Classes & Descriptions

Classes & Descriptions

Campers have the ability to design a schedule that reflects their personal interests and goals for the summer! Pick and choose from over 60 class offerings spanning the arts, science, athletics, and more! For class descriptions, click on a category below.

For the 2018 Schedule, click here.

  • A Little Bit of This and That

    Cooking with NWS
    The Northwest School is known for delicious lunches designed and prepared by our professional kitchen team. Join our chefs in preparing some of their favorite dishes. Go home with full bellies and scrumptious new recipes! $25 materials fee

    Creature Crafts
    Looking for a new friend who is cute and cuddly or scary and weird? You've come to the right place! In this class, you will gain the skills needed to sew up your own plush creature creation. We will use recycled fabrics, found objects, and more, to give life to your new pal. The only limit is your creativity.  $25 materials fee  

    Exploring Seattle
    Students in this course explore Seattle through field trips. Together we visit a range of local sites and participate in a variety of activities to become better acquainted with the rich history and cultural diversity the city has to offer. While each session involves excursions outside the classroom, each focuses on a different theme and involves different field trips. $25 materials fee

    Session 1: People - Seattle is home to diverse communities of people. In this session, we will travel to a range of cultural sites, including the Wing Luke Museum, the Duwamish Longhouse, and the Klondike Gold Rush National Park. You’ll learn how to say “hello” in a local indigenous language, get to walk through a historic hotel, and see what was sold in the first Nordstrom store, all while learning about the people who call Seattle home.

    Session 2: Places - Seattle is known for the Space Needle. But what other places make the city special? In this session, we will visit the Bullitt Center, the greenest building in the world, take the elevator to the top floor of Seattle’s tallest skyscraper, and dip our toes in the Puget Sound at Alki Beach. Exploring various places throughout Seattle will give us a unique perspective on the city’s history.

    Session 3: Cultures - Some of the best food, art, and music in the world can be found right here in the Emerald City. In this session, we will treat ourselves to the Seattle’s most popular ice cream, admire the paintings and sculptures at Frye Art Museum, scavenge for the cutting-edge street art throughout Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and meet some local musicians. By the end of the session, you’ll be an expert on the culture the city has to offer. 


    Fashion Studio: 1000 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt
    There are so many ways to personalize a t-shirt. In this class, we will learn how to alter t-shirts to fit better, cut them in ways to make them extra cute, embellish them with our own designs, and paint on them to create our own textiles, all while using up-cycled t-shirts. $25 materials fee 

    Fashion Studio: Re-FABULOUS
    Learn how to personalize your style and repurpose found fabrics and thrift-store finds into something cool and uniquely you. Using embellishment and a combination of hand and machine sewing, we will breathe new life into everyday pieces. Create something fabulous for your wardrobe! $25 materials fee  

    Film Studies: Hayao Miyazaki’s Anime
    Miyazaki’s films are some of the most popular in contemporary cinema. Global acclaim for his films is undoubtedly due to his beautiful animation. However, his characters and stories speak across cultural borders. In this class, we will look at films reflecting core issues important to Miyazaki such as pollution and the environment, women and gender roles, and socioeconomic differences.  

    Film Studies: Science Fiction and Fantasy
    Using television shows and movies like Dr. Who, Star Trek, and Harry Potter we will explore social issues and expand our creative side.  We may look into topics like gender roles, racism, over use of technology, and care for the environment.  During class we will watch movies and shows, and then explore them through art, writing, and discussion.  Some movies may be PG 13.   

    Life Skills/LEAD
    This is a program for the development of young leaders. Conflict management and peer mediation, social responsibility, advanced problem solving, team building, community action, plus big helpings of fun and action—these are just some of the areas on which we’ll focus in this dynamic project. Come out on the other side of this program ready to lead.   Must be native English speaker or have Intermediate to Advanced English skills.   

    Life’s a Game!
    Can life skills and insights into the human condition be learned through board games? In this class, we will explore the techniques needed to be both a successful successful board game player. We'll learn how games can be used to teach reason, logic, mathematics and strategy. You only need a positive attitude and a love of games to enjoy this class!


    Thai Fruit & Vegetable Carving
    Believed to have originated in Thailand more than 700 years ago, food carving is now taught in primary and secondary schools throughout the country. Join NWS chef Rung Muanggan as he shares his culture’s heritage through this revered art form. $25 materials fee  

  • Architecture

    We are excited to partner again with the Seattle Architecture Foundation to offer two innovative classes!  

    Designing Seattle  
    This class will focus on long term urban planning and architecture through the lens of Seattle’s unique history. Students will learn how the Seattle we know today was created by – and still struggles with – decisions made decades ago, and learn from local architects about major projects underway in Seattle today. Students will then design and build their own solution to a challenge facing our urban community. $25 materials fee

    Intro to Architectural Modeling
    In this deep dive into the world of architectural modeling, the class will learn about the use of models in architectural practice, while exploring the many different forms a “model” can take, from balsa wood creations and sketches, to VR environments and 3D printing. Students will then construct their own tradition presentation model, bringing their designs to life. $50 materials fee

  • Computers Arts & Electronics

    Computer Animation
    In the world of animation, if you can imagine it, you can create it. This is your chance to bring your imagination to life. We’ll learn to express our ideas in pictures and words while discussing storyboarding, scriptwriting, scenic layout, and more.  

    Digital Music
    You are the conductor, composer, and musician! This class will introduce you to music theory and have you developing pieces inspired by different genres. Using Garage Band software, you’ll be able to create and edit sound while learning sequencing programs to assemble your musical masterpieces.  

    DIY Robots
    This class will be about making battery-driven scooting, lurching, and walking machines. We'll explore electronics and engineering as we discuss the parts necessary to make electricity produce movement. Students will work in teams to construct kinetic artworks. $50 materials fee  

    Filmmaking Studio
    Lights, camera, action! Dive into the world of filmmaking creating, shooting, and editing your very own short film. As a class, you will devise a concept, storyboard, and write a script. We’ll then form a production crew, rotating roles to shoot, direct, and act. Finally, we’ll edit the film together before debuting it at the camp showcase. $25 materials fee

    Hot Rod Workshop
    By using batteries and motors for power, we’ll learn to make small-scale drag racing machines! Creativity and ingenuity will be necessary as we convert everyday common materials into fast-moving machines. At the end of the class, students keep their creations! $25 materials fee  

    Music for Film We study favorite movies to gain insight into how music is an integral part of the storytelling and emotional impact of the art of film. This class will include a visit with Seattle's premiere soundtrack recording studio (The Revenant, Selma, Diablo), the chance to meet a film composer, and a final project in which you create your own soundtrack to an animated short. Active listening, critical thinking, and respectful discussion are key parts of the class.  

    Sumo Bots
    Custom build your own sumo bot! Working in teams, we will create a mechanical structure, decide on an electronic system, and program the robots’ software. With in-class competitions, we’ll continue to refine our creations. Let the battle begin!  $50 materials fee        

  • English Language Learners (ELL)

    English language learners are welcome to enroll in any of our Summer Camp classes, unless a class is listed as requiring native English proficiency. Below are classes specifically for ELL students who wish to improve their English language skills. Due to the integrative nature of our camp, international campers must have at least one year of English instruction and be able to understand basic instruction.  

    Speaking & Presentation – Beginning & Intermediate
    In this class, we will work on pronunciation, enunciation, and projection. Through repeated practice and small-group activities, you will become more at ease in your overall language ability. Campers will be assessed and divided into appropriate levels on the first day of class.  

    Beginning Level – Campers designated as beginners will have had at least one year of English instruction and be able to understand basic inquiries (e.g. how are you, what is your name, etc.). The class will focus on expanding vocabulary and building confidence in using English. We will also have an emphasis on listening comprehension so that students are more able to participate in conversation with native speakers.  

    Intermediate Level – Campers designated as intermediate are able to communicate in English, but want to build their conversation and presentation skills. Using English as a bridge, students will interact with classmates to learn about their cultures, habits, expectations, and aspirations. They will then relate what they have learned about each other in classroom presentations, where they will focus on pronunciation skills such as cadence, intonation, stress, and overall fluency.  

    Reading & Writing – Beginning & Intermediate
    Through reading, we will develop our English vocabulary. We will then work on expressing your thoughts clearly and eloquently in writing. Our instructors will begin with the basics and guide you through the rules of English composition. Campers will be assessed and divided into appropriate levels on the first day of class.

    Beginning Level – In this class, students will review phonetics, spelling, and grammar, while also building their vocabulary. We’ll look at creative writing as well as news articles and short stories to find inspiration for our own written pieces.  

    Intermediate Level – Students will spend time reading and writing in multiple genres, including poems and short stories, and practical genres like menus and letters, to help them develop their language skills.

  • Math & Science

    Human Physiology
    Why does your heart speed up when you exercise? Why do you need sleep? How does blue light run your sleep (including staring at your phone screen at night). We’ll answer these questions and more as we study how the human body functions.  

    Marine Biology: Our Changing Ecosystems
    Marine ecosystems are rapidly changing due to pollution, global warming, and human consumption. In this class, we will study the biodiversity of marine life and how climate change is affecting coral reefs and the pH of the ocean. Taking advantage of our proximity to the Puget Sound, we will use low tide to explore our own shores!  

    Math: Algebra & Geometry Lab
    Review your understanding of beginning algebraic principles while expanding your spatial understanding. Exploring the connections between Algebra and Geometry, we will cover topics such as linear equations, functions and graphing, polynomials, congruence, similarity, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Intended for students ages 13+   

    Math: Surviving Middle School
    Whether you’re looking to get a jump start on middle school math or just trying to keep current with your studies, this class will challenge you to apply basic skills to real problems. We will emphasize proportional thinking and algorithms, and learn to communicate math reasoning and organization. Depending on students’ ability, we may also introduce Pre-Algebra and Pre-Geometry concepts. Intended for students ages 10-12  

    Survival Biology
    A look into how basic biology holds up the backbone of our society. We will pose the question: “How does a society rebuild after a large scale natural disaster or cataclysm?” Using raw materials, we will dive into the science of soap making, water purification, food preservation, medicine, and other things we usually take for granted.   

  • Music & Performing Arts

    African Drums
    We provide the drums, you bring the rhythm. In this annual favorite, you will be introduced to the sounds of West Africa through drums, games, and storytelling.  

    Improvisational Theater
    Improvisation is the ability to make things up on the spot—a skill that comes in handy in many aspects of life! In this class, we will explore the basics of improv through exercises in agreement, commitment, spontaneity, and listening. You will test your creativity as well as build your confidence.  

    NWS Rock Band
    Calling all experienced musicians—join the NWS Summer Camp Rock Band! This performing arts class offers students a hands-on opportunity to explore the broad techniques of popular music. We cover great standards, learning about band roles, the tricks for making a cover unique and interesting, and rehearsal protocol to bring out the best in every member. Most importantly, we have fun rocking out! Open to singers and players of guitar, bass, drums, uke, piano, and any band or orchestra instrument. Required: significant experience on your instrument. Instrumentalists must bring their own instrument.  

    One Act Plays
    Learn the inner workings of the theater world by exploring your creativity through one act plays. We will select the play(s), improvise the set, and put on a performance for our fellow campers. If time allows, we may even develop our own script!  

    Songwriting for Everyone
    Have you always wanted to try writing a song? Here's the place to give it a try! Learn the art of songwriting through fun games and exercises. We will explore lyrics, melody, phrasing, rhymes and inspiration. You don’t have to play an instrument. All this class requires is a willingness to tap into and share your creativity.  

    Ukulele Fundamentals
    Learn fundamental skills to get you playing the ukulele. We'll work on rhythm, strumming patterns, and some fingerpicking. With a few basic chords you can play along with others and accompany yourself on a multitude of songs. We will provide concert level ukuleles for in-class use. If you have one of your own, please feel free to bring it in!  

    Vocal Performance Choir
    If you love to sing, this class is for you. Experience the joy of singing with other students from around the world. Students will learn vocal development through proper breath control, articulation, ear training and presentation. Our daily practices will prepare you to share your vocal talents with your fellow campers, instructors, and family members at our final student concert.  Come sing, grow, and learn with us!  

  • Sports & Movement

    Our sports and movement classes offer campers the opportunity to learn and build camaraderie through active play. Through a variety of sports, exercise, and dance, we will foster health, fitness, and teamwork. Campers should come to class prepared with appropriate attire.  

    Advanced Recess
    Don't care what you do as long as you can get out and run around? This class is for you! Bringing back old school recess favorites like street hockey and dodgeball, as well as new favorites like Ultimate Frisbee, this class will have you on your feet and out in the summer sun. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.

    Basketball
    We’ll focus on introducing and developing fundamental basketball skills through a variety of fun drills, games, and scrimmages. You will practice shooting form, dribbling, and passing, as well as offensive and defensive footwork and principles. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.  

    Capoeira: Afro-Brazilian Martial Arts
    Developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil to fight against colonial oppression, this “dance of war” weaves tradition, history, spirituality, and philosophy into a uniquely beautiful art form. Combining elements of breakdancing and martial arts, with a soundtrack of Brazilian songs and instruments, this class is a great way to gain flexibility and strength while learning how to express yourself through your body.  

    Fitness Studio
    Our fitness class is all about having fun while getting an education about proper exercise technique, strengthening our bodies, and improving our cardiovascular conditioning. We will also learn ways to incorporate fitness activities and exercises into our daily lives that will help keep us strong, committed, and healthy.

    Hip-Hop, Ya Don’t Stop!
    Can't stand still when there's a good beat on the radio? Glued to YouTube videos featuring the latest dance moves? This is the class for you! Using the latest trends as inspiration, you'll develop your own individual style and create a personal hip-hop swagger. 

    NetSports
    Enjoy summertime favorites such as volleyball, badminton, and tennis. Practice serving, rallying, and spiking as you challenge each other in teams. Then grab a racquet and practice your swing in badminton and tennis as you pair up in doubles or establish your independence in singles. This class may be held outside, if weather permits. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.  

    Self Defense
    Develop the emotional and physical acuity to go from idle to “ready to react.” Drawing from martial arts, including Kali/Escrima, Aikido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Silat, this class will give you the skills and resources to protect yourself in a wide array of situations. We will also explore non-violent personal safety tactics for you to keep handy in your pocket and ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.  

    Soccer
    Build your skills in the world’s favorite sport! We’ll practice standard moves, learn new strategies that we will put into play during scrimmages. This class will be held outside, rain or shine.  

    Urban Hiking
    Often referred to as the Emerald City, Seattle is an urban gem full of hidden natural oases, sweeping vistas, historic landmarks, and amazing art installations. Whether you are a local Seattleite, or new visitor to the city, you will discover that Seattle is best explored by foot. This class is a great opportunity to connect with fellow campers, enjoy the Seattle summer, and discover the physical and mental benefits a simple walk can provide.  

    Yoga Studio
    This class is about exploring flexibility, strength, and relaxation. Practicing yoga postures can create stronger focus, better sleep, and happier people. We will laugh, move, stretch, and breathe while studying proper alignment, anatomy, and how to live in and feel our bodies.  

    Zumba – Summer Camp Style!
    Get fit dancing! Stay active at camp as we break down steps, add some games, and cultural exploration…all to a global soundtrack.  

  • Visual Arts

    Ceramics: Functional Pottery
    Want to make a new coffee mug for your mom? Perhaps you want a one-of-a-kind cereal bowl. Using coil building and slab work, you will find gratification in creating, from scratch, an item to use in everyday life.  

    Ceramics: Shaping Sculptures
    Take a lump of clay and turn it into art! In this class, we will explore clay-handling techniques as you learn to represent gesture, proportion, mass, structure, and surface form in three dimensions.  

    Comic Art & Illustration  
    Build your drawing skills and create your own original comic. In this class, you'll develop a signature style while learning the art of storytelling through 2D interpretations of action, sound, and expression. $25 materials fee  

    Flora & Fauna Illustration
    Take a deeper look at the natural world around you. Learn to capture and understand the detail of scientific drawings and work from the observation of plants and animals to create realistic and beautiful illustrations. $25 materials fee  

    Glass Mosaic Studio
    In this companion class to our popular Stained Glass Studio, you’ll learn the art of cutting, grinding, and affixing colorful stained glass to a solid background. You’ll be able to use your new skills while you cover your own object with a mosaic design that you create. $25 materials fee  

    Jewelry Making Studio
    Design your own wax molds, enamel your own rings, set your own stones, and learn to do it all under the tutelage of our professional artist! We will experiment with traditional and contemporary mediums to create unique wearable works of art. $25 materials fee  

    Painting Studio
    Exploring fundamental concepts with form and brush, you will learn the properties of paint and become comfortable with color mixing, brush handling, and color temperature. We will draw inspiration from different genres as we work with still life, the natural landscape, and our imaginations! $25 materials fee  

    Photography: Going Old School!
    Learn photography the old-school way! With your own 35mm manual camera, or using one of ours, you will master the basic camera functions and develop your photos in our professional dark room. $50 materials fee 

    Photography: Your Digital World
    In this class, spend some time outside taking pictures, and then spend time inside learning how to transform the images with Adobe® Photoshop®. Practice finding a good photo wherever you are, regardless of your environment. Then, learn how to make subtle changes to your photos to make them just that much better (as many professionals do) and also how to completely change your photos. Be ready to share your work with the class and (optionally) the whole camp. We recommend bringing your own, but digital cameras available for class use if needed. $25 materials fee  

    Printmaking Studio
    This class is all about the art of multiples! We will go through the process of designing, creating, and running our own prints on paper and on fabric using block printing, screen printing, and other techniques. $25 materials fee  

    Stained Glass Studio
    Learn to design magnificent pieces under the instruction of a professional stained glass artist. Choose from a variety of patterns, then cut out glass shapes, work with lead-free solder, and create a one-of-a-kind piece that will fill any space with color and light. $25 materials fee  

    Stained Glass Studio – 3D
    This class is the newest edition to our Glass Studios. Building on skills learned from Stained Glass Studio, we will work on 3D projects such as kaleidoscopes, jewelry boxes, and rocking horses. Previous experience in stained glass helpful but not necessary. $25 materials fee  

    Stop Motion Animation
    Come explore the original form of animation! We will work together to write a script, design and develop characters and props, and explore filmmaking skills such as lighting, camerawork, and editing. Whether using clay, household items, or ourselves, we’ll create a short film to share with the camp community. $25 materials fee  


  • Writing Studio

    Writing: Creative Studio
    In this class, we will learn how to craft stories by thinking about genre and plot structure. We will write several short stories that play with the genre conventions of historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, children’s literature, and biography.  Must be native-English speaker or have intermediate ELL skills.  

    Writing: Journalism
    Learn how to gather ideas and turn them into a good story. We’ll discuss interviewing tips, sentence structure, and journalism ethics. We’ll then develop content, work on graphic layout and design, and put together a weekly newsletter to share with everyone at camp. Must be native-English speaker or have intermediate ELL skills.    

    Writing: Surviving Middle School
    Going beyond grammar, this class will focus on project-based writing and help students develop research skills necessary for assignments students may encounter during the school year. Must be native-English speaker or have Advanced ELL skills.  

Summer Camp