Summer Camps for Kids in Cook County, Illinois

By Amy Sutton
Nature camps can give kids a taste of the outdoors.
Nature camps can give kids a taste of the outdoors.

Cook County, Illinois, is the second most populated county in the country, as of the 2010 U.S. census, but it still has room for outdoor camps. Parents in Cook County will find a variety of summer camps for their kids, ranging from camps that help teach kids about a specific sport to camps that get children into nature.

Nature Camps

Your kids can become immersed in nature and learn more about the world they live in when attending one of the nature camps available in Cook County. At the Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland, kids ages 11 to 13 can attend the Outdoor Adventures Camp to learn teamwork and outdoor survival skills and children in kindergarten through fourth grade can go for Nature Tales to learn the role insects play in making seeds. In River Forest, at the Hal Tyrell Trailside Museum, kids ages 8 to 12 can go to Fish Camp to learn how to bait a hook, cast a line and catch fish. At the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Willow Springs, kids 7 to 11 years of age can attend the Young Naturalist Field Camp to work with naturalists, take hikes and participate in hands-on experiments.

YMCA Camps

You'll find an array of summer camps available through the YMCA branches around Cook County. At the West Cook YMCA, your kids can sign up for the Camp Magellan Summer Day camp to enjoy activities with other kids their ages, such as music, sports, games, field trips and swimming. At the YMCA of Metro Chicago branches, your kids can attend an overnight summer camp to enjoy outdoor activities, learn about how to live with others and use creativity to solve problems. Summer day camps give kids a safe environment where they can experience adventures, make new friends and participate in activities such as swimming, field trips and hands-on projects.

Traditional Day Camps

You'll find all sorts of day camps offered through the recreation departments of cities in Cook County. In Hickory Hills, kids can attend half day and full day camps, where they'll make crafts, play sports and games, go on field trips and participate in theme days. The Chicago Parks District has day camps available at locations around the city, such as Loyola, McGuane, Welles and Harrison, where kids can go on day trips, make arts and crafts and play a variety of sports. Oak Lawn Park District also has summer day camps for kids, including the Youth Day Camp, where kids in first through fifth grade can enjoy swimming, field trips, movies, snacks and activities.

Sports Camps

The Chicago Parks District offers some sports camps, in addition to its day camps. Basketball camps are offered to kids 8 to 17 years of age. Kids who are 6 to 11 years old can attend cheerleading camp and a general sports camp is available for kids ages 6 to 13 that teaches basic skills for an array of sports, including soccer, tennis, biking, floor hockey and gymnastics. In Oak Lawn, your kids can go to the Mini-Sports Camp if they are in third through eighth grade, to get a taste of a variety of sports activities or they can attend Sports Camp to work on teamwork, character development and overall skills in sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and baseball.