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Top Summer Camps for Gifted Children

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Updated May 28, 2014

Gifted children love to learn and that love of learning doesn't stop during the summer months. Luckily, parents can send their children to summer camps meant especially for gifted children. These camps, often sponsored by universities or gifted organizations, 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 gifted children.

Whatever the interests and abilities of your gifted child, you'll find a summer camp to fit his or her needs.

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Summer Programs

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 are residential. Camps are located in the Baltimore-Washington area and in Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA.

The three-week program offers courses in the humanities, sciences, math, writing, and computer science, which may be used for high school credit. Two additional programs offer international studies and take place in China and Mexico.

Summer Institute for the Gifted

Summer Institute for the GIfted
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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 Amhurst, 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.

Northwestern University Center for Talent Development Summer Programs

The Northwestern University Center for Talent Development offers summer programming for children in grades pre-k to twelve. All classes are located in Northern Illinois, most on the Northwestern University campus.

Leapfrog classes (grades pre-k through three) are one to three-week daytime classes. Each class is three hours long. Apogee classes (grades four through six) are one or three week long day classes. Spectrum classes (grades seven through nine) are three-week residential or commuter courses. Equinox classes (grades ten through twelve) 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 eleven, although the range varies depending on the course. Local students can opt for the day camp option, but for those students who live too far away, a residential plan is available.

Concordia Language Villages Summer Camps

These summer camps are so varied it is impossible to describe them! Basically, these camps are language immersion camps, which means that 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 fifteen 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. Most, however, are located in Minnesota.

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 2 through 9 and take place on the preserve itself. These Base Camp programs last for 5 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, or 3 weeks. The second is for kids in grades 9 through 12 and take place in Outer Banks or in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These Expedition programs are canoeing, backpacking and kayaking adventures that last for either 2 weeks or 18 days.

Interlochen Arts Camp

Interlocken Arts Camp, located in northwestern Michigan, offers summer camp programs for children in grades three through twelve. With its programs in Creative Writing, Dance, Motion Picture Arts, Music, Theatre Arts, and Visual Arts, Interlocken 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 twelve, while dance is available only to those in grades six and up.

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-k through twelve. 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 twelve, and residential camps are open to children from age eight to grade twelve. Residential camps are also open to the whole family!

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

THINK Summer Institute

The THINK Summer Institute, located in Reno on the campus of the University of Nevada, is a three-week residential program for profoundly gifted children, aged twelve through fifteen. Participants can earn up to seven transferable college credits. The needs of profoundly gifted children are not often met in school, not even within 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 is ideal for these children.
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