Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Summer of Innovation, Collaboration, Exploration, and FUN! {Camp Galileo}

This is a review of Galileo Camps.

Last week while my toddler and I participated in our Virtual Book Club Summer Camp Bug Week, my 5 year old son headed to a local elementary school each day to attend Space Odyssey Week at Camp Galileo

Camp Galileo is a summer camp experience filled with art, science, and outdoor fun for little innovators. You can read more here about the Galileo Innovation Approach taught and applied at camp.

As an elementary school teacher (before I had kids) I remember hearing conversations between parents about camps they were sending their kids to. One that constantly received rave reviews was Camp Galileo.  When we were approached earlier this year with an opportunity for my son to attend a week of camp for free and for me to share our experience with you, I immediately said YES! I was excited to see for myself what I had heard other parents talk about!

Today I want to share a few snapshots of our week at Camp Galileo with you. I hope that you will be inspired by some of our experiences to find a perfect summer camp opportunity for your child.


I get kind of nervous for my kids when they have "firsts." A night or two before camp I started panicking and worrying that I had forgotten something I was supposed to do. Fortunately, I just opened my email inbox and discovered I had an email or two with reminders about camp, things to bring, typical schedules, etc. and anything that wasn't in the email was easily found on the Camp Galileo website. I even emailed the camp director about a silly concern and heard back from her less than an hour later. Phew! Crisis averted.

With all the stressful ahead of time details taken care of, we eagerly anticipated the first day of camp.

On the morning of camp my alarm somehow didn't go off... and no one woke me up... so I woke up 30 minutes before camp started and I found myself running around the house like a crazy person trying to get all three kids dressed and fed and out the door in ten minutes.  

I was a bit on edge when we arrived in the parking lot to check in... but when I saw the enthusiasm of the staff and the organized check-in set up, I totally chilled out.

Check-in Highlights included...

  • loads of happy & friendly staff members who quickly checked us in (always a plus when I have two additional younger kiddos with me)
  • signs everywhere telling us where to go/what to do
  • colorful themed posters and decorations that totally got my son excited (he loves space!)
  • the blast off area where the staff had the kids turn themselves into rockets and blast off into the "fun zone" of camp (through a cool space decorated hallway away from their parents)

My 5 year old has never been to real camp before... and I was kind of worried how the separation would go when it was time to say good-bye. There were no concerns once they told him he got to make his body into a rocket to blast off into camp. I barely got a wave good-bye. Success! :)

Little details

After I got back to the car after drop off, I noticed I had two pieces of paper in my hand from check in. One was a calendar overview that highlighted important info & important events of the week (theme days, pick up info for the last day, check-in/out details, etc.) and the other explained what the pre-k and kindergarten campers would be doing during the week. The organized part of me did a little giddy dance. I LOVED all of these little details!

Camp Galileo has the kids broken down into groups by their ages. Each group has a name-  Nebulas (PreK-K), Stars (1-2), Supernovas (3-5)... and each group has specific curriculum designed to evolve as they grow.

Camp focuses on art, science, and outdoor experiences... which I love... so you can imagine when I read the list of activities my son would be doing during the week I was SO EXCITED for him! I was also kind of wishing I could go to camp with him.

Here are just a few adventures that were mentioned for the pre-k and k campers...
  • use a mix of mediums to create a glow-in-the-dark lunar landscape
  • use paper folding techniques to make extra-terrestrials
  • build space-ready jet packs
  • explore the elements of space suits and make collision-proof helmets
  • learn about aerodynamic shapes and thrust and build rubber band rockets 
  • participate in Mission Control, a team building game
  • create a sidewalk chalk galaxy

Don't you want to go to this camp too?

After what felt like a long day away from my son (camp went from 9am-3pm), we headed over for pick up.

Pick Up Highlights included...


  • the path to "Nebbieland" (classroom for the Pre-K/K Nebulas) was clearly marked with colorful signs... and there were also reminder signs all over about remembering to bring my ID for check out
  • enthusiastic and friendly staff members were scattered throughout the school helping parents find the right classrooms
  • the helpful camp director chatted with me and walked us to my son's classroom in Nebbieland
  • my son's team leader greeted us outside, checked my ID, had me sign out my son... and then proceeded to tell me three detailed and awesome things my son had done during the day that were innovative, collaborative, and courageous
  • the team leader also gave us a detailed camp newsletter with announcements and info about what the kids did that day along with suggested questions we could ask our campers to help jog their memories when talking about the day (instead of just asking, "What did you do today?")
  • my son came outside with a big smile on his face!!


Since it is so hard to narrow down what else to share with you, here are a few pictures from camp along with a list of some of our favorite things about Camp Galileo...

  • Staff members were flexible and creative... which is super important with pre-k and k kids who are hot, tired, or not used to a long day with friends 
  • Themed days were something fun to look forward to (our favorite was crazy hat/hair day- photographed below) 
  • Daily face/arm painting meant my son came home SO EXCITED with a new space themed picture on his arm (Darth Vader, Star Wars, the Death Star, a rocket... you could tell the staff members really got to know him well!)
  • Small group sizes meant that kids got lots of attention (approx 1:6 ratio)
  • Hands-on camp director who knew the kid's names, gave extra special attention to the "nebbies" (kinders), and was passionate about making the camp experience incredible for all the kids  
  • Kids that got hurt or were sad got to hang out with Chicken Bob's cousin (rubber chicken that made crazy noises)... which cheered kids up immediately!
  • Staff members & kids ended the week at camp with a camp rally and a goofy show featuring the mascot Galileo and a rocket blasting off! (my toddler was thoroughly entertained too!)
  • Campers took parents on a tour of the art and science spaces on the last day and showed us what they created while we talked with their team leaders
  • My son learned to collaborate with his peers and made some new friends and introduced them to me as we left camp! 

On the last day of camp each child was sent home with a certificate, a group photo, a Chicken Bob lanyard, and a note from their team leader. My son loves showing this certificate off along with all of the other things he created at camp- especially his jet pack!

As we ended the week at camp yesterday, I decided that we will definitely need to find a way to fit Camp Galileo into our schedule next year!

A few things we'd love to see next year at our Camp Galileo...

  • a camp location with more grass and less blacktop (some locations are very green, ours was not this year)
  • emailed daily camp newsletters... just in case papers get lost
  • a team leader meet and greet or newsletter spotlight so that we can learn more about the leaders working with our kids all day (they were fabulous!)

As you can probably tell, we loved Camp Galileo and don't really have anything we didn't enjoy about it. This was my son's first experience going to camp full-day and if I were to do it over again the only thing I might change would be to have him go to the part-day Nebula program (9am-1pm) for the first few days to get him used to camp.  

My son is now thoroughly exhausted from such an amazing week filled with innovation, collaboration, exploration and fun! 

 (Resting... after a fun filled last day at camp!)

We are so grateful to the wonderful staff members at our particular Camp Galileo location for making camp such a great learning experience while also being so much fun. What a great way to kick off our summer and get my son prepared for kindergarten next year!

Are you sending your child to camp this year? What are things you love about the camp you selected for your child?

If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, I highly recommend you check out a Camp Galileo location near you and sign up! There are still several sessions of camp left in the summer and there are several cool new themes to check out that your kids will love!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored review post featuring Galileo CampsGalileo Camps gave me a a free week of camp for my child in exchange for writing this review blog post. All posts reflect my personal opinion and endorsement and are not swayed by compensation and/or free products. Please note that this post reflects my opinion and preferences and you might not share that same opinion.

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