10 Pittsburgh summer camps for high-energy kids in 2018

Kids can flex their muscles, build endurance and find hidden strength this summer.

These fun and physically challenging camps are sure to excite active kids:

summer camps
Obstacle courses are part of the challenge at American Warrior Ninja camp.

American Ninja Warrior

The name itself is a draw with its promise of daring obstacles and course exploits. Based on the growing sport of strength and endurance, this new JCC day camp for kids in grades 3-6 guarantees non-stop fun. The action includes climbing challenges, progressive relays, and team-based competitions. The ninja craze that’s sweeping the country lands in Monroeville’s Family Park July 30-Aug. 3.

summer camps
Kids reach new heights at Ascend.

Ascend Summer Camp

Kids will reach the heights of their power physically and literally at Ascend Summer Camp. Their strength and dexterity will be tested through activities like rope climbing and bouldering. Balance is another skill to encounter when walking a slackline. Weeklong half-day and full-day sessions are scheduled throughout the summer for ages 6-16. Instruction, rental equipment, and Ascend merchandise are included.

summer camps
Speed and skill are put to the test at The Wheelmill.

Wheelmill Bike Camp

Sure, there are beginner camps at The Wheelmill for kids who have mastered riding on two wheels and need a bit more confidence. But once those skills are mastered, lookout! Moving up to the Intermediate and Advanced Camps will have your little shredder flying over the course. Kids will be thrilled to experience the 80,000-square foot park filled with all kinds of trails and ramps. Kids start out in the fundamentals room before advancing to the seven other rooms of varying terrain and levels of difficulty. Weeklong sessions run from June 18-Aug. 24.

summer camps
Ultimate Frisbee has its time in the sun at Spirit of the Game summer camp.

Ultimate Frisbee Camp

Pittsburgh Ultimate – Spirit of the Game gathers kids from ages 7-14 in a fast-paced, high-energy summer camp that runs in weeklong sessions in North Park. New this year are Flash Camps, allowing kids to try it out for one day before signing on more longer sessions. Through Ultimate Frisbee team play, kids will learn sportsmanship, dedication and have a terrific daily workout. And just imagine how cool these skills will make them look when they hit their college campus!

summer camps
At Survival Camp, students learn basic wilderness survival skills, like building a temporary shelter.

Survival Camp

This Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy summer camp sparks the imagination with skills required for wilderness survival. We’re sure kids can dream up crazy scenarios in which these skills are in demand – a zombie apocalypse or mountainside plane crash, for example. But familiarity with the great outdoors could come in handy when camping with mom and dad, too. Learn how to build a fire, construct a shelter, and scavenge for food and water.

Other Conservancy camps are less ambitiously titled, but nonetheless fun, such as Outdoor Expeditions Camp and Kindi Nature Camp for the youngest wilderness enthusiast.

summer camps
Can a serious workshop be fun, too? The answer is yes for those with a passion for dance.

Pittsburgh Ballet Junior Intensive

Kids who take their dancing seriously will want to sign up for this Pittsburgh Ballet summer session. The three-week workshop for ages 10-13 covers intermediate to advanced skills in pointe, pas de deux, jazz,  and repertoire. While rigorous and disciplined, kids can expect to find plenty of joy in their movements and training. Less intense, weeklong summer workshops are also available, such as Move With Mozart.

summer camps
Kids can run away to join the circus but make it back home for dinner.

Circus Camps

Kids can fly through the air with the greatest of ease at one of Iron City Circus Arts summer camp. Kids who like flipping upside down on monkey bars will transition easily to trapeze skills. But even those new to aerial arts will soon be swinging from aerial silks, swaying on the hoops, and hanging from the static trapeze. Two weeklong camps are offered according to age, with a sibling discount for a family affair.

summer camps
A new summer camp explores the ancient sport of fencing.

Fencing Camp

Fencing never goes out of style, whether it’s performed with steel swords, flat blades or light sabers.  At the JCC’s weeklong Fencing summer camp, potential pirates, Musketeers and Jedi Knights will learn how strategy and teamwork play into this centuries-old discipline. The fast-paced training helps develop quick decision-making while under pressure. Kids in grades 1-8 are invited to call out “en garde” at the Aug. 13-17 session.

summer camps
Teamwork, strength and endurance combine for rowing success.

Rowing Camp

Kids can skim over the river and develop new levels of fitness at Steel City Rowing camps. Beginners ages 12-18 will learn techniques for sweep rowing (one oar per person pulled in tandem with other rowers in a four- or eight-person boat) and advance to sculling (rowing with two oars in a single, two- or four-person boat). USRowing certified coaches cover water safety, too, in the full-day, weeklong sessions running June 18-July 30.

summer camps
Little girls just naturally fall in love with ponies.

Pony Camp

Kids who are giddy with pony love will be positively smitten with Pony Camp at Horses Unlimited Stables. Beginners receive an introduction to Western and English style riding in the weeklong sessions. Kids will learn horse care, including a hands-on pony bath to safely clean off the mud. Horse-themed crafts and games are part of the fun.

Coming up: STEM summer camps. And check out our arts-focused summer camp guide.