Supporting STEM during summer

Karen Baynes looks at how activity day camps can inspire the next generation of STEM professionals

Activity day camps are a great place for kids to unwind out of school. The more relaxed atmosphere of a summer program encourages children to try new things. The right camps and activities can even help a child develop leadership skills and a sense of independence, which are important building blocks for future academic and personal successes.

At the moment, there appears to be a debate concerning the role technology should play in summer camps. There are lots of purists who see camps as a chance for kids to engage with nature. But on the other side of the fence are those who are using camps to nurture a new generation of STEM specialists. This got me thinking on how we can actively keep kids interested in STEM, and use activity day camps to build on existing interests or knowledge.

STEM is a huge talking point in the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have the potential to solve all of our major problems. To stay on top of this new information-based and highly technological society, children need to develop their capabilities in STEM.

Learning STEM subjects can help children to develop critical thinking skills, resulting in the next generation of innovators. By increasing children’s appreciation of science, and by actively encouraging them to engage, we can make a positive and lasting impact on our future.

Learning STEM subjects can help children to develop critical thinking skills, resulting in the next generation of innovators

Activity day camps offer opportunities to experience STEM outside of the standard school curriculum giving children opportunities to learn during the summer. 75% of Nobel Prize winners in sciences report that their passion for science was sparked in a non-school setting. By taking learning beyond the classroom, there are endless opportunities to make learning concepts, real and relevant by putting them into a more realistic context.

If children are already interested in STEM, then activity day camps can build on their existing knowledge. Exploring STEM subjects with games and activities to stimulate learning makes it much more compelling, children learn more when they’re happy and engaged. All you need are the right resources.

Out of school STEM programs can also have a positive impact on academic performance. High quality, well-facilitated STEM activities encourage children of all ages to be curious, ask questions, and make connections with the world around them, there are essential skills for success in life. 

It’s important to quietly encourage the younger generation to value the role that STEM plays in our lives. Children need a fun-filled summer that will keep their minds engaged, whilst helping them to make new friends, learn new skills, and understand the value of teamwork, friendship, and communication. Maybe activity day camps are the answer?

Karen Baynes is Director of Barracudas Activity Day Camps.