The summer is always a much-welcomed break for your child from the academic rigors of school. It’s a time to play, relax and spend quality time with friends and family. But as a parent, you might be looking for ways to sneak in some educational reinforcement while they are out of school. 

If that’s the case then a STEM or STEAM camp might be a great option. 

If you’re not familiar with the STEM and STEAM concepts, don’t worry! We’ve provided parents’ most frequently asked questions about these types of camps so you can educate yourself before making a decision about what kind of camp to send your child to this summer. 

1. What is the difference between STEM and STEAM camp?

The main difference between a STEM and a STEAM camp is that STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math and focuses strongly on scientific concepts. Rather than teaching students these four disciplines separately, STEM integrates all of them into fun lessons based on real-world applications. 

STEAM, on the other hand, integrates the arts such as dance, drama, music, design, new media, visual art and the humanities with the same concepts as STEM but does it with problem-based learning methods that are used in the creative process. 

Whichever path you choose for your child, they will participate in hands-on learning that inspires them to create, explore and have fun in sometimes surprising and messy ways. 

2. Will my child enjoy STEM or STEAM camp?

Even if your child doesn’t usually enjoy math or science in school, chances are they will find something to love about STEM or STEAM camp. Campers are encouraged to solve problems, think logically and be creative. STEM and STEAM camps often integrate Lego, slime, and other fun tools to reinforce STEM and STEAM learning. While this hands-on way of learning is fun, it also helps them understand how to apply these concepts in the real world. 

3. How old does my child need to be to attend STEM or STEAM camps? 

STEM and STEAM camps are for school-age children from kindergarten to high school. Younger kids will be introduced to the STEM and STEAM concepts in fun and engaging ways. A popular method for many STEM and STEAM camps geared toward younger campers is to use Lego and Duplo blocks so kids can build models and learn at the same time. For older students in middle and high school, attending STEM or STEAM camps is a good way to affirm their interest in a specific scientific field. It also gives them the chance to find a mentor that could lead to future job or internship opportunities. 

4. What kinds of STEM camps are there? 

With STEM and STEAM camps, you’ll find plenty of choices to choose from to suit your child’s interests. For elementary campers you’ll find camps that focus on:

For older kids in middle and high school, you’ll find all of the above plus more specific areas of interest such as:

  • 3D modeling and design
  • Artificial Intelligence 
  • Film and photography
  • Music production
  • Engineering
  • Scientific and medical research

These are just a few of the many areas of focus available for campers. In other words, you might get overwhelmed at all of the STEM and STEAM camp choices for your child. 

5. How will my child benefit from STEM camp?

Really, the benefits for children who go to STEM and STEAM camps are numerous. But to name a few: 

Think in new and different ways

STEM and STEAM camps teach children to think logically, solve problems and work together within a group setting.

Plant seeds for the future

Sending your child to STEM or STEAM camps will inspire them to think about multiple future career possibilities.

Increased confidence 

After camp, your child will feel empowered when they head back to school with the knowledge they gain from their summer STEM or STEAM fun.

Preparation for high school

Transitioning from middle to high school can be difficult for many children because the expectations and social climate change dramatically between the grade levels. Many high STEAM and STEM summer camps can help prepare your child for that high school transition by letting campers make their own class schedules. Some of these camps even spend time on college campuses, giving campers the chance to see what college life is like. Children immersed in a STEM or STEAM summer camp curriculum will be exposed to new opportunities that will challenge them, get them out of their comfort zone and enable them to socialize with all sorts of different kinds of people who have a passion for learning.  

Improvement in problem areas 

If your child is having difficulty in a school subject, particularly math or science, STEM and STEAM camp often take the same principles learned in school and apply them in a real-world, hands-on way that they may not get in the classroom. Plus, it shows them a fun side of learning. These types of camps encourage campers to problem solve and think critically and creatively. Your child will learn perseverance, often with a newfound sense of confidence to tackle subjects they might have perceived difficult prior to camp.

If you want your child to test out STEM and STEAM activities before attending a camp, check out our list of online coding classes for kids, which includes free online coding classes and coding websites that they can use to practice.

By the way, if you’re an educator looking for solutions that make running camps fun — Sawyer for camps can help you out!

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