STEM

50+ Ways to Keep NYC Kids Off Screens This Summer

"Brain drain." "Summer slide." No matter what you call it, the phenomenon of students losing months of math and reading skills during the eight-week summer vacation scares parents and teachers alike.  

Luckily, we live in a city that offers tons of opportunities for summertime excitement and learning, many of them FREE. We've put together a list of more than 50 of our favorite NYC activities, events, and even at-home challenges that get kids to exercise their brains, and keep them (and us) off our screens!

So get out there to try some of these ideas for enriching exploration and edu-tainment around NYC with kids this summer. You can find even more ideas in our STEAM Guide, and don't forget to check out our NYC Schools Guide as September approaches.

Griffith Observatory: 10 Reasons To Visit Real Stars in Los Angeles

Feeling a little "been there, done that" with some of SoCal's popular tourist stops? Can't say we blame you. But the famous Griffith Park Observatory is one iconic destination not to be overlooked. The most-visited public observatory in the world, Griffith is also a familiar sight from the many films in which it has (ahem) guest starred. If you or anyone in your family loves space explorationstargazingscience, or even hiking it's a must-go. Here are 10 reasons why.

Registration for Apple Camp, Apple's FREE Three-Day Summer Camp, is Open Now!

If you've got an 8-12-year-old interested in STEM or movie-making, you'll want to act fast; Apple has just opened registration for its free three-day camps. Located at Apple store locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, these special annual camps and are 100% free—and they will fill up fast, so we wanted you to be the first to know!

For more camp information and ideas, check out our Camp Guide and Directory.

Coding and Computer Science Classes to Prepare Kids for the 2030s

As parents, we hear about the growing importance of STEM education all the time. Specifically, Computer Science which is getting more and more attention as the technology boom shows no signs of stopping (and fears about robots snatching up our children's future jobs continues to grow...). But can parents rely on schools to prepare our kids? Technology is evolving so fast, it’s hard to stay on top of it all. Let alone, understand how it might impact our children’s futures.

To help provide insight into the best coding and STEM education practices, we sat down with Holly Horrigan, a computer science instructor at CS Recitations, a year round after school program in Natick that features a comprehensive curriculum for grades 3 through 12. Read on to learn why exactly these types of programs are so important, and how to make sure you're setting your child up for major STEM success.

7 Great Programs for Long Island Kids With Special Needs

Without doubt, people who are challenged with special needs can experience sadness, insecurity, isolation, and exclusion. With increased attention paid to autism, cerebral palsy, dyslexia, and other conditions, research and resources seem to be increasing.

Unfortunately, some of these programs are not publicized sufficiently to provide easy access for families who are faced with the responsibility of designing a quality life for their children. There are, however, several organizations here on Long Island that help those with special needs live their best lives possible. And, we’ve compiled a list just for you.

For more educational and developmental programs for Long Island kids, see our classes and enrichment guide or our Long Island Special Needs Guide.

New NJ Play Space Genius Gems Sparkles with STEM Fun for Kids

"Goodness, have you ever seen so many Magna-Tiles?!" a mom exclaimed to her toddler on a recent day at Genius Gems, the brand-new STEM-based play space that opened in Millburn on May 3. It was an incredible sight: thousands of brightly colored magnetic tiles lay strewn about—in kaleidoscopic piles on the floor, in towering formations created by little builders, in geometric patterns on a giant magnetic wall—and the sunlight that poured in through the floor-to-ceiling windows set everything aglow. 

My first thought was that this was an amazing place; my second was, "I'm so glad I don't have to clean up all these tiles." 

Happily, my only job was to hang out in the bright, beautiful space and watch my 3-year-old play, occasionally jumping in to build alongside him. My son was engaged and entertained for a solid two hours, and I was impressed—not only with the clean, modern aesthetic of the place, but with the simple yet ingenius offerings on hand. Between Genius Gems and The Busy Bee, which opened in Millburn in March, Essex County parents now have two great indoor play space options, without having to schlep to Routes 10 or 22.

25 STEM Activities Easy Enough for Preschoolers

STEM activities are all the rage in education right now, and for good reason. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – and the Arts for STEAM – are crucial to kids’ learning and our future. But how to get your younger children interested?

They might not be ready for coding, but many preschoolers under age 5, and even toddlers, can enjoy some basic STEM principles through play. Although one of my family’s admitted guilty pleasures is relaxing with a little screen time, I was inspired by the upcoming national Screen-Free Week (April 30-May 6, 2018) to take my daughter on a STEM binge instead.

We built an apple boat, a toothpick-marshmallow castle, attempted a pom-pom drop, and indulged in baking soda science. Read on for a list of 25 tried-and-true screen-free STEM activities to do with your preschooler.

Ten Things My Preschooler Loves at the California Science Center

We've talked before about our teen and tween favorite features at the California Science Center, but there are at least as many things to fascinate preschoolers and toddlers at LA's oldest, freest science museum. Never underestimate the appeal of science to the preschool set, and amazingly, with the exception of IMAX films and special exhibits, the California Science Center is free and open to the public 7 days a week, 362 days a year. 

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