15 camps for rising Kindergartners

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Though many preschools go through the summer, some do not. Unfortunately not all camps are open to the pre-K set. I’ve compiled a list of 15 camps that take younger children — and you should feel free to add your own experience in the comments.

Camp Edmo (Alameda, Oakland, Moraga)
Camp Edmo is for kids pre-K—entering 4th grade to explore, create, have fun and grow. Hands-on Arts & Science and Animation sessions are designed by Edventure More in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences, Children’s Creativity Museum and MOCHA. They test each activity for maximum “WOW!” factor so the curiosity and excitement last long after the camp day. Every week includes Costume Day, Wacky Water Day, Family Friday, and The Edmo Vibe Game. Our Summer 2013 themes include Aquatic Adventures, Cosmic Creations, Backyard Biology and Super Spy.
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Hours: 9 am – 3 pm, plus before care and after care
Price: $304 – $454 a week

Sarah’s Science Camp (Tilden Park, Berkeley and Roberts Regional Park, Oakland)
Sarah’s Science weaves science curriculum through topical weeks with names like Sneaky Science and Fossil Hunters. Hands-on projects abound. Days are spent entirely outdoors with one day swimming. Ages: 5-10 campers and 11-15 for CIT (counselors in training)
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Hours: Mon–Fri, 9:00am–3:00pm. Extended Care: 8:00–9:00am & 3:00–5:30pm.
Price: $355/week for core program; discounts for registering early;$20/wk for before-care; $60/wk for after-care. Discounts for multiple-weeks and siblings.

Camp Galileo (St. Theresa School, Oakland and Cragmont School, Berkeley)
For kids ages 5-11, Camp Galileo marries a curriculum from The Tech Museum, Klutz, and the de Young Museum to offer fun and team-building both indoors and out. Extremely enthusiastic staff fills the day with jokes and learning.
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Hours: Mon–Fri, 9:00am–3:00pm. Extended Care: 8:00–9:00am & 3:00–6:00pm.
Price: $349/week for core program; Discounts for multiple-weeks and for early registration.

Lawrence Hall of Science Camp (LHS, Berkeley)
For kids ages 4 and up, LHS offers half-day camp on fun topics such as Legos, dinosaurs, and potions.
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Hours: Camp is available half day (9am-12noon) or combine two camps for a full day (9am-4pm)
Price: Half day camp (in the $200s) and full day camp ($400+) — priced per week week — vary based on curriculum. Discounts available to members.

Oakland ZooCamp (Oakland Zoo)
Registration begins in March for Oakland ZooCamp which offers a different experience at the Zoo each day with live animals and behind-the-scenes experiments. Camp is available to kids Pre-K – 5th grade.
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Hours: Full-day programs 9 am – 4 pm.
Price: (2012 price) $311/week for non-members. Discounts available to members.

Kids for the Bay Camp (different sites in Berkeley each day!)
This day camp for kids aged 5-11 boasts “aquatic science adventures” with hands-on exploration at several East Bay marine locations.
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Hours: 9 am – 4 pm; aftercare available til 5 pm
Price: $340/wk for core program. After care from 4-5 ($35) or 4-6 ($60). Discounts available for multiple weeks and siblings. Register by April 1 for a discount.

Brushstrokes (Berkeley)
Set in a paint-your-own pottery studio, this art camp offers kids a chance to explore all sorts of materials in order to express their own visions and stories. Expect access to lots of clay and paint in addition to canvas, ink, and more. For kids 4-11. Afternoon program for teens and tweens.
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Hours: 9 am – 1 pm for 4-11 year olds; Extended care $10/hr til 5:30
Price: $199/week plus $125 materials cost

Steve and Kate’s (Berkeley at The Berkeley School; Oakland at Park Day School)
This multidisciplinary camp has a unique kid-driven agenda, and a parent-friendly schedule. Kids plan their own day at a Steve and Kate’s camp, attending whichever activities interest them, including sports, film-making, cooking, and more. Extra staff guide the youngest campers through their day at “kindercamp”. No sessions are required and you can switch locations as needed. (There are sites in San Francisco and Marin as well as the East Bay.)
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Hours: Doors are open from 7:30 am to 6 pm but you can use any portion of the day within that window.
Price: Pay by the day for $80/day. 20-day passes are discounted at $1280. $2240 gives you unlimited access for the summer.

Luna Kids Dance Camp (Aquatic Park, Berkeley)
Luna offers a mini camp for 5-7 y/o, a full day camp for 8-11 y/o, and a teen choreography workshop intensive. Students discover, invent, perform & respond through the ART of dance.
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Hours: 9:00 – 3:00
Price: Call 510-883-1118

Head Over Heels (Emeryville)
Day camp program for kids 4+ offers gymnastics and circus arts, plus playground games and arts + crafts. Each Friday ends with a performance for the parents and friends.
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Hours: 9 AM to 4 PM for full-day camp; 9 AM to 12 PM for half-day camp, before care and after care available for $20/day
Price: Full-day camp: $300/week; Half-day camp: $245/week; day rate $70/day; discounts for mulitiple weeks, siblings, and early registration

KIDS for the BAY Summer Camp (Berkeley)
KIDS for the BAY offers themed outdoor science and nature camps for 5-8 and 8-11 year olds in the East Bay Area. Daily activities take place at different sites, including: Tilden Park, Berkeley Marina, Blake Gardens, Strawberry Creek/UC Berkeley, Berkeley Rose Gardens. Transportation is also provided for special field trips to Marin, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek (drop-off and pick-up is at the Berkeley Marina)
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Hours: 9am – 4pm, After care is available
Price:$340/week

Berkeley Day Camp (Berkeley)
This general day camp provides a chance for children ages 5-12 to explore our local parks. A typical week includes two days in Tilden Park and two days at the Berkeley Marina. Swim Day occurs every Friday and campers visit several beach locations, such as Lake Anza in Tilden Park, Crissy Fields in San Francisco or Crown Beach in Alameda (by bus, not your car).
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Hours: 9 – 3:30pm for the core program; extended care available 7:30 – 6pm
Price: $147/week for core program to Berkeley residents and $176/week for non-residents; $37/($44 non-res)/wk for before-care; $58 ($70 non-res)/wk for after-care.

Camp Tzofim (Upper Rockridge, Oakland)
Description Campers will experience traditional camp activities focusing on play while celebrating Jewish traditions. Expect outdoor play, songs and games and for your camper to come dirty. Groups for pre-K all the way up through CIT in 11th grade.
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Hours: 9 to 4, before and after care available 8 to 6
Price: Begins at $665 for 2 week session for youngest campers; discounts for membership, siblings, and other affiliations.

Kee Tov (bus pick up in N. Berkeley and Oakland, camp at Beth El)
Camp Kee Tov is a traditional Jewish camp in which participants spend their days deep in the woods doing skits, singing, and having good, safe fun without realizing they’re learning leadership and social skills. Each age group has an age-appropriate overnight trip. Camp Kee Tov welcomes children of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.
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Hours: 9 to 3, before and after-care are available from 7:30 to 6
Price: Choose 1 or 2 4-week sessions (1) Jun 24 – Jul 19 or (2) Jul 29 to Aug 23, $1000-$1500, discounts for Beth-El members

Cal Summer Youth Programs (Berkeley)
Cal offers camps in a huge variety of sports camps including the popular Explorer camp which offers Red Cross certified swim lessons along with seven other activities each day. Purchase in one-week or two-week sessions. Before and after care available.
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Hours: 9 to 4, before and after-care are available from 7:30 to 5:30
Price: $295 for one week; $480 for two weeks; some discounts apply

See also: Our 2013 Camp Guide

photo courtesy Camp Galileo