10 Bizarre Camps for Kids to Up Their 'How I Spent My Summer' Game (PHOTOS)

Judy Dutton | Jun 29, 2015 Big Kid

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Each summer, around 11 million kids pack their bags and head off to one of more than 12,000 camps across the U.S. Meanwhile, you kick back in your astoundingly quiet home with visions of your little tykes reveling in "normal" camp activities -- from hiking to canoeing to arts and crafts.

Or maybe not. Camps have gotten a lot more eclectic over the years. And we're not talking unorthodox a la space or chess camp, but really off the rails, where kids can master far stranger skills.

In case you're curious just how weird summer camp can get, check out these offbeat options available for kids today. From building bombs to fighting zombies, these crazy summer camps prove there's a place for every child, no matter how odd his interests.

Who knew camp #4 could morph into an in-demand career?


Image via Zurijeta/shutterstock

  • Danger Camp


    While most camp stress to parents how safe kids will be while there, the 50 Dangerous Things summer camp in New Alresford, England does the exact opposite. Here, campers are encouraged to play with fire, knives, and drills, break things and attempt to put them back together (so long, cellphone), and all in all dabble in things that are forbidden pretty much anywhere else. The kids are closely supervised, of course, but it still sounds like a helicopter parent's heart attack waiting to happen. 

  • Zombie Camp


    Some campers spend the summer roasting S'mores over a fire ... other battle zombies. Which sounds gruesome, but hey, if your kids are zombiphiles, Zombie Summer Camp is heaven. Gathering in Burlington, Massachusetts, kids use NERF Blasters to slay the Undead, and learn important survival skills, like how to find water and forage for supplies -- all useful in case the Zombie Apocalypse ever does happen. 

  • Circus Camp


    Do kids really ever run away to join the circus? Well, they can, kind of, with Circus Camp in Westchester, New York where kids can learn how to walk a right rope, swing on a trapeze, juggle, and other skills that could one day lead them to a life under the Big Top.

  • Bomb-Building Camp


    Does your kid like to blow stuff up? Then he (or she) will have a blast, so to speak, at Missouri's Explosives Camp, where kids dabble in dynamite, TNT, and plastic explosives. The camp is actually run by Paul Worsey, a professor at the University of Missouri, Rolla, who is looking to recruit people into the field of mine engineering. Isn't it nice to know that there's a productive place to channel your child's destructive tendencies other than some terrorist plot?

    More from The Stir: What Summer Camp Is Really Like … For Moms

  • Princess Camp


    If your "little princess" is really into acting like royalty, there's a camp that caters to her whims. Princess Prep Camp in London grooms girls on how to correctly curtsy, drink their tea without slurping, even how to handle food stuck in their teeth (hey, at least your daughter will learn some manners, right?). At this point at least, the camp seems geared to girls only, but who knows? Maybe they will get with the modern age and open their doors to boys, too.

  • Movie Stuntman Camp


    If your kids dream of becoming the next Jean-Claude Van Damme, Pali Adventures’ Hollywood Stunt Camp will show them the ropes. They'll learn the art of jumping off high buildings, choreographing fight scenes, sword play, and more than will keep you wondering whether they'll land in the hospital. So fun!

  • Wizards & Warriors Camp


    Yup, Harry Potter fans will be thrilled to know that Hogwarts is real -- kind of. At the Wizards & Warriors Summer Camp in Burlington and Waltham, Massachusetts, kids choose their weapons, fight monsters, find treasure, solve mysteries, and all in all have a magical summer, so to speak.

    More from The Stir: 10 Movies NOT to Watch Before You Send Your Kids to Camp

  • Mermaid Camp


    If your little one flips for Ariel, get them in fins! For boys or girls who are really into mermaids, it doesn't get better than Mermaid Camp, where they squeeze into a fake fish tail and learn how to be a "mermaid" (or merman) performer at Florida's Weeki Wachee Springs (which stages underwater performances for the public). By the end of this weekend-long camp, campers even get to put on their own show.

  • Ninja Warrior Camp


    If your kids (or you) dream of mastering the art of swordplay, shuriken throwing (those star-shaped daggers), hand-to-hand martial arts and even mind control, Ninja Camp is just the ticket. Held in New York and Seattle, the camp teaches young and old the ways of the Great Shinobi (a.k.a. Ninjas) of Japan, claiming campers leave with "increases confidence." And, we hope, all their limbs still attached.

  • 'Frozen' Summer Camp


    Got kids who can't "let it go"? Then send them to "Frozen" summer camp in Miami Shores, Florida, where kids dress up and put on their own theatrical performance of this Disney hit. At first, the camp had planned to have kids audition for each role, but "there were so many tears, we decided to make it a musical so every single child could be Anna and Elsa," said lead camp instructor Joanne Mundy.

    More from The Stir: 10 (Partly Selfish) Reasons Summer Camp Rocks

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