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You’ll be amazed what your little people will whip up at Young Chefs Academy. Courtesy Young Chefs Academy/Instagram

Before we dive into our rundown, an important word about water safety. If your young’uns go anywhere near a body of water this summer, it’s going to come down to either you doing your job and protecting them by forcing them to wear a totes uncool life jacket or them going on without one and not only putting you in the crosshairs of a hefty fine but possibly ruining y’all’s lives. Drowning is the leading cause of death on the water in Texas, and more than 75% of last year’s victims were not wearing life jackets. This season will be the first with new state laws in effect. Now, all motorboats must have at least one readily accessible life jacket for every single person onboard, even the too-cool-for-school teens, and everyone under 13 must wear a life jacket on a watercraft shorter than 26 feet and on a canoe, kayak, or paddleboat. Strap up, chillun. It’s the law.

This isn’t to say water is the only fun thing happening this summer for the little peace snatchers. There’s a bevy of camps, including a snippet of our faves below.

 

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From June thru August, School of Rock (4608 Bryant Irvin Rd, Ste 454, Fort Worth, 817-332-7625) will offer several camps for all levels. For the 5-to-7-year-olds, there’s Rookies Camp (Aug 5-9), and for the beginners between 7 and 12, there’s Rock 101 (Jun 3-7, Jun 10-14, Jul 8-12). All the other camps are delightfully themed: Best of the ’90s (Jun 17-19), Taylor Swift (Jun 24-28), Pop Punk (Jul 15-19), ’80s Rock (Jul 22-26), and The Beatles (Jul 29-Aug 2). Visit SchoolofRock.com.

 

As the father of a kiddo who loves to use his hands when he’s not play-fighting with me (connnnstantly), I highly recommend Young Chefs Academy (6333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Ste 260, Fort Worth, 817-989-2433). Their camps are only three hours long, but — slap Bobby Flay with a fillet of flounder — do they pack a ton of learning into that meager time — and also a lot of delicious food that we parents get to sample afterward because we brought you into this world! Some standouts I recall were these fluffy, salty pretzels with a scrumptious savory cheese sauce and a velvety cupcake. #yum All skill levels welcome. Ages 7 to 15. Visit YoungChefsAcademy.com.

 

Benbrook Stables (10001 Benbrook Blvd, Fort Worth, 817-249-1001) is just a wonderful place, and if you’ve got a kiddo who loves animals as much as ours does, it’s a great retreat for summer learning and fun. And at Benbrook during camp two summers ago, when my child was still in the single digits and super-shy, he actually wrote down his email address on a slip of paper and gave it to a fellow camper, a young lady whom he described as “strong and a leader, just like Mom.” Dawwwww! And while love might not be in the air mingling with that lovely farmy aroma, there’s a ton to do at Benbrook to keep the youngsters’ feet firmly on the ground. Like when they’re not in stirrups, because campers won’t ride all day, but they will be doing some riding. They’ll also enjoy arts and crafts, grooming tutorials, hayrides, and even “refreshing horse baths on those scorching summer days.” Space is limited. Visit BenbrookStables.com.

 

Stage West (821 W Vickery Blvd, Fort Worth, 817-784-9378) is another local institution that does summer camps proper. The theater’s offerings are for kids 5-12 and cover all aspects of the stage experience, chiefly acting, stagecraft, and teamwork. This summer, it’s Finding Nemo: Musical Theatre Camp for kids 8-12 (Jun 3-7 and Jun 10-14) and the Ultimate Theatre Camp for kids 7-13 (Jun 24-28). Even if your little one is just a ham without any real interest in being onstage or in front of a camera or without any real interest in anything other than play-fighting his old man, like mine, they’ll be more than engaged and entertained at this Near Southside haven. Visit StageWest.org.

 

I have to say that, as the parent of a 504 kid, I can’t express enough how wonderful the good folks are at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (1600 Gendy St, Fort Worth, 817-255-9300). When my son was at one of their summer camps a few years back, he was assigned a special “helper,” a wonderful young man who walked him through all the assorted activities while making his day a little brighter in the process. Thank you. Anyway, the science center offers two kinds of camps: STEM Squad for rising first-thru-fourth graders and Junior Curators for rising fifth-thru-eighth graders. Reserve your spot now because they’re going fast. Visit FWMuseum.org.

 

And many faith-based organizations also have summer camps and programs this season. Read about some of them in Big Ticket under “Calendar” at FWWeekly.com.

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