What fun summer camps are there for my kids that teach robots or computers or engineering or science?
If your family is like mine, January is not a post-holiday downtime. We are working hard to put the decorations away, get the kids back into school routines and hide from the credit card bill. Summer is usually the last thing on your mind. But right now is the key moment to be planning the summer for your school-age kids! We want to set our kids up for success, we want them to achieve incredible things and we want to provide the best for them. Summer camps are an amazing tool to expose them to new opportunities and unique experiences that form the foundation of their educational portfolio.
As one who works in manufacturing automation, this is an amazing career field with good pay and incredible experiences. Many of the careers from CEO to management to accounting to IT to production require hands-on skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). This is not our grandfather’s manufacturing anymore!
There are many really interesting summer camps out there around robot building and robot programming, both competition style and fostering teamwork skills among some introverted students. Maker camps, 3D-printing camps & even hands-on manufacturing camps all let your child build with their hands and create in ways they never have before. Science camps help students explore the world around them and experiment with their environment. Summer camp is one of the most foundational and formative experiences of a young person’s life and can help them find their passions.
As a working parent, here are 3 tips from my experience to make sure that your experience and your kiddo’s experiences with summer camp are awesome!
- Plan In Advance, Like Right Now! : Many of the most interesting camps are only offered for one week in the summer. To make sure that your student gets to participate in the experience, be sure to plan out the summer week by week, look at what is available when and be sure to note when the registration date opens for the camp. Be sure to discuss with your student what they want to experience and see, try to align with that if possible.
- Don’t get sticker shock: Some of the summer camps can cost a lot of money each week. A few are less than $200/wk while some can be more than $400 a week! Set a budget for what you are willing to spend and form a balance of experiences that fit into your plan and budget.
- Coordinate a Plan for Drop-off & Pick-up: If you are a two-working parent household like ours, our lack of planning last summer on this topic was PAINFUL. Some camps may not start until 9:30am and some may finish at 3:00pm, a tough ask for two-career-households. One camp we signed up for was 70min from our house, in the wrong direction! So location & time matter and are something to pay attention to. Luckily some camps have “before and after care.” For a few weeks we were able to find a camp where our daughter’s friend was there too and we were able to coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs that had minimal impact on all the working parents. It takes a village sometimes!
And finally, here are the 3 lists promised of STEM summer camps in the Cincinnati area. Most of these lists are from 2019. That is ok! Typically the camps run similarly year to year and we’ve been able to pretty reliably plan based on the previous year’s events. As the groups, schools, organizations and businesses update to 2020, you can find the most up-to-date information on their websites.
- Manufacturing & STEM Camps: Link Here at AMIP we have built a list of interesting manufacturing, robotics, maker and technology related camps. As we learn of new opportunities and programs, we will update this list and link.
- 365 Cincinnati List of STEAM Camps: Link A really nice collection of all types of camps including: science, technology and art camps compiled by 365cincinnati.com. If you do CTRL-F they have nice keywords on each listing where you can search for terms like “TECH” “STEM” “ROBOT” “MAKING”.
- Cincinnati’s Best Summer Camps: Link A excellent and comprehensive list of summer camps across Cincinnati from thevoiceofblackcincinnati.com that consists of over 60 summer camps with many different experiences. Similarly if you do a search for “science” or “tech” you will find many interesting camp options.
If you have a favorite STEM or manufacturing camp that you or your kids love, I would love to hear about it in the comments. I hope you have a stimulating and STEM filled summer!