Need a Break? Winter Break Camps to the Rescue!

Whether you need a safe and engaging place for your kids to spend their no-school days while you’re at work, or you just want to keep them entertained for a day or two while you do some holiday preparation, winter break camps can be the key to a happy holiday season for parents and kids alike. To help you find a great program for your child, we’ve compiled a list of some of the area’s best camps for this year’s winter break.

NOTE: Camps run Dec. 23-Jan. 3, with no camp Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, unless otherwise noted.

Here’s to a happy holiday!

Audubon Society
Learning, fun and nature for kids in grades 1-8. Different themes and age groups on different days, from “snowshoe hares to polar bears” for younger campers to a “cooking at the cabin” overnight adventure for older kids. Most camps run 8:45 am-4:15 pm. $70-$150 per session, discounts for members. 5151 NW Cornell. 971-222-6120.

Circuit Bouldering Gym
Fun, non-competitive rock climbing camps for ages 5-11. 9 am-2 pm. $50 first day, $40/day after that. Two locations: 6050 SW Macadam, 410 NE 17th. 503-719-7041.

Creative Roots
Create, play, make holiday gifts, explore northwest Portland. Ages 5+. 8:30 am-3:30 pm. $52/day. Creative Roots, 2277 NW Irving. 503-451-5179.

Little Engineers
Fun activities focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. Ages 5-14. Dec. 30-Jan. 3. Half day $35 (9 am-12 pm or 1-4 pm). Full day $50 (9 am-4 pm). 10110 SW Nimbus, Tigard. 503-372-9817.

Merry Kitchen
Two-day baking camps. Ages 9-13 Dec. 30-31. Ages 6-10 Jan. 2-3. 10 am-12:30 pm. $75/session. 5202 NE 72nd. 503-946-8375.

Mittleman Jewish Community Center
Everyone age 3-11 is welcome, with sports, swimming, gymnastics, arts and crafts, games and more. Half day $22 (9 am-1 pm). Full day $44 (9 am-4 pm). Before and after care available. (No camp Dec. 25, 31, Jan. 1.) 6651 SW Capitol Hwy. 503-244-0111.

Northwest Children’s Theater & School
Drama games, acting, crafts, plus campers get to see a performance of Peter Pan. Grades K-5. 9 am-4 pm Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. $175. 1819 NW Everett. 503-222-2190.

Oregon Zoo Art-ic Adventure
Learn about animals and art. Make your own animal masterpieces, plus games, songs, zoo tours, more. Grades K-4. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-4 pm. $45/day, member discount. Before and after care available. 4001 SW Canyon. 503-226-1561.

Pioneer Play
Explore Washington County’s pioneer heritage with a different theme daily. Ages 8-12. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-4 pm. $50/day or $175/four days, member discount.
Bring lunch, outdoor clothing and pioneer clothing if you
have it (not required). Washington County Museum, 120 E Main. Hillsboro. 503-645-5353, ext 133.

Play Boutique Holiday Workshops
Make holiday gifts, decorate gingerbread houses, more. Ages 1-10. 9:30 am-1 pm. $35/day ages 3-10, $45/day ages 1-2. Two locations: 464 First, Lake Oswego, 503-675-7529; 12345 SW Horizon, Beaverton, 503-352-5202.

The Playground Gym
Skill building, group games, team building, plus open play, field trips, art, more. School-aged kids. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-3:30 pm; half days and after care available. $20/day, 75/week. 505 NE Grand. 503-235-7529.

Portland Children’s Museum
These popular camps connect kids with their natural creativity. Hands-on activities use a variety of art materials such as clay, paper, paint, and fabric. Ages 4-6. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3. 9 am-2 pm. $160, member discount. 4015 SW Canyon. 503-223-6500.

Portland Parks & Recreation
Dozens of winter break sessions at community centers around Portland for kids preschool age and older. Sessions run around $20/day for residents. 503-823-7529. (select “search for classes” then choose a category on the left).

Saturday Academy
From chemistry to creating video games to an engineering class called “Rube Goldberg,” budding scientists will be entertained and educated at Saturday Academy. Class schedules and prices vary. 1100 NW Compton, Beaverton. 503-200-5858.

Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District
Nature-themed camps with different topics daily. Outdoor activities, crafts, science, stories, more. Ages 7-11. 7:45 am-5:15 pm. $49 in-district, reservations required. Nature Park Interpretive Center, 15655 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton. 503-629-6350.

Trackers Earth
A variety of unique single day programs for adventurous campers. Ages 4-14. Most run 8:30 am-3:30 pm, with before and after care available. (No camp Dec. 24, 25, Jan. 1.) Little ones can attend the “School of Magic” or other themed sessions and older kids can head up to the mountain for snowshoe adventures or explore archery, blacksmithing and more. $59-$98/day (higher for later registrations). 5040 SE Milwaukie. 503-345-3312.

Tryon Creek
Different nature theme and age group daily, with hikes, crafts, activities. 9 am-3 pm, except 9 am-1 pm Dec. 24, 31. $10 members, $50 non-members. ($5 members, $45 non-members Dec. 24, 31.) Pre-registration required. 11321 SW Terwilliger. 503-636-4398 ext. 225.

Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation
Field trips, swimming, climbing wall, games, crafts, more. Ages 4-6, 9 am-noon, $58 week. Ages 6+, 9:30 am-4:30 pm, $35-$40/day. Before and after care available. Firstenburg Community Center, 700 NE 136th, or Marshall Community Center, 1009 E McLoughlin. 360-487-8311.

Make gingerbread houses, Christmas ornaments and cards, holiday crafts, more. Local excursions for campers at the Pearl location. Ages 4-12; drop-in care available for younger kids. 9 am-5 pm. (No camp Dec. 25, 26, Jan. 1.) $65/day members, $85/day non-members. Before and after care available. Two locations: 1024 NW Glisan, 503-935-5590, and 1295 NE Orenco Station Pkwy., 503-640-7529.

Zenger Farm Cooking Camp
Campers harvest herbs; cook winter squash; make soap, candles and more. Grades 4-6. 8:45 am-3 pm. $55/day, $150/three days. After care available. 11741 SE Foster. 503-282-4245.

photo provided by Trackers Earth.