Day Camps Best Specialty Camps for Kids in Michigan Traditional camp will always be among the best kids' summer camps, but these days, there are a lot more options for your child. Here are 10 types that are breaking the mold and getting today's kids psyched for summer. « Previous Next » Kristen J. Gough • March 23, 2017 Read Comments (8) Total: 33 31 0 1 1 0 0 What comes to mind when you think about summer camp? Days spent splashing in the lake with friends? Or evenings around the campfire roasting marshmallows? Maybe it’s learning to tie square knots or identifying plants and flowers on a hike. While you can still find plenty of traditional summer camps that offer kids these types of experiences, more and more summer camps are going specialized. Kids can trade in their sneakers and sweats for chef hats to become bakers for a week. They can learn more about pets by attending summer camps all about helping, training and caring for animals. The list of specialty camp offerings is going up each year, which means you can match your child’s specific interests with a camp all about that topic. Looking for more kids’ summer day camps? Browse our day camps directory for tons of summer day camps in Michigan’s southeast region. Here’s our list of the top 10 hottest kinds of specialty camps around. For each type of trendy camp, you’ll find information about a few locations in southeast Michigan where you can sign up your child. Please note: Those listed are day camps unless otherwise marked. Sports Why they’re hot: Justin Verlander, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Misty Copeland. If your kids are regularly chatting about their favorite baseball, tennis, basketball, ballet or any other type of sports star, they’d jump at the chance to go to sports camp. What they offer: There are several different kinds of sports camps. For younger children, there are camps that introduce kids to a range of sports instead of concentrating on one. Grade- and high-schoolers can choose from camps that will help them develop skills needed for their specific sport. Some examples: Camp BHC – Beverly Hills Club Address: 31555 Southfield Road, Beverly Hills Phone: 248-642-8500 Sports skills, swimming, tennis, ninja warriors (and a “little” ninjas class for kids 3-5), martial arts, basketball and more. Franklin Athletic Club Address: 29350 Northwestern Highway, Southfield Phone: 248-352-8000 Sports skills, tennis, basketball, swimming, kickboxing, track and field, soccer and flag football. TGA Premier Junior Golf Camps Address: Locations throughout southeast Michigan Phone: 248-252-0208 Golf camps offered throughout the metro Detroit area. Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit Address: 6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield Phone: 248-661-1000 Kids in grades 1-10 can take archery, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, inline hockey, horseback riding and more. Theater Why they’re hot: Many kids like to spend some time in the spotlight. Theater camps give them the chance to discover more about stagecraft – from preparing sets and costumes to acting and other performance skills. What they offer: For many theater camps, your child doesn’t need any previous experience to participate. Some of these camps also include a performance at the end of the session, so you can see the campers demonstrate their skills. Some examples: Mosaic Broadway Workshop’s Summer Musical Theatre Intensive Address: 2251 Antietam Ave., Detroit Phone: 313-872-6910 Drama, music, theater camps for various levels of experience. Roeper Summer Programs Address: 1051 Oakland Ave., Birmingham Phone: 248-203-7470 Summer Stock Theatre is divided by age group. Students participate in activities to build acting, singing and dancing skills. Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild Summer Theatre Academy Address: The University of Michigan Student Theatre Arts Complex (STAC), 1201 Kipke Drive, Ann Arbor Phone: 734-926-5629 The academy offers morning workshops in performing arts and afternoon rehearsals for the upcoming production. Grades 3 and up. Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit Address: 6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield Phone: 248-661-1000 Five-day and three-week programs for new and seasoned actors and actresses, singers and stage technicians. Lego Why they’re hot: Legos have a long history of encouraging kids to tap into their imagination – one block at a time. Legos have expanded from toys to robotics and even onto the big screen. If your child was a fan of the toys, The LEGO Movie, then a Lego-themed summer camp may be the way to go. What they offer: Campers use Legos to create robotics, electronics – and some even mix in computer programming. Some examples: Brain Monkeys Address: 3765 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor (Note: Camps are also offered at three additional Ann Arbor locations. Contact for more details.) Phone: 734-355-6872 Technology, robotics and engineering camps for ages 6-17. Bricks 4 Kidz Address: Locations in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Canton, Farmington, Grosse Pointe, Huntington Woods, Rochester, Southfield and Troy Phone: Call nearest center for details STEM-focused activities for kids ages 3-13 using LEGO bricks. Cranbrook Schools Robotics Camp Address: 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills Phone: 248-645-3000 Camp programs for ages 6-17 explore STEM curriculum using the latest robotics software to let kids design, build and program robots. The Robot Garage Address: Locations in Birmingham, Grosse Pointe Park and Rochester Hills Phone: 248-723-9100 (Birmingham), 313-924-3310 (Grosse Pointe Park), 248-213-9960 (Rochester Hills) Building and robotics camps with cool themes like Harry Potter, Minecraft and Robot Discovery. Animals Why they’re hot: “We know that children have such a strong sense of compassion towards animals,” says Karen Patterson, director of humane education at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. “Every year we’re adding more camps, and they keep filling up. We always have a waiting list.” What they offer: These camps give kids the chance to learn more about animals and their care from experts. Some examples: Camp PAWS, Humane Society of Huron Valley Address: 3100 Cherry Hill Road, Ann Arbor Phone: 734-662-5585 Animal-themed activities and lessons and interactions with pets for kids ages 4-17. Spots fill quickly; sign up soon! Charles L. Bowers School Farm Address: 1219 E. Square Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills Phone: 248-341-6475 Variety of camps for all ages with a focus on nature and farm animals. Detroit Zoo Summer Safari Camp Address: 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak Phone: 248-541-5717 The Detroit Zoo offers a different themed Zookeeper Camp for each grade level K-8 and Animal Welfare Workshops for grades 9-12. Pottery Why they’re hot: Surprised? Yes, pottery is popular. For kids who love crafting and creating with their hands, these camps are perfect! What they offer: Kids get to take home the pottery pieces that they create during camp. Some examples: Pewabic Address: 10125 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit Phone: 313-626-2000 Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center Address: 1516 S. Cranbrook Road, Birmingham Phone: 248-644-0866 Cranbrook Art Museum Create Camps Address: 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills Phone: 248-645-3314 Creatopia: Paint-It-Yourself Pottery Address: 924 W. Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth Phone: 734-453-8797 The Bee’s Knees Address: 149 E. Main St., Northville Phone: 248-347-6718 Music Why they’re hot: For children who want to hone their playing or singing skills, music camps can be a guaranteed high note. What they offer: There’s a music camp to fit just about any focus. Kids can concentrate on a specific instrument – including their voice. Or there are general camps that introduce kids to music. Some examples: The Carr Center Summer Arts Academy Address: 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit Phone: 313-965-8430 The Summer Arts Academy includes programs for dance, visual art and jazz music. The Community House Theatre Camp Address: 380 S. Bates St., Birmingham Phone: 248-644-5832 Band camp, cabaret camp, musical theater and more. Detroit Opera House Address: 1562 Broadway St., Detroit Phone: 313-237-7464 Summer Intensive with Eisenhower Dance is open to ages 14-plus. Macomb Center for the Performing Arts Address: 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township Phone: 586-286-2141 Summer workshops in show choir, flute, clarinet and children’s chorus. Adventure Why they’re hot: Thrill seekers alert! If your child likes to be active and has a bit of a daredevil streak, sign him or her up for an adventure camp. What they offer: While you can find day camps, for maximum thrills you might want to check out overnight options, where kids are busy doing everything from backpacking to horseback riding. Some examples: Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation Day Camps Address: Various locales in Ann Arbor Phone: 734-794-6000 (contact depends on the camp) Activities include kayaking, canoeing, fishing, rafting and swimming. Camp Fire’s Camp Wathana Address: 9750 Milford Road, Holly Phone: 248-382-8382 Swimming, boating, archery. Also offers Camp 4 Military Kids. Mystic Lake YMCA Camp Address: 9505 W. Ludington Drive, Lake Phone: 517-827-9650 “The Mystic Experience” for ages 7-14 includes archery, high ropes, rock climbing, kayaking and more. Tech Why they’re hot: These days most tweens and teens have smartphones, meaning they’re carrying around a piece of high-tech gadgetry wherever they go. No wonder so many kids are all about technology! What they offer: All things tech. Kids can learn computer-aided design, build their own computer apps and much more. Some examples: DAPCEP Address: 2111 Woodward Ave., Suite 506, Detroit Phone: 313-831-3050 Camps for grades 3-12 include visual programming, biomedical and mechanical engineering, software design and robotics. Residential and commuter programs offered. Michigan State University Math, Science & Technology Camp Address: 220 Trowbridge Road, East Lansing Phone: 517-432-2129 Two-week overnight or day camp offered for children in grades 7, 8 and 9. TechShop Detroit Address: 800 Republic Drive, Allen Park Phone: 313-583-3831 Coding, programming, Design and Build with Laser Cutters and much more. University of Detroit Mercy Pre-College Summer Programs Address: 4001 W. McNichols Road, Detroit Phone: 313-993-3374 STEM camps for high schoolers including product design, robotics and more. Career exploration Why they’re hot: Kids have a week-long opportunity to explore an area that they’re interested in to see if it’s something they want to pursue as a career. What they offer: Often, these programs are affiliated with a college or university – so whatever programs are available through the school may be something offered as a summer camp experience. Some examples: College for Creative Studies Address: 201 E. Kirby St., Detroit Phone: 313-664-7458 Range of programming for high school students including graphic, fashion and automotive design. iD Tech Camps & iD Teen Academies Address: Located at the University of Michigan at the Ann Arbor campus Phone: 888-709-8324 Programs include coding, game design, robotics engineering and more. Cooking Why they’re hot: The Food Network has turned chefs into rock stars. Children with an interest in the kitchen have taken notice, and they’re interested in sharpening their culinary skills too. What they offer: Camps give kids a chance to learn everything from basic skills in the kitchen to more advanced baking and cooking techniques. Some examples: Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit Address: 6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield Phone: 248-661-1000 Kids in grades 4-10 can participate in five-day Cake Decorating camp or those in grades 1-8 can sign up for Cupcake Wars camp. There’s also Chopped, Cookie Creation, Bubbie’s Kitchen, Sweet Shop and Restaurant Camp. Schoolcraft Kids on Campus, Schoolcraft College Address: 18600 Haggerty Road, Livonia Phone: 734-462-4448 Cooking and baking skills for grades 7, 8 and 9. Sur La Table: Kids’ & Teens’ Summer Cooking Camps Address: Locations in Ann Arbor, Clinton Township, Novi and Troy Phone: 734-531-0304 (Ann Arbor), 586-226-1452 (Clinton Township), 248-319-0025 (Novi), 248-283-1057 (Troy) Camp topics for kids and teens include kitchen fundamentals, science in the kitchen and more. This article was originally published in 2014 and was updated for 2017 by Amanda Rahn.