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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.

Older woman reading books to children in a library

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.

Little girl working on a project at The Discovery Center in Springfield, MO

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.


2023 Crew Camps & Discover Camps

In addition to year-round learning, the Discovery Center is offering various summer camps in 2023 for children aged 4 to 14, starting from May 22 to August 18. The camps are divided into two categories: crew camps and discovery camps. 

Crew camps are for children aged 4 to 13, and are focused on specific interests such as adventure, gaming, science, and art, among others. Discovery camps, on the other hand, are for children aged 4 to 14, and provide opportunities for outdoor exploration, science experiments, and building 3D models. 

The registration for both types of camps will open on February 20, 2023. The prices of the camps range from free to $280, depending on the type of camp and age of the child. The Discovery Center encourages parents to pre-register since the spots are limited.

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!

Children sitting at a table during summer camp activities

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.


2023 Summer Quest/Summer Pals Camp Details

Taught by qualified teachers, the courses are designed to enrich and accelerate the students’ learning through hands-on activities. The program is led by Director Mary Potthoff, Resident Psychologist Brandi Klepper, and Program Coordinator Ariele Lee. 

This year’s camp runs from June 19 to June 30, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, at Day Spring School in Springfield. The cost for the program is $195, and you can check Drury University’s 2023 camp event page to see more about how to apply.

Young girl holding up tickets and wearing big eye glasses

Whether you’re looking for a place where your kids can learn all summer long or just for a week or two, both the YMCA’s Camp Wakonda and the Ozarks Regional YMCA Summer Day Camp programs provide children of all ages with a variety of exciting activities and field trips to help make their summer exciting, productive, and full of learning and making memories.  

At Camp Wakonda, youth will be able to enjoy activities like a climbing tower, stand-up paddle boarding, riflery, fishing, archery, swimming, and many more fun activities.

At the Summer Day Camps, children will be able to play sports, learn about science and nature, do activities and games, and develop friendships with other children at camp. With so many summer fun opportunities between the two, you’ll want to consider the YMCA’s summer camps!

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.