Great news for parents who want to keep their kids educated and engaged: the Children’s Science Center Lab is now offering weekly virtual camps for children in grades 3-6! With schools in Virginia closed for the remainder of the current academic year, parents have been looking for ways to keep their students learning. In Fairfax County, distance learning begins on April 13, 2020, but instruction will happen on a limited scale.
Parents who want their children to make the most of their extra time, and have fun doing so, can supplement the distance learning with the science museum’s virtual camps. Camps will take place the weeks of April 12, April 20, April 27, May 3, May 11, and May 18, 2020.With a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the camps are designed to give kids hands-on, valuable lessons.
The camp’s three fun themes promote exploration, creativity, and inspiration. Each camp will include two virtual interactions with STEM educators and other students. Unique aspects of the camp include:
- Morning ( 9-10 am) and afternoon (2-3:30pm) sessions for flexibility each day — you get BOTH sessions daily when you enroll, but you have a midday break
- The option to attend single-day camps
- Meetings on Zoom, which enable students to watch at a later time if the camp start time doesn’t fit with their online learning schedules for school
- Fun activities kids can do to continue the learning, such as creating a Bug Book for the Bug Out Camp, a Design Book for Dream it, Build It, and a Lab Notebook for the “Let’s Get Chemical”camp
- Video sessions that include games, discussion, instruction, and science demonstrations
- Daily STEM challenges that encourage critical thinking, creative problem solving, and child-led exploration (these challenges can be completed in under an hour an with limited parental supervision, with other opportunities to continue the exploration throughout the day)
- Sessions designed by the Children’s Science Center, a museum with a mission to provide children in Northern Virginia with great STEM activities
The registration fee for each camp is $125 per week. Single-day registration also is available for $30 per day (to select this option, click on “other dates” when seeing the page for that week’s camp). Fees help support the non-profit museum, whose Lab at Fair Oaks Mall is currently closed because of statewide shelter-in-place restrictions.
Campers just need a device with video and internet access (such as a tablet, laptop, or computer) and a pencil and paper; a printer to print the online informational packets is helpful. For all of the projects kids will work on you will just use household items. To get a taste of Children’s Science Center programs, check out their YouTube channel for DIY experiments, book readings, animal keeper talks, and more.