Kids who spend their summers playing video games are a parent’s worst nightmare, but teaching them to create the games can pave a path to success.
Now more than ever, educators believe that the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — are important to include in children’s education. In 2009, President Obama created the decade-long Educate to Innovate initiative in an effort to provide the tools for kids to become the future of innovation in the US. Coalitions led by top CEOs are currently working towards providing those tools, like the 100Kin10 coalition aiming to train 100,000 STEM teachers by 2019.
From building robots to coding video games, these week-long summer camps in NYC are designed to show students that the STEM subjects can be exciting and fun. Here are some stand-out options for young inventors, builders and tinkerers.
We love littleBits more than just a little bit. The New York-based company sells electronic building blocks for kids around the world, allowing them to invent and create.
This summer, they decided to give kids a chance to try out their product. Teaming up with YouthSpark by Microsoft, they now offer “Be an Inventor with littleBits”, a free, week-long camp for kids ages 8-11 held at the Microsoft Flagship store in NYC.
The main goal of this collab is to get the kids playing with littleBits, and learn the “create, play, remix, share” process. Kristen Smith, a retail account manager at littleBits, said the campers create their inventions and share them with family and friends in a gallery showcase.
“We want the students to be able to create inventions, and really use the invention process to take an idea and bring it to life,” she said.
The Brooklyn Robot Foundry boasts many programs throughout the year for kids in Brooklyn and Manhattan looking to build some cool robots. In their two main summer 2016 programs, Robot Adventure and Robot World, attendees produce nine robot creations over the course of the week-long camp. They also offer Girls Week at all locations, in which the projects are the same but the campers are all girls. For older brainiacs, there are robot inventing and programming weeks as well.