Can computers and camp coexist?
Q: Are there summer technology camps designed for kids? If so, how can I find them?
A: More than 6 million kids will attend camp this summer, and along with the traditional campfires, canoeing and arts and crafts associated with a traditional camp experience, computers are now being thrown into the mix.
While you don't want your child cooped up in front of a computer all summer long, a week of tech camp can actually be a great complement to your child's summer experience. Kids don't just play video games - they program their own games, design robots, learn how to build websites and try new technology, like geocaching or photo-retouching. Plus, camp environments are learning- and community-oriented. Unlike an hour on the home computer, these programs are designed for a community of kids and mentors who are learning together, solving problems, and sharing their creativity and ideas.
Kids who are ready to login this summer can check out these resources to find a tech camp with a good fit:
Gaming, robotics and web design are just a few of the camps offered at over 50 locations across the country through Giant Campus. Courses designed for kids as young as 6 to teens over 18 combine fun, innovation and tech skills. (giantcampus.com) ACA accredited.
iD Tech Camps
With weeklong camps for kids ages 7-17, this organization includes programs in gaming, film and graphic arts. iD Tech Camps are held at 60 universities nationwide, including Northwestern, MIT and Stanford. (internaldrive.com) ACA accredited.
DigiGirlz High Tech Camp
These camps are designed to give girls a glimpse into the tech industry and allow them to experience technology first-hand. Sponsored by Microsoft, these camps are free and offered around the world to high school-aged girls. Camp not offered in your area? Kids can find two self-directed courses online that will teach them to build a website or create their own podcast. (microsoft.com/about/diversity/programs/digigirlz)
Look for other local tech camps. Many area schools and recreation departments use community computer resources in the summer for technology camps. Check with your park and recreation department, school district, or local university for tech-themed camps for kids.
Sharon Miller Cindrich is the mother of two, a columnist and the author of E-Parenting: Keeping Up With Your Tech-Savvy Kids (Random House, 2007). Learn more at www.sharoncindrich.com, or send questions to Sharon@ sharoncindrich.com.
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