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Exposing Your Kids to Science through Summer Camp

July 22, 2010

If you’re an avid believer in camp, both day- and sleep-away, then you know that camp is not just about having fun. Of course, it’s important that the camp you send your child to IS enjoyable and that good times are sure to be had, but I believe camp is also about learning. Sometimes it’s about learning how be comfortable meeting and getting along with new people in an unfamiliar environment. Sometimes it’s learning that being away from Mom and Dad for a week or two can be a life-altering and empowering experience. And sometimes it’s learning that the subject you always hated in school is actually exciting, fascinating AND fun!

It comes as no surprise that some kids might see science as one of those “yuk” subjects that should only be taught at school. And being a person who never really had an aptitude for science, I don’t blame them. But as a mother, I am acutely aware of how important it is that kids, especially girls, be exposed to science at an early age, and I feel fortunate to live in a time and place where science is being taken out of the classroom and experienced rather than taught within the four walls of an institution.

If you’re a parent who believes it’s important for kids to be exposed to and, you hope, enjoy science, then you’re in the right place. We are fortunate to have dozens of wonderful science camps throughout the Bay Area for kids of all ages that cover myriad subjects, from camps for three-year-olds that teach the basics of living in a city by a bay, to those that take 12-year-olds into the dark aquatic world of sharks and other marine creatures, to more elaborate camps that show 17-year-olds how to build robots or create their own computer gaming networks. Below are just a few of the amazing offerings that you can find for your budding scientist at Sign Up For Camp.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum has great camps for kids three to eight years old that offer both guided exploration and open-ended creative play, all while delving into the vast world of science. Science-oriented camps include “On the Bay,” “Bugs, Insects and Spiders,” “Creature Creations” and sessions with the infamous Tree Frog Treks.

Camp Galileo and Camp Edmo are the grandaddies of Science + Art camps in the Bay Area! With hundreds of sessions in locations as far north as San Anselmo, east to Pleasanton, south to San Jose and everywhere in between, these camps focus on science, science and more science — with a bit of artistic whimsy thrown in. Camp Edmo partners with the Exploratorium, the California Academy of Sciences, Zeum and MOCHA (the Museum of Children’s Art) to develop hands-on arts and science curricula for five- to 10-year olds, including Super Spy, Cosmic Creations and Underwater Wonders. Camp Galileo partners with the Tech Museum of Innovation, the de Young and Klutz to offer theme-oriented camps that teach various scientific concepts in combination with art: the physical principles of flying (Adventures in Flight & Egyptian Art), the underwater world (Ocean Expeditions), astronomy and the solar system (Mission to the Moon & Psychedelic 60s) and Newton’s Laws of Motion (Amusement Park Engineers & Medieval Art).

Coastal Camp at the Headlands Institute is an opportunity for adventure, exploration and discovery. Held completely outdoors, Coastal Camp finds the place where play and learning converge by combining marine and coastal ecology with hands-on activities and group games. If your child has the remotest interest in learning about the ocean and the creatures who live in the mysterious marine world, then sign on the dotted line. From “Shark Squad” to “Seal Scout,” “Ocean Explorers” to “Call of the Wild,” your child will be out in nature, seeing first-hand the wonders of the natural world around them.

iD Tech is a national organization that offers fun and challenging computer science-based summer camps designed for kids ages seven to 17. Your kids can team up with other campers to create robots that compete in obstacle courses, develop their own iPhone Apps, computer games or websites, learn the mysterious power of computer code or master the art of digital photography at these week-long day- and sleep-away camps. Bay Area iD Tech camps are being held at Berkeley, Santa Clara, St. Mary’s College and Stanford this summer.

Both the Oakland Zoo and San Francisco Zoo teach kids about their resident animals and habitats and how they are cared for by the zookeepers. Craft projects and games reinforce the concepts kids are taught, along with keeper talks, observation walks and hands-on activities. Important concepts taught through the camps include how animals are able to move throughout their various territories, animal gestation and birth, proper management of the zoo environment and everyday conservation concepts.

If you’re a stickler like I am, and you think that children need to be learning even as they are having the time of their lives, then check out all of the super-cool science camps at Sign Up For Camp!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 12:50 pm

    You missed the original science camp that started it all .. Sarah’s Science.. maybe that is because it used to have another name. Anyway, Galileo and Edmo are not nearly as activity rich (though they are well and warmly run) – Nina

  2. September 10, 2010 11:09 pm

    My kids are very in to summer camping together with their friends and some schoolmates. Actually they never missed a summer vacation camping. Science is another great idea for them so maybe next year I can suggest them that.

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