Not yet enrolled your kids in summer camp? There’s still time if you move quickly. We have the lowdown on five great innovative summer camps that will stretch your child’s imagination, take their skills to new levels and provide all kinds of unexpected fun.

For the Budding Steve Jobs

Does your kid want to design the next Flappy Bird? Or code the search engine that will unseat Google? Then Assemble is the place to give them a head start.

At Assemble’s Scratch Camp, running from 1 – 4 p.m. June 16 – 20, 4th to 8th graders get a chance to learn computer programming using MIT Media Lab’s Scratch. Through a visual interface, kids learn the basic logic statements used in programming and how to program their first animations and games. “Scratch helps people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.” For the Flappy Bird enthusiast, Assemble has Video Game Camp, held from 1 – 4 p.m. June 30 – July 3, where kids learn how to program software and even make their own controller using found and creatively reused materials.

For the Next Hayao Miyazaki
Does your child correct you and say “it’s called animation” when you say “cartoons”? Then you should check out Pittsburgh Center for the Arts’ summer camps with classes for kids age 4 and up.

Younger kids will love the Animation for Kids camp, offered the mornings of  June 9 – 13 and July 28 – August 1, where they learn the basics of animation using objects and create their first animation projects.

At Legomation camp, offered three different week-long sessions, kids make their own stop-motion movies. At Clay Animation camp, June 16 – 20, they learn (you guessed it) claymation and make their own short films. The Mixed Media Animation camp uses different objects and animation styles. From  August 25 – 29, kids will learn how to use Apple software to create their own animated movies. The Digital Animation with WACOM Tablets will take your illustrator to the next level, June 23 – 27. Using a stylus and a graphics tablet, kids learn various animation methods including rotoscoping—an animation technique in which animators trace over live-action video.

For Bear Grylls Fans
Your basement is stocked with canned goods, water and MRTs. You have a “go bag.” The only thing left to do is teach your kids how to survive with nothing more than some kindling and gorp. Frick Environmental Center has got your back.

Frick Environmental Center’s Survival Camp for students having completed 6th or 7th grade teaches kids basic wilderness survival skills including shelter and fire building, finding water and food, whittling and tying knots, and first aid. The full-day camp offers two sessions this summer, from June 16 – 20 and June 23 – 27. Sign them up and check that off your “be prepared” list.

For Your Duolingo Enthusiast
Has your child racked up more Duolingo experience points than you? Can’t squeeze in a European vacation this year for junior to hone his linguistic skills? Get the next best thing! Take their language learning to the next level with the immersive Language Camp in Mars, PA.

Language Camp is a week-long sleepaway camp that immerses kids in French, Spanish or German. Offered this year from August 3 – 9, counselors talk to the kids in the language they are learning throughout the week. Campers enjoy fun outdoor activities and specific cultural activities—all the summer camp fun but with a twist. Your kids may come out speaking German but you know in their heart they say “Ich bin ein Yinzer!”

For the Performance Artist
Have a performer in your brood who is not exactly into traditional theater? Maybe they like re-enacting Cirque du Soleil acts more than scenes from Annie? Or maybe they like staging spontaneous shows wherever they may be? Nurture these talents at The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination.

At Circus Camp, 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. from July 28 – August 1, kids learn how to juggle, do acrobatics, walk a tight rope and work the magnificent aerial silks. The camp takes place in multiple locations with indoor and outdoor time—a perfect fun camp for summer. For your budding Saturday Night Live star, there is Improv Comedy 101, held from 3 – 5:30 p.m. June 16 – 20. At Improv camp, they teach the basics of improvisation through theater games and develop skills in critical thinking and listening to learn to interact on the spot. Kids learn to let loose with comedy and work together in comic scenes. An informal camp production is staged for friends and family at the end of the camp. Get ready to own the school talent show.

Note: Slots were open at the time this article was written. But hurry, they’re booking up fast. Want to see more? There are lots of cool camps for kids in Pittsburgh. There are still openings for the Stem Summer Institute at Ellis for your budding scientist and Camp Makeshop at the Children’s Museum in August for 10 to 12 year olds.

Check out more in this summer camp guide from Macaroni Kids.

Leah Lizarondo

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment....