Patch Picks: 5 Nature Programs for the Kids this Summer

Five programs or classes taking place in or near Los Altos/LAH this summer that feature an outdoor/nature theme. Plus, win a free week of summer camp!

Get the kids out of the house and away from that TV or video game—this week, Patch Picks brings you five summer programs or classes in or near Los Altos/Los Altos Hills that feature an outdoors or nature theme. Some are designed for parents and their children to enjoy together, and some are “drop-off” camps or classes.

Win a free week of summer camp! Website SignUpForCamp.com is having a sweepstakes to give away a free week of summer camp to one lucky child, to either Camp Galileo for children entering pre-kindergarten through fifth grades, or to Galileo Summer Quest, for children entering fifth through eighth grades. But hurry! The deadline to enter is this Saturday, April 30! To enter, visit www.SignUpForCamp.com.



Location: Los Altos, Palo Alto meet-up locations

Green Bean Kidz is a nature exploration and environmental education program that meets once per week in local parks and open spaces. Children and their accompanying adult will learn about ecosystems, environmental concepts and the local flora and fauna in a fun, emerging curriculum. Music, art, science and games are joined with a nature walk to introduce students to environmental concepts. Green Bean Kidz fosters stewardship of the lands, a sense of place, and interest in the fields of science and ecology for kids. So, if you’re looking for something you can do with the kids this summer—versus dropping them off—Green Bean Kidz may be the choice for you!

Green Bean Kidz regularly offers summer classes, each year. This year's session is from June 14 to July 25, with the week of July 4 off. Registration is through the and Los Altos Hills recreation departments. The price is $120 plus a $10 materials fee for residents, or $135 plus a $10 materials fee for nonresidents. Summer classes meet at a variety of locations such as in Los Altos Hills, in Los Altos and the Charleston Slough marshlands near the Palo Alto Bay Preserve. 



Location: 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills

has a wealth of summer camps and programs, for all ages. Click the link above to get detailed information on the Hidden Villa website.

There are Day Camps that run for five days, for children entering first through fourth grades. They feature everything from swimming, to cooking, to singing and dancing, to arts and crafts and storytime. An optional sleepover is held the last two days of the week. The price for Day Camps ranges from around $405-430 for the week. Tipi sleepover camps are offered for fifth and sixth graders, and feature sleeping in actual tipis, and building more serious outdoor skills like archery, fishing and gardening. Tipi Camps cost $550 per week. There is the Resident Camp for grades five through seven, which lasts 12 days. There are separate boys’ and girls’ cabins for campers to sleep in, and during the day, they will enjoy many outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing, drama productions, and moonlight hikes and campfire stories. Resident Camp costs $1,025 for the 12-day session. Eighth through 10th graders can register for the Farm and Wilderness Camp, in which they will spend nine days with the Hidden Villa staff enjoying a variety of outdoor camping activities, and take a three-day backpacking trip to Black Mountain. Farm and Wilderness Camp costs $1,025 for the nine days. The Bay to Sea Backpacking Program for 10th through 12th graders is a full, 12-day, backpacking trip from the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Campers do not need any prior backpacking experience to join in on the adventure! Bay to Sea costs $1,025. Finally, there are the ACT camps in which 11th and 12th graders can train to be Hidden Villa “camp counselors,” and Farm Academy, a six-week course that meets twice per week in which youth can learn basic, organic farming skills. Farm Academy costs $75 plus the cost of supplies.



Location: Various peninsula meet-up locations

Caterpillar Club is a dynamic, outdoor adventure, learning and adventure program designed to connect children to nature through hands-on experiences. Summer camps meet once per week, with start dates between June 9 and July 28, and each week meets at a different outdoorsy location along the peninsula, from Mountain View, to Burlingame, to Half Moon Bay, and everywhere in between. You register for three weeks at a time, and each three-week session is approximately $85. One parent must accompany each child on these nature adventures, which are tailored to preschool-age children.



 Location: 1055 Dunford Way, Sunnyvale

Full Circle Farm is a full-scale educational farm, right in Sunnyvale. The farm is open all year for visits, volunteering to work the land and crops, buying fresh produce at the Farmstand and taking after-school classes like Chicken Care and Bee Keeping. The farm also offers its Kids' Summer Farm Camp, with garden-based learning classes for age groups 5-7, 8-10 and 11-14. There are five one-week camps with start dates between June 20 and July 29. The 5-7 age group meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and costs $195 for the week; the older kids meet until 3 p.m. and cost $295 for the week. These classes are designed as “drop-off.”



Location: Two sites – 15555 Sanborn Road in Saratoga, and 13851 Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino.

Walden West Science Center, operated through the Santa Clara County Office of Education, features various outdoor summer programs for children. Choose from a variety of dates and themes. Wild Things is an exciting program for children entering kindergarten and first grade and features fun activities such as arts and crafts, gardening, hiking, fishing and swimming. Camp meets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for one week, with start dates between June 27 and Aug. 1. The cost is $365 per week. Day Camp is offered for grades two through seven and features many of the same, fun, outdoor activities. Both drop-off and bus services are offered, ranging from 8 a.m. check-in to between 4:30 and 6 p.m. end time. The cost is $365 per week, with start dates between June 20 and Aug. 15. Finally, for more experienced campers, Walden West offers Leadership Training camps for eighth and ninth graders, and Backpacking Adventures for ages 11-19 that feature long-term, overnight, traveling trips to various locations. Visit the link above for more detailed information.


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