active and have fun. Mom of a fun loving kid

Sunbirds camp at Sheffield Village Rec Center (through the Oakland Office of Parks and Recs) is a great camp for kids his age. MWF, 9-3. My son loves it. Camp Mom

Have you considered one of the Adventure Time locations? If your son likes to run around outdoors, I'd specifically recommend the Roberts Park Explorers (they meet in Roberts Park in the Oakland Hills 3 days a week, and in Montclair the other 2). My son loves it -- they have plenty of time to run around in the woods, they swim once a week, play sports on the fields there, take occasional field trips, and generally have a great time. He's never required to do ''crafty'' stuff which is good, from his point of view. What I like about it is that parents have a very wide choice of days and hours, and it's considerably less expensive than some of the other camps. Less structured too -- and for my son, that's part of what is good about it. After all, this is summer vacation we're talking about! Karen

Two things come to mind. Alameda Park and Recreation Department has some great 2 - 4 hour classes for your son's age group and best of all they're held at the park. My son took the Lego class last year - there were also science classes and playground type game classes. Also, Lawrence Hall of Science has some really fun 3 and 4 hour classes broken down by age group. Summer Camp Mom

Bay Island Gymnastics has summer camps for all ages. They recently posted the camp schedule on their website: www.bayislandgymnastics.com . The camps run every week of the summer, have fun themes, include tons of activities and are very reasonably priced. Camper

Only need camp for 2 days of the week

March 2007

I've signed up our 6-year old to summer camps for most of the summer. There are a few weeks we only need camp for 2 days of the week. The progams we have looked into all run on a weekly basis. Does anyone know and recommend any camp that accept a 6- year old for a partial week? anonymous

Sunbirds camp at Sheffield Village Rec Center is partial - M,W,F 10-2. And, it's only $55 a week. Check it out on the Oakland Parks and Recs website. My son goes every summer for a couple of weeks and has fun. ~Alison

Try East Bay Dance Center in the Glenview District of Oakland. The director, Bonnie Sita, is great with kids and offers camp on a ''per day'' basis. I believe camp is $40 per day from 9 - 3 and before and after care is available at $5 per hour. No need to worry about ballet, tap or jazz shoes, Bonnie has them available for use (free). No dance experience is necessary and the chidlren (both boys and girls) are grouped by age/ability. My daughter has been attending since she was 5 1/2 and loves it. Mom of a dancing girl

Afternoon-only summer camps?

Feb 2007

I am looking for afternoon-only camps for my daughter (age 6, will be entering 2nd grade in the fall) and possibly my son as well (age 5, will be entering kindergarten in the fall). They both have swim team in the morning from 9 to 10, which knocks out virtually everything I have found! Somehow I need to work 3-4 hours/day, and I would like to find something more fun than just sitting around our house with a baby sitter for the summer. I know the Junior Center for Arts and Science usually has afternoon programs, but is there anything else out there? Emma

Lawrence Hall of Science Lawrence Hall of Science offers half-day summer camp sessions, some of them in the afternoons. My son attended a couple weeks last summer, when he was an entering kindergartener, and we thought it was a great program.
Oh, gosh, is it time to think about this again already?!

My children enjoyed (for several years now) the afternoon session of the Oakland Fine Arts Summer School (OFASS) offered as a collaboration b/w OUSD and Oakland Parks and Rec. MOCHA teachers teach the afternoon sessions, each afternoon consisting of 4 classes for each child (many classes overall but each child gets enrolled in 4), such as sculpture, pantomime, theater, drawing, instrumental music, movie production, dance, . . Some kids enroll for morning and afternoon session, making it a long day with about 7 classes, but many kids come for just afternoon. You can register for this camp on-line at www.oaklandnet.com (Parks and Rec), starting March 1. Maria

Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science Lawrence Hall of Science has excellent afternoon only camps during the summer. They offer a variety of options, too. We've loved every class/camp we've participated in there and have been impressed by the instructors and the quality of the material presented. These camps fill up quick though, so you may want to become a member to take advantage of eary sign-up dates. Berkeley mom

My children have been to Berkeley Academics (click for full review)

Half-day camos for 12-year-old son?

May 2006

My 12-year-old son doesn't like to be too busy in the summer, but I'd like him to be busy some of the time! He would prefer to do just half-day camps, preferably one week long. So far, he's enrolled in Double Diamond (baseball) and Camp Sweetie (cooking). He also enjoys acting (though I know there are unlikely to be half-day options for this), fantasy games (Dungeons and Dragons), and might like to try a martial art. He's not into any other sports or swimming. Any ideas? R.K.

For half-day camps try the Julia MOrgan Center. There are Lego Engineering Camps being held there (also check Play-Well Teknology's website - not sure if my spelling is correct - for other sites where they hold classes). Julia Morgan also was hosting some half-day drama and dance camps. Tracey