camps for kids

Kids not yet enrolled in kindergarten can start out with Camp Chippeewee and progress through a variety of active summer pursuits and enrichment activities that will take them all the way through high school.  | photo: Linda Hackett

Overnight camp is great for many kids, who learn independence, acquire new skills and sometimes make lifelong friends. Still, not everyone has the time or inclination to pack up footlockers and send the kids off for a few weeks. And even if your kids do spend two weeks at church camp or a month on a wilderness expedition,  that still leaves the rest of the summer to keep them  happy and busy without the structure of school. 

Fortunately Mt. Lebanon offers a ton of summer programs, and many are open to residents and non-residents. Whether your child wants to kick a soccer ball, play chicken in the pool, hone fielding skills, learn to launch a model rocket or cook up a killer Béarnaise sauce, you can find a convenient, affordable summer fun choice at Mt. Lebanon Recreation Department or Mt. Lebanon School District.

Register for recreation department camps online beginning in April at and for the district’s summer enrichment program beginning in May at But hurry. Participation is capped, and these programs are as popular as Taylor Swift playing Mellon auditorium.

Mt. Lebanon Recreation Camps

Ice Ice Baby If the summer heat gets ya, sign up for Summer Figure Skating School, June 11 through August 3, for residents and non-residents ages 6 to 18. Want to learn to skate? Wannabe skaters ages 3 through adult can get in on Learn to Skate classes. Session 1 is June 9 through July 6 and session 2 is July 7 through August 3. For info and pricing on these programs, call the Mt. Lebanon Ice Center at 412-561-4363.

Swing Low, Sweet Golfer The Mt. Lebanon Junior Golf Association presents a great opportunity to learn every Thursday from June 14 through August 9, for residents and non-residents ages 11 to 17. For details and pricing, call the Mt. Lebanon Golf Course staff at 412-561-9761. 

Public Safety Camp, with demonstrations from fire, police and medical rescue, is one of the Recreation Department’s biggest hits. Slots fill up very fast. | photo:

Safe at Home One of the Rec Department’s most popular camps is Public Safety Camp, held in Mt. Lebanon Park. The seventh annual camp, August 6 through August 10 from 9 a.m. to noon, is for ages 9 to 12. It features demonstrations from the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department, Mt. Lebanon Police Department and Medical Rescue Team South Authority. During this fun week, campers can see (and touch) different response vehicles used by public safety. Campers participate in a bicycle rodeo, use a hose line from a fire engine and learn CPR and First Aid. They also can play in 3 feet of fire foam, participate in a rope rescue mock drill, wear firefighter turnout gear, crawl through a maze and see a demonstration of a vehicle rescue. Fee: $65 resident, $75 non-resident.

Play-grounded The little ones from kindergarten through third grade love Summer Playground Camp, held at Foster, Jefferson, Lincoln and Markham schools. The weekly camps run from June 25 through August 3, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon. The kids will play sports, games, make arts and crafts, explore nature and have field trips. Fee: $60 Residents/week, $70 Non-residents/week, $325 resident/6 weeks, $375 non-resident/6 weeks. $5 late fee begins one week prior to camp start.
One of the biggest draws in Public Safety Camp is Snieper, MLPD’s canine officer.  | photo:

Camp Chippeewee Mt. Lebanon famous camp for the tiniest residents caters to the 3-1/2- to 5-year-olds (not yet enrolled in kindergarten) in Mt. Lebanon Park. Campers will make new friends, have fun with nature, music, movement, art, games and sports. Each week has a different theme, and visits from professionals (fire, police, library) keep camp fresh and fun. All campers have outdoor play and supervised time in the pool in the zero-depth section. Chippeewee is June 25 through August 3, Monday through Friday, from 9:15 to 11:45. Campers must be potty trained. Fee: $120 resident early bird fee/2-week session, $135 non-resident early bird fee/2-week session, $325 resident early bird fee/6 weeks, $375 non-resident early bird/6 weeks. $10 late fee begins one week prior to camp start.

Art of the Theme Creativity overflows at Summer Art Camp, with two sessions at the Recreation Center, June 18 through June 22 and August 6 through August 10. This camp caters to boys and girls, ages 4 to 11, with fun crafts, painting and sculpture centered around different themes. Kids ages 4 to 6 attend from 9 to 10:30 a.m.; ages 7 to 11 go from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fee: $60 resident, $65 non-resident.

Goal! Want a high energy camp? Players Soccer Camp, at Middle and Clint Seymour fields, creates a positive environment that helps young players improve skills and knowledge. Kids of all abilities in kindergarten through 7th grade enjoy this camp, which focuses on ball control and technique. Camp is June 18 through June 21 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Fee: $99 resident early-bird fee, $104 resident regular fee. Non-residents, $10 extra.

All sports Kids in grades 4 through 8 have a jam-packed morning of traditional sports, crazy games and fitness challenges. Examples of fun in All Sports Camp: basketball, pickleball, street hockey, slack line, disc golf, flag football, Kan Jam and ultimate Frisbee. Camp runs in two-week sessions June 25 through August 3, Monday through Friday from 9:15 to noon. Fee: $120 resident/2 weeks, $130 non-resident/2 weeks.
Summer Art Camp is for kids age 4 to 11 | photo:

I got it! I got it! Weekly baseball clinics designed for 7- to 15-year-olds cover such skills as hitting, fielding, throwing, catching, base-running and sliding. Instructor Al Liberi, a former head collegiate coach, has been running this program for more than 20 years. Fee: $85 residents/week, $90 non-residents/week.

Mt. Lebanon School District Programs

Mt. Lebanon School District Summer Enrichment Reading the summer program guide for the district’s enrichment is like leafing through a college course catalog. Movie-making, model rocketry, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Chef’s Academy and the Young Writers’ Camp are just some of the choices. The cost per session last year was $85.

Summer enrichment, held at Mt. Lebanon High School, has four weeks of programming for kids in grades 3 through 7, although not every class is offered every session. Classes are taught in a relaxed atmosphere and generally run from 9 a.m. to noon, although check the schedule. Last year’s Session III programs had some different times. Registration will open online in early May (find the catalog on under the “Parents” tab). Some classes fill up the first day of registration so don’t delay. Courses must be paid for through PayPal.

Courses are open to any students, not just Mt. Lebanon residents, which makes the program great for visiting family members. Instructors are community members and teachers (some from Mt. Lebanon and some from other districts). The program aligns with the district’s educational mission and even provides accommodations for children with IEPs.

Melissa Nelson, principal of Washington Elementary, was the district’s director of summer programs for the last three years. She said participants can expect to have their creativity piqued. They also will collaborate with peers and build skills. In fact, many of the courses have final projects or presentations. Many of them, such as rocketry and coding, align with the district’s Science Technology Arts Engineering and Math track.

“You know what you’re getting when it’s coming from the school district, which is an excellent educational experience,” Nelson says.

For questions about this year’s program, contact Mellon Middle School Assistant Principal Benjamin Canan at