Tech summer camps expand kids’ minds

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Tech summer camps expand kids’ minds

While many children enjoy the summer because they get a break from long school days, hours of homework and studying, it can be detrimental to avoid intellectually challenging material for months.
Because today’s kids have been exposed to technology since they were born and many are interested in it, summer tech camps have been developed to keep kids intellectually stimulated during the summer months. The material, a break from traditional math, science and history classes, is often new to children.

Kids can have fun and gain increasingly relevant skills at these camps. And parents can enjoy a break of their own.

Not a typical summer class 

Tech summer camps vary from typical summer classes or tutoring centers. Kids have the opportunity to develop a new skill set or expand their knowledge from school computer class. iD Tech camps are located at universities across the country and offer a range of courses for children and teenagers.

Preteens and teens can take courses in programming, robotics, game design, filmmaking and Web design. The camps break down into two levels of intensity: one that combines “traditional” camp experiences with technology and another that is an intensive, precollegiate program.

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, hosts a similar summer camp. The Silicon Valley-based program offers courses for middle school-age kids in 3-D video game design, computer programming, filmmaking, forensic science, medical sciences, robotics and industrial design. The programs are interdisciplinary and incorporate several subjects to help students make connections.

Low-cost alternatives

Though these programs can enrich students’ educations, they can be expensive and may not be practical for parents on a budget. Camp Goals for Girls is a free summer program offered at New York City’s Intrepid Museum that is geared toward eighth- and ninth-grade girls. The program is designed to help bridge the gender gap in the technology field. Students must be accepted into the program to participate, and it runs for a month and a half.

“The mission of the Camp Goals for Girls program is to build proficiency in math and science skills while drawing on resources from the Intrepid Museum exhibits, visits with partner educational institutions, and meetings with female scientists and professionals from the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields,” the program’s website says.

Girls Who Code offers a similar tuition-free program focused on computer programming and design.

Several universities around the country offer weeklong programs for kids, a suitable option for parents who do not want their children to camp for the entire summer. The Henry Ford Museum and Foundation offers a low-cost weeklong program for kids in the Dearborn, Michigan, area. Housing is also available at an added cost. Courses are designed to bring out students’ inner innovators and solve real-life problems.

“The Henry Ford’s Summer Discovery Camps offer a broad and well-rounded schedule for the kid who is inquisitive, adventurous and filled with boundless energy,” the museum’s website says.

Parents can get creative with their child’s summer learning. For instance, parents can start a family summer book club that focuses on technology. National Geographic guides for kids, as well as books on advanced topics, can engage children who are feeling bored this summer.

This story was contributed by Tech Page One

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