Registration for Summer BASE Camp 2015 is now open! See full camp schedule and descriptions below.

BASE Camp delivers creative problem-solving, hands-on projects for all 1st-8th grade kids (as of Fall 2015) from any school! Camps are led by experienced teachers with a passion for their subject matter and making the summer program fun. Read more about our 2015 BASE Camp teachers here.

Check out a calendar overview of all camps, including which ones are sold out to aid in your planning. Read detailed class descriptions below or by opening this link to our brochure.

BASE Camp runs four weeks from June 15 to July 10, in one-week and two-week camps that are 1/2-day or full-day sessions.* There is no camp on Friday, July 3. Camps for grades 1st-5th meet at Holmes Elementary School on Chicago Avenue near Oak Park Ave., and camps for 6/7/8th graders meet at Brooks or Julian Middle School or at the Oak Park Public Works Center in Oak Park.

Ready to register? Sign up online for camp. Cancellation Policy - Refunds, less a $25 fee per camper per session, must be requested at least 14 days before the start of the camp session. No refunds will be issued after that date.

The 2015 BASE Camp scholarship funding is fully allocated at this time. You can apply to be added to the wait list for possible future funding. Select the check box found within the online registration form. Learn more here.

Questions? Please contact Jenny Roen, BASE Camp Coordinator.

* Those campers attending all day can sign up for supervised lunch time. We also offer Extended Camp for parents looking for a full-day option.

  • Supervised Lunch (1st-8th) is offered between morning and afternoon sessions. Children are to bring daily their own sack lunch and beverage. After lunch and a play break, children are escorted to their afternoon camps. Cost is $40 per week ($30 for week 3).
  • 1st - 5th Extended Camp (1st-5th) - 3:00 to 6:00 PM - also at Holmes School. Need care after 3 pm for your camper? Sign up for Extended Camp! We'll play games, do crafts and more to re-energize after a long day of fun. Kids participate in a variety of structured and unstructured activities, indoors and outdoors. You'll play active group games and sports, and have time to relax with arts and crafts and table games. Fully-trained and friendly staff are provided by the Park District of Oak Park. Pick-up time is flexible, anytime before 6:00 PM.To be eligible for extended camp, kids must be enrolled in an afternoon BASE Camp session or all-day BASE Camp. Cost is $100 per week ($80 for week 3).


Camp Descriptions

1st-2nd Grades
All camps at this grade level are held at Holmes Elementary.

LEGO Landmarks (1st-2nd)
Week 1 June 15-19 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Week 2 June 22-26 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Week 3 June 29-July 2 9:00-11:30 AM $105
Week 4 July 6-10 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Using your creativity and problem-solving skills, you'll re-create out of LEGOs some of the celebrated natural and man- made wonders in the US and around the world! Projects will be student-driven, integrating architecture, geography and history, and kids will work together in a variety of group settings. We'll use technology with Google Earth and a blog documenting our projects. No previous LEGO experience required, and children may register for multiple sessions and build different landmarks each week. Indicate a buddy request on the registration form if attending with a friend.


Weather 360° (1st-2nd)
Week 1 June 15-19 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Week 2 June 22-26 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Learn about weather from all angles - wind, rain, clouds, storms. You'll do hands-on experiments to see how hot air rises to create wind, make a "weather window" to identify different types of clouds, measure and record the daily temperature, and even make it rain! You'll explore the historical myths and present-day science behind weather forecasting. Finally, you'll discover the TV weatherperson's "green screen" trick -- and create your own weather forecast video complete with a cool background of your choosing. Content will be the same both weeks.


Build A Cottage (1st-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Week 3 June 29-July 2 12:15-2:45 PM $105
Create your own miniature cottage using many different upcycled materials. You'll choose colors and decor, creating dishes, books, furniture, rugs and even a fireplace! Campers will be introduced to sewing, sculpting, bookbinding and the use of small tools. You'll learn measuring, designing, and proportion while exercising your creativity and problem-solving. You'll take home a tiny little cottage for display, imaginary play or giving away! This class is open to kids in 1st-5th grades; kids work independently and in small groups. Children may register for multiple sessions and build different cottages each week. In partnership with Little Bits Workshop.


Time Warp Tales (1st-2nd)
Week 1/2 June 15-26 12:15-2:45 PM $260
Week 3/4 June 29-July 10 12:15-2:45 PM $235
This workshop, inspired by the book series, Time Warp Trio, will lead you on a magical journey interweaving fact and fiction, history and hilarity! Exploring drawing, painting, writing and drama to create and document our amazing original adventure story, this collaborative process will culminate in a performance featuring costumes, scenery and a script of our own design for friends and family to enjoy on the last day of camp. All new adventures from last summer's! You may register for both sessions; each session will be different and driven by the campers' interests.


Science Lab (1st-2nd)
Week 1 June 15-19 12:15-2:45 PM $130
Week 2 June 22-26 12:15-2:45 PM $130
Learn about science in the world around you in ways you never expected! In our lab, you'll become the scientists who conduct exciting experiments. Together we'll investigate topics from all disciplines of science. Our experiments will often be gooey, strange, stinky, colorful, explosive, pretty, or surprising, and will always be fun! Campers are encouraged to generate and share their own ideas about the science behind what they observe. You'll finish camp with a lab book of experiments that can be conducted again at home. Content will be the same both weeks.


Explorers & Map Makers (1st-2nd)
Week 1 June 15-19 12:15-2:45 PM $130
Maps are everywhere - from treasure maps to scavenger hunts! Learn all about map reading and map making, and create your own maps to connect people, places and things. We'll take walking tours to explore, research and design our maps. You'll experiment with different art supplies, use creative storytelling and writing, look at examples of artistic maps and learn how to read a traditional map to find your way from point A to point B. You'll increase your ability to think and reason visually and spatially, and have fun doing it!


LEGO Pre-Engineering (1st-2nd)
Week 1 June 15-19 12:15-2:45 PM $130
Week 2 June 22-26 12:15-2:45 PM $130
Use our LEGO Mechanisms sets to take on exciting challenges -- building machines that carry the most weight, roll the farthest or the fastest! Working in groups or individually, you'll build vehicles, art-making robots, catapults and contraptions of all sorts. Sketch, design and create small machines, figuring out along the way what works and what doesn't. Some projects will incorporate instructions to follow while others will be free-form design, bringing out your inner inventor! No previous LEGO experience is required. Students may sign up for multiple sessions and build different machines each session.


Toy Making (1st-5th)
Week 2 June 22-26 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Week 4 July 6-10 12:15-2:45 PM $130
Love to play? Love to create? Make your own toys and games! Imagine an outdoor bubble machine that makes bubbles the size of a hippo...or juggling sticks that twirl high in the air just like the ones seen at a Medieval Fair. Together we'll create active games like concentration and bean bag toss, and lots more using hand tools. And of course we'll spend plenty of time outside collaboratively "testing" our creations! Content will be the same both weeks. This class is open to kids in 1st-5th grades; kids work independently and in small groups. In partnership with Little Bits Workshop


The Good Food Experience (1st-2nd)
Week 3/4 June 29-July 10 9:00-11:30 AM $300
Through hands-on projects and 4 field trips, you'll learn what it takes to start a food garden, raise goats for milk, keep bees for honey, provide food to the hungry, compost and more! We'll get our hands dirty and meet good food advocates in our community while we work alongside them to create a more sustainable, meaningful and delicious community together. We'll end with a presentation (with good food, of course!) on what we learned for parents and community. In partnership with Sugar Beet Schoolhouse


Hip Hop Dance (1-2nd)
Week 3 June 29-July 2 9:00-11:30 AM $105
Week 4 July 6-10 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Calling All Dancers! Get ready to hit the dance floor with a professional Hip Hop dancer to learn some of the latest Hip Hop moves. You will learn some popular moves like pop-locking and gliding. You will also learn a choreographed routine that will have you moving like a dancer in a popular music video. Once the beat hits you, who knows what original Hip Hop moves you will create! A demonstration of new skills will be offered to family and friends on the last day of each session. Sessions will be similar in content. In partnership with Keys2Broadway Educational Theater Company.


Extended Camp (1st-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 3:00-6:00 PM $100
Week 2 June 22-26 3:00-6:00 PM $100
Week 3 June 29-July 2 3:00-6:00 PM $80
Week 4 July 6-10 3:00-6:00 PM $100
You'll play games, do crafts and more to re-energize after a long day of fun. Participate in a variety of structured and unstructured activities, indoors and outdoors. You'll play active group games and sports, and have time to relax with arts and crafts and table games. Fully-trained and friendly staff are provided by the Park District of Oak Park. Please bring a non-peanut snack. Pick-up time is flexible, anytime before 6:00 PM.To be eligible for extended camp, kids must be enrolled in an afternoon camp session or all-day BASE Camp.


3rd-5th Grades
All camps at this grade level are held at Holmes Elementary.

Build A Cottage (1st-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Week 3 June 29-July 2 12:15-2:45 PM $105
Create your own miniature cottage using many different upcycled materials. You'll choose colors and decor, creating dishes, books, furniture, rugs and even a fireplace! Campers will be introduced to sewing, sculpting, bookbinding and the use of small tools. You'll learn measuring, designing, and proportion while exercising your creativity and problem-solving. You'll take home a tiny little cottage for display, imaginary play or giving away! This class is open to kids in 1st-5th grades; kids work independently and in small groups. Children may register for multiple sessions and build different cottages each week. In partnership with Little Bits Workshop


LEGO Engineering (3rd-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 9:00-11:30 AM $135
Week 2 June 22-26 9:00-11:30 AM $135
Week 3 June 29-July 2 9:00-11:30 AM $110
Week 4 July 6-10 9:00-11:30 AM $135
Use our LEGO Motorized Mechanisms to take on exciting challenges -- building machines that carry the most weight, pull things farthest, move the fastest, etc.! Working in groups or individually, you'll build vehicles, art-making robots, catapults and contraptions of all sorts. Sketch, design and create small machines, figuring out along the way what works and what doesn't. Some projects will incorporate instructions to follow while others will be free-form design, bringing out your inner inventor! No previous LEGO experience is required. Students may sign up for multiple sessions and build different machines each session. Indicate a buddy request on the registration form if attending with a friend.


The Science of Living Things (3rd-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 9:00-11:30 AM $135
Week 2 June 22-26 9:00-11:30 AM $135
Get to know insects, mammals and other living things up close and personal! We'll analyze and dissect real specimens, learning all about insect parts, animals' bones and muscles, a variety of chicken tissues, and lots more. You'll learn how living organisms are built and what makes them function. You'll use microscopes and keep a sketch journal of your observations. Content will be the same both weeks.


Clay Animation (3rd-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 9:00-11:30 AM $135
Week 1 June 15-19 12:15-2:45 PM $135
Week 2 June 22-26 12:15-2:45 PM $135
Make an animated movie using clay! You'll learn how to create an armature (framework), handle cameras, work with clay and create stop-motion animation. First you'll create a clay character and write the storyboard sequence of action for your character. Then we'll put it all together, making your clay character move so it appears seamlessly animated. Students will need clothes that can be ruined -- clay is messy! -- and simple, recycled materials to create the set (which we'll discuss during the first class). Content will be the same both weeks. Campers may sign up for multiple sessions and create different animations each session.


Digital Art (3rd-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 12:15-2:45 PM $135
Week 2 June 22-26 12:15-2:45 PM $135
If a picture's worth a thousand words, then an animated GIF is may be worth a million. GIFs are like the flipbooks of the Internet -- great for conveying thoughts and emotions that words alone can't describe, showcasing the antics of adorable household pets, making abstract art, or just giving you a good chuckle. In this camp, you'll start by creating original art that you will then use technology to animate. You will leave the class with your very own stop-motion animation to share with family and friends. Content will be the same both weeks.


Toy Making (1st-5th)
Week 2 June 22-26 9:00-11:30 AM $130
Week 4 July 6-10 12:15-2:45 PM $130
Love to play? Love to create? Make your own toys and games! Imagine an outdoor bubble machine that makes bubbles the size of a hippo...or juggling sticks that twirl high in the air just like the ones seen at a Medieval Fair. Together we'll create active games like concentration and bean bag toss, and lots more using hand tools. And of course we'll spend plenty of time outside collaboratively "testing" our creations! This class is open to kids in 1st-5th grades; kids work independently and in small groups. Content will be the same both weeks. In partnership with Little Bits Workshop


Making Zines (3rd-5th)
Week 3 June 29-July 2 9:00-11:30 AM $110
Week 4 July 6-July 10 9:00-11:30 AM $135
Share your unique voice with the world by publishing your own zine! You'll participate in observational drawing exercises, poetry workshops, personal journey map-making and haiku hikes in a process that's been used with artists and students of all ages. Creating a zine is your opportunity to express your ideas and passions through original writing, drawing and maps. The culminating event will be a field trip to create our own public art installation. Campers may sign up for multiple sessions; content will be different each session.


Video Game Lab (3rd-5th)
Week 3 June 29-July 2 12:15-2:45 PM $110
Week 4 July 6-10 12:15-2:45 PM $135
Create your own video games in the retro 8-bit style of the original Super Mario Brothers and Flappy Bird using Scratch, an easy-to-use visual programming language used by kids all over the world. Then share your creations online with your fellow campers and with the Scratch community. Send links to your friends and family and they can play, too. No previous programming experience necessary. Students may sign up for multiple sessions and build different games each session. In partnership with The Plug-In Studio.


The Good Food Experience (3rd-5th)
Week 3/4 June 29-July 10 12:15-2:45 PM $300
Through hands-on projects and 4 field trips, you'll learn what it takes to start a food garden, raise goats for milk, keep bees for honey, provide food to the hungry, use aquaponics in an indoor vertical farm, and more! We'll get our hands dirty and meet good food advocates in our community while we work alongside them to create a more sustainable, meaningful and delicious community together. We'll end with a presentation (with good food, of course!) on what we learned for parents and community. In partnership with Sugar Beet Schoolhouse.


Science Olympiad - Fun with Physics (3rd-5th)
Week 3 June 29-July 2 12:15-2:45 PM $110
Week 4 July 6-July 10 12:15-2:45 PM $135
Join us for hands-on science activities in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Open to all kids, campers may sign up for one or both Science Olympiad sessions; each session will have different content.
  • June 29-July 2: Build a 'Naked Egg Catcher' and learn the physics of momentum, collisions, impulse and force by building a device to safely catch an egg from ever increasing heights. You might get messy! Next learn about aerodynamics and Newton's Laws by building your own bottle rocket. These rockets are powered by air pressure and when launched can reach heights of 100 feet and beyond.
  • July 6-July 10: Learn about aerodynamics and Newton's Laws by building your own bottle rocket. These rockets are powered by air pressure and when we launch them can reach heights of 100 feet and beyond. Next add a passenger to your bottle rocket! Learn about air resistance and terminal velocity by adding a deployable parachute to your rocket in order to safely bring your "egg-o-naut" back to the ground. Finally, build your own glider that can circle a school gym for over 20 seconds.



Extended Camp (1st-5th)
Week 1 June 15-19 3:00-6:00 PM $100
Week 2 June 22-26 3:00-6:00 PM $100
Week 3 June 29-July 2 3:00-6:00 PM $80
Week 4 July 6-10 3:00-6:00 PM $100
You'll play games, do crafts and more to re-energize after a long day of fun. Participate in a variety of structured and unstructured activities, indoors and outdoors. You'll play active group games and sports, and have time to relax with arts and crafts and table games. Fully-trained and friendly staff are provided by the Park District of Oak Park. Please bring a non-peanut snack. Pick-up time is flexible, anytime before 6:00 PM.To be eligible for extended camp, kids must be enrolled in an afternoon camp session or all-day BASE Camp.


6th-8th Grades
Locations of camps for these grade levels are indicated below.

VEX Robotics (6th-8th)
     choose Brooks or Julian Middle School
Week 1/2 June 15-26 8:30-11:30 AM $320
Week 3/4 June 29-July 10 8:30-11:30 AM $295
Learn to design, build and program remote-controlled robots from scratch. You'll work in teams, taking on a series of exciting challenges that will build mechanical and programming skills in creating bots. This is a great opportunity for those with no experience, as well as kids with previous experience, to experiment, learn and have fun! You may sign up for both sessions; you will take on new challenges each session.


Digital Movie Making (6th-8th)
     at Brooks Middle School
Week 1/2 June 15-26 8:30-11:30 AM $320
Join us for this hands-on movie-making camp! We'll work in small teams to create 4-minute original films. Each team will collaborate on the creative process of story-board development, scene design and staging. Then you'll take turns acting out the story and filming it, working both sides of the camera. Using iMovie software, each member of the team will edit his or her own final cut to take home. A film fest of all works will end the session. Use of your own digital video camera is encouraged (no cell phone cameras), or you may share camp-provided ones. In partnership with Triton College and Bivouac Films


Waterbotics (6th-8th)
     at Brooks Middle School
Week 1/2 June 15-26 12:15-3:15 PM $320
Week 3/4 June 29-July 10 12:15-3:15 PM $295
Work in small teams to design, build, test and redesign underwater robots. You'll use LEGO Mindstorms software to program your bot to maneuver in the water, completing a series of increasingly sophisticated tasks that have challenged middle schoolers, high schoolers, and beyond! Building your bot with LEGOs, you'll quickly progress from an idea to a working prototype, with opportunities to be highly creative and innovative. Face the challenges of getting the bot to float, keeping it upright, compensating for the effects of water pushing against it, and getting it to move in three dimensions. Content will be the same both sessions. In partnership with the Triton College Department of Engineering Technology


Urban Biker (6th-8th)
     at Brooks Middle School
Week 1/2 June 15-26 12:15-3:15 PM $320
Week 3/4 June 29-July 10 12:15-3:15 PM $295
On day-one you'll ride 10 miles with this chaperoned group, building up to a 26-mile ride on the last day of camp! Practice street navigation, safe group riding in an urban environment, rules of the road and fixing problems along the way. Learn self sufficiency, independence and navigation! In addition to exploring Oak Park and River Forest with your bike as mode of transportation, ride the Salt Creek Trail and explore the surrounding communities. Required daily items include a road-ready bike with gears (no dirt bikes) and its spare inner tube, bike lock, helmet, water bottle and closed-toe shoes.


Art+Technology (6th-8th)
     at Brooks Middle School
Week 3 June 29-July 2 8:30-11:30 AM $135
Week 4 July 6-10 8:30-11:30 AM $160
Build kinetic sculptures that you program to interact, react, and communicate through light, sound, motion, and touch. Construct your artworks with PicoCrickets--programmable LEGO-like bricks--that control and power the motors, gears, and pistons that will make your artistic creations come to life. You will gain a deeper understanding of the process of design and invention -- create, program and play! Content will be the same both sessions. In partnership with The Plug-In Studio


Mural Project: Madame Curie (6th-8th)
     at the Oak Park Public Works Center
Week 1 June 15-19 8:30 AM-3:15 PM $375
Create a beautiful and meaningful mural under the el tracks this summer! Our topic will be Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie - two-time Nobel prize winner in physics and chemistry. We'll learn about her work and discovery of radium and polonium, and her techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. Then we'll design and paint a mural about her achievements on the Harvey Avenue underpass in Oak Park. Friends and family are invited to the unveiling on the last day of camp, and the community will enjoy this latest addition to OPEF's scientific mural series for years to come. This camp works well with week-2 Public Art 101 or as a stand-alone camp. Lunch supervision is included with this camp. In partnership with the Village of Oak Park.


Public Art 101 (6th-8th)
     at Brooks Middle School
Week 2 June 22-26 8:30 AM-3:15 PM $375
Using tools from paint to technology, create a vibrant public art walking tour for visitors from all over Chicagoland! You'll visit outdoor murals in Chicago to see how public art is created and promoted. You'll learn about art restoration and apply your insight as you use paint to revitalize scientific murals created by BASE Campers over past summers. Meet the people behind community art projects, then you and your fellow campers will use a variety of technologies to create an informative and engaging walking mural tour. This camp works well as a follow-up to the week -1 Mural Project or as a stand-alone camp. Lunch supervision is included with this camp.


REACH Sailing Camp (6th-8th)
     meets at Brooks, travels to Columbia Yacht Club
Week 1 June 15-19 8:30 AM-4:30 PM $495
Week 2 June 22-26 8:30 AM-4:30 PM $495
Learn to sail on Lake Michigan and explore the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math that sailors use every day! We'll take a bus each morning to the Columbia Yacht Club. We'll use REACH, the US Sailing's STEM Education curriculum, to answer questions like: How does this boat float? How does geometry affect my sailing? What is happening in the water out there? We'll also study marine debris, underwater exploration and much more! Half your day will be spent in the yacht club doing hands-on, sailing-related STEM activities, and the other half out on a J-20 sailboat, 5 campers/boat, with a US Sailing-certified instructor. Campers may sign up for multiple sessions; content will be different each session. Price includes daily bus transportation and lunch at CYC. In partnership with the Columbia Yacht Club.



BASE Camp Scholarship Policy and Prices:
  • The limited OPEF BASE Camp scholarships have been allocated for this year. You can apply to be added to the wait list for possible future funding. Select the check box found within the online registration form.
  • Only children eligible for the Oak Park District 97 free or reduced lunch program qualify for BASE Camp scholarships.
  • Scholarships for each child are limited to two weeks of full-day camp or four weeks of half-day camp, or any equivalent. The REACH Sailing Camp will be considered the equivalent of a full-day, 2-week camp scholarship. OPEF reserves the right to further limit scholarships as funds are drawn down.
  • Parents/guardians will be responsible for a portion of camp cost, ranging from $20 (for one-week 1/2 day camps) to $40 (for one-week full-day camps or two-week 1/2 day camps). Lunch supervision is $5 if attending camp all day.
  • Extended Camp Scholarships, provided by the Park District of Oak Park, are automatically approved with camp scholarship approval. The cost to you per week is $25 ($20 for wk 3) for those eligible for the "free lunch" program and $50 ($40 for wk 3) for those eligible for the "reduced lunch" program.
  • Refunds, less a $10 fee per camper per session, must be requested at least 14 days before the start of the camp session. No refunds after that time.
  • Those families requesting scholarships can register online, completing camp selections for their child but not paying their portion of the camp fee right away. They will be contacted and, if approved, camp prices will be adjusted to the scholarship levels.



Register for Summer BASE Camp 2015 here!

Summer BASE Camp 2014. New to BASE Camp and thinking about summer 2015? Take a look at four weeks of photos below to see samples of last summer's fun and learning!

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4




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