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Summer Camp Guide: For Brainiacs


Challenge Camp 

Rye (914) 779-6024; challengecamp.com

If you want your child to answer the question, “What did you do this summer?” with “Built and drove a remote control Mini Cooper”; “Launched my own model rockets”; “Initiated a business to raise money for children’s charities”; or “Experimented with protozoa and amoebas,” send him or her to Challenge Camp. Started more than 30 years ago as Westchester’s first academic day camp, it caters to gifted, talented, and academically motivated children. Campers choose five courses throughout the day from some 75 options as diverse as computer technology, chess, LEGO theater, forensic science, photojournalism, cooking, robotics, and orienteering. 

Ages: Grades K to 9; kids grade 10 can become CITs Dates: Two sessions: June 29 to July 24 and July 27 to Aug 14 (M-F, 9 am-4 pm full day; 9 am-12 noon half day) Fees: half-day $2350; full-day $4,700, plus $750 deposit  Transportation: Yes

Mad Science Camp

Eight locations in Westchester (914) 948-8319; newyorkcity.madscience.org

The goal at Mad Science Camp is to engage children in scientific explorations that are so much fun, they forget they are learning. How do they pull that off? Campers team up with fellow engineers to build a bridge, participate in a dinosaur dig, build and launch a model rocket, and explore the science behind their favorite sports. Cool weekly themes—such as robotics, nature academy, and crazy chemworks—as well as games and daily make-and-take projects help kids gain a clear understanding of science and how it affects the world around them, while also having a blast. 

Ages: Entering grades one to five Dates: Nine one-week sessions from June 29 to Aug 28; can choose any number of weeks (M-F, 9 am-noon or 9 am-4 pm)  Fees: Varies by location; typically $275-$375 per week for half day; $665-$725 per week for full day Transportation: No

Camp Mandarin

Scarsdale (914) 907-8260; clpchildren.com

If Mandarin is the language of the future, now is the time for Westchester children to learn it. And they can start this summer at Camp Mandarin, the County’s first full-immersion Mandarin language camp. Campers of all backgrounds—some with Mandarin language exposure and others with none—learn the language while playing sports, doing crafts, cooking, dancing, practicing martial arts, and through drama and games. Teachers are all native Mandarin speakers, trained on helping children accelerate their progression in Mandarin studies and gaining new language abilities. Each week runs on a theme such as nature, science, sports, and others. The facility includes indoor classrooms, a large hall for sports and activities during inclement weather, and an outside playgroundand fields. 

Ages: 3 to 12 Dates: Pre-K mini camp, June 15 to June 26 (9 am-12 noon); Camp, July 6 to Aug 21 (9 am-3 pm) Fees: $680 (pre-K); $1,250-$4,150 (full camp) Transportation: No

History Adventure Days at John Jay Homestead

Katonah (914) 232-5651 ext. 101; johnjayhomestead.org

Have a history buff on your hands? Camp at John Jay Homestead will satisfy your child’s curiosity about the past by immersing him or her in American history through games, crafts, special guests, and hands-on interactive activities such as archery, blacksmithing, rocket-making, candle-dipping, scavenger hunts, and Revolutionary War reenactments. Each week brings a new theme, and this summer campers will delve into the Industrial Revolution, the Founding Fathers, and John Jay’s travels as an American diplomat. New this year is a history travel camp for older children, who will visit different Hudson Valley-area historic sites and museums. The theme for the inaugural travel camp is the American Revolution. 

Ages: Entering grades two to seven; entering grade 7 and up for travel camp Dates: History Adventure Days: Aug 3-7 and 10-14 (9 am-3:30 pm); History Travel Camp: July 27-31 (field trips start at 9 am) Fees: History Adventure Camp: $275 per week, 20% discount for Friends of John Jay Homestead; Travel Camp: $350, 10% discount for Friends of John Jay Homestead Transportation: No

Bits, Bytes & Bots Computer Adventures Summer Camp

Mount Kisco (914) 218-8175; computeradventures.com

Tech lovers, get ready to celebrate: A summer of digital fun is available at the Bits, Bytes & Bots Computer Adventures Summer Camp. Campers can geek out over courses in robotics engineering, stop-motion movie-making, video-game design, photo comics, programming, and electronic music composition. Through individual and group instruction with a maximum 6:1 student/staff ratio, budding techies will pick up skills in engineering, logic, problem solving, and technical storytelling. The camp also works to promote teamwork, self-esteem, and confidence.

Ages: 6 to 16  Dates: Weekly sessions from June 29 to Aug 28 (M-F, half-day sessions are 9 am-12:30 pm; 1 pm-4:30 pm; full-day session is 9 am-4:30 pm)  Fees: $375 per week for half-days, $650 per week for fulll; $200 deposit due by May 15 Transportation: No