STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) is all the rage these days, and with good reason. Job opportunities in many of these fields continue to grow as our world becomes ever more dependent on technology.
Kids may not care about their career prospects just yet, but that doesn't mean they can't have a blast while learning these subjects. The best STEM/STEAM enrichment classes keep fun at the forefront. The science camp my 8-year-old attends each summer, for example, is always one of his favorite weeks during break because it combines hands-on learning with cool games and activities (everyone knows that robots are awesome).
We've rounded up STEM/STEAM programs throughout Westchester County that offer educational and interactive experiences for school-age kids. Looking for more camp ideas? Consult our Summer Camp Guide and sign up for our newsletters.
Center for Digital Arts – Peekskill and Ossining
Ages 7 to 17
This STEAM program offers two-hour summer classes in coding, game design, song writing and botanical illustration. There is also a variety of animation classes, including stop, 3D and interactive 2D. Classes are held at Westchester Community College’s Center for the Digital Arts or the Ossining Summer Science Academy and range from 90 minutes to two hours long. Morning and afternoon sessions can also be grouped for a longer day.
Rye Arts Center – Rye
Ages 4 to adult
With more than 35 different options, the Rye Arts Center is one of the few on this list that offers STEAM classes for preschoolers. Have a Minecraft-obsessed grade schooler? Have her learn how to create 3D worlds and then export them to 3D software. Introductory piano and guitar lessons are offered, as are dance, writing, painting, coding, programming and animation. Parents, take note: classes for adults are also available!
Digital Arts Experience – White Plains
Ages 6 to 18
Not only will the DAE hold classes this summer, but it also offers Saturdays and after-school classes going on now. There are the traditional STEM-focused Minecraft and Scratch options, as well as digital photography and filmmaking classes—including a class on making Lego movies! Classes are held all summer long, broken up into five sessions from early July through early September. The prices are higher than many of the others on this list, but the DAE trumpets its small class sizes, which are capped off at eight. This might be a good option for older children and teens who want to build or add to a portfolio.
Bits, Bytes & Bots Computer Adventures – Mount Kisco
Ages 6 to 16
Lego robotics, app development, 3D printing and computer programming are just some of the week-long classes planned this summer by Bits, Bytes & Bots. Early drop-off and late pick-up options are available, as are discounts for children who register for more than one class in a single week.
Destination Science – Multiple Locations
Ages 5 to 11
One of the more affordable options on the list, Destination Science runs week-long camps for children in elementary school. Each weekly option has a snazzy name like “Amazing Superhero Science” (build an electronic Super Hero Racer) or “Rock N’ Roll Gizmos & Gadgets” (lessons in electricity, gravity, and simple machines). Camps will be held in Larchmont, Mount Kisco, New Rochelle, Rye, Tarrytown, White Plains and Yonkers. Destination Science also holds after-school classes, but these are typically run through the individual school district. The summer camps, however, are open to all children. Full- and half-day choices are available.
iD Tech – Bronxville and Purchase
Ages 7 to 17
Kids can get a glimpse of the college experience through iD Tech this summer, which is holding week-long camps at Sarah Lawrence College and Manhattanville College. As with the DAE classes, the fees are higher than some of the others on this list, but the classes are held over the entire day and supplemented with sports and games. iD also provides access to online materials when the camp concludes. Some of the classes offered include Scratch, Python, Java and C++ programming, as well as Minecraft 3D and mobile game designing.
Mad Science – Multiple Locations
Ages Grades K-5
These week-long camps, which are geared toward children in elementary school, are held at a variety of areas throughout Westchester, including Armonk, Scarsdale, Rye, North Castle, Yorktown and others. The program material varies depending on location; some will teach robotics, allowing participants to build their own robots to bring home, while others will focus on space and rocketry. Check the schedule for specific dates and locations.
Digital Media Academy – Bronxville
Ages 8 to 17
Held at Concordia College, this program offers a wide variety of week-long courses, including “Adventures in Lego Robotics" for younger kids. Older children can take classes in Java, advanced digital filmmaking and graphic design, and the program even has classes that teach about virtual reality and music production. The day-long program runs from 9am to 5pm.
This originally posted in 2015 and has been updated for 2017.
Photo credit: Sean Davis via Flickr