When you think "summer camp," you might picture canoeing on a lake, playing capture the flag, and eating s'mores by a campfire. But camp can also be about coding, constructing robots, and building with Lego. We've rounded up 19 New Jersey STEM camps that promise a summer of fun for budding scientists, engineers, and computer programmers. Find more New Jersey summer camps in our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings.
Bricks 4 Kidz – Various locations
Lego lovers ages 5–13 can explore engineering, architecture, and movie making by building with Lego. Themes include robotics, amusement parks, and space adventures.
Buehler Challenger and Science Center – Paramus
Kids from preschool through high school can attend a variety of weeklong programs that delve into such topics as rocketry, robotics, and the search for life beyond our solar system.
Camp Invention encourages creative problem solving and teamwork.
Camp Invention – Various locations
This weeklong program, geared toward kids entering grades K–6, includes projects like "Have a Blast," in which campers engineer working tools like bubble blasters and snowball throwers; and "Mission: Space Makers," in which participants have to locate and prepare a new planet for human habitation. For more, read our review of Camp Invention.
Challenge Island – Essex-Passaic and Gloucester County
Challenge Island offers a variety of themes, including Wizardry, Minecraft, and Space Wars. The 2017 lineup will be available soon; check the website for info.
Club Scientific Northern Jersey – Wyckoff
Every child is a scientist at Club Scientific, where kids ages 4–14 can choose from programs such as Camp Robot Inventor, Camp Space Engineer, and Camp Jurassic.
Dwight-Englewood – Englewood
Habitats of the World is the theme of this summer's Discoveries (ages 3–6) and Adventures (grades 1–4) programs. Kids will learn all about earth science, weather, and nature while exploring why animals live in certain habitats. The Enrichment program (grades 5–12) offers a variety of subjects including 3D game design, a balloon-powered rocket car STEM competition, and model rocketry.
Game Camp Nation – East Rutherford
Kids ages 7–17 can learn to design video games at this camp, which offers both day and overnight options. Programs range from game design with Sploder (ages 7–9) to video game creation with Java and Minecraft (ages 13–17).
The Gifted Child Society – Allendale
Summer Superstars Camp STEAM is geared toward gifted children in preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Held on the Northern Highlands Regional High School campus, this camp focuses on academics in the morning and recreation in the afternoon. Half-day options are available for preschoolers. The 2017 schedule will be available soon; check the website for info.
iD Tech – Various Locations
Kids ages 7–17 can learn to code, design video games, engineer robots, print 3D models, and more. The camps are held on college campuses throughout the state, including Seton Hall University, Princeton University, and Montclair State University.
RELATED: Free Summer Coding Camp for Teen Girls
International Ivy offers hands-on experience in robotics, engineering, video game design, and more.
International Ivy – Various Locations
Kids ages 5–15 can choose from more than 60 classes in robotics, science and engineering, digital design, video game creation, and more. Camps take place in 14 locations throughout New Jersey, including Short Hills, Jersey City, and Princeton.
L3 Academy – Montclair
Geared toward kids entering grades K–8, L3 Academy summer camps offer a blend of academic learning and physical activity. Camp subjects include robotics, Minecraft, Jedi science and engineering, and "grossology," in which campers learn all about the ickier side of science.
Lavner Camps – Cherry Hill, Princeton, Montclair
Lavner's specialty camps include computer programming with Scratch (for beginners) and Java (for more advanced programmers); robotics with Lego and Midstorms; video game design with GameMaker; and 3D printing and modeling. Kids ages 6–15 can attend camp at one of three locations: the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, and Montclair State University in Montclair.
Little Ivy Academy – Ridgewood, Montvale, Glen Rock
Campers can build and code robots, video games, apps and websites; invent smart gadgets; create special-effects videos, and more. The camp is divided into two sections: Summer Explorers (for kids entering grades 1–2) and RealScience! and Express Yourself! (for kids entering grades 3–5 and 6–8).
Mercer County Community College Camp College – West Windsor Township
Kids can sign up for four-week sessions that include a range of subjects, or sample a one-week specialty camp. In the four-week Campus Kids program (ages 7–13), campers can choose six different age-appropriate courses, with options including Jedi Academy, Lego Mania, and Lost in Space. One-week specialty camps include Science Camp (ages 6–14) and Computer Camp (ages 7–14).
Montclair Learning Center – Montclair
The STEM Camp is geared toward children entering grades 1–8 and includes four different programs: Maker Lab, STEAM/Engineering, Code Academy, and Chess. The smaller set can attend Little Engineers Summer Camp, a half-day program whose weekly sessions have themes like Robot Fun and I Can Fly, in which campers explore force and motion using ramps, kites, toy planes, race cars, and catapults.
Pingry High-Tech Camps – Basking Ride and Short Hills
Serious techies will love Pingry, a program that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of computer science education. Kids entering grades K–8 can take courses in programming, robotics, app development, electrical engineering, game development, and tech entrepreneurship. Full- and half-day options are available.
Ramapo Explorers STEM Middle School Academic Camp – Mahwah
This camp, for kids entering grades 7 and 8, offers three two-week sessions. Each session features topics such as alternative energy, aerospace engineering, and Lego WaterBotics, and every day includes an allotted time for recreation and fitness.
Sylvan Edge Camps – Various locations
This hot STEM spot offers year-round learning with robotics, coding, Legos, engineering, math mastery, and writing, plus summer and school break camps. It operates a dozen Sylvan Learning Centers in New Jersey, and the camp and class offerings vary by location, so check out what's on tap at the one closest to you.
Westfield Area Y – Westfield
The Y offers a variety of STEAM-themed specialty camps for kids from age 4 to those entering grade 7. Programs include Coding for Kids, Video Game Design, and Bricks 4 Girlz. Full- and half-day options are available.
Top photo: International Ivy. Photos courtesy of the camps.