Summer camp can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, it can be free. Yes, you read that right: Free summer camp! There are several options right here in Boston for both young kids and teens that cover everything from academics to the arts. If you don't find a good fit for your family, check out our post highlighting wicked cheap summer camps for kids in Boston.
Free Summer Programs
Balfour Academy at Northeastern University: Balfour Academy accepts students entering the seventh grade for the six-week program that focuses on academics in the morning and athletics in the afternoon with field trips on Fridays. Preference is given to Boston Public School students and those living in the Northeastern neighborhood.
Boston Centers for Youth and Families Summer Fun Stops: Taking place at several locations around Boston, drop-in Fun Stops provide activities like structured games, sports and art projects for a few hours per day to kids ages 8-18.
Boston Public Schools Summer Arts Intensives: These two-week camps, Summer Symphony: Concert Band and String Orchestra and Summer Stage: Musical Theater/Chorus and Dance, are for Boston Public School students entering grades 5-12.
Boston University Upward Bound: Part of a national program, Upward Bound students enter the program in grades 9 or 10 and attend an intensive six-week summer residential program that also includes school-year tutoring.
Explore Japan: During this Milton-based program, local kids ages 8-18 have the opportunity to learn about Japanese culture through workshops, field trips and time spent with exchange students. Host families' children get to participate in all activities for free during the two-and-a-half week program.
Girls Who Code: Run by a national nonprofit that aims to close the gap in STEM between boys and girls, this intensive seven-week program is for sophomore and junior girls. Campers will learn about robotics, web design and mobile development.
Harvard Graduate School of Design Project Link: Students will be immersed in the world of design, from architecture to fine arts, during this four-week intensive program available to rising sophomores, juniors or seniors.
Northeastern University Summer STEM Program: This three-week academic program for kids in grades 6, 7 and 8 focuses on increasing math/science skills, providing an introduction to college life and showing the potential of science and engineering as career paths.
Piers Park Sailing Center Summer Youth Programs: Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston (pictured) offers a full-day sailing program for kids ages 6-9 and a half-day sailing program (morning and afternoon options) for kids ages 9-18.
Summer Tennis & Reading Program: Run by Tenacity at several locations around Boston, the Summer Tennis & Reading Program is held on weekday afternoons and mornings for city youth ages 6-16.
Summer Urban Program: Run by the Phillips Brooks House Association, the Summer Urban Program hosts 10 summer camps at 12 locations in Boston and Cambridge for youth ages 5-19 that feature academic enrichment, educational field trips and artistic, cultural and service-learning workshops.
Trinity Education for Excellence Program: Rising Boston Public School seventh and eighth graders are eligible to attend Trinity’s five-week summer program in Copley Square where they focus on academics in the morning and enrichment activities in the afternoon. Trinity also offers a summer program for ninth graders that focuses on leadership development.
UMass Boston’s Talented and Gifted Latinos Program: This five-week summer program is geared toward Latino students, though any Boston Public School junior or senior can apply. Participants focus on academics in the morning and recreation in the afternoon.
Youth Engaged in Action: Action for Boston Community Development runs this three-week program for 13-year-olds, who are often too old for traditional camps and too young to work, at eight locations in or near Boston.
Top image courtesy of Jessica Scranton/Girls Who Code
Second image courtesy of Piers Park Sailing Center