There is something undeniably empowering about affirming a child’s interests and activities. Whether it’s helping them gather recyclables to craft a homemade rocketship to the moon or donning a costume to star in their latest YouTube production or giving their one-of-a-kind culinary creation a taste, participating in their endeavors lets them know their worlds are significant and that they matter to you, too. It encourages them to learn more and helps them cultivate curiosities that become passions.
Summer brings the perfect opportunity for kids to dive deeply into an area of interest, to spend time exploring that which makes them tick. For kids who are especially captivated by science, a summer camp experience can help them add to their expertise. And, embedded in the fun and adventure of science summer camp are experiences that build skills kids will need for success in school, in the workplace and in the world.
Supporting an Emerging Scientist
Sharing and promoting kids’ interests is a fun and meaningful way to spend time together. It encourages their curiosity and helps them develop confidence in their abilities. Parents’ support can take many forms:
- Reading books - a child’s curiosity about frogs can be indulged with a trip to the library. An informational picture book about the life cycle of a frog or one that differentiates between frogs and toads would be a great way to learn more.
- Hands-on activities - let kids explore chemical change through recipe science or dig into agriculture with a backyard or windowsill garden. Simulate the formation of a stalactite or stalagmite with water, salt and simple kitchen tools.
- Gathering data - creating a simple chart with which a kid can keep track of precipitation is a powerful introductory activity for one who is curious about the weather. Sticker shapes or icons drawn with crayons can make the task fun and the finished chart more graphic.
- Taking a trip - a visit to a museum or zoo can give kids the opportunity to see artifacts or species not common to their environment. It expands their experience considerably.
- Enrolling in a summer science camp - participation in a summer science camp can be the ultimate opportunity to “go deep” and learn from friends with similar interests.
Science Camp Builds Life Skills
A summer science camp, particularly one focused on innovation, exposes kids to real-world issues and helps them cultivate skills for success. Project-based camps simulate scenarios they might encounter in school or on the job. To be immersed in adventures, where curiosity is encouraged and imagination is required, sets the stage to practice critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Kids try out research skills as they learn to access and analyze information. Opportunities to collaborate with a team help them not only develop give and take social skills but provide experience with multiple modes of communication: oral, written and visual modeling.
Science is ubiquitous, but breaks down like this, according to the Next Generation Science Standards, into four primary domains:
- Life Science: the study of plants and animals, including humans; the internal and external forces that affect living things
- Physical Science, including chemistry and physics: the study of matter and energy; the stuff that makes up the world, and the forces and motions that affect it
- Earth and Space Science: the study of the Earth and its waters, the weather and the solar system
- Technology, Engineering and Applications: the use of science to modify the natural world by designing a product, process or system to meet human needs or wants
Some kids crave it all, while others are fascinated by a particular branch of science. Galileo camps, with programs for kids in pre-K through those entering 8th grade, have a camp to satisfy every interest. Elementary school life science enthusiasts will love The Incredible Human Body, where campers will not only learn about the body’s amazing inner landscape, but will investigate its biomechanics. Fans of physical science will thrive on a Road Trip Adventure, where they balance speed with safety as they take in all the sights along the way. Earth and space science fanatics will become Space Explorers, where cosmic art and astronaut science come together on a journey to the final frontier. Kids with interest in technology, engineering and scientific applications will flip for the Galileo Makers: Materials Challenge, in which campers will innovate many creative and extraordinary inventions from a single ordinary material. For middle school kids, Galileo Summer Quest offers the chance to choose one of 11 majors and delve in-depth into a subject they are passionate about. Signing up for several weeks enables kids to experience multiple scientific disciplines in depth.
Arming Budding Scientists With Skills for Success
Science is as close as our internal environment and as far as galaxies light years away. Our success in the future depends on it. Kids who develop science competencies and process skills have a leg up. Science, technology and innovation empower individuals and fuel societies to make progress. Helping kids to embrace their curiosities and interests in science gives them an advantage, as many of the critical 21st-century skills are science-related.
You can’t always predict the path your kids will take in life, if they’ll become scientists or lawyers or artists or teachers or something else entirely, but chances are they will never forget the experience of having their parents by their side supporting them the whole way as they explored the universe. Kids benefit from the opportunity to attend summer science programs and from the knowledge that the adults in their lives support their interests. The exposure to science concepts at an early age, when they are budding with imagination and full of creative thinking, is empowering, and as you support their inherent curiosity, you’ll probably learn a thing or two about the way our world works, too!
Find a summer camp for your science enthusiast at Camp Galileo innovation camps in the San Francisco, Southern California, and Chicagoland areas. Sign up for our mailing list to keep up-to-date on our camp happenings and innovation resources. Or, for more information about Galileo camps, contact us here.