Some kids love summer because it means day camp and sports and running around all day. But for other kids, even the thought of that makes them break out into a cold sweat, which in turn makes parents panic about what to do with kids all summer when they are not "typical" camp kids.
I happen to have a boy who is completely disinterested in a regular day camp and I can only imagine the torture (for both of us) that would follow if I signed him up for such a program. Instead we tried RoboFun, which offers after-school classes, summer camps and school break camps that teach kids robotics, animation and video game design.
The classes are based around LEGO Mindstorms (for Robotics) and Scratch (for game design). In the morning, kids learn how to build and then program robots. Each day, the kids build a new robot and program it, learning new skills in the morning. By the end of the week, they know enough to design their own creations. In the afternoon, they learn how to use Scratch to make animations and computer games.
The classes were fun and educational, but what actually impressed me most was the thoughtful way that the camp was run. As a mom of a very smart, but sometimes overly sensitive boy (and I'm going to go out on a limb and say I bet they get a lot of that type of kid), I felt like they had worked hard to design these classes to be really supportive. The teacher to student ratio was about two to one, including lots of sweet teenagers, and they did a really nice job of handling the kids and taking them through what to expect.
I think this sign that used to be in their bathroom is a good example of what I mean:
RoboFun camps and classes are for children ages 6-12 (with separate classes for older and younger kids). Kids can sign up for camps for full or half days. Full days go until 4pm with an extended day option.
Find the RoboFun address and phone number in the map on the right or check out the website.