This summer, send the kids to a STEM day camp

Summer is almost here, which means parents must once again decide how to fill their children’s time during the next three months in a way that is, ideally, productive, constructive, and instructive (and not just staring at a screen 24/7). Summer camps are a time-honored tradition for doing exactly that, but there are a lot to choose from, ranging from the interactive and educational to the glorified-babysitter-in-the-woods free-for-all.

This summer, consider one of Oakland County’s many STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) day camps offered by institutions like Oakland University and Lawrence Technological University. STEM education is essential for the future leaders of today, as the highest-growth and highest-paying industries (with the most demand and least number of qualified workers) are predominantly in STEM fields. With a STEM summer day camp, children get an immersive educational experience that is fun and engaging – learning without the boring classroom – and also helps to prepare them for their future as they move through high school onto college and, ultimately, their professional careers.

Thousands of students from all over Metro Detroit will participate in such day camps this summer, and we’ve rounded up a selection of excellent STEM summer day camps here for you to learn more and choose the program that is best for your family. (Bur really, anything is better than sitting at home playing 17 nonstop hours of MineCraft.)

Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science Outreach Programs
OU’s year-round outreach programs, designed to introduce students from elementary school to pre-college to STEM resources, include a number of summer day camps as well as a “multicopter” summer camp (focused entirely on drones). Day camps include a variety of options for all age levels, from bioengineering to coding to robotics. Math camps that focus on math preparedness are also offered. Each camp runs 8am to 3pm Monday through Friday, except for the week of July 4, and is held on the OU campus.

Lawrence Technological University Summer Camps
LTU’s summer camps are designed for incoming high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The camps are held at LTU’s Marburger STEM Center with both day and residential options. A wide range of subjects is offered, spanning topics in architecture, app development, graphic and game design, robotics, psychology, and much more. Discounts are available for multiple class registration.

Cranbrook Schools STEM Camp
Bloomfield Hills
Cranbrook offers many different kinds of day camps, including art studio, jazz ensemble, and theatre school camps. Their STEM Camp is brand-new this year, and is one of only a handful of camps in the nation offering STEM camp modules developed by the Edgerton Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Each module runs for one week and includes game design, electronic engineering and design, photography, 3D printing, underwater ROVs, and advanced electronics. A separate camp is also offered for robotics.

Detroit Zoo Camps
Royal Oak
The Detroit Zoo’s summer camps program are science-minded with a particular emphasis on zoology, for what should be obvious reasons. Weeklong camps focus on animal care and welfare, and single-day camps are also offered that cover topics such as veterinary medicine, dinosaurs, and robotics.

Oakland Schools Technical Campuses STEM Summer Camps for Middle School Students
Pontiac, Clarkston, Royal Oak, Wixom
Middle school students experience hands-on, project-based learning with grade-specific camps held at each of the Oakland Schools Technical Campus locations. Camps delve into engineering, health sciences, information technology, robotics, visual imagining, and even culinary arts. Camps are held 8:30am to 3pm Monday through Friday, with after care available until 6pm.

The Robot Garage Summer Camp
Birmingham, Rochester Hills, Grosse Pointe
Summer camps are available at each of Robot Garage location for grades 1-9 with four different camp themes available: video game design and programming, Star Wars, MineCraft (!), and robot discovery. Weeklong camps run Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm with before and after care available from 8am until 6pm.

Madison Heights, Wixom
AccelerateKID educates kids in grades K-8 in computer programming, game design, robotics, and digital arts. Summer day camps are available in each of these areas at different grade levels. Areas of focus include Java programming and app development, stop motion animation, and viral video production. A selection of full day camps also includes a camp for kids who want to build their own MineCraft server and design mini games. Single-day programs are typically offered once a month in either the morning or afternoon, unless it’s a full day camp.