If you've been following along on Instagram, I've been sharing some photos of my son's experience at Camp Galileo this summer.
A few months ago I shared about how Camp Galileo fit into our plans for this summer and why my son enjoyed it last year. One of my favorite parts about blogging is checking out cool things and sharing how I feel about them with our Toddler Approved community. Most summer camps are only for kids that are ages 4 or 5+ (not toddlers) but I think it is important to start planning for camps before your kids hit that age... which is why I share about them here on Toddler Approved.
Today I am going to share with you how Galileo Camps make summer fun for kids AND parents.
Camp Galileo is a summer camp in the San Francisco Bay area filled with art, science, and outdoor activities that celebrates creativity, exploration, and innovation. Camp Galileo is for kids in pre-k through 5th grade. Each year four fresh new themes that are fun and exciting for kids are introduced! This year my son went to the Adventures Down Under themed week of camp.
My son's four favorite parts about his week at Camp Galileo were...
1. Cheers and singing
When they arrive at camp the campers are divided into groups by age. My son was a Nebula (Prek-K) last year and this year he was excited to be a Star (1st-2nd graders). Each group learned a cheer/call at the beginning of the week and my son repeated his group cheer ALL WEEK LONG at home. It was pretty adorable. The kids also learned a Camp Galileo song from the Camp Director (shown above) that my son loved. I videotaped it on the last day so that he could keep listening to it once camp ended. You might recognize the tune.
Some of the other groups learned action songs and got to teach them to the other campers. There were so many great skills embedded into those activities.
2. Playing cool outdoor games
My kids love to be outside. The outdoor activities tied into the Adventures Down Under theme for the week and got the kids collaborating. One fun game they got to play was to collect treasures underneath a parachute sea. They had to work as a team to collect treasures and also to turn the parachute into a giant wave.
In the photo above my son is explaining to me and my husband all about the different activities that his Star group (ages 1st-2nd grade) did during outdoor time at camp. They definitely stayed busy!
3. Amazing creative science and art projects
My son was a little disappointed that there wasn't a Space themed week at camp again this year, so we had a hard time choosing which themed week he wanted to attend. He decided to go to the Adventures Down Under themed week and was thoroughly amazed at how fun it ended up being. For the Adventures Down Under themed week kids explored the art and science of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Some of the things the kids made included... Sepik Masks and Sepik-inspired headdresses, sugar gliders (that could really glide), moray eels, their own birds of paradise, a rubber band-powered snorkel scooter, and a few other cool creations.
On the last day of camp the kids get to take parents around and explain all of their projects. I loved seeing my son's face light up when he was telling us about how we created his different projects. It was fascinating to listen to how he designed things and how he problem solved.
4. Dress Up Days & Face painting
Dress up days and face painting at camp were also a hit. My son got to wear his team (gray), dress up for a luau, wear his new Galileo shirt, and get decked out for water day! He also loved how there was a face painting time. He came home with a lizard on his arm one day and his face painted another day.
My favorite parts about Camp Galileo were...
1. An easy and stress-free drop off each morning
Last year I had a friend that we carpooled with so I rarely dropped my son off at camp. This year I did drop off and pick up and I loved how easy it was. There was always available parking and a counselor was always smiling to greet my son (and my other two littler kids), get him his name tag, and get him off having fun.
At drop off they had fun energetic music playing every morning and sometimes they even had bubbles floating around from a bubble maker. My younger two kids (ages 1 and 3) were in love with the bubbles, so we had fun chasing bubbles at drop off every morning while we danced around. It made saying goodbye to their big brother less sad!
The campers got to "blast off" into the fun zone at camp each morning, so we loved watching the counselors get the kids all excited to blast off into camp each morning. We were always impressed with the enthusiasm and happy attitudes shown by all of the counselors!
2. An amazing Camp Director and awesome counselors!
We loved running into my son's counselor from last year on the first day of camp. She made him feel so welcome. His new counselor took time each afternoon to tell me about my son's day and who he played with and some of the positive things she noticed that he'd accomplished. The director took time each day to say hi, check in with us, and deal with any questions or concerns we had immediately. I felt my son was in good hands every day when I dropped him off. I loved the sweet note that his counselor wrote to him at the end of the week. He just beamed when he read it.
3. Daily Camp Galileo newsletters to keep me organized!
I am notorious for forgetting about important events or things that I need to bring. The Camp Galileo newsletters that were sent home each day were lifesavers! They included tidbits about what the campers learned, questions to ask to facilitate conversation after camp each day, helpful information about how to support creativity and innovation, and then announcements!! As you can see above, mine were well loved and used often. I only wish that they were sent electronically each day so that I wouldn't lose them!
4. A Fun Friday Closing Event
The Friday Closing includes a time for the director and counselors to share about things that were learned during the week, a photo slide show, some cheers and singing, a culminating performance related to the theme, and a time for kids to share their projects with their parents and then collect them and take them home.
My littlest two kids thought it was so fun to come cheer on their big brother.
There are probably loads of other things we enjoyed about Camp Galileo, but the eight parts we shared above were our favorites.
I am so grateful to the staff at Camp Galileo for making my son's week at camp so fun-filled and exciting. He is already begging to go back for another session later this summer. I love that sessions go from June 23 to August 8th, so even with vacation for several weeks in July, we might still be able to make it to one more session!
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!