The Most Delicious Camp Ever

paulding & company desserts camp recipe

When it comes to summer activities, I generally try to engage my kids in the process and send them to camps that interest them. This year, for example, tech camp, lifeguard camp, and a family performing arts camp took up most of the summer. But every once in a while, I pick something for somewhat self-centered reasons, which is how my 11-year old daughter ended up at a week-long cooking camp at Paulding & Company.

paulding & company desserts camp 1That’s not to say that she wasn’t interested—she’s always liked puttering around in the kitchen. But how could any parent (except maybe one with a diabetic child) possibly pass up a camp that promised to “seek out the best desserts from around the world” and “indulge ourselves in the sugary wonders of the world”? To deprive my daughter of a week-long sugar rush—and myself of tasty treats–seemed almost cruel. (A momentary flash of guilt was relieved by the fact that the camp would also provide “a full and balanced lunch” every day.)

Fortunately (was there any doubt?), my daughter was completely on board. And, boy, did Paulding & Company deliver.
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Galileo Innovation Camps: Great Way to Spend the Summer—and Save Money!

galileo summer camp

Sponsored by Galileo, but all opinions are mine alone.

We all love summer vacation. And why not? For kids, it’s a long, long break from projects, homework, and essays. And for parents, it’s an equally long break from having to bug the kids to do all of those things. But there’s a downside to all that time away from school, and it’s sometimes called the “summer brain drain.” On average, kids lose from one to three months of learning between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. And teachers have to spend the first month or two of the new school year getting the kids up to speed on everything they’d learned the year before.

camp galileo4For me—and many other parents—avoiding the brain drain is a top priority. But so is giving the kids (and maybe ourselves) a little down time. The challenge, then, is to find activities that keep the mind active but are so fun that no one realizes that they’re actually learning something. In my family, that often means field trips. Lots of ‘em. Some last only a few hours, some a few weeks.

Over the years, we’ve spend incredible amounts of time at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, Zeum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Randall Museum, the DeYoung, MOMA, and many of the dozens of lesser-known museums around the San Francisco Bay Area, featuring collections of Pez, tattoos, banned toys, mummies, pinball machines, modern art, cable cars, and cartoons.

galileo 4Unfortunately, most adults can’t take off the entire summer to hang with the kids. Someone’s got to put food on the table and shoes on everyone’s feet and we don’t want to just leave the kids to fend for themselves. In most cases, that means finding camps that are both fun and educationally engaging. Oh, and is a little convenience for mom and dad too much to ask for? My kids have done day camps and sleep away camps, science camps, sports camps, boating camps, tech camps, and pretty much any other kind of camp you can think of.

One of our favorites has always been the Galileo camps, which have it all: convenience, education, fun, if you visit their website now you can save $30 per camper (sign up for their newsletter and you can win an expense-paid week at the camp of your choice). When my kids went to Galileo camps, they did art, science, and plenty of outdoors activities. I always loved that when I’d pick them up in the afternoon, they were usually filthy, exhausted, smiling, and full of stories about some cool thing they’d learned that day. The experiences they have at Galileo will last a lifetime. My older two kids (now 24 and 21) still remember the words to some of the songs they learned at Galileo—including one that involved a rubber chicken. I’ve never quite understood that one.

If you’re in the greater SF Bay Area, you can—and should!—make Galileo a part of your family’s history. Your children will get engrossed in art projects, science challenges and outdoor activities that will make them laugh, think and express themselves with complete freedom.

For kids pre-K through 4th grade, Galileo has more than 25 camps around the Bay Area (see the full list here). Every year, Galileo introduces rich, riveting new themes to inspire budding innovators. Each theme combines art, science and outdoor activities around a whimsical week-long narrative that’s crafted to keep kids giggling and engaged. This year features four fresh themes, each adapted for three different age groups. The themes are created together with Galileo’s fabulous curriculum partners at Klutz, The de Young Museum, The Tech Museum of Innovation and The Chabot Space & Science Center.
camp galileo2

  • Adventures Down Under: Art & Science of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
  • Galileo Road Trip: Art & Engineering along Route 66
  • The Incredible Human Body: Art & Science of Being Human
  • Leonardo’s Apprentice: Inventions & Art of the Renaissance

And for 5th-8th graders, there are 18 camps, called Summer Quest (see the complete list here). Summer Questers pick from 18 week-long “majors,” including digital filmmaking, video game design, fashion design, inventors workshop, chemistry, and cooking. Call it (as the camp does) “an incubator for emerging innovators.” If that doesn’t make you want to be a kid again, not much will.

camp galile3Concerned about the staff (you’d be crazy not to be)? Here’s what Galileo says about that. And I can add that in my experience, they do exactly what they say they’re going to do: “Our curriculum team spends thousands of hours developing creatively fertile themes, activities and majors. We interview thousands of applicants to find the most talented counselors and instructors. We combine those two essential elements to introduce kids to a third—an innovation process inspired by the one developed at the Stanford d.school.”

If you sign your camper for any of the Galileo camps by May 31, you can save $30 per camper by using the code 2014INNOVATION. And if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a free week of summer camp.

Images and video provided by Galileo camps.

Camp Galileo 2014 Locations

galileo promo


Use the code 2014INNOVATION to receive $30 off (limit one per camper, Camp Galileo and Galileo Summer Quest) Expires: May 31, 2014. Enter the code at sign up by clicking on the purple “sign up” button on the right-hand side of the page.

Sign up for the Galileo Newsletter and you could win a f.r.ee week of camp!

PRE-K – 4th GRADE Peninsula Camps

  • Belmont: Central Elementary School
  • Hillsborough Crystal Springs: Crystal Springs Uplands School
  • Hillsborough North: North School
  • Los Altos: Almond Elementary School
  • Menlo Park: Oak Knoll School
  • Palo Alto: Walter Hays Elementary School
  • San Carlos: Arundel Elementary School
  • Woodside: Woodside School

East Bay Camps

  • Alameda: Saint Philip Neri Catholic School
  • Berkeley: Cragmont Elementary School
  • Danville: Green Valley Elementary School
  • Fremont Ardenwood: Ardenwood Elementary School
  • Fremont Mission: Gomes Elementary School
  • Lafayette: Stanley Middle School
  • Oakland: Chabot Elementary School
  • San Ramon: Country Club Elementary School
  • Walnut Creek: Walnut Acres Elementary School

South Bay Camps

  • Cupertino: St. Joseph of Cupertino School
  • San Jose Almaden: Los Alamitos Elementary School
  • San Jose Evergreen: James F. Smith Elementary School
  • Saratoga: Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School
  • Sunnyvale: Catholic Academy of Sunnyvale: St. Martin Location

San Francisco & Marin Camps

  • San Francisco North: Presidio Middle School
  • San Francisco South: Brandeis Hillel Day School
  • Tiburon: Del Mar Middle School

SUMMER QUEST (5th – 8th GRADE)

Peninsula Camps

  • Hillsborough: Crystal Springs Uplands School
  • Los Altos: Santa Rita Elementary School
  • Palo Alto: Palo Alto High School
  • San Carlos: Arundel Elementary School

East Bay Camps

  • Berkeley: Cragmont Elementary School
  • Fremont: Gomes Elementary School
  • Lafayette: Stanley Middle School
  • Oakland: Claremont Middle School

South Bay Camps

  • San Jose Almaden: Los Alamitos Elementary School
  • San Jose Evergreen: James F. Smith Elementary
  • Saratoga: Sacred Heart School
  • Sunnyvale: Resurrection Catholic School

San Francisco & Marin Camps

  • San Francisco: Brandeis Hillel Day School
  • Tiburon: Bel Aire School