Summer Camp Guide

Help Your Child Get Creative with Artsy East End Summer Camps

It’s no secret the arts are important. Dan’s Papers cover artist and former arts educator Lee Harned once told us, “The arts create an environment where discovery and self-expression thrive. This is a testament to the value of individuality and diversity. Arts programs encourage creative thinking, problem solving, self-expression and risk taking; it teaches children to interpret, criticize and use visual information as a means of expression. All of these are necessary skills for today’s challenging workplace. Whether producing a painting, participating in a band concert or having a role in a play, students learn to participate in a process, communicating through their unique means of self-expression.”

It’s also no secret that many local, state and federal budgets can’t seem to find room for arts programming, despite what they do find room for. Luckily, here on the East End, there are plenty of opportunities to expose the next generation to the arts, even during the summer.

Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor has a handful of theater camps during July and August in which kids 7–12 can stretch their imaginations and explore their creative capabilities. In My Life: The Musical, which has four different sessions, campers will work together with a teaching artist to create and perform their very own musical. The Greek Mythology Camp lets campers use their imagination to play with and create their very own versions of the classic Greek myths culminating in a presentation of the campers’ original stories for family and friends to come see. Campers make Shakespeare’s most classic stories their own at the Remix Shakespeare Camp while at the Shakespeare Mini Stage Camp campers gain basic instruction in acting and become familiar with the classic language, characters and comedy of The Bard. For more camps and details visit 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-9500

The Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE) has a number of summer camp programs, but we’ll focus here on two. First, Nature’s Music at Madoo, which meets Thursdays in July from 9:30–10:45 a.m. Led by Marlene Markard of Markard Music, this family program is designed to instill a lifelong love of both music and the outdoors. While exploring a different nature theme each week, children will sing, dance, move, play instruments, tell stories, create crafts and play music games on the grounds of the Madoo Conservancy at 618 Sagg Main Street in Sagaponack.

Also at CMEE is In the Studio, a weekly family class all about creative discovery and introducing children to basic visual concepts such as line, shape, color and texture. This summer program meets Fridays in July (Session 1, 9:15–10 a.m. for parents and caregivers with kids ages 18 months–2.5 years) and August (Session 2, 10:15–11 a.m. for parents and caregivers with kids ages 2.5 years–4 years). During each session, participants will practice tearing, cutting, mixing, pouring, pinching as they make original pieces with varied media and everyday objects. Activities will include watercolor exploration, mixed media collage, sand arts, clay and shell creations and more. In addition, each class includes story time and creative movement. 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. 631-537-8250,

In the Studio at the Children's Museum of the East End
In the Studio at the Children’s Museum of the East End, Photo: Courtesy CMEE

East End Arts in Riverhead will hold a weeklong Drawing and Painting Camp July 9–13, from 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Campers will engage in fun projects while learning new methods and techniques of drawing and painting and will create observational drawings, visual journals, collage works, relief paintings and collaborative works. Ultimately, campers will gain skills of perspective, proportion and composition, while working with color, light, shape and texture. At Sculpture Camp, July 30–August 3, from 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., campers will work with paper, wood, wire and clay to create incredible sculptural art—both small- and large-scale works integrating mixed media, including paint, fiber and collage. 141 East Main Street, Riverhead. 631-369-2171,

At Sandy Hallow Day Camp in Southampton, campers participate in daily art and craft experiences that encourage creativity, self-expression and skill development. A New York State licensed art teacher supervises the program. An art counselor teaches each group in a designated art space. Kids work with markers, paint, clay, yarn and craft materials to create drawings, paintings, sculptures, collages and traditional camp crafts. The daily arts and crafts period offers a quiet, cool space for Sandy Hallow campers to be thoughtful and creative. 117 Sandy Hallow Road, Southampton. 631-283-2296,

Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) is offering camps for children of all ages, designed to create an interactive, in-depth, educational, but most importantly, fun experience for kids to develop, hone and express their love and talent for the performing arts. Taught by professional and award-winning teaching artists, campers will develop their skills and learn what it takes to put on a full-scale performance in just one week! Musical Theatre Camps for ages 6–14 include The Secret Garden (July 9–13), The Princess and the Pea (July 16–20) and Blackbeard the Pirate (July 23–27). The Tween Theater Troupe, for ages 9–11, meets July 30–August 2. Camp Broadway, which includes a trip to New York for a Broadway performance meets August 6–10 for campers ages 10–17. The Aladdin Ballet Camp meets Aug 20–24 for campers ages 7–17. Finally, the Musical Theatre Master Classes for ages 13–17, meets July 16, July 23, July 30 and August 13. 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. 631-288-1500,

For more great summer camp ideas, check our Summer Camp Guide.

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