Ready or not, summer is just a few months away and it's time to plan a way to keep your Boston kids occupied. This is especially true for preschool-aged kids, for whom summer planning can be particularly tricky: They're old enough to want (and need) some mental and social stimulation outside the house, but not so mature that you can plant them at any old camp and trust they'll make do (or articulate why they're not). The good news is that the Boston area offers lots of great summer programs for preschoolers, from traditional day camps to out-of-the-box options. We've listed some of our favorite summer camps that cater to the little kids, even as young as toddlers.
Find more great summer camp options for your Massachusetts kids in our Camp Guide and Directory of listings, which is searchable by interest, age, or location.
Friendships are forged at Farm Sprouts Camp. Photo courtesy of Fiona Haley
1. Newton Community Farm Sprouts – Newton
For campers not quite ready to let go of Mom and Dad for the whole day, Newton Community Farm offers the Farm Sprouts program. At only $15 per session, caregivers and campers between 2.5 years old and kindergarten-age will get to discover the magic of farm life. Campers can feed chickens, learn more about honeybees, and taste new and exciting plants. Each week has a theme, and campers can choose how many weeks to attend and vary the days of attendance.
2. Summer in the City at Kingsley—Boston
Situated in the heart of the Back Bay, Kingsley Montessori offers children an opportunity to pursue their interests and favorite activities while soaking up our fair city in the summertime. Unique weekly themes include nature, sports, arts, music, engineering, and adventure. Preschoolers are a well represented age group here, but the camp officially serves children ages 3 to 12.
Tech-loving kiddos will find several STEM options at Steve and Kate's. Photo courtesy of Steve and Kate's Camp.
3. Steve and Kate’s Camp – Cambridge and Boston
For families looking for something a little different, there’s Steve and Kate’s Camp. With locations in Cambridge and Boston (and other sites all over the country), Steve and Kate’s is designed to let campers aged ages 4 and up choose the activities they like: film, fashion, coding, music, and bread making are all available. The Launchpad program is designed to ease preschoolers into the camp routine, and to give them a break when they need it. Unlike at typical camps, parents buy day passes in advance for use at any time—and get a refund for the unused passes. Steve and Kate’s also provides lunch each day, with options like burritos, meatball subs, and more.
4. Tenacre Day Camp - Wellesley
Though technically catering to ages three to 12, Tenacre has a long-standing rep for helping preschoolers learn to swim: It boasts a 1:1 teacher-to-student ratio in twice-daily swim lessons in one of two recently refurbished pools on Tenacre Country Day School's campus in the green-and-leafy heart of Wellesley. Along with swimming, 3- to 4-year-old campers enjoy sports, arts and crafts, yoga, and nature exploration under the direction of carefully chosen counselors (all 18 years or older). The camp offers nine weekly sessions, and each has a different theme, from "pirates and mermaids" to "shark week."
5. Passport at Cambridge Montessori – Cambridge
The Tiny Tots program for children ages 21 months to 2.9 years old is modeled after and run as a Montessori classroom. To provide the campers with consistency, campers must commit to a four or eight-week session, which will include water play, nature walks, gardening, and more. For 3-to 4-year-olds, Passport offers single week sessions including field trips, swimming, and team games.
Waldorf School of Lexington includes walks on conservation land. Photo courtesy of the Waldorf School
6. Summer Nursery Program at Waldorf School of Lexington – Lexington
WSL’s summer nursery program is based on the Waldorf curriculum, so it's focused on nature and self-directed free play—which means kids will do plenty of romping on the school campus and the adjoining conservation land. Children will also participate in art projects and listen to songs and stories. The half-day program is perfect for campers who are looking for freedom but aren’t ready for a whole day away from home. This year the school has added sprinklers and a paddling pool for hot summer days, but students should be prepared to play outside in rain or shine.
7. Dexter Southfield Junior Camp – Brookline
Dexter Southfield’s Junior Campers are grouped by age: 3.5- to 4-year-old Mites, 4- to 4.5-year-old Tykes, or 4.5-year-old Juniors. Children spend their days with their group moving between activities like drama, swim, and sports programming. Each group is led by a head counselor, with two additional counselors and one staff member for every four campers, in order to provide maximum fun and safety. Fees include bus transportation, snack, lunch, and all supplies.
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8. Summer@BB&N Kiddie Camp – Cambridge
Buckingham, Browne & Nichols’ summer camp is a great option for active kids with a variety of interests. Summer@BB&N lets 4-year-olds try out swimming, art, drama, tennis and other sports, with a little rest block thrown in for good measure. Kiddie Campers have specialized programming and their own designated camp space. Added bonus: an all-you-can-eat lunch is included in the camp fee.
Kiddie Camp is all about outdoor fun, from park games to splashing at a spray deck. Photo courtesy of Hill House
9. Hill House Kiddie Kamp – Boston
Hill House’s Kiddie Kamp serves campers starting at age 3, as long as they are toilet trained. Weather permitting, campers spend two days a week at the Esplanade at Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields and the Alfond Spray Deck, giving city kids a chance to splash around. Themed camp weeks include on-site special events like traveling tide pools or magician acts. In addition, campers get to play games, do crafts, sing songs, and spend time outdoors.
10. Drumlin Farm Camp – Lincoln and Sudbury
Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Camp has two locations for preschoolers in Lincoln and Sudbury for kids ages 4 to 18 years old. Pre-k'ers can enroll in a half- or full-day two-week program exploring the farm and sanctuary, playing nature games, and enjoying crafts in Lincoln. In Sudbury, campers can enjoy three-day camps focused on animal life.