As the summer draws closer, now is the time to start thinking about enrolling your child in summer camp. Have you chosen one yet, or are you still thinking about the best one?
You could send your child to a camp that features games, arts, crafts, and swimming. But camps that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities are becoming more popular.
Why send your child to a STEM-related camp?
- It prepares them for tests Students learn critical thinking skills and problem solving skills.
- It curbs the ‘summer slide’ During the summer, children lose retention and academic knowledge. Some students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills.
- It prepares them for a career By 2018, projections estimate the need for 8.65 million workers in STEM-related jobs.
Will your child be among the 8.65 million workers?
If that’s not enough, consider that in his final State of the Union address, President Obama vowed to fight to expand access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math courses, and the training and recruitment of good teachers.
A properly trained teacher in STEM education, or a camp featuring STEM-focused activities can help guide your child on the path to a rewarding career.
In the Philadelphia area there are dozens of camps featuring STEM-focused activities for every parent’s budget. Here’s where you can begin:
(For children in grades 2 – 6)
GlaxoSmithKline partnered with the Franklin Institute and libraries in the city and in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties. GSK Science in the Summer™ has been offering science programs in Philadelphia-area libraries since 1986. GSK Science in the Summer is a free science education program for elementary school children. Topics include chemistry, physical science & electricity, genetics, bioscience, simple machines, and oceanography. Children learn about science with hands-on experiments, have the opportunity to take a course in Bioscience, learn about cells, and examine plants and animals using a microscope. The program is held in Philadelphia, but is also located in Baltimore and Washington and more than 20 US cities. Philadelphia County registration opens May 6 at neighborhood libraries.
(For children entering grades 1 – 6)
Camp Invention is a camp where children understand and solve real-world problems through STEM-focused activities. Activities include:
– Making and adopting a robotic cricket
– Learning entrepreneurship and physics
– Developing prototype machines using motors, magnets and other gadgets
– Testing experiments in Camp Invention Laboratories
Camp Invention is located nationwide. Discounts are available.
(For children ages 6 – 15)
In this independent, family-owned company, children are given the opportunity to be involved in hands-on learning to a new level. Whether your child is a computer novice or a tech whiz, there’s a camp just for them.
– iD Tech Mini is for aspiring techies ages 6 – 9 years old.
– iD Tech Camp has is a weeklong day & overnight summer tech camp for children ages 7 – 12, and has over 100 locations.
– Alexa Café is an all-girls summer program for ages 10-15, offering creative courses in coding, web design, and more activities.
Additional Day Camps
(Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh)
(For children ages 4 – 14)
Summer campers have access to hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Carnegie Science Center camp features professional teachers and college seniors majoring in science or education. The camp is also assisted by college students with documented experience working with children. Registration fees include all scheduled activities. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available.
(For children in grades 2- 6)
Even Christian day camps have incorporated science into their summer programs.
Camp Heart to Heart is an affordable summer program in Philadelphia which accepts subsidy. In the program, children participate in hands-on science projects and other creative activities that inspire one to explore a STEM-related career.
It’s not unusual for camps such as Camp Heart to Heart, to offer STEM-focused activities for children as young as age eight. Kathleen Bein, who taught science at Camp Heart to Heart in 2015, stressed that children should get exposed to STEM-focused activities as early as possible.
“It’s so important,” said Bein, a paraprofessional in the Abington School District, in Abington, Pa. Bein, who has over 30 years’ experience working with elementary-school children and special needs children stated, “This is just another way to encourage their curiosity, for them to ask questions, to make connections with the world around us. The earlier we can get [children] interested, and asking questions, the better it will be for [them], because those are the skills they’re going to need.”
Bein stated that at STEM-focused summer camps children have the opportunity to use learning materials that they may not have access to during the regular academic school year.
Nine-year-old Aidinh Fersner, said that he enjoyed attending Camp Heart to Heart, summer 2015. “I liked it,” he said. “It was cool.”
Fersner’s grandmother, Maria Fersner, said that her grandson was excited and fascinated by the projects he made and what he learned, and wants to attend Camp Heart to Heart this summer as well.
Summer is getting closer. Help your child get a jump on learning for the next school year. Enroll them in a STEM-focused summer camp before it’s too late.
If you know of a good summer camp in the Philadelphia–area that offers STEM-focused activities, share it.