This post is sponsored and written by me on behalf of Launch After School through a campaign managed by their PR. All opinions are my own.
Ahh summer! Just saying the word brings a smile to most people’s faces (young and old alike), especially if you are located in the northern states where winters can be long and a tad chilly. While the young ones think about all the trouble they can get into while school is out, parents are sometimes overwhelmed with the multitude of options as we try to find the right summer camps for our kids.
The benefits of summer camps are abundant and proven, and for many, the concept might still evoke memories of being outdoors and sleeping under the stars. Like many families, we are big fans of being out in nature and “roughing it”, and we find that the types of camps now available have mushroomed recently. There has been an increased global focus on exposing kids to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help them better prepare for tomorrow’s world. Where along with the STEM, we also like to include arts in there too, to create STEAM. Where we can find that the options may seem endless, and for us, the following options rise to the top for STEAM-focused camps.
As the name implies, these camps are intended to enhance interest and improve proficiency in mathematics. Kids receive personalized attention in these classes which increases learning and retention. Also, research has shown that participation in math camp provides measurable benefits, improving academic performance in the subsequent school year.
While some kids may gravitate to STEM-based summer programs, participation in arts-based programs can play an important role in rounding out a child’s development. These programs can offer real benefits in enhancing creativity, imagination, self-confidence and self-expression. Be sure to look beyond the usual suspects, like music and dance (which are definitely important!), and into theater, pottery, and even novel options like circus performance.
Let’s face it, like it or not the robots are coming and they will change everyday life just like they have already transformed many industries and manufacturing processes. Kids have always loved robots (remember Rock’em Sock’em Robots from your own childhood?) and today’s robotics camps give kids even more options to build skills in this dynamic future growth area.
This is one type of camp where you get two for the price of one: language and culture. Multilingualism has been proven to provide significant cognitive benefits to kids as well as introducing them to a whole new world of places, people and cultures. While a summer (or even two) may not be enough for a child to become proficient in a language, it can be a great start that can be augmented through travel or in future academic study.
Code is the language of today’s world: it provides the instructions for the hardware and software we encounter every day. In some ways, coding camp encompasses the benefits of all the previous summer camp options: code is a language in itself and kids can learn basic coding even before they can read or write, it helps develop understanding of math and computational concepts, it is the language of robots and requires creativity and problem solving. A great example of a coding camp is Launch: Code after School program in Austin, Texas. These coding experiences were created for kids ages 8-14 and offer a variety of self-paced, personalized modules that cover the basics of computing all the way up to creating webpages and apps. This might end up being one of the most fun and rewarding summer camp experiences.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for novel summer camps to consider.