Though kids’ idea of summer fun might be endless hours of video games, cartoons or just hanging out with friends, many parents prefer to create a bit of structure for summer downtime. Scheduled activities and chores might be part of the game plan, but summer is a “vacation” after all. So where does the balance exist? A good rule of thumb is to make a plan that allows for relaxation, responsibilities, socializing, outdoor adventure and of course, learning. To avoid restlessness, the learning should be fun, and ideally, high interest—something that reinforces knowledge and skills that will provide benefit in the future. Tech camps for kids, or camps that integrate a STEAM curriculum, are a smart alternative that teach valuable skills with long-term benefits. They are a perfect way to use that coveted screen time in more effective way. Kids are inevitably going to use their devices; why not make it count?

Summer Scheduling Strikes a Balance

The relaxed atmosphere that follows the finale of the school year is a well-earned and well-deserved rest for kids and parents alike. But boredom can creep in when kids realize the slower pace means they must find ways to entertain themselves. Without a plan, kids may succumb to lethargy or allow themselves to sink into limitless and solitary screen time. Summer learning loss is a very real concern, and proactive parents will work with kids to establish a schedule that allocates time for all the important aspects of summer vacation, even the tech time they are so passionate about. Compromise is key to agreeing on a plan that supports everyone’s agenda. A truly well-rounded summer will include:

  • Relaxation — Summer represents the potential for quieting the mind; kids should have some freedom and flexibility of choice to do the things they enjoy.
  • Responsibilities — Some necessities will remain in the schedule, such as chores, practicing musical instruments, team sport workouts and family time.
  • Socializing — Summer opens up additional opportunities for spending time with friends. This could include play dates, sleepovers and summer camp.
  • Outdoor adventures — Warmer weather invites us to take advantage of the sunshine by spending time outside. Planned beach outings, hikes, bike rides and meals on the deck are ways to make sure kids don’t stay cooped up.
  • Learning — Summer learning for kids of all ages should include time for independent reading. The act of reading itself forms neural connections that result in new words and concepts learned, thus building background knowledge.

All things considered, many parents find that day camp is a way to fulfill these important components of a balanced summer schedule. The relaxed-but-structured pace, social atmosphere and high-interest adventures make camp a worthwhile addition to the schedule. And the learning activities keep campers’ brains engaged while teaching them valuable skills.

Focusing on Technology

To engage kids in summer learning that has far-reaching impact, many parents are opting for tech camps for their kids. Though summer learning can take many different forms and focus on a range of subjects, tech camps teach skills everyone can use. Computer technology represents a familiar, safe haven for most kids, one that supports independent engagement or fun with friends. So what do tech camps have to offer? Most give kids these basic exposures:

  • Vocabulary — Learning the language of a discipline gives kids a foot in the door. It is also correlated with educational attainment and future earning potential. Knowing the correct words gives kids the opportunity to read, write and speak with authority in real-world situations.
  • Hardware — Most kids are very comfortable using computer technology, but how many know what’s inside? Tech camps allow kids to learn about the components and their functions within a system. They give kids a chance to get their hands on the latest in digital technology.
  • Software — Though most kids have tons of experience using computer software, they are also capable of writing the instructions that direct the computer’s operations. From basic code blocks to more complex coding languages, tech camps give kids opportunities to create programs for specific functions and applications.
  • Troubleshooting — Learning to spot problems and developing a procedure for solving them is an important skill when working with technology. The experience will enable kids to take the initiative and develop expertise, as they strengthen their problem-solving powers and critical thinking capacity.

Adding Value to the Summer

There are great STEAM camps hosting a wealth of week-long summer tech camps that offer something for everyone. Wherever kids’ tech passions lie, there are options to have a blast while supporting the development of a variety of specialized skills. For kids who love gaming, Mod Design with Minecraft ® and Mobile Game Design will enable them to explore game development programs as they design, build and test their own creations.

Kids interested in video production or animation will gain technical skills by participating in Hollywood Producer: Movie Magic, YouTube Producers or 3-D Animation Studios. Coding beginners will benefit from Code Fundamentals, while kids with previous experience can become masters in Python or Javascript. For a hands-on opportunity to program robots, kids can choose Lego Robotics,  Arduino-bots or Robot Pet.

Additional specially designed programs and majors include Virtual Reality, Biotech: Active Accessories, 3-D Modeling & Printing and iOS App Development. No matter what campers are exploring or working on, all Galileo camps promote a collaborative and innovative mindset that helps kids acquire communication, critical thinking and self-management skills. With so many choices for immersing themselves in their favorite activities, kids will want to attend multiple sessions.

Making Summer Screen Time Count

Twenty-first century kids require a range of capabilities, including technology skills for learning, standardized testing and someday, for their careers. And the need for technical skills is only expected to grow as science and technology continue to expand. Parents who choose a highly motivating summer tech camp for kids are not only indulging kids’ interests and passions, they are making a worthwhile investment in their future. In the short term, kids will enjoy hands-on summer learning that provides challenge and engages their brains. But they will also add valuable competencies that will undeniably benefit future endeavors.

Check out all the summer tech camp options for kids in your area: San Francisco, Southern California, and Chicagoland. Sign up for our mailing list to keep up-to-date on our camp happenings and innovation resources. You can also enroll in a camp session, or, for more information about Galileo camps, contact us here.