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What Your Kids Can Gain From STEAM Summer Camps: Broadening Their Horizons

During the summer season, many people view it as a time to take a break from the busy school year, but for others, it's a time for summer camp. As stated by Asaf Darash, the CEO of Regpack, a registration software company, over six million children participate in summer camps every year in the United States. There are more than 12,000 camps in the country, with 5,000 being day camps and 7,000 being sleepaway camps.


As the demand for academic-themed camps and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) camps increases, more parents are choosing to send their children to these educational summer programs. These camps not only offer traditional camp activities like swimming and roasting marshmallows but also provide valuable lessons on topics such as biology and physics. For example, children can learn about the biology of the lake they are swimming in or the science behind why a marshmallow expands when exposed to heat.


STEAM Comes Alive Outside the Classroom with Science Camps

Participating in academic camps can benefit a child's confidence both in school and in general. In addition to this, there are numerous other reasons why parents should consider sending their kids to science camps during the summer months. These camps offer a unique opportunity for children to learn in a hands-on, immersive environment that can help them develop a greater understanding and appreciation for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

STEAM camps offer an alternative approach to traditional learning methods, allowing children to develop a love for science and math through hands-on experiences. Unlike traditional schooling, there is no pressure for students to achieve high grades, allowing them to explore their natural curiosity and desire to learn.


According to Meagan Clanahan from the Houston Moms Blog, STEAM camps offer a range of activities that allow children to see the real-life impact of science. From robotics to video game creation, oceanography, emergency and veterinary medicine, students can explore a variety of topics in a dynamic and engaging environment.

Moreover, STEAM camps are often taught by science professionals or engineers who have practical experience applying their knowledge in their respective careers. For example, instead of reading about marine animals in a book, students can talk to a shark aquarist and interact with rays at an aquarium. Similarly, students can meet astronauts and ask them about their experiences in space.


According to Alan Saltz, director of 92nd Street Y, science is not something that can be taught out of a box. Rather, it needs to become a part of a child's daily life, and STEAM camps can help accomplish that. In fact, many STEAM camps are designed to accommodate a wide range of interests, including cooking, rafting, and hiking, providing students with opportunities to see the real-world applications of science and math.

Camp Offers STEAM Benefits for Students Regardless of Career Path

Summer camp isn't just for children who have aspirations to become scientists or engineers. Many kids attend camp because they enjoy the theme of the camp, such as learning about space or cooking chemistry. Lauren Boyer, writing for the National Science & Technology Medals Foundation, explains that while most of these children won't end up pursuing careers in programming or other STEAM fields, the skills they learn at camp are still valuable.


STEAM-infused camps, which focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and math, provide children with important 21st-century skills that will help them succeed. Boyer compares this to the idea that most people don't grow up to be novelists, but writing is still a crucial skill for effective communication. The same concept applies to STEAM skills, which can be useful in a variety of careers and in everyday life.


Summer Camps Put the A in STEAM In recent years, educators have expanded the well-known acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to include Arts, resulting in STEAM. The intention behind the STEAM approach is to encourage students' imagination and adopt an innovative educational approach by integrating creative thinking and design skills into the core content of STEM subjects and projects, as explained by Megan Meyer in her article for Honolulu Family. However, not all teachers and school districts possess the means to include creative projects in each lesson. STEAM camps provide an opportunity for students to emphasize the arts element by utilizing their imagination to create something and solve problems.

Preventing Learning Loss: The Role of Academic Summer Camps A local STEAM provider explains that STEAM summer camps not only boost confidence in the short term, but can also benefit students throughout the school year. These academic summer camps provide low-pressure environments where students can focus on the material without worrying about grades, enabling those who may have struggled during the school year to catch up while reducing the “summer brain drain” that typically occurs.


Oxford Learning Centers reports that on average, students lose 2.6 months of math skills during the summer. By sixth grade, students who experience summer learning loss are two years behind their peers who continue studying during the summer. However, students can prevent this learning loss by dedicating just two to three hours per week to stay on top of their math, reading, and science skills.

Girls Gain Confidence Through STEAM Education

By spending a few weeks learning about subjects like space, technology, or marine biology, students can develop a greater confidence in science and improve their chances of success in the upcoming school year

The mental perception and confidence of an individual significantly impact their performance, including in STEAM fields, which is why a gender gap persists. According to associate professor Rick Nauert, the gender gap is primarily a result of perception rather than ability.


Even when there is no observable difference in ability between girls and boys, girls tend to rate their abilities much lower than boys do. In contrast, boys tend to be more confident in challenging mathematical contexts than equally talented girls. Specifically, boys rate their ability 27% higher than girls do.

Parents can help their daughters pursue their passion for science and math by building their confidence early through STEAM programs and summer camps. Students of All Ages and Abilities Benefit from STEAM Camps Many parents begin their search for summer camps when their children reach elementary school age, which is usually around nine years old, and typically end their search before the preteen years. Unfortunately, some families cannot afford summer camp, and some parents of special needs children worry that their children may not feel included. However, sending students of all ages, income levels, and learning abilities to STEAM camp can offer many benefits, including those provided by local parks departments.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Campers'

Encouraging young children to attend STEAM camps can have numerous benefits, even before they are able to develop advanced technological skills. Some parks and zoos offer camps that cater specifically to younger children, often allowing parents to participate as well.


Attending such camps can provide children with a preview of what a structured day at school might look like, as well as the chance to explore new environments. Additionally, they can learn valuable skills such as teamwork, kindness, and curiosity, while also practicing making friends and becoming more independent in a less intimidating environment than school.


By attending such camps, children can also become more comfortable with the idea of starting school, making the transition to kindergarten or elementary school less daunting. The opportunity to see friends from camp on the first day of school can also help alleviate some of the anxiety that often accompanies the start of a new school year.


Kids With Learning Disabilities The rigid structure of classroom learning often leaves many students unable to express their unique interests and talents. Despite having a passion for tech or the arts, they are expected to follow a predetermined curriculum set by their school district. Consequently, many students feel disconnected from the learning process, which can ultimately hinder their academic success.


To combat this issue, STEAM camps offer a space for students to explore their interests outside of the traditional classroom setting. These camps can be especially beneficial for students with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or ADHD. According to Erin Wynne, a writer for the Eagle Hill School Learning Diversity Blog, these camps provide much-needed support and can make a significant impact on a student's academic progress in the long term.


Summer camps create an inclusive environment where kids can discover new interests and strengths, ultimately boosting their self-confidence and sense of identity. For students who struggle in a traditional learning environment, summer camp provides an opportunity to explore and dedicate time to projects that they care deeply about. By offering this type of freedom and flexibility, summer camps can inspire a love of learning and encourage academic growth.

Students from Marginalized Communities: Addressing Underrepresentation STEAM camps are not only effective in preventing learning loss, but they also help students develop confidence in their abilities to pursue careers in STEAM fields. The Summer Middle School Enrichment Program run by the New York City Department of Design and Construction is an excellent example of a program that promotes confidence in STEAM fields. In this program, students from District 9 in the Bronx had the opportunity to learn from professionals in STEAM fields and go on field trips to various institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Hall of Science, and Google's New York headquarters in Chelsea.


The students' perceived abilities in STEAM were assessed before and after the program using a questionnaire. The DDC reports that there was a 25-percent increase in the students' desire to take more math and science classes and a 21-percent decrease in the perception that STEAM careers, such as engineering and architecture, are not possible options for students from underrepresented communities.


Summer camps provide a safe and free environment for children to explore their interests and passions outside of the traditional classroom. This is especially important for students who may struggle in a traditional learning environment.


STEAM Camps Foster Social Skill Development in Children

Interacting with peers and engaging in new activities can benefit your child even if they aren't attending a dedicated STEAM camp. According to a study, 74% of kids and teens report doing things at camp that they were previously afraid of. This allows them to build new skills and try new things. Parents also report that their children gain self-confidence, with 70% stating noticeable changes in their child's self-esteem after attending camp.


Whether it's coding or basketball, each activity at camp presents a unique set of mini milestones and tests. Some activities may be completely new to your child, while others may be extensions of what they already know. The process of attempting new activities and growing through both successes and failures is integral to building self-confidence and developing new skills.

Building Empathy and Collaboration Skills through Compromise

According to OurKids.net, when children attend summer camp, they are placed in a new environment where they have to navigate relationships with peers and authority figures. This teaches them valuable skills such as making new friends, asking for help, compromising, and developing relationships with counselors who can serve as role models. Dr. Troy Glover explains that the camping experience can develop emotional intelligence in children by making them more empathetic through day-to-day activities with a group of people they have to learn to live with, whether at overnight or day camps. While attending summer camp might not necessarily turn your child into a future engineer, it can expose them to science outside of the classroom and enhance their social interactions, leading to increased confidence academically and socially when returning to school in the fall.


For more information and to register for at The STEAM Generation camps visit ga-camps.steamgeneration.org

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