Top Summer Camps for Gifted Children

Gifted children love to learn and that doesn't stop during the summer months. Luckily, parents can send their children to summer camps sponsored by universities or gifted organizations that offer courses providing in-depth study of a variety of subjects.

Some summer camps, such as Space Camp, are not necessarily designed with gifted children in mind, but because of their special focus, appeal to them. Whatever your child's interests and abilities, you'll find a summer camp to fit his or her needs.

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

Camp counsellor and children sitting on log in forest.

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The Center for Talented Youth offers summer programs for gifted children in grades two through twelve. The camps for children in grades two through four are day programs only. Those for kids in grades five through seven are both day and residential, and those for all other grades (including grades 10 to 12) are residential. Camps are in 25 locations on the East Coast, West Coast, and in Hong Kong.

The three-week program offers courses in the humanities, sciences, math, writing, and computer science, which may be used for high school credit.

Summer Institute for the Gifted

The Summer Institute for the Gifted provides both day and residential programming in seven different states for children in grades kindergarten through twelve. They take place in various schools, eleven of which are colleges, which include Emory, Bryn Mawr, Princeton, UCLA, and Vassar.

The day programs are for children in kindergarten through sixth grades, while the residential programs are for the older children. Courses at each campus are widely varied so just about every interest can be accommodated.
In addition to the courses during the week, students are able to enjoy cultural activities on the weekends.

THINK Summer Institute

The Davidson THINK Summer Institute, located in Reno on the campus of the University of Nevada, is a three-week residential program for exceptionally gifted children, aged 12 through 15. Participants can earn up to six transferable college credits in three weeks.

This camp is ideal for exceptionally gifted children, whose needs are often not met in school, even when a school has a gifted program. Since few school districts have more than one profoundly gifted child, it is hard for these kids to spend time with other kids who share their interests and abilities. This camp gives them a chance to do so.

Northwestern University Center for Talent Development

The Northwestern University Center for Talent Development offers summer programming for children in grades pre-kindergarten to 12. All classes are located in Northern Illinois, most on the Northwestern University campus.
Leapfrog classes (grades pre-kindergarten through three) are one to three-week daytime classes.

Each class is three hours long. Apogee classes (grades four through six) are one-week or three-week-long day classes. Spectrum classes (grades seven through nine) are three-week residential or commuter courses. Equinox classes (grades 10 through 12) are part of a three-week program with an intense academic focus.

Duke University Youth Summer Programs

The Duke University Summer Camp programs including a variety of courses that include the sciences, the humanities and the arts. Gifted kids who are interested in science will find a course to take, but so will kids who are more interested in creative writing and even the performing arts.

The programs run for about two weeks and are available to kids in grades five through 11, although the range varies depending on the course. Local students can enroll in the day camp option. A residential plan is available for those students who live farther away.

Concordia Language Villages Summer Camps

The Concordia Language Villages Summer Camps are language immersion camps. The kids who attend these camps listen to and speak only the language of a particular "village." A village is a camp devoted to one of 15 different languages, including French, German, Finnish, Japanese, Russian, and Arabic.

Camps are available for children as young as seven and can last from one to four weeks in a few different locations, including some overseas. However, most are located in Minnesota.

Lawrence Hall of Science Summer Camps

The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkeley offers week-long science camps for children in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. These camps are half-day, full-day or residential camps.

Half-day camps are for children pre-k through grade nine. Full-day camps are open to children in grades three through 12, and residential camps are open to children from age eight to grade 12. Residential camps are also open to the whole family!

The residential camps focus on the environment, such as coastal ecology and wildlife biology. The half and full-day camps have a bit more variety.

Green River Preserve

The mission of the Green River Preserve is, "to provide a challenging and nurturing learning experience and to inspire a profound appreciation of interconnectedness, ecological respect and the joy of living." That's an ideal mission for those gifted kids who feel a deep attachment to the environment.

Two camp programs are available: Base Camp and Expedition. The first is for kids in grades two through nine and take place on the preserve itself. These Base Camp programs last for five days, one week, two weeks, or three weeks.

The second is for kids in grades nine through 12 and takes place in Outer Banks or in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These Expedition programs are canoeing, backpacking and kayaking adventures that last for either two or three weeks.

Interlochen Arts Camp

Interlochen Arts Camp, located in northwestern Michigan, offers summer camp programs for children in grades three through 12. With its programs in Creative Writing, Dance, Motion Picture Arts, Music, Theatre Arts, and Visual Arts, Interlochen is an ideal camp for children whose abilities and interests lie in the performing arts area.

Not all of these areas are open to children of all ages. Music, for example, is open to children in grades three through 12, while dance is available only to those in grades six and up.

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