Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Online STEM Summer Camps for Kids - lots of tech, maker and science project ideas to keep kids busy at home

Are your kids going to be spending time at home this summer? Do you need some ideas to get them doing something other than playing Minecraft all day everyday (much as we love Minecraft!) How about an online STEM summer camp?

We've found some brilliant tech summer camps that kids can take part in from home. Many have offline activities for kids to complete as well as online ones.

My kids love earning badges and cards through doing online activities. These camps are educational, but kids have much more control over what they learn that they have in school.

Camp Google 


Google are running an online science summer camp for children aged around 7-10. Camp Google includes live videos with Q&As featuring science experts. There are also activities for children to complete including science experiments and things to make. 

Kid don't have to be available when the camps are live as they are recorded and available to complete afterwards. No sign up is required so it's really easy to get involved. 

On completion of an activity kids earn a printable badge which can be added to a badge tracker print out. 

My 7 year old is loving Camp Google so far. Science is one of his favourite things in the world and the printable badges are proving very appealing. Camp Google isn't a big time commitment so it's easy to do alongside other activities. 

Maker Camp

Maker Camp is a free online summer camp for maker kids from the organisation behind Maker Faire and Make magazine. There are physical Maker Camps but kids can participate online from home too. 

There are 6 weeks of projects and each week has a different theme. Videos are added to the Maker Camp 2015 YouTube playlist each day and these include projects to make and virtual field trips. The videos stay live so young makers can access them when its convenient. 

Maker Camp has lots of ideas for teen makers and younger kids will enjoy it with adult support. We tend to dip in and out of Maker Camp when the kids are looking for an idea.

DIY.org

DIY.org is a fantastic site where children from around age 7 can earn virtual badges by completing challenges. Children can earn badges all year round but there's plenty here for kids to choose from to put together their own custom tech summer camp.

Earning the virtual badges is free but does require an account which must be authorised by a parent. You can also buy physical badges as rewards. There are some fantastic STEM related badges available. There are whole categories dedicated to Building, Engineering, Hacking and Science and there are also tech-related badges in other categories such as Art, Design and Exploring.

DIY.org also has paid virtual camps that last for 4 weeks and involve a counsellor who prepares videos and activities and provides feedback to campers. 

Camp Wonderopolis

Camp Wonderopolis is the the Summer Camp section of Wonderopolis, a fun website where kids can learn about the hows and whys of the world. It's aimed at children aged around 8 to 14.

If you sign your child up for Camp Wonderopolis (free) then they can access multimedia STEM lessons and earn Wonder Cards which appear on their Dashboard and are also available to print out. The lessons are a mixture of videos, images and text with a read aloud option.

There are also maker activities to carry out offline and quizzes to complete to earn the cards.

We really like Camp Wonderopolis. You should be aware that it links to lots of third party content so you child can easily end up at other websites. Just make sure you keep an eye on what they are doing. 



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