20-plus STEM Summer Camps for Seattle-Area Kids
Summer is an ideal time for kids to explore the world outside the walls of school, including diving into the depths of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Thanks to an incredible number of pioneering summer camps in the greater Seattle area, kids as young as preschoolers can learn more about STEM in fun, welcoming environments.
These programs will take your kids to the stars or to the bottom of the ocean, start them on the path to computer programming, teach them how to make a movie on the family computer, and even take STEM learning outside in the sun to explore science and nature.
Note: Camps are organized here by age, from youngest ages served to oldest, and you can find lots more camp information plus our searchable camps calendar on ParentMap's camps page. Also find more camps and camps providers in ParentMap's directory.
1. KidsQuest Children's Museum in Bellevue. Little learners can get their hands on engineering and science projects even before they start elementary school, thanks to the Science Explorers camps at KidsQuest. Preschool- and school-age kids can join the science fun at KidsQuest's STEAM Camps, held at Bear Creek School in Redmond, exploring nanotechnology, gooey chemistry or designing the ultimate egg-carrying device.
Ages: 3–5 and 4–8
Cost: $200 per week for half-day; $390 per week for full-day
2. Challenge Island is part STEM, part Survivor, and all fun. Campers split into tribes to complete a series of challenges such as building a vehicle with household items. Camps are offered in mulitple locations around greater Seattle and the Eastside.
Cost: Varies by host organization and length of camp-day
3. Pacific Science Center has dozens and dozens of exciting programs planned for summer. Camps are held at nine locations, including Seattle and the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue. Camp topics range from preschool science experiments to a robot workshop to spy science, one of the most popular camps at PSC.
Ages: Pre-K–grade 12
Cost: $370 and up per week for full-day; early registration and PSC member discounts available
4. Bricks 4 Kidz offers summer camps for LEGO enthusiasts at multiple Seattle-area locations. Camp themes range from "Pocket Brick Monsters" to "Mining and Crafting."
Cost: $175 and up per week for morning or afternoon half-day sessions
5. TechKnowHow Seattle's camps use LEGO to foster skills in building, robotics, remote control techniques and stop-motion animation with iPads. Editor's note: Check back for updated information on TechKnowHow's 2016 camp offerings.
Cost: $195 per week for half-day sessions and $360 per week for full-day sessions; discounts available for early registration, siblings and multiple-week enrollment
6. Coding with Kids gets kids as young as 5 started in coding with its Little Coders camps. Kids build skills and uncover creativity under the guidance of instructors, progressing to levels of Game Development and Web Development. Camps meet in multiple Seattle, Tacoma and Eastside locations.
Cost: $209 and up per week for half days; $399 per week for full-day; discounts offered for siblings and early registration
7. Destination Science camps on offer in more than a dozen Seattle and Eastside-area locations give kids a chance to train like astronauts, build robots and other gadgets, join a crime scene investigation team, and more during a fun-filled week.
Cost: $359 per week
8. Seattle Aquarium offers a full roster of marine science summer camps where campers investigate the ocean depths with underwater exploration tools and experiments. Camp topics for different ages range from marine mammal science to sharks and fish friends.
Ages: Grades K–8
Cost: $383 and up per week with discounts offered for aquarium members and early registration
9. The Aerospace Camp Experience at the Museum of Flight, for kids entering kindergarten and up, focuses on all things aviation, aerospace, and outer space. If your young flyers love engineering, they can explore topics ranging from building robots to the principles of aerodynamics and space flight.
Ages: Grades K–12
Cost: $225 per week for half-day sessions; $350 and up per week for full-day; discount available for museum members
10. Digital Media Academy offers a range of camps on topics such as art and digital photography and 3D game design with Minecraft for younger campers, up to camps on robotics and programming to game development and filmmaking for older campers. Camps meet on the University of Washington campus and campers can attend as day campers or stay overnight (ages 12–17) on campus for an additional fee.
Cost: $399 per week for half-day; $945–$1,195 per week for full-day camp; overnight and lunch options available
11. iD Tech Camps in Seattle, Bellevue, Bothell and Tacoma give future computer science students experience on a university or independent school campus. Technology camp topics include web design, coding, Minecraft and more. iDTech also offers Alexa Cafe, sessions of all-girls tech camp for ages 10–15 with fun names like "Sugar Coded, " "Game Pop" and "Design Technista."
Cost: $449–$949 per week for day camps; $1,468–$1,518 per week for overnight camps
12. Camp Invention, a nonprofit enrichment program created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, has campers engage in team creative problem-solving using STEM concepts to tackle problems. Camp CrickoBot™ has campers caring for a solar-powered robotic cricket. Camps are held at elementary schools around the Sound.
Ages: Grades 1–6
Cost: $220–$250 per week
13. Girls Rock Math camps in 9 Seattle and Eastside locations have campers investigating and using math in fun and creative ways, including exercises in writing and art. Many GRM camps also get participants outdoors in the summer sunshine to find patterns, symmetry and math concepts in nature.
Ages: Grades 1–6
Cost: $310 per week; early registration discount available
14. University of Washington Summer Youth Programs offer an incredible catalog of STEM camps for summer, including camps for middle schoolers and high schoolers possibly not found anywhere else in Seattle. Tweens and teens can study electronic music gizmos, java programming, community architecture, and animatronics. UW also hosts a camp for high school girls on designing underwater robots.
Ages: Grades 1–12
Cost: Prices vary by age, topic and length of camp session
15. DigiPen ProjectFUN Summer Workshops in Redmond give a wide age range of kids the chance to explore game development, animation, robotics and more. Even first graders can learn game development skills with camps investigating how video games are made.
Ages: Grades 1–12
Cost: $699 per one-week session; $1,349–$1,549 for two-week sessions; early bird and other discounts available
16. TechSmartKids seeks to inspire kids to change the world through technology. Its Coding Camps cater to beginners as well as kids with intermediate or advanced skills, covering an introduction to coding up to mobile game development. Camps meet in Bellevue, Issaquah or Mercer Island.
Cost: two-week half- and full-day sessions cost $735 and $1495; discounts offered for early registration, siblings, and enrollment in multiple camp sessions.
17. TechVenture Kids Camps invite kids obsessed with Minecraft to learnd to code with Minecraft. TechVenture Kids' other camps cover digital photography, coding with Python and making with Arduino. Camps meet in multiple locations on the Eastside.
Ages: Ages 7–14
Cost: $291 and up per week for half-day camps, $550 per week for full-day camps; discount for early registration
18. Creative Coding 4 Kids offers camps that focus on a creative, fun approach to coding, along with encouraging kids to develop persistence by working through hitches in their ideas. This camp also promotes coding as a great form of "brain exercise." Camps are offered in three Seattle locations and Bellevue College for morning or afternoon half-day sessions. Morning and afternoon sessions can be combined to make a full-day camp, with lunch time spent outside as weather permits.
Cost: $347 per half-day week
19. LeMay High Speed Fun Summer Camps involve kids in science and design challenges centered around race car drivers and their equipment. Campers practice skills in the LeMay racing simulators and slot car track. A team race takes place on the final day of camp. Two sessions of camp meet at the LeMay museum in Tacoma.
Cost: $300; discount offered for museum members
20. Camp BIOmed in Seattle has high schoolers exploring bioengineering and biotechnology with hands-on camps. Topics include crime scene investigation, DIY science lab and bioinformatics.
Ages: Grades 9–12
Cost: $600 per week with early registration and other discounts available
21. DigiGirlz High Tech Camp, part of Microsoft’s diversity initiative, is a free program for high school girls to spend a week with technology professionals. Participants connect with Microsoft employees and participate in interactive workshops to explore future careers in technology.
Ages: Grades 9–12
22. Girls Who Code immersion program in Seattle invites teen girls who are considering a future in computer programming to apply for this free, seven-week program that teaches the basics of computer science. The program encourages girls through mentorship by women working in the field. This year's application deadline is Tuesday, March 8.
Ages: Grades 11–12
Editor's note: This article was written in 2014 and updated for 2016.