Not a bummer summer

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The academic year will come to an end in a few more weeks. While kids may revel in anticipation of the summer recess, working parents are starting to ask themselves the dreaded “Now what?” question. This is especially true for multi-kid households. If 11-year-old Frankie is now too old to go to daycare with his younger sister, Lucy, but Lucy is still too young for the cool camp at the zoo, then who’ll shuttle them both back and forth to different locations – at different times, mind you? And then there’s the parents’ work schedules and the summer camp schedule, which seldom jibe. 

Fortunately, options abound. If you haven’t started looking into it, you better get on it now; you don’t want to end up on five different waiting lists. A good place to start is your public school district or municipal parks and recreation office. If you already have a good plan in place, but still want to add some oomph and enrichment activities to your child’s 2012 summer experience, check out these dandy summer camp alternatives.

iD Tech Camps & iD Teen Academies

These day camps and overnight camps at Arizona State University are offered by internalDrive (iD), a company that specializes in cutting-edge summer camps for children and teens. There are several week-long camps to choose from, such as, Game Design for iPhone and iPad II, Adventures in Robotics, and Programming in Java, to name a few. Reserve your space soon; there is a maximum number of eight students per instructor. For an additional fee, students interested in receiving continuing education credits can request an official accredited transcript issued by Villanova University.

Age: 10–17
Location: Arizona State University, Tempe campus
Dates: Varying start dates for week-long camps between June 4 and July 20
Fee: starting at $749
More info: or 1-888-709-TECH

Reptile encounters

The Phoenix Herpetological Society’s working sanctuary opens its doors to youngsters ages 9–14 interested in wildlife and the world of reptiles. Week-long camps include classroom and field sessions and close-up encounters with magnificent creatures. Participants work with wildlife educators and are taught how to record data during desert explorations like real field biologists. The curriculum teaches the basics of daily animal care and maintenance, veterinary procedures and how to identify venomous reptiles.

Age: 9-14
Location: Phoenix Herpetological Society, 20701 N. Scottsdale Rd. # 107, Scottsdale, AZ
Dates: Nine week-long (Mon.–Fri.; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) sessions from which to choose, with varying start dates between May 28 and August 3
Fee: $275
More info: or 480-513-4377

Camp Invention®

Invent Now Kids – a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring kids to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math – has partnered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to offer summer day-camps where kids can let their inventiveness and imagination soar while honing critical thinking skills and having fun. The camps are offered at select public and private schools and academies. The child-to-staff ratio is eight to one. Learning modules include provocative themes, such as “Saving Sludge City,” “Inventeureka,” and “Problem Solving on Planet ZAK.”  

Age: For kids entering grades 1–6
Location: Various throughout the Phoenix metro area. Visit website for full listing
Dates: Week-long camps (Mon.–Fri.; 9 a.m.– 3:30 p.m.)
Fee: $215
More info: Visit or 1-800-968-4332

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