Thinkertown! - Pingry Summer
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Short Hills
Rising Grades K - 5
7/25 - 8/5 View All
Full Day
Signature Program
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Full Day: $1600                          Time: 9:00 – 3:30

Course Description

Thinkertown! is a collaborative in-person experience where campers build a small town and engage in real-world concepts through role play and experiential learning to develop 21st century skills!

In the day time, campers will participate in fun challenges, projects, and tasks to develop real-world skills and experience real-world scenarios within our town. For example:

CHALLENGE: A counselor interrupts morning meeting with news that the Thinkertown! Bridge has collapsed! Campers are divided into teams and each team is given a box of supplies to help rebuild the bridge. Will the new bridge withstand a storm (blast from water hose) and/or other elements?! How do we brainstorm and work together to make adjustments!?

DAILY TASKS: Thinkertown! Campers experience dependability by playing roles in an actual operating infrastructure, such as delivering the mail or tending the town garden. Campers are encouraged to learn 5 things about a different camper each day to build a community bond.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: Each “Thinkertown! grade will have an opportunity to raise money for charity, then research and select an organization to donate to.

Across the experience, there will be layered in learning to build several key competencies

  • Social and Emotional Learning
  • Executive Functioning
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainability
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Creative problem-solving and innovation

In the afternoon, campers will participate in various activities ranging from team sports, hikes, and short field trips that build on the foundation of what they learn in the morning!

How the Camp works

The Camp will be an in-person experience for Summer 2022. Each session lasts two weeks. Students can register for the full day camp. The entire experience is a curated experience.


  • Snacks, camp t-shirts, camp water bottles and lunch are provided.


At Thinkertown, young learners exercise their imagination, stretch their skills and move their bodies through a thoughtful curation of activities. A typical day at Thinkertown starts with a centering Morning Meeting, focusing on social and emotional learning as well as relationship building. Campers then collaborate with same-grade friends on a weekly-themed Thinkertown Challenge, navigating through rich dramatic play and problem-solving experiences. Laughter is as much part of Thinkertown as “hidden academics.” Before the close of the morning, Thinkertown campers meet in mixed-grade teams for a daily Tinkertown Community Activity, focused on wellness and civic engagement. After refueling with lunch and recess, full-day campers embark on an Afternoon Adventure for an exciting surprise each day!

What might a Thinkertown Challenge look like

Each week, grade-level groups will be given a challenge project tailored for their age-group to explore different components of Thinkertown. Below are a few samples!

What kind of transportation will Thinkertown need?

Learn about the needs and wants of people and the town, think about the pros and cons of different energy sources, discover more about existing systems – buses, trains, planes and more – as you design what Thinkertown will need. Will we need to be able to navigate in water and on land? Will we use solar power panels? Build and prototype as you invent and innovate. Rovers that land easily in the woods? Scooters that work on water? At the end, share your spectacular creation a Thinkertown showroom!

What kind of animal would thrive in Thinkertown?

All organisms have external body parts that are used for various purposes – to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves and take in air, water and food. Campers will gain a deeper understanding of local animals and what their needs are by going on hikes and trails around the campus, with safe live-interaction when possible. Campers will then design the ultimate animal to address various needs and design a to-scale prototype using various claywork and art techniques. The final products will be displayed at the town museum at the end of the week for visitors to see!

What stores are on Thinkertown’s Main Street?

Whether you’re starting a Thinkertown bakery or a local sustainable skincare store with handmade soaps and lotions, what kind of products are your customers looking for? What is the chemistry behind how different ingredients interact with each other? What supplies will you need and where will you get them from? How can we develop eco-friendly packaging? Learn the ins and outs and get creative in the process of setting up a store with your friends! Make some to sell in the Tinkertown marketplace and take some home to share with friends and family.

What happens during the Community Activity time?

Every day, campers will engage in mixed-age groups in activities related to wellness and civic engagement.

Thinkertown Human Values Program will give children the tools they need to thrive and meet life’s challenges with a smile. Through breathing techniques, games, yoga, creative projects, problem-solving strategies, interactive processes and service projects, children learn tools and skills to:

  • Release stress and negative emotions
  • Boost concentration and memory
  • Build self-confidence
  • Handle peer pressure and bullying
  • Strengthen human values and social skills


Full-day campers will set off in the afternoons for fun and exciting adventures. Below are a few examples of some potential surprises!

Ecology Scavenger Hunt
Pack a picnic and lace up your hiking boots! We’re headed out to explore the outside world. Instilling wonderment for and value in protecting our environment, our Ecology Scavenger Hunt introduces them to local animals, insects and plants.

Escape Room
What happens with a modern day inventor has been kidnapped and her machine has been reprogrammed to destroy Thinkertow?. To save the town, students must deactivate the device but they will need to get through four padlocks in less than an hour. Multiple locked boxes and clues are scattered across campus and only by deciphering these together, will campers be able to find the hidden keys to save the day!

Low Ropes Course Challenge
Campers learn about team-building and facing fears in a ground-based course designed using a series of cables, ropes and obstacles. The Low Ropes Course Challenge is a group challenge that tests balance and strength as well as communication and teamwork. As the group begins to move toward success, they discover the parallels between these activities and the challenges in their day to day life.

Field Trip: Sustainable Farming Field Trip to Basking Ridge
Get ready to plant some vegetables, care for chickens and operate an active composter! Pingry’s Basking Ridge campus’ sustainable farm is the perfect hands-on environment to learn more about sustainable farming techniques. Campers will also go on discovery hikes along the trails and also gain some experience cooking over a campfire!


Available for Full Day.

Camp Credentials

  • This course is run by a Pingry faculty member or adjunct teacher.

What to Pack

  • A water bottle

Drop-Off/Pick-up Location

Front Loop

What to Expect

Enrichment. Advancement. Development. A Summertime Taste of Pingry’s Academics.

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