What Are STEM Camps And Why Your Kids Need To Be In One This Summer

Summer vacation can be a conflicting time for parents. While they no longer have to contend with missed busses, uneaten lunches, or confusing math worksheets, many find themselves listening to repeated choruses of "I'm bored!" after the first few days. Luckily, summer camp, particularly a STEM or STEAM summer learning camp, can be a boredom buster for many families. 

What does STEM stand for?

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The STEM movement represents a push by scientists to focus on curriculum and 21st-century skills needed for future careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. It was introduced to academic circles starting in 2001 by the National Science Foundation. 

When did STEM become STEAM, and why?

Over time, educators realized that strict linear thinking not only left girls and minorities out but also did not teach future engineers and scientists about creativity. STEM fields need to think outside of the box to move their fields forward so STEM became STEAM with an 'A' for the arts. Adding things like art and music to a classroom encourages children to be creative, promotes curiosity, and teaches the design process — all important skills for the 21st century. 

What do kids learn in STEM summer learning camps?

Parents may want to avoid loss of learning skills, particularly math, over the summer while children more than likely want to avoid learning altogether until September. Luckily, STEM and STEAM summer camps can combine both activities in a fun way.

STEM summer learning camps teach kids a variety of new skills. Programs run the gamut of STEM skills like coding, robotics, and game development. Some summer camps even have courses on stop-action movies, setting up digital media channels, and computer-aided design. 

Are STEAM summer camps beneficial?

Whether your camp is strictly STEM-focused or has a STEAM element as well, your child will benefit from the added learning over those summer days. Exposure to STEM/STEAM skills is important because it helps expand their minds and helps them see all the possibilities, which is what the world needs from 21st-century learners. 

Are STEM learning camps fun?

Above all else, summer camp should be fun and most STEM/STEAM summer learning camps know that the focus cannot be solely on learning. The summer camp organizers and counselors know that children learn best when they are having fun.

When you are determining how your child should best spend their summer vacation, consider STEM and STEAM summer learning camps.