Camps + Classes | ParentMap Summer | Education

21st-Century Camp Trends for Puget Sound Families

From STEM camps to adventure camps, new-old programs with big benefits for kids

Courtesy Stephanie Zurn

Summer camp has been an American tradition for more than 150 years, offering the perennial experience of making new friends, sleeping in bunk beds and singing songs around the campfire. But while kids are having fun, they’re also learning skills in communication, problem solving and resilience that benefit them for life. Each year, day camps and overnight camps branch out to offer more specialized programs, in areas such as gardening, rock climbing, environmental education, robotics and more. Here are intriguing new trends in summer camps and where families can take advantage of them in the Puget Sound area.

Microsoft DigiGirlz High-Tech Camps

STEM camps

What and why: It’s no surprise that the greater Seattle area abounds with camps that explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). And for good reason. By 2020, 1.4 million computer science jobs will be available, but only 400,000 people will be trained for them (learn why everyone should learn to code). Because STEM curricula at schools can be spotty, summer is the ideal time for kids to dive in to their topic of choice, from coding to robotics to web design.

Where: The University of Washington’s STEM camps serve kids grades K–12 with options, including a new short course in “material science” for middle school and high school students, and computer programming for middle schoolers using Scratch, HTML and Java. Seattle Parks and Recreation’s robotics Lego camps were so popular last year that the organization is running four sessions in its northeast quadrant alone, hosted through Play-Well TEKnologies.

At DigiGirlz High Tech Camp in Redmond, part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark Initiative, high-school girls spend a week in workshops and exploring careers.

ID Tech runs camps for ages 6–18, offering subjects such as game design, web design, coding, programming in Java and C++, Minecraft modding and robotics, as well as Alexa Café camps for girls only (ages 10–15) with a curriculum that emphasizes creative coding, Web design, leadership and entrepreneurship. Other Seattle STEM camp stars include Girls Rock Math, DigiPen ProjectFun and Pacific Science Center camps. Find more STEM camps here .

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