Camps to code instead of canoe?
Camps to code instead of canoe? Teacher Nina Canul and young campers are seen "Exploring Properties of Polymers" at Destination Science Camp. At left is a human hamster wheel-powered boat built by campers (AP photos)
Camps to code instead of canoe?
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Are you thinking of going to summer camp?

If your dream camp involves more coding than canoeing, more technology than tennis and more science than swimming, then STEM summer camps are popular and plentiful.

The camps include private half-day camps for younger children. There's also longer sleep-away camps for teenagers. The camps cater to kids who are passionate about STEM subjects. Those are science, technology, engineering and math. The camps are for kids who just love immersing themselves in projects involving thinking creatively and problem-solving.

"We're definitely seeing a lot more summer programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and math. And also programs that combined those elements with art," said Kathy Heraghty. She is the program director and founder of Destination Science, based in Orange, California. The group began in California in 2000. Now it runs summer camps for children ages 5 to 11 in five states.

STEM-oriented summer camps often include swimming and crafts. But the focus is on the fun of "thinking like a scientist."

"We focus on things that are playful and fun. For instance, building a really cool car with a solar cell," Heraghty said.

"This summer we are introducing a Super Heroes camp that takes a closer look at bats and spiders and things like warp speed. And robotics and robots are also always exciting to kids."

The camps cost $379 per week for full day camp. Discounts are available to those who register early and some scholarships available.

For older kids looking for a sleep-away experience, options include BEAM Camp. It is in Stafford, New Hampshire. It offers three-and-a-half-week camps for kids ages 10 to 17.

"We're a camp about making things and bringing ideas to life," said co-founder Brian Cohen. He shuns the STEM label because, he said, the emphasis should be on the human side of things and "fashioning physical reality," not on abstract concepts.

In addition to building and problem-solving, campers swim daily and spend time with chefs, artists, architects and engineers. That helps broaden their ideas about creative career options. The camps are open to boys and girls. They are expensive ($5,200). But Cohen said about 40 percent of campers receive partial or full scholarships.

Emagination is a much larger summer camp. It focuses on coding, game design and other computer skills. The camp offers day camp and sleep-away options for kids ages 8 to 17. It operates in five major cities in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Camps range in price from $845 per week for day camp to almost $3,000 for some two-week programs. As with many science camps, some scholarships are available.

Critical thinking challenge: Why do STEM-oriented summer camps often include swimming?

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  • Malikc1
    2/12/2015 - 09:08 a.m.

    I've been to a grief camp ,and the was the only one I've ever been to. It allowed me to have fun and get things off my chest. Camps can be very helpful for kids so this is a good idea.

  • joshua.hensley-wohlers06
    2/12/2015 - 12:39 p.m.

    I find it odd that people have a camp for technology. You're not very active or learning about the environment very much.Children need to start getting out more and be active because 18% of children are obese.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    2/12/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    I don't know why but summer camp seems to be a big thing this year. I mean obviously they've always been around but I think they are coming up more and more and they are getting cooler and cooler. I think the more specific summer camps do the best because they prepare kids to do what they're really interested in in real life.

  • vancer-Che
    2/12/2015 - 01:50 p.m.

    Cool contraption its good that programs like STEM can keep kids busy and it helps out with schoolwork to because schools are now offering STEM courses so this could prep children.

  • Addie-Arm
    2/12/2015 - 02:05 p.m.

    Now kids can learn and have fun over summer break! STEM is a good program for kids, it teaches them while they are having fun! It is very expensive though, usually camps are only $200. This would be a fun camp though!

  • Ethan-Arm
    2/12/2015 - 02:32 p.m.

    I think it is great kids can take extra enrichment camps over the summer for those of us who love to learn, most kids think school is boring because you are forced to learn and have no opinions at stem camps you get to choose what you learn!!!

  • JaydonJYellow
    2/12/2015 - 02:33 p.m.

    I wouldn't mind going to a summer camp if it was a STEM camp because it would be cool testing water and doing other science activities requiring multiple skills.

  • JaysonSGrey
    2/12/2015 - 02:35 p.m.

    These camps sound very interesting! I've always wanted to become an architect so this might appeal to me if I had the money. But if I had the chance to go there, I wouldn't wait a second to fill a spot there.

  • MiloW-4
    2/12/2015 - 04:10 p.m.

    Many new summer camps are now focusing on more science and technology than standard camp things. Many summer camps now teach kids to be scientists and and think like them. Many of these are sleep-away camps that can be expensive but can be very worth it because kids can come back with lots of knowledge. This is interesting because many kids are becoming smarter and are more interested in more scientific things than standard camp things.

  • Hannahmab-3
    2/12/2015 - 09:13 p.m.

    If you are interested in going to summer camp you may want to try something different this year. Instead of going to a regular old summer camp try going to a STEM, BEAM, or Emagination camp. These camps focus on science and technology and teach kids thinking skills they will learn throughout life. These camps are very expensive though. some ranging from $300 to $3000. These camps also involve swimming and some outdoor activity but focus more on academic and thinking processes to help your brain. The camps coordinator from a STEM camp, Kathy Heraghty, says they focus on things that are playful and fun. These camps are all across the U.S. but most are in the mid-west or on the East Coast. Because these camps are so expensive most offer partial or full scholarships for kids, and if you sign up early you get a discount.

    I think these camps sound very fun. My elective this year is STEM and so far I am enjoying is very much. I have learned so much and think that the projects we are doing are fun. I have learned how to make a video game and we got to take pictures and make stop-motion videos. This class is one of my favorites.

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