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Looking for advice on which camp in Tilden to choose for next summer: Sarah's Science or Monkey Business? Which is more engaging? What about counselor to camper ratios? Balance of free time vs structured activities? My son likes science and the outdoors, arts and crafts, drama, and free play, but less interested in organized sports. Thanks, berkeley mom
The entire day is spent outdoors in the park and the staff does a great job of creating a fun, engaging and enriching program without being overly structured. My kids enojyed the flow of the day and the combination of scheduled activities and choice time. Some of the other camps they attended had back-to-back activities scheduled throughout the day and my kids found it overwhelming and exhausting. I think part of the joy of Sarah's Science is the time spent outdoors going on hikes, playing nature games, and enjoying the beautiful park. When we visit Tilden on the weekends, my kids are always excited to show me where they went hiking and where they found a deer or bananna slug the week before.
If your son likes science, the outdoors, and arts and crafts, Sarah's Science is a great fit. Each week of camp focuses on a specific theme (this year, my kids attended "Go Green", "Rockets Away" and and "All Wired Up"). The kids build interesting toys and contraptions each day and many of them include an artsy component.
Although Sarah's Science isn't the smallest camp around, they are able to create that small camp feel by dividing the camp into two sites and then into groups of about 10 campers per counselor. The counselors are incredible. My kids have had many of the same counselors year after year and last summer, we hired one of their favorites as a babysitter.
Sarah's Science has also been my favorite camp. Not only because my kids love it, but because they have an incredible staff, a great program, flexible payment policies, and the ability to add whole weeks, individual days, or extended care at any time. Happy Campers
Re: Smaller camp for 8 yr old?
Hi Camp Mom. I would like to recommend Sarah's Science. It's a very unique camp -- outdoors, science and nature based. Kids build fun toys each day while learning about all sorts of interesting science topics. While it's not the smallest camp (probably about 100 kids), they do a great job to create a small camp experience. The camp has two locations (Tilden in Berkeley and Roberts in Oakland). The kids are placed in small, age-appropriate groups of about 10 kids with each counselor. My 9 year old generally prefers smaller camps but after trying out Sarah's Science a few summers ago, we've become regulars! Happy Campers
Re: Camp for 1st grader that lasts more than 2 weeks
It's still a one week camp, but Sarah's Science Camp (three locations: Berkeley, Oakland and San Ramon) has a different theme each week. Our son has done up to four weeks back-to-back. It did not feel repetitive. There are many kids that do several weeks and often they are put in a group together and with the same counselor each week. We really like it have sent our son there for several summers in a row. Happy Camper's mom
Re: Playful summer camp for early elementary kids
The camp that came to mind was This Land is Your Land (Sarah Science). My son loved the camp when he was in early elementary. It was out in a park, they played under the trees, there was some structure but they really understand kids. They don't have a rule that you can't play with sticks -- just that the sticks have to be carried vertically. Hikes, swimming, and letting kids hang out. They also do science projects. My kids enjoyed them. I found them a little repetitive. If the kids don't want to do the project, they don't have to. They get so dirty, we didn't send the same backpack/lunchbox that we used during the school year. Some grime never really comes out. It's large enough that my kids always found kids that they already knew. Sign up early for cheaper rates. My kids remember it fondly
Re: Hiking outdoor summer day camp for 9.5 yr old girl
This Land is Your Land fits the bill (the name alone!) This is the summer camp offered by Sarah's Science. My kids have attended for several summers and are always itching for more. The camp is outdoors, all summer long, in local parks in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Ramon. The kids hike, swim, build forts, create interesting inventions and contraptions, and look for lizards and banana slugs. Simply put, they have fun and get dirty every day! I've met THE Sarah of Sarah's Science at camp a few times and it is clear to me that she is dedicated to the cause. She actually has written a few very interesting pieces about children and nature. See: http://www.sarahscience.com/pages/articles.html. Woody Gutherie Fan
Re: Camps with flexible schedule (2-3 days/week)
Hi Camp Mama, We've had a lot of luck with Sarah's Science summer camp. Although each of their sessions runs for a whole week at a time, they are happy to accommodate families who decide to send their kid for just a few days at a time. They charge $80 per day and while it often helps to register in advance, we've done walk-in registrations on the day-of and it's been fine. If you do register in advance, you can't do it online for individual days; you'll have to call their office at (510) 581-3739. If you decide to do a walk-in registration (either for individual days or the whole week), my one recommendation is to fill out the paperwork from www.sarahscience.com and bring it with you to speed up the whole drop-off process. Jeanie
Re: Summer camps for a shy kindergartner?
My boys (1st & 3rd grade) attended This Land is Your Land summer day camp (also called Sarah's Science Camp) last summer. This was the first summer camp that my youngest had attended (his brother had been once before). It has worked out wonderfully for us. Both my confident, older son and my shy, younger son thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and we plan on returning for several more weeks this summer. The camp does a great job of hand selecting their counselors. When my wife and I dropped off the boys we met their counselors and found them to be warm and nurturing. By the end of the first day, my youngest son was already friends with the rest of the kids in his group and by the end of the week, he asked us if his counselor could be the new babysitter. While the camp isn't the smallest (100 kids?), they are split up into different locations within Tilden Park (Berkeley) and Roberts Park (Oakland) and further divided into groups based on age. So the experience for each camper is much more intimate. The day is structured around a schedule but there are periods of free time and choice time throughout the day. The kids learn about different science topics and build great little contraptions and toys each day. But they also get to spend time outside, being kids, going on hikes, doing art projects, playing active games, and other traditional camp activities. Their website is www.sarahscience.com and they are offering an early bird summer camp discount right now. Neil
I am impressed with Sarah's Science summer camp. It was great!! My 6 years old had two great weeks full of science projects, one per day. They hike through the forest, go swimming one day per week, and truly enjoy all of the fun of being outdoors in a beautiful park. The directors and Sarah herself were there at the camp working with the children teaching them science. RR
I'm considering sending my 4 year old (he will be a couple weeks shy of his 4 yo birthday) to This Land is Your Land/Sarah's Science camp for 2 weeks this summer. He would be there for a full day (9-5.30). I'm wondering if an all day outdoor program is too much for a 4 year old, especially if there is no nap? I'm also wondering if having the older kids on the same site poses any risk to the preschool kids? My understanding is that at schools, by law, preschool kids and elementary school kids cannot be in the same playground at the same time for safety issues. just fyi -- my child is used to being at preschool for a full day and is fully potty trained. Please send me any thoughts -- we can always wait another year or two! Thank you in advance! summer camp newbie
Our son was almost potty trained, and the staff worked well with him. I wasn't there during the day, so it is hard to know what really goes on, but neither the staff or my son had any issues. The directors are easy to talk to as well. They split the kids into groups of similar age, and it is common to see the same kids summer after summer.
If you think your child can handle the full day, they should be fine. Bryan
Re: Nature Based Summer Camp
Sarah's science has an outdoor camp (This Land Is Your Land) with locations in Berkeley at Tilden park, Oakland at Roberts Park and San Ramon at Little Hills Ranch. She does a great job of mixing outdoor activities like swimming and hiking with science. The kids bring home a project every day and they stay active throughout day in beautiful locations. Their website is www.sarahscience.com. Hope that helps. Brian
Re: Day camps for 12 year old boy not into sports
If your son is interested in science, he should check out ''This Land Is Your Land'' Summer Day Camp in Berkeley (Tilden Park), Oakland (Roberts Regional Park), or San Ramon (Little Hills Park). As a 12-year-old, your son could be a Counselor In Training (CIT) where he assumes some additional responsibilities such as helping with snack, assisting his counselor with the daily camper projects, etc. It's also perfectly okay if he doesn't want to be a CIT. Older campers get to prepare an advanced project at least once per week. The camp is outdoors, so all kids are fully exposed to the beauty and wonder of nature and all campers complete one or more science projects and bring them home every day. Campers play typical camp games if they want but there is no pressure to participate in games if they choose not to. They hike through the forest, go swimming one day per week, and truly enjoy all of the fun of being outdoors in some of our most beautiful parks. The basic camp hours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and before/after-care is also available. My 10, 12, and 13 year-old grandsons are excited abouted attending again this summer and my 17-year- old grandson is hoping he can be a paid counselor. All of my grandsons rave about this camp and the three younger ones are eager to become old enough to become a counselor!! You can get additional information about the camp at www.sarahscience.com or you can call the office and talk to the staff there. The office number is 510-581- 3739. Gran Kathy
Re: Camp recommendations for 5 year old?
I sent my then 4 1/2 year old son to Sarah's Science camp in Roberts park last summer. It was kind of last minute, and they had space, and they came recommended on this board. And he was so excited to be off to camp with the big kids!
But he had a blast and really enjoyed the week. He's been a pretty independent kid, and he had a few pee accidents that week, but the counselors said he did fine and there weren't any issues with the other kids or the activities. As they warn you on the website, he came home filthy and exhausted every day!
We're going back for three non-consecutive weeks this summer as well. Bryan in oakland
RE: Reasonably priced camp for almost 5-year-old
I recommend Sarah's Science camp at Tilden Park in Berkeley. The camp is a great mix of science, play and exploring nature outdoors. The kids make a science project every day and go swimming once a week. They go on hikes, play on the field, build forts and do other activities throughout the day. They group the campers by age and they have a lot of younger attendees so your son should fit right in. The staff is wonderful and attentive also. Hope that helps. Brian
Re: Summer Camps in Tri Valley Area and Hayward
My daughter attended non-preshcool-affiliated camp for the first time during this past summer. She went to the Berkeley site for Sarah's Science (Tilden) for 6 weeks total, in two, 3 week stints. She loved it! There is also a site in San Ramon, though I believe it runs for fewer weeks over the course of the summer. Check them out at: http://www.sarahscience.com/
Re: Summer Camp for 5-year-old who needs structure
I would recommend Sarah's Science for your child. The children have a structured day which includes music, science experiments, swimming, hiking and outdoor activities. The counselors are excellent and understanding of kids with special needs. Sarah operates camps in Berkeley at Tilden park, Oakland at Robert's Park and in San Ramon at Little Hills Ranch. The camp's age range is 5-15. The staff and program are wonderful and I'm sure your child will enjoy it. There are plenty of reviews of Sarah's Science Summer camp in the BPN archives as well. Good luck! Brian
Re: your summer camp experience?
I've had my daughter (now 8) in Sarah Science and Galileo. I really liked both. Loved Sarah Science in the Berkeley hills with the trees and classic, natural camp setting. The counselors had great energy and warmth which was good for my then shy 6-yr-old. It's a bit of a trip going up to Tilden, but an amazing setting. You can also do it in Oakland. Also Loved Galileo (and hear people rave about it). Went to the one in Orinda, which is near the first exit after the tunnel, and maybe gets hotter in summer than Rockridge(?), but the Rockridge site books up quickly. The Galileo counselors are even more pumped up about the science and they greet you with funny hats every morning, which I liked (not sure if my daughter did as much). My daughter had good friends there, so liked it even more. I'm planning to sign both my kids up next year. My friend sent her daughter (8 yrs) to Camp Szofim, and she loved it, which was unexpected bc she usually likes staying at home. If I were you, I would also look into the Lawrence Hall of Science camps, which are really well done and focus on animals and dinosaurs, etc., as well as science, and you get to take advantage of the museum (as well as a discount if you're already members.) They're perfect for 6 yr olds.
Re: your summer camp experience?
My children have been to Sarah's Science, Tzofim and Galileo. All three are excellent camps!
For the first time ever, I have all three kids at one camp - Tzofim - and they are all having a great time (ages 10, 10 and 6)! The camp is set up to really engage each grade level. The camp offers tons of exciting fieldtrips, small group sizes and wonderfully warm counselors. The kids come home singing camp jingles, with a dozen freindship bracelets on their wrists and a list of buddies that they want playdates with asap. The older kids have overnight camping trips.
Sarah's Science is another fantastic camp! The hands-on science projects are top-rate and worth keeping in the house! Sarah's Science also offers ''Bug of the Month Club'' throughout the school year -- highly recommended!
Galileo, another great camp with an impressive ''curriculum'' and excellent staff. mm
Re: Day Camp for week of August 24?
If you are looking for a great summer camp for the week of August 24th, check our Sarah's Science/This Land Is Your Land Summer Day Camp. Sarah has two locations available in the final week of summer - Berkeley at Tilden Park and Oakland at Roberts Regional Park. This is an outdoors science camp with lots of fun activities for kids from 5 through 15. Basic camp hours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Extended care is available from 8:00 am to 9:00 am and also from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. My four grandsons love this camp. They come home tired, dirty and loaded with great science information! They also bring home a different science project every day. The theme for the last week is always ''Sarah's Favorite Projects'' so the projects for that week are always lots of fun. You can get additional information by going to their website, www.sarahscience.com, or you can also call the office on 510-581-3739. Kathy
Re: April vacation programs for 6 y.o. 1/2 or full day?
Sarah's Science does great programs for all the breaks, this spring week they're doing Redwoods every day and I think that's full-day. The science and the staff are incredible there.
Re: Camp for high functioning spectrum/aspergers 6-year-old
Hi L! I have been involved with This Land is Your Land Summer Day Camp for several years now and I would highly recommend this camp for for your son. The camp directors have extensive experience in dealing with children on the high- functioning spectrum/aspergers and they and their counselors are kind, loving and extremely sensitive to all of the issues of their campers. This camp blends the exciting science and nature studies developed by Sarah Shaffer with art, music, hiking, swimming, and outdoor games. Campers complete and take home one or more science projects daily and get to spend quality time outdoors at Tilden Park, Roberts Regional Park, or Little Hills park. You can check out the website: www.sarahscience.com or call the office (510) 581-3739 for additional information or to discuss you child's special needs directly with Sarah. Kathy
Re: Summer camp for 4 1/2 year old?
The two best options that I found were Sarah's Science (pain to drive to) and the Emeryville gymnastics Head over Heels. HOH has a 4 year old (half-day, I think camp). Sarah is just flexible and will leave it to you to decide if your kid's ready. It's an outdoor camp. We were looking for somehting for my son to do because he hated his pre-school. We recruited some friends to go with him and he loved camp -- complained that we hadn't signed up for enough weeks. I picked him up daily at 3pm and he was asleep at 3:01 in the car. good luck
Re: Winter break camp for two boys in Oakland
See Sarah's science camps (www.sarahscience.com) for the Inventor's Workshop during Winter Break. We've taken a spring break camp from her and were very impressed - adults working there and really novel projects. The other bonus is that you can do single days and don't have to do full weeks and they have Oakland and Berkeley locations. Anon
Re: Camp for one week August 20-24
Try Sarah's Science - This Land is Your Land camp in Oakland or Berkeley. They run very nice week-by-week science camps. Here is the web site: http://www.sarahscience.com/camp/tlyl.html. You can get the phone number and call right away. Mom
My 6.5 y.o. granddaughter, who lives in Sacramento, spent her Spring Break with us in Berkeley. She attended Sarah Science Camp(SSC)at Black Pine Circle -- with a Thursday field trip to Bollinger Canyon. The focus of the 5-day program* was the ecosystem of the Chaparral. I can't recommend SSC highly enough! Sarah is a gifted teacher, warm, nurturing, and inspirational. The counseling staff I met were friendly, attentive, responsive, and enthusiastic. Maya was as excited to go on Friday as she'd been on Monday; she brought home interesting and illuminating science projects which she ably explained to us. I understand the preponderance of children are in the 5-8 y.o. age range, though I believe the program accepts children up to 12 y.o. Maya's already enrolled to attend one of the SSC summer sessions which will be held at Tilden Park. More info available at www.sarahscience.com. *children can register for anywhere from 1-5 days; before and after care is available. Bobbie
My son's teacher heard about a winter break Young Inventors Camp that we both thought would be great for my very creative 8 year old, but she has lost the brochure and can't remember who runs it. I can't find anything similar. Does anyone know about a winter break (or summer!) program for young inventors? Mom of a would-be inventor Liz
Re: Looking for a Great Camp
Try Sarah's Science (run by This Land is Your Land). A nice outdoor science camp with one day of swimming at Lake Anza/ week. You can sign up for one week or more. And (unlike many camps in the East Bay...) they offer before care and after care for a small fee; which makes it possible for us commuting parents to send our kids there. I'm sure you can find them on the web or in the phone book under Sarah's Science or under This Land is Your Land. They also run a similar camp in Oakland. Mom
Hello -- We're about to move out to the Bay Area and I'm looking for a camp for my daughter. I've read about This Land is Your Land/Sarah's Science on the site, and it sounds like it would work very well for her. But the reviews on the website are somewhat dated and seem to get more mixed over time. Any recent experiences, especially with the Berkeley camp? How good would they be at integrating a child who knows no one? How do they balance being outside and science? How good is it overall? how would you compare the Berkeley and Oakland camps? Thanks! leslie
Re: Spring Break Camp for 5yo in Oakland
Sarah Science (aka This Land is Your Land) was fabulous last year for my slightly less than 5 year old. We made sure he went with someone he knew, but Sarah left it to us to decide if he was ready. They were great with the little guys. Had them in a small group, really attentive counselors, and the kids had a good time. As to the science, I think my son is more interested in the snacks, although he is mildly pleased with the gizmos that he brings home. This Spring break is about wetlands, which sounds great. It appears more expensive than some other camps, as it is really full day (not ending at 3:30). website is sarahscience.com. Sarah herself is very attentive to any issues which come up and really seems to make sure that the kids are having a good time. She is very enthusiastic about the science. The kids can opt out (though I think they don't by and large). The spring break is at a downtown church, with a nice playgro und. You could take your son to a Saturday Bug class (I forget what it's called) to meet Sarah and other staff, get a feel for things, in advance of the April camp. My son would happily go to their break camps and summer camps to the exclusion of most other options. Sarah is also very flexible: they encourage two weeks consecutive enrollment for the summer, but not required and some other camps pair the weeks, so you can't do the second week of one session and the first week of the next session; she was very helpful and flexible with things that came up. The ONLY negative: the snacks are pretty junky, my son fills up on them, and doesn't eat lunch. If I packed him snacks that I (but not he)prefer, they would make sure that happened, but it's not worth it to me, when all the other kids would be eating the chocolate chip-chocolate muffins or somesuch. So, I repeat my mantra: camp is supposed to be fun, he has the rest of the y ear for nutrition. aj
I am considering sending my 7 year old son to This Land is Your Land summer camp in Tilden park. The reviews on the web site are somewhat mixed and not that current. Could anyone comment on this camp (run by Sarah Shaffer) from summer 2002? Thanks in advance. Sima
I don't know if it would get boring for a kid to be there every week all summer. We try to do a little variety; I especially like it if they can swim every day. TLIYL swims once a week at Lake Anza. Letitia
Does anyone have any experience with a summer camp run by Sarah's Science called This Land Is Your Land? My 7 year old daughter is interested in science and I saw this camp advertised in Parents Press, but I would like a more personal recommendation. (She would be going to the Tilden Park location, but experiences at either location, or with Sarah's Science spring program, would be appreciated.) I did see the recommendations in the UC Parents archives but I was wondering if anyone has had a more recent experience. Thanks! Emily
On the plus side, the projects were fun and quite inventive, the outside speakers were quite good, and the kids were allowed to get as dirty as they liked in the beautiful outdoor setting. Most of the kids seemed to do pretty well, and enjoyed the freedom. Myriam
Last year I recommended somewhat sight unseen, Sarah's Science Day Camp. I ended up sending my little boy who was entering first grade for quite a bit of the summer . I was very happy I did. He'll do it again this summer, pretty much all summer. The camp was fun, educational (but not too educational!) and professionally run. My son had an incredibly good time and came home very dirty, quite tired and happy nearly every day.
The camp is located in Redwood Regional Park and the location is fabulous for the kind of projects she organizes around science. Each week has a theme and they are executed really nicely and in an age appropriate manner.... This summer she has Spy Science, Flinging Things, Weather, Circus Science, Eating Flies and Ice Cream among others.
There are some fun, not too competitive sports, swimming once a week (so you'll have to do swim lessons elsewhere), arts and crafts and other imaginative activities. It's completely outdoors, but not sports oriented, which is somewhat hard to find. Her staff is great with kids and really well trained.A lot of the counsellors come back year after year, it seems, so she's doing something really right there, too.
It's pretty expensive ($205 a week for 9-3, an additional $55 for extended care) and the location can be quite a haul from campus. (Making it to the top of the hill by 530 was an adventure!) but we found it to be money well spent. She's closed one week this summer (the week of 7/24).
As my son said, "I liked Lawrence Hall of Science Camp and Zoo Camp ok, but Sarah's Science was the best". Myriam
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