What am I going to do with my child during February vacation?
When school gets out for February break, vacation camps keep kids active and having fun.
In New Hampshire, most schools are out for February vacation at the end of the month (Feb. 24-28). What’s there for kids to do over break? From the arts to sports and outside time in nature, here’s a guide to vacation camp offerings from around the state.
Vacation Week = Ski Week
Ski season in New Hampshire is still going strong, so why not sign your kids up for a week of fun on the slopes? At McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester (www.mcintyreskiarea.com), a flexible camp schedule gives kids the choice between daily two-hour ski and snowboard lessons (9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; ages 6-16) or full-day camp (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ages 6-11). Prices vary according to program; full-day camp costs $325 for the week, excluding equipment rentals and lunch/snacks.
Another popular day skiing options? Look no further than Pat's Peak in Henniker (www.patspeak.com). The ski area's three-day camp runs Monday through Wednesday (Feb 24-26), 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with instruction geared for kids ages 6 to 14, beginner through advanced ability levels. Camp rates start at $240 (rentals extra), with lunch provided.
If your kids are up for a true White Mountains ski adventure, King Pine Ski Resort in Madison (www.kingpine.com) offers an exciting week-long overnight ski and snowboard camp for boys and girls ages 8 to 16. Campers stay at the resort from Sunday, Feb 23, through Friday, Feb 28, with lodging, meals, lessons and off-slope activities provided (King Pine is part of Purity Springs Resort). Camp staff includes a mixture of college students and parents; rates start at $649, with rentals extra. Entire families are also welcome at the resort for the week.
Indoor Sports Camps
Outdoor fields and courts may still be covered with ice and snow, but summer sports-loving kids can still get their fix – and hone their skills for the coming season – at SportsZone in Derry (www.nhsportszone.com). Geared for kids ages 6-13, the full-day vacation week camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with before and after care available. With 95,000 square-foot of indoor playing space, camp activities range from soccer to softball to dodgeball and more. Cost is $175 for the full week, or $35 per day.
Mini gymnasts will enjoy a week filled with tumbling, balance beams and gymnastics games at Tri-Star Gymnastics and Dance in Dover (www.tristargymnh.com). Geared for girls and boys ages 5 to 13, camp takes place daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 749-1234 for 2014 rates. Before and after care is available for a small additional charge.
Voted favorite family center by Parenting NH readers for two years in a row, The Works Family Health and Fitness Center in Somersworth (www.theworkshealthclub.com) offers a week-long vacation that makes physical activity fun with a mix of basketball, tumbling, volleyball, dodgeball, floor hockey and swimming. Designed for kids in grades K-8, camp is 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, with participants divided into age groups (before/after care available). Cost is $175 for members for the week; $195 for non-members. Daily rates are also available.
Learn about the great outdoors from the experts! Just in time for NH Audubon’s 100th anniversary, the McLane Audubon Center in Concord and Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn (www.nhaudubon.org) are hosting February Fun vacation camps, Feb. 24-28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (ages 6-12). Campers will spend the week taking outdoor excursions – by foot or on snowshoes – to track animals, spot birds and play games. Back inside, it’s time to make crafts and hear stories based on the theme of the day, including hibernation, endangered animals and recycling. Cost is $42 members/$52 non-members per child, per day. After care available.
Are your kids ready from some “down on the farm” fun? For children who love animals and the outdoors, vacation camp at Stonewall Farm (www.stonewallfarm.org) in Keene is a week’s worth of farm activities ranging from meeting the farm’s animals and helping out with chores to exploring the nearby forests and playing outdoor games. This year’s theme is Farm Art. Camp hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $175/week for members, $200/week for non-members. Daily rates are available.
At the Seacoast Science Center in Rye (www.seacoastsciencecenter.org), February vacation camp becomes a Seaside Safari. Designed for kids in grades K-5, campers in this annual program learn about everything from what turtles and frogs do during the winter to the science of snow. Camp runs daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. After-hours care is available until 5:30 p.m. Seacoast Science Center members pay $250 for the week; cost for non-members is $275. Daily rates and financial assistance are available. Because little siblings in preschool and pre-K might be on vacation, too, the center also offers a Treks 4 Tots the same week for younger children (ages 3 ½-5).
The Arts & Theater
Got a drama-loving ’tween or teen? In Nashua, the Peacock Players, New Hampshire's premiere award-winning youth theater (www.peacockplayers.org), offers theatrical exercises and classes, plus a fast-paced rehearsal schedule leading up to a play at the end of the week. Camp takes place daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to kids age 5 to 14. For 2014 rates and more information, email email@example.com.
In Manchester, join the fun on the Palace Theatre stage (www.palacetheatre.org). Students in grades 2 through 8 will have a blast while learning about all aspects of theater including singing, dancing, acting, costumes and set painting. Camp at the Palace runs Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an evening production scheduled at the end of the week. Campers provide their own lunches and afternoon snacks.
Vacation camp at MoCo Arts (http://mocoarts.org), a non-profit, family-centered arts organization in Keene, brings under-the-sea adventure to New Hampshire in an exhilarating, and jam-packed, week of Atlantis-themed art, music and theater activities. Designed for kids in pre-K through sixth grade, campers put on an exciting end-of-camp show for families and friends. Programs run daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; geared for ages 4 to 12.
Last but not least, the Currier Museum of Art (www.currier.org) in Manchester is making school vacation POP. Inspired by the exhibition Signs from the Sixties: Robert Indiana's Decade, campers will create bold, colorful prints, collages and sculptures all playing off Robert Indiana’s groundbreaking work in the Pop Art movement. Camp is daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to children age 5 to 14. Kindergarten and first-graders have the option of mornings only, from 9 a.m. to noon. Full-day tuition is $270 for the week.
Jacqueline Tourville is a freelance writer and author of New England Hiking (Moon Outdoor). A longtime resident of Nashua, she and her family now split their time along the New Hampshire and Maine seacoast. For more on her latest projects, go to jacquelinetourville.com or follow her on twitter @missmashable.