10 Amazing 2021 STEM Summer Camps for Your Student

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Summer’s getting closer (or maybe we’re just itching for some natural vitamin D). If you’re a parent, this is the time to start thinking and planning for that age-old question: What’s my child going to do this summer? Our learning-centric answer: STEM summer camps. Let’s take a look at what these camps have to offer, how to attend them in a pandemic world, and which ones to choose from. Spoiler alert: You have plenty of fantastic options.

The benefits of STEM summer camps

STEM summer camp participants get to…

1. Develop stronger STEM skills

These camps are built around STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, which means students get to take all that they’ve learned in the classroom and stay fresh. Better yet, they’ll expand their skills and be stronger than ever come the start of the school year.

2. Collaborate with others

3 boys working on a project together

Teamwork is a fact of life. Students practice it in school, and they’ll do so in the workforce. Because STEM activities and projects are inherently collaborative, STEM summer camp students can expect to frequently communicate and bounce ideas off other students. What’s more, they’ll often explore real-world problems, working together to develop realistic solutions. It’s relevant and applicable learning at its finest.

3. Build important 21st century skills

We don’t have many school districts teaching courses strictly centered around 21st century skills. Teachers work them into their own curriculum plans and classroom activities, but the more opportunities that students have to practice and develop, the better. At STEM summer camps, they’ll have ample time to communicate with each other, hone critical thinking skills, exercise creativity and innovation, and explore their curiosity.

4. Discover new careers

boy using a magnifying glass to examine a microcontroller

Our primary and secondary school years are ripe for exploration. It’s not expected that students know what they want to do yet career-wise, but this is a time to foster passion, along with discovering new career opportunities and interests. STEM summer camps give students many different professional pathways to consider as they continue their schooling.

5. Engage in activities that leave a lasting impact

That’s right. It’s totally fair to tout the lasting impact of STEM summer camp instruction, or really any summer enrichment program that keeps students’ minds engaged over the summer. Summer learning loss is a well-documented problem. Better to keep students engaged and learning, less they lose school-year gains.

Today’s question: Online or in-person?

We all know the state of today’s world. Things are improving, but they’re not back to normal yet. Below, we’ve made a point to document whether or not a summer camp is online, in-person, or both. Revert to your own level of comfortability whether or not to proceed with a camp choice, and follow your state’s guidelines. All of these camps are adhering to COVID-specific guidelines as well. Some our Monday-Friday day camps, others stay away camps, and a few even offer single-day, multi-hour experiences.

If you’re strictly looking for activities or courses that can be done at home, we’ve also written past posts about these. Check out Best Online STEM Activities for Distance Learning and Best Online STEM Courses for Remote Learning.

Now, without further ado…

10 amazing STEM summer camps

young kids building a robot together

Girls Who Code

Dates: June 21 – July 2, July 12 – July 23, August 2 – August 13 (subject to change based on student availability and application volume)

Online/In-person: Online only

Location: N/A, however students must be available in designated time zone

Cost: Free

Info: This free virtual summer immersion program is open to girls and non-binary students in grades 9-11 (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors). No experience required. Participants will meet female coders and hear from guest speakers, learn to code using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and collaborate — even virtually — with peers. Apply today if interested, as the application closes mid-March.

Galileo

Dates: Camps held throughout summer starting June 1

Online/In-person: In-person with COVID-safe operations

Location: San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Chicagoland, Denver

Cost: Varies by camp and location

Info: Galileo has redesigned its award-winning summer programs to be COVID-safe, while still giving kids from pre-K – rising 8th graders the opportunity to build confidence, social skills, and have a ton of fun as they participate in innovative art, science, and outdoor activities.

Education Unlimited

Dates: Vary

Online/In-person: Currently online only

Location: N/A

Cost: Varies by program

Info: Typically, Education Unlimited’s summer programming takes place at university campuses on both the east and west coasts. This year, however, the team is offering several virtual camp options for students in grades 4-12. Courses include STEM-friendly topics such as astrophysics, cardiology, and neuroanatomy, as well as 21st century skills-focused curriculum like A+ Summer Leadership, the Emerging Writers Institute, and the Public Speaking Institute.

iD Tech

Dates: Vary

Online/In-person: Currently online only

Location: N/A

Cost: Varies by program

Info: iD Tech offers one of the largest selections of virtual summer STEM programs for kids ages 7-19. All programs are taught by tech experts from tech-centric universities like Stanford, Caltech, and NYU. Beyond group programming, iD Tech has 1-on-1 private lessons covering over 30 different STEM topics.

Digital Media Academy

Dates: Throughout summer beginning June 21 / Each course is one or two weeks

Online/In-person: Online

Location: N/A

Cost: Varies by program

Info: As its name suggests, Digital Media Academy embraces the digital arts and offers a true STEAM experience for students with classes in coding, video game design, animation, music production, Java programming, and much, much more. Courses are split into two grade level-appropriate groups: Adventures for students ages 9-12, and Teens for students ages 12-18.

Snapology’s STEAM programs

Dates: Throughout summer beginning 6/14

Online/In-person: Online only

Location: N/A

Cost: One-hour camp $49, two-hour camp $69

Info: Snapology’s award winning STEAM enrichment classes are now available online for students ages 4-14. Virtual camps are easily digestible in one or two-hour sessions on a variety of fun STEAM-related topics like Minecraft Gaming, Science of Superpowers, Pokemania, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles with Brick City (LEGO-inspired).

AstroCamp

Dates: One-week session for ages 8-13 between June 12 – July 2; two-week sessions for ages 12-17 between July 5 – July 31; “Geek Week” specialty camp for ages 10-17 August 8 – August 14.

Online/In-person: In-person with COVID-safe operations

Location: Idyllwild, California

Cost: Varies by program, typically between $1800-$3050

Info: For a California mountain adventure, AstroCamp is here. And campers have plenty of activities options: mountain biking, rock climbing, arts and crafts, high ropes activities, LARPing, Dungeons & Dragons, and improv. Plus, AstroCamp offers an experiential learning environment, where students are exposed to hands-on STEM activities and get to explore concepts in rocketry, robotics, CSI, and more. It’s a perfect blend of camping adventure and STEM learning.

Space Camp

Dates: Throughout summer beginning May 23 and ending September 3

Online/In-person: In-person with COVID-safe operations / Currently only available to students within 48-contiguous states of the United States

Location: Huntsville, Alabama

Cost: Varies by program

Info: Space Camp has always been a perennial favorite STEM camp, particularly where all things outer space are concerned. And while its robotics camp and Robotics Academy have been cancelled this year, it’s still planning to hold all Space, Aviation, and Cyber camps at its Huntsville campus. Spots fill up quickly, so if your student is interested, it’s better to sign up sooner rather than later.

Girls Take the Lead

Dates: Varied by program, beginning July 6 and ending August 13

Online/In-person: Both (in-person with COVID-safe operations)

Location: In-person in Needham, Massachusetts

Cost: Varies by program

Info: Girls Take the Lead is committed to changing the fact that women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce, and worse, only 1 in 20 employed scientists and engineers are minority women. GTL offers a number of STEM and leadership-based summer camps, both in-person and via Zoom. Registration just opened last week, so now is a great time to browse course types and see whether or not one is of interest to your student.

Thimble

boy and girl building robots at table

Dates: Ongoing

Online/In-person: Online only

Location: N/A

Cost: Starting at just $39.95/mo

Info: Want a fun, long-lasting summer STEM activity for your student? Subscribe to Thimble and receive a brand new STEM science kit every 3 months. Included in your subscription are 60-minute build-along classes taught by our expert instructors twice a week, along with self-paced lessons available to your student so that he/she can work at their own pace. Better yet, these projects aren’t one-offs. Kits offer practical toys and devices that are both useful and reusable; meaning, your student can take it apart and rebuild into something completely different. We’ve delivered thousands of kits to all 50 states and 40 different countries. Order yours today!

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