Winter Break Camps Make Happy Holidays For Kids – And Parents

Winter Break Camps Make Happy Holidays For Kids – And Parents

It’s the day after Christmas, and all through the house, torn wrapping paper is strewn, with piles on the couch.

The parties have ended, the presents unwrapped. It’s Dec. 26, and all the kids ask:

“Now what?”

It’s the typical scenario — Santa has retreated to the North Pole, and the kids still have two weeks of holiday break before returning to school. Inevitably, the groan of “I’m bored” will start echoing.

But there are ways to avoid the nothing-to-do complaints: Fox Valley Park District winter camps.

A smorgasbord of choices await, with numerous camp options at all three Park District community centers — Prisco, Eola and Vaughan. With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on a Monday this year, most camps run Tuesday through Friday.

Sports camps, engineering, gaming, and yes, chess, are among the many available, including the granddaddy of all winter camps — the day-long winter blast camps, available at all three facilities.

“Winter break camps are a great way to stay active and enjoy fun times when you’re looking for something to do while off school,” said recreation supervisor Greg Woolford. “The kids get to enjoy themselves and parents are happy the kids are out of the house and doing something fun.”

Winter blast camps offer a recreational wonderland for kids ages 6 to 11, featuring games, sports, arts, crafts and non-stop activities. They run 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the camps at the Vaughan Center include pool and water park access as well. The Vaughan camps also offer daily registration on a limited basis, with before/after care available for busy parents.

These camps are eminently affordable, with resident fees just $120 per four-day week. That’s $30 per day for nine hours of action-packed fun.

Sports camps run the gamut, from basketball, volleyball and flag football to soccer, badminton and track and field.

These are shorter camps, running one to two hours each day, and focused on providing fundamental training to help each child’s development in their chosen sport – a little bit of learning and a lot of fun.

Stepping outdoors, the exploration never ends at Red Oak Nature Center, which hosts two camps centered on the fascinating world of winter wildlife. “Red Oak Winter Camp” and “Winter Detectives Camp” feature an up-close look on how animals survive winter.

Outdoor hikes will be balanced with indoor activities and the camps are available to two different age groups – 5 to 7 and 8 to 10.

For the engineering-inclined – and those who simply enjoy creating and building exciting projects – several intriguing camps are available. Students ages 8 to 14 will design and build their very own video games in “Gaming Academy,” while “Let’s Build It” camp will focus on certain areas of engineering such as flight, bridge building and transportation.

And if all those camps aren’t enough, the indoor water park at Vaughan Athletic Center is open for extended hours – noon to 7 p.m. – on weekdays during the two-week winter break period (Dec. 26 to Jan. 5).

The holiday season is meant to be festive – so get busy having fun. Visit for full camp descriptions and to register.

  • This column is written by Jeff Long (, the public affairs and communications manager at the Fox Valley Park District. Visit for more information and be sure to “Like” Blackberry Farm on Facebook.

FEATURE PHOTO CAPTION: Fox Valley Park District winter break camps keep kids busy having fun during the two-week period when school is out.