Not Your Average Summer School

Summer camp opportunities for kids on the South Side

With summer fast approaching, we’re all thinking about how we will while away the scorching days ahead. The South Side Weekly turned to Chicago City of Learning for opportunities available to kids this summer. CCoL is the collaboration of over one hundred organizations that have put together summer programs for kids throughout Chicago. These programs include everything from dance classes to computer coding, zoology to math help, and take place everywhere from museums to parks, churches to libraries. Here we highlight a few of the programs available on the South Side this summer. To learn more about these and other programs available, go to

Courtesy of Chicago City of Learning.

Tumbling into Fitness seeks to educate students regarding the health risks associated with obesity, the lack of regular fitness and exercise, and the lack of a proper diet. Students will learn basic tumbling skills, conditioning and flexibility exercises, and strength training. The teens will also study nutrition and learn how to create meal plans for themselves and their families as they learn to further evaluate, compare and contrast their current daily menus with their new meal plans. Hands-on activities include a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry and an on-site workshop with a registered dietitian. The program will culminate in a night of games and activities for families and health exhibits made by the students.
Registration Deadline: June 10 Tumbling into Fitness, Foster Park, 1440 W 84th St. June 26-July 31, Tuesday-Thursday 10am-2pm.

Teens in the Museum Docents of the Future program will learn about African American history by exploring the museum’s archives, exhibits, and programs. Teens will learn public speaking, writing, public relations and marketing, and program planning. Some of the topics to be discussed include: African American Folk Art and Slavery; African American Art After Emancipation; African American Art and the Chicago Renaissance; The Harlem Renaissance; African American Art and the Civil Rights Movement; African Women Artists; and Collecting African American Art. Registration Deadline: June 10 Museum Docents of the Future, DuSable Museum of African American History. 740 E. 56th Pl. June 26-July 31, Monday-Thursday, 9am-2pm, (773)947-0600

The Chicago Botanic Garden program offers students the opportunity to learn all aspects of organic farming, from planting seeds to managing a hive of bees; from cooking with the food they grow to selling it at farm stands and markets. Students also participate in outreach and team building activities. Chicago Botanic Garden Program, Washington Park, 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd. June 26-July 31, Monday-Thursday, 9am-2pm. 

In the Sewing at Calumet program, students will explore the wonderful world of sewing with simple, fun and easy projects that get you started – or, for advanced sewers, get tips from the instructor. No experience is needed. Just bring your enthusiasm and love of learning. Registration Deadline: June 21 Sewing at Calumet, Calumet Sewing Room at Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G. June 21-August 23, 9am-12pm,

Dance Discovery is designed to help teens who are interested in the performing arts enhance their self-expression, public speaking, teamwork skills, and explore dance through different styles such as ballet, Jazz, African, Afro-Haitian, hip hop, and ballroom. Each session is planned to include activities such as dance making, dance literacy, interpretation and evaluation and making connections. The final product will be a dance performance where teens showcase the skills they have developed throughout the program. Dance Discovery, Kenwood United Church, 4608 Greenwood Ave. June 26-August 1,Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 12:30pm-4:30pm, (773)373-2861

The South Chicago Art Center’s Talking Chairs Sculptures Summer Studio Series will challenge students to learn visual art techniques in painting, drawing, sculpture and other mediums. This class focuses on wood sculpture and uses design elements of paint, marker, and yarn. Talking Chairs Sculptures, South Chicago Art Center,  3217 E. 91st St. June 30-August 3,Monday- Thursday, 3pm-5pm. (773)

The WITSummer Early Childhood Program helps ensure students enter kindergarten ready to succeed! Students will work with community volunteers individually and in small groups to explore folk tales through engaging activities intended to inspire curiosity and wonder while boosting critical language and emerging literacy skills. WITSummer Early Childhood Program,  2710 S. Dearborn St. June 26-July 31, Monday andWednesday, 9:00-11:15, (312)

Yollocalli Arts Reach’s Difusion Media Journalism Training will train youth in journalism with a focus on creating, producing and publishing through digital media formats: blogs, podcasts and videos. Students will create original, culturally relevant media in a setting that encourages peer collaboration. Registration deadline: June 23 Difusion Media Journalism Training, Little Village Girls and Boys Club, 2801 S. Ridgeway Ave. Thursday, 2pm-5pm. (773)

With AeroStars Aviation Exploration program, students will soar into a new awareness of the aerospace industry and how it impacts our everyday lives. Teens grasp hold of real world practical applications of science and take on projects to discover the rich history of aviation, and do hands-on experiments and activities, from building kites and model airplanes to flying Flight Simulators and designing their own airports. Participants will also meet industry professionals, as take field trips to places like local airports, aerospace businesses, aerospace museum exhibits and the Chicago Air and Water Show. Registration Deadline: June 10 AeroStars Aviation Exploration Program, Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 South Blackstone Ave.  Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-1:00 pm, (773) 535-1350.

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