Your Guide to Free and Low-Cost Summer Camps in the Valley

(Photo courtesy Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department​)

By Jessica Swarner

May 4, 2022

Phoenix and its neighboring cities also have a variety of options for kids who want to stay at home this summer. 

It’s about to be that time again— soon school will be out, leaving kids stuck at home in the summer heat. 

For families considering summer camp this season, but are wary of the price, there are some free and low-cost options available. 

Here are some options for camps in the Phoenix area: 

Academic Camps

Location: Statewide

Cost: Free

Earlier this year, Gov. Doug Ducey launched the AZ OnTrack Summer Camp initiative to help Arizona students overcome learning loss experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Camps that are part of the initiative last two to eight weeks and begin as early as June. 

The best part—they’re all free. The camps are operating with over $100 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, signed by President Joe Biden in early 2021. 

Camps are available to students of any age, preschool to 12th grade. 

The governor’s office created a map of camps across Arizona so families can view the ones closest to them. 

Families who can’t find one near them or need assistance can email [email protected] or call 602-542-4331. 

Sports Camps

Location: Phoenix

Cost: As low as $15 per day, or $310 per month

The city of Phoenix offers summer sports camps for kids ages 6-12 from May 23 through July 29. 

PHXPlays Summer Camps cost $15-30 per day for drop-ins and $25-70 per week. Some camps also offer month-long blocks for $310. 

Anyone with questions can contact Gabby Vera at 602-495-0214 or [email protected]

The city also hosts a one-week sports camp (Aug. 1-5) for $150. This camp features a long list of sports and games, which will change every 20-30 minutes so campers can experience a variety of activities. 

If a child wants to focus on one activity, the city offers sports leagues—including soccer, basketball, and volleyball—throughout the summer that cost $30-70 per session. 

There’s another option for older kids who want to be more independent. Planet Fitness is offering free memberships for high school students from May 16 to Aug. 31. Any teen who signs up will be entered into a drawing for one $500 scholarship per state and a $5,000 grand prize scholarship. 

Performing Arts

Location: Tempe, Phoenix, Online

Cost: Range from $70 to $200 per week, depending on program

Childsplay in Tempe offers drama and comedy camps throughout the summer months for ages 4-17. Camps last one to three weeks. 

Prices are about $200 to $250 per week, but the organization offers full and partial scholarships for children in need. 

Childsplay also offers online classes for $70 a week for those staying at home. 

The Phoenix Conservatory of Music offers half-day camps for kids ages 3-9 and full-day camps for kids 7-18. Prices range from $75 a week for four-day programs to $175 a week. 

Youth Activities

Location: Phoenix

Cost: Price ranges from free to $80, depending on program

The city of Phoenix offers other youth activities, including gymnastics, dance, karate, music lessons, theater, Spanish, and taekwondo. 

Prices range from free to $80 for multi-week sessions. Ages range from preschool to 17. 

Staying In

Location: The comfort of your own home

Cost: Online programs are free, as low as $2 per craft kit

If in-person summer activities aren’t in the cards this year, the city of Phoenix offers craft kits for $2-25. Families can pick up the kits curbside and complete them at home with online instruction. 

If kids want to learn or improve a skill over the summer, they can check out the city’s coding resource page, with links to free online programs. 

Follow us on Instagram for more fun summer activity ideas!


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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