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School is Out! Summer Camps are In! Got a Particular Interest? There’s a Camp for That.

Jun 03, 2022 07:27PM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN

Looking for a way to keep the young ones busy this summer? Try a summer camp. Among the area’s many intriguing offerings is Sanibel Sea School, recently acquired by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. The weekly camps teach participants about the marine life all around them while they enjoy games, conduct experiments, and engage in art projects. The youngest campers, Sea Squirts (ages 4-6), learn about sea turtles and shells, while the Island Skills campers (ages 6-13) learn about octopuses, spider crabs, and other sea creatures. “All themes are new, except for Calusa Week—a Sanibel Sea School tradition,” says youth education director Shannon Stainken. “No matter the theme, we always snorkel, use nets to catch creatures, and surf the waves,” explains Stainken. For older campers the Sea School offers “A Week in the Field” and “Barefoot on a Barrier Island,” where they are introduced to the field of research and experience overnight camping on Cayo Costa. Back this year is “Have Paddle, Will Survive,” during which campers kayak San Carlos Bay and learn survival skills using limited resources. “Come explore the ocean with us,” adds Stainken. 

Camp IMAG, which offers children in grades 1-8 a chance to explore, invent, investigate, and discover through a unique blend of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), along with history, humanity, and the arts. Campers can also participate in two unique camp clubs each week that focus on special interests, topics, and activities. “No matter the age group, all campers get to discover the museum, check out our Sea-to-See Touch Tank, discover the wonders and sciences of our earth with Science on a Sphere and Google Earth Wall attractions, experience IMAG Live! science and animal shows, play, and more,” says marketing manager Richard Smith. In addition to the Fort Myers location, Camp IMAG will be offered at STEMLab at Miromar Outlets in Estero and at select schools in Lee County.  

Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs offers children (ages 4-18) a chance to enjoy the arts. Visual arts campers can learn painting, sculpture, pottery wheel throwing, glass, and mosaics. Those who love to dance can take ballet, tap, and jazz. Performing arts camps teach participants everything from the art of auditions to costume design and light and sound design to acting techniques. “Our innovative youth summer courses give children the freedom to connect, grow, and challenge themselves in a supportive environment,” says president Susan Bridges. “We provide creative opportunities for every age group—there is always something fun and new for budding artists, actors, musicians, and dancers at the centers.” Plus, some programs focus on science and technology. Full days or half-day programs are available. 

Fair Play Indoor Soccer puts fun and games at the center of its camp activities. Campers have a chance to engage in soccer scrimmages and drills, as well as kickball, flag football, relay races, and Wiffle ball. A weekly field trip puts the focus on sports and fun and includes mini-golf, laser tag, bowling, a trip to a water park, or in-house bounce-house fun. The groups range in age from 5 to 12, and they are split into smaller groups, according to age. “We structure the program to keep the kids engaged in fun activities. No electronics,” says owner Jessica Wright. In addition to sports, crafts and card games are offered. Campers are provided with a camp t-shirt, water bottle, and two snacks per day. “Bring lunch and water,” adds Wright. 

Edison & Ford Winter Estates offers summer camps for children in grades K-2 and 3-5. Children get a chance to have fun while they learn. “Our summer camp program helps to continue the legacy of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The weekly camps focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) with elements of history and the natural world—and it all takes place where the two famous inventors once explored, experimented, and invented,” says public relations director Lisa Wilson. New this year is the Renewable Energy camp (balloon cars, wind-powered vehicles, etc.) and the LEGO Creators camp. “Many children come back year after year, and some go on to be camp counselors,” adds Wilson. 


Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media. 



Sanibel Sea School 

455 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel 



IMAG History & Science Center 

2000 Cranford Avenue, Fort Myers 



Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs  

26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs 



Fair Play Indoor Soccer 

79 Mid Cape Terrace, Cape Coral 


Edison & Ford Winter Estates 

2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers