Summer camp season has arrived. Are you and your children in agreement on what you want from their summer camp this year? Chances are, you’re hoping for a camp that will keep your kids occupied, active and learning and creating throughout the summer. And your kids … your kids probably just want to have fun!
“The good news is summer fun and learning don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” says Michelle Cote, president and founder of the Bricks 4 Kidz educational program. “Over the past decade, educational summer camp options have significantly expanded. Now, parents can find camps that foster important STEM skills while delivering the fun kids crave.”
Studies show participating in science, technology, engineering and math-themed summer camps can help kids keep learning throughout summer. In fact, one study of a math camp in Connecticut found that 79 percent of the kids who participated improved their math scores by an average of 31 percent after four weeks. What’s more, research (and parental experience) show kids learn and retain information better when they enjoy the lessons.
If you’re looking for a fun, STEM-oriented summer camp for your children, here are six options to consider:
* Robotics — Automation has transformed manufacturing, and the field of robotics continues to innovate. Kids who participate in robotics-themed camps like Bricks 4 Kidz’s WeDo Jr. Robotics learn creative thinking skills, teamwork and collaboration, computer programming and problem-solving. The popular program, which uses special LEGO Bricks and components, is geared for children 5-9. An advanced program that uses LEGO Mindstorms EV3 software is available for children 9 and older. To find a Jr. Robotics or Advanced Robotics program near you, visit www.bricks4kidz.com.
* Stop-motion animation — Before there was CGI, animators worked wonders using stop-motion animation. Today, summer camps that incorporate stop-motion animation allow children to work with movie-making software, and learn how to plan, script, stage, shoot and produce their own stop-motion animations. Kids 9 and older are sure to relate to stop-motion animation lessons that also incorporate familiar building elements like LEGO Bricks.
* Space adventures — With private companies working toward a new wave of space exploration, a space-themed summer camp can capture kids’ imaginations and inspire interest in a future career. Camps that mix model-building into lessons about space can also teach math and engineering skills.
* Remote Control Mania — Remote-controlled cars have been around for a long time, and they’re just as exciting today. Bricks 4 Kidz Remote Control Mania camp uses LEGO wireless remote controls to engage campers in the fun of designing, inventing and building their own remote-controlled machines. The camp teaches children the basic working principles of many of the automated devices they encounter in their everyday lives.
* Coding — Coding makes computer software, apps and websites possible. Coders help write the programs that power everything from email servers to automated drawbridge gates. They can even stop criminals from harming computer networks and systems with malicious code! In coding-themed camps, such as our Robotics programs, children learn the basics of how to write computer code, as well as engineering skills.
“Summer camp should be about more than just keeping kids busy or even just preventing summer brain drain,” Cote says. “Camp can be an opportunity for children to learn — and fall in love with — STEM subjects that can be the foundation of their future careers.”
I am always thrilled to see these camps filled with such create and smart young minds.