Summer Day Camp

 
 
One stage in a massive Rube Goldberg Machine make by kids ages 6-12
 
 

An immersive, five-day building experience in the heart of San Francisco's Richmond District or in beautiful San Rafael! Come build with our amazing and creative camp staff. Each week we welcome a new crew of Tinkerers and the project theme is always unique, so every Tinkering camp session is one of a kind.

Past projects we’ve built include: a 25ft tall dancing marionette. A NASA-style space mission complete with launch tower, rocket and mission control. A human size foosball table with suspended campers as the ball kickers. Tinkerers have lifted themselves into the rafters, built cars they can actually steer, and created humongous robots that deliver flowers… this list could go on for a looooong time :-)

*NEW FOR SUMMER 2020 at SF Day Camp! - Playful Prototyping  

We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Ryan Jenkins of Wonderful Idea Co. and formerly of The Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium. 

After two years of running independent summer day camps, this summer we’re finally mashing up the tinkering process and creating a new mutant program that will explode the boundaries between science, art, technology and engineering. Campers will use classic Tinkering School power tools and work with our team of curious collaborators on this epic, digitally enhanced remix. 

Combine large-scale woodworking projects with electronics, robotics, familiar & unfamiliar materials, playful programming and a whimsical spirit. These weeks will have brand new themes that specifically support explorations of motors, LEDs, linkages and computational tools. 

Multiple entry points allow both beginners and experienced tinkerers to investigate their own questions. Playful prototyping means that there are no right answers and you can follow your own path of discovery as you experiment with weird and wonderful ideas. (Dive in deeper to what this camp is like on our Day Camp Blog)

 
 
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Meet our Day Camp Program Manager

Julie Peri

This is Julie’s third summer with Tinkering School. Julie spent her first year with Tinkering School as the Overnight Camp Engineer, last year as one of two Camp Captains at Overnight Camp, and this year is taking on being the Day Camp Program Manager. Notable projects that Julie has been part of are the Overnight Camp 16’ Ferris Wheel, Afterschool Program Zipline Flying Dragons, Overnight Camp Rollercoaster and Afterschool Program Drill-Powered Cars.

 
 
 

SUMMER 2020 REGISTRATION

Sessions fill quickly, sign up for camp early!

Waitlists: If your preferred session is full, be sure to still add your name to the waitlist. Spots occasionally open up and it’s free of charge to join.

Scholarships: Tinkering School is committed to making our programs available to everyone. We offer scholarships on a pay-what-you-can basis while funds last. All families will be asked their tuition assistance preference during the registration process.

Cancelation Policy and FAQ’s

Bring a Friend Discount: Invite a new friend to camp and they can enter your name for a $25 discount during registration. We’ll also send you $25 refund before the start of camp. Limited to one referral per family while funds last.

Open Registration

  • Tinkering with wood, $625

  • Playful Prototyping, $675 - *NEW FOR 2020

Optional Services

  • Before care, $25 per session

  • After care, $100 per session

  • Before & After care, $115 per session

  • Lunch (@Mark Day School only), $45 per session.

    (Gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian options available daily)


Scroll down to view individual program details


San Francisco - Summer Day Camp

@ Brightworks School: 360 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94118

  • Session 1: June 29 - July 3, Tinkering with wood (Ages 8-12)

  • Session 2: July 6 - July 10, Tinkering with wood (Ages8-12)

  • Session 3: July 13 - July 17, Tinkering with wood (Ages 8-12)

  • Session 4: July 20 - July 24, Tinkering with wood (Ages 8-12) ALL GIRLS WEEK

  • Session 5: July 27 - July 31, Tinkering with wood (Ages 12-15) SENIORS WEEK

  • Session 6: August 3 -August 7, Playful Prototyping (Ages 8-12)

  • Session 7: August 10 - August 14, Playful Prototyping (Ages 8-12)

  • Session 8: August 17 - August 21, Playful Prototyping (Ages 8-12)

  • Camp runs from 9:30am until 3:15pm

  • Before care available from 8:30am - 9:15am

  • Drop off starts at 9:15am

  • Pick up is 3:15 to 3:30pm

  • After care available from 3:30 - 5pm


San Rafael (at Mark Day) - Summer Day Camp

@ Mark Day School: 39 Trellis Dr, San Rafael, CA 94903

  • Session 1: June 29 - July 3, Tinkering with wood (Ages 9-14)

  • Session 2: July 6 - July 10, Tinkering with wood (Ages 7-11)

  • Session 3: July 13 - July 17, Tinkering with wood (Ages 7-11)

  • Session 4: July 20 - July 24, Tinkering with wood (Ages 7-11)

  • Session 5: July 27 - 31, Tinkering with wood (Ages 7-11)

  • Camp runs from 9:00am until 3:00pm

  • Before care available from 8:30am - 8:45am

  • Drop off starts at 8:45am

  • Pick up is 3:00 to 3:15pm

  • After care available from 3:15 - 5pm

 
 
 

More Information about Summer Day Camp

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A week at Tinkering School's Summer Day Camp is Monday through Friday. Monday morning is tool training and practice, and the project isn't revealed until after lunch! We format each project to offer multiple entry points for the youngest to most advanced problem-solvers, to make sure Tinkerers stay curious and dedicated to the project as it unfolds throughout the week. 

At the SF Day Camp, every day we leave the build site and walk to Mountain Lake Park to play games, move our bodies, and take a break from hard thinking. We eat lunch in the fresh air and then return to our projects ready for an afternoon of focus and tinkering.

On Friday, we finish up building a little early so that friends and families can come and experience the project (in whatever state of completion the Tinkerers have attained!) During this time, we all appreciate each other's hard work and creativity, and then as a group, we disassemble the the project! Taking apart the projects helps us all to reflect on and appreciate our week of teamwork, problem solving, power tool operation, and fun!

We staff all of our camps and programs at 6:1 (or better!) camper to collaborator ratios. One of the best ratios for summer camps in the Bay!

 
 

What to Bring

  • A nutritious and delicious lunch.

  • Lots of extra snacks.

  • A refillable water bottle.

  • Closed-toe shoes (we work with heavy and messy things).

  • Comfortable clothes that can get dirty. (Seriously, whatever campers wear may get dirty or even torn).

  • Sunscreen already applied for the day (send extra if your child has sensitive skin). We go outside every day.