Learning doesn’t stop just because school isn’t in session. Growing kids have growing minds, and in Springfield, kids can engage in a variety of educational programs and camps to continue their education through the summer months. From state-of-the-art library facilities and a comprehensive children’s science center to myriad park board, school district and university-sponsored programs, you’ll find an abundance of enriching educational experiences and activities for children of all ages—and adults too—year-round.

With 12 branches and a mobile library, you can easily find yourself lost in the pages of a literary masterpiece or sipping coffee with a friend while the kids enjoy an interactive workshop or story time. Our library district has programming for all ages, from craft classes and lunch-and-learns for adults to hands-on educational programs in science, computer programming, musical theater and much more for kids.

Our library district has state-of-the-art facilities with three “destination” libraries that tout amenities comparable to today’s best urban facilities, including coffee and gift shops, fully equipped computer labs and unique specialized collections in consumer law, automotive repair, local history and genealogy. Whether you’re checking out a book, using your library card to access the latest DVD or CD release or attending a program, the Springfield-Greene County Library District has educational opportunities for the whole family.

Springfield’s downtown science center provides approachable, hands-on, learning experiences offering more than 200 exhibits and 40 programs to engage kids—and the young at heart—in the love of scientific discovery. Visitors can explore subjects across a spectrum of sciences, from geology to chemistry, physics to life science, culture to nanotechnology and more. Wander through giant-sized anatomical models. Examine DNA in the ChromoZone gallery. See if your hair stands on end with the popular Van de Graff Generator. And with educational events and student outreach like Science Sprouts and Discovery Science Club, year-round learning is possible at the Discovery Center.

SPARC is a partnership between the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and Springfield Public Schools that promotes opportunities for youth and families through before- and after-school programs, summer camps, sport leagues and increased availability of joint school/park facilities.

In the summertime, there’s a camp for every child! Does your young one enjoy the outdoors? Then they will love the camp held at Ritter Springs Park where campers spend their summer days with activities like archery, canoeing, fishing and caving. Is your camper getting a little too old to go to day camp in the summer? That’s not a problem with programs like Quest School’s Out that focuses on activities for youth ages 11–14, including gaming tournaments, paintball and field trips to the lake. Or how about summer fun in a safe and familiar environment? Easy. Just pick your preferred school or park where one of 9 SPARC camps are being held!

Affiliated with Drury University, The Center for Gifted Education is believed to be one of only 17 complete gifted education centers in the United States. Each summer, more than 700 children attend the residential and nonresidential pre-college programs: Summer Pals (pre-K through 1), Summer Quest (grades 2 through 5), Summerscape (grades 6 through 8) and Drury Leadership Academy (grades 9 through 11). The hands-on courses allow gifted children to interact with peers of similar academic abilities and interests while pursuing areas of interest they would not have a chance to study elsewhere.

Drury University is also the award venue for the Duke University Talent Identification Program, which searches through 16 south-central states to locate seventh graders who perform at college level on the SAT or ACT.

Whether you’re looking for a place where your kids can learn all summer long or just for a week or two, the Ozarks Regional YMCA Summer Day Camp program provides children K-5 with a variety of exciting activities and field trips from indoor or outdoor swimming and skating to bowling and glow golf.

Explore sessions for elementary, middle and high school students each summer keep kids learning over the extended break—and this isn’t your average classroom experience. Students have options for their course of study, such as STEAM Works for grades 3 through 5 and Outdoor-U for middle schoolers. High schoolers have a wide variety of options from college prep in Explore University to courses on finance, computer applications or web design. If your kiddos like arts and crafts, consider the Artworks courses taught by professional artists and art teachers in the visual, media and performing arts.