Fun with Science, Balloons and More at Camp Fair in Fairfax

Meet the Camps at the Washington FAMILY 2024 Summer Camps & Activities Fair in Fairfax, Virginia

Looking for a camp this summer? How about brushing up on your cooking skills or learning to defend with karate and taekwondo? Are you a budding young scientist? Or do you prefer a wide variety of activities to choose from in a traditional overnight experience?

All this and more were on hand to explore at Fair Oaks Mall on Feb. 10 at the first of two Washington FAMILY Summer Camps & Activities fairs.

The second will be at Montgomery Mall, in Bethesda, on Feb. 24.

Read more: 10 Types of Camps to Explore

The Fairfax, Virginia, camp fair featured 10 camps—a good sampling of the creative, academic, inventive and elective-driven experiences kids might find at DMV camps this summer.

Families who stopped by had the chance to enter raffles, win prizes, see science and robotics in action, read math comics and even take home their very own balloon animal or lava lamp!

Here’s a look at the camps that were in attendance and what they are offering this summer:

Science-related camps made a great showing at the fair. Children’s Science Center Lab, located in the mall itself, wowed with a slime piano—where kids could tap within slime-filled containers connected to a computer to operate piano keys.

Children’s Science Center Lab had fun, interactive shapes for kids to play with at the fair. | Photo: Lindsay C. VanAsdalan

In addition to summer camp season, kids can start early with spring break camps in all things science that kick off March 25 or became a member of the lab for year-round access to programs.

Read more: 5 Unique Summer Camps in the DMV

Stemtree Education Center and SciGenie added to the fun with a bowling set controlled by an iPad and a live demo on how to make your own lava lamp, respectively. Stemtree also offers a monthly membership, as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camps with one-on-one instruction customized to their learning style.

Abhi Rathi, owner of ClubSciKidz and Doodle Dynamo—a science and art program pairing—is not new to the camp scene, having operated ClubSciKidz in Richmond, Virginia, for the past seven years, but this will be her first summer offering her camp in Northern Virginia.

And art has been a more recent addition to her camp portfolio.

“Science and art goes together so well,” she says. Rather than solely focus on science, Rathi sees the benefit of a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) camp in enhancing the creativity in any project and approaching the project in an artistic way.

SciGenie also includes art alongside science—with STEAM options that include everything from drones and animal science to LEGO animation and art making.

The Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) Academy blends art with STEM in a unique way, using comic strips in its “Math Beasts” camps for younger learners to connect more visually as they learn.

Early math learners can relate to characters and visuals more easily when exploring concepts in this AoPS text. | Photo: Lindsay C. VanAsdalan

Kids looking to put their chef’s hat on and cook up something scrumptious for Mom, Dad or their friends can find Tiny Chefs through religious organizations, rec centers and school systems throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Read More: Kids’ Cooking and Baking Experiences 

“What we’re trying to do is empower kids to get in the kitchen,” says Stephanie Samavarchian of Tiny Chefs.

Besides teaching a helpful life skill, cooking classes can keep kids safe in the kitchen at home, be a good family bonding experience for families and offer more options for healthy meals.

In search of s’mores at the campfire, days spent at the lake, bunking in cabins with new lifelong friends and other traditional camp adventures? Camp Horizons and Independent Lake Camp both specialize in those experiences—with the advantage of a lot of choices. Camp Horizons has more than 50 activities to choose from. Independent Lake is known for its electives—allowing kids to choose from areas such as circus, music, magic and go-karts.

Read more: Choose Your Camp Adventure

Another camp offering a well-rounded experience this summer is Focus Family Academy. The martial arts camp offers karate twice a week but also includes gymnastics, sports, dance, cooking, arts and crafts, STEM and academics, as well as weekly field trips.

One unique camp experience this summer comes from Camp Achva. The Jewish day camp has a food theme this year—based on the song by Shirley Grossman, “Jewish is More Than a Bagel.”

Well, this summer, “Camp is More Than a Bagel,” but that doesn’t mean kids can’t enjoy bagel themes each week that help illustrate Jewish values. For example, in the final week of camp, the “everything” bagel represents acceptance.

For its 55th summer, the camp wanted to do something extra special, says Erica Milgram, assistant director at Camp Achva.

Read more: Living Local DMV: Washington FAMILY Editor on the Benefits of Camp Fairs

To explore more camps in the region, visit Washington FAMILY’s second camp fair or browse the camp directory in our latest digital edition. For more information for each of the camps above, click on the camp’s name to learn more.


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