Smartypants camp

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Cameraman: A camper in Play-by-Play Sports Camp takes his turn behind the microphone at Soldier Field. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

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Summer camp is a great place for kids to do, see, and play during the summer months off from school. Better yet, the Chicagoland area has some great options for kids who love to learn and prefer activities that challenge the mind as much as hiking and lake activities challenge the spirit.

One such camp, Jay’s Camp in Long Grove, has a number of programs and daily activities to stimulate your child’s mind, creative flair and sense of adventure. Boys between second and eighth grades can jump into the Boys Camp of the Arts, which emphasize arts and crafts along with a variety of “wacky science projects,” as the camp calls them. Other activities at Jay’s include music, ceramics and pottery, creative drama, photography and much more.

If your child is technologically inclined or just wants to spend part of the summer immersed in the ins and outs of software, 3D animation and digital photography, iD Tech Camps offer summer camp that allow kids to get involved with everything from video game design to robotics.

For smarty-pants children with a soft spot for sports or who are knowledgeable about news, Play-by-Play Sports Camp offers your boy or girl a little piece of the limelight.

Kids can sit behind the broadcast booth at Comcast, ESPN and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and talk to professionals in sports media.

Camp director Steve Goldstein said his camp “brings out the best in kids who are communicators. And even shy ones come out of their shell by day two of camp.”

Professionals such as clinical psychologist Pam Niesluchowski tend to agree that summer camp is a great to help a school-aged child grow intellectually and communicate better with peers and adults. However, Niesluchowski also points out that, when compared to backyard summer play or watching TV, the experience of summer camp does even more.

”Summer activities, such as camps, provide kids with opportunities for ongoing learning during a time when they would otherwise be doing little,” Niesluchowski said.

Niesluchowski, who maintains a private practice and teaches at a Chicago graduate school states that there is evidence that during summer break kids forget some of what they have learned in the previous school year.

“Providing ongoing stimulation through camps and other structured activities, Niesluchowski said, “can help kids stay sharp and get tuned in more quickly, come September.”