Learn how to turn your kids into creators with creative and engaging maker camps
Screen use for kids, tweens, and teens is up all across the country. NPR now notes that over 50% of the nation’s kids have smartphones, often by the time they turn 11.
- Teens report spending only 3 percent of their screen time on creative pursuits like writing, making art, or music — outside of homework or school projects.
- Online video viewing has doubled — and most kids say it’s their most enjoyable online activity.
- Over 20% of teens log on to their favorite social media site over ten times a day.
Phones are certainly here to stay, and there’s plenty of room for phones to play a supportive role in kids’ positive and creative development. Adding other forms of entertainment – like art and maker camps – kids find more balance in their opportunities for learning, entertainment, and creativity.
The benefits of making, creating, inventing, and designing
The benefits of engaging in creative arts for kids are well-documented and can have a lasting impact on their development for years to come.
- Creativity: Inventiveness and innovation are sought-after qualities that make people more resilient both personally and professionally. Encouraging kids to express themselves through art and take risks in creating, they develop resilience and spiritedness that supports critical thinking and innovation skills “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” arts education and children’s author MaryAnn Kohl says. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!”
- Diversity awareness: Exposure to different kinds of experiences – from different kinds of food to holidays and traditions to different hairstyles and clothing – helps to create more well-rounded, educated, and open-minded kids. Seeing different kinds of art or exploring different kinds of styles of creation and expression helps prepare kids for a more connected world.
- Improved academics: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievements. A report by Americans for the Arts found that students who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who don’t participate in artistic exploration and creation.
- Problem-solving skills: Kids who work on STEM projects are challenged to think critically and innovate as they face challenging new problems in interesting areas they’ve never worked in before. Working on science, technology, engineering, and math challenges that encourage trouble-shooting difficulties can grow resilience and flexibility.
Encouraging kids to make and create – whether it’s writing or coding or painting – can help grow their skills and their confidence, not to mention help create new social connections and new sources of inspiration. Here are some top maker camps for you to consider across the country.
Camp EDMO : Camp EDMO touts itself as the “summer camp for the whole kid.” Camp Edmo is a maker camp that’s a great place for kids to grow their creative capacity through science, technology, and studying nature. They encourage campers to push their boundaries and grow their confidence while also focusing on empathy and acceptance.
Galileo Learning: Galileo is staffed with enthusiastic teachers who mix traditional day camp with classes focused in science, engineering, and visual and culinary arts. Kids create everything from go-karts, gourmet meals, robot pets, and more, focusing on building teamwork skills, leadership, and responsibility. They have over 80 locations across the Bay Area, Southern California, Chicagoland, and Denver.
Digital Media Academy STEAM Camps: Founded in 2002, this well-established technology-focused camp works to “empower the next generation of tech makers and thinkers.” Camps are held at prestigious universities campuses around the US and Canada. Their tech-focused classes include project-based learning in virtual reality, wearable technology, robotics, 3D printing, and more.
Destination Science: Destination Science allows for kids to be creative, collaborate, and cooperate. Kids can safely create, explore, and take home all of their creations. This camp is celebrating their 20th anniversary.
Home Depot: Monthly maker classes are available for kids that focus on skill-building, creativity, and safety for DIY projects. These workshops are free and require advance registration.
ActivityHero makes finding a maker camp easy. You can search by location, category, age, and other criteria to help find the right fit for your family. Search our website or download the iPhone app to secure your summer camp spot in the best maker camps across the country.