As a parent, I struggled to find a great fit for my son (hint: not sports camp!). I’m thrilled that there are so many great options for kids to build and apply their science, math, technology and engineering skills in informal, creative environments. Best of all-there are no written tests at camp!
The 2017 Chicago STEM Camp Guide is brought to you by Galileo Innovation Camps for Kids, Green Apple Campus, Power Up Tech Academy and iD Tech.
To learn about 2018 sponsorship opportunities contact me at themakermom (at) hotmail.com.
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Galileo Innovation Camps for Kids is growing their presence in Chicagoland! This year’s locations include Chicago, Oak Park, Evanston, Winnetka, Arlington Heights, and LaGrange. They believe that summer camp should be crazy fun and profoundly enriching at the same time. That’s why their summertime silliness is backed by thoughtful curriculum and an audacious educational approach that inspires kids to become bold, visionary innovators. Staffed by the best instructors in the business, they run engaging camps to inspire kids from pre-K all the way through 8th grade. Don’t miss their refer-a-friend discount!
GreenApple Campus Full and half-day STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship programs for kids in grades K-8, with some programs just for girls. Chicagoland. Chicago (Polsky Center at the University of Chicago, DePaul College Prep), Elmhurst College and in the Boston area.
Supporting Camp Guide Sponsors
Explore! Build! Create! Camp Noggin Builders offers one-week summer camps are filled with fun, hands-on STEM activities! Your curious explorers will enhance creative problem solving and critical thinking skills. Each week has a different theme and hands-on, project-based learning to encourage exploration. Northbrook.
Power Up Tech Academy Chicago’s lowest student-teacher ratio and small class sizes make Power Up Tech Academy a great place to start or continue your child’s personal coding adventure! Kids entering grades 1-9 code their own video games, Minecraft mods, animations, websites and more. Beginner to advanced coders welcome. Half and full day options, and daily outdoor recreation. Chicago-north side (Roscoe Village).
2017 Chicago STEM Day Camp Guide
(If you’re looking for all-girls camps, check out our girls-only camp guide!)
Adler Planetarium Camps for kids pre-K through 10th grade. Some girls-only sessions, but most are co-ed. Older students will attend Mission: Near Space, which, for 8th-10th graders culminates in the launch of a high altitude weather balloon. Internship opportunities are also available at Adler for high school students. Chicago (Museum Campus)
Alexa Café This summer, encourage the awesome in your daughter. At Alexa Café, girls ages 10-15 discover technology in a unique environment that celebrates creativity, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship. Girls learn engineering principles, code games, design websites, model and print 3D objects, and more. These week-long summer programs are held at prestigious campuses nationwide, including Lake Forest, Bryn Mawr, Sarah Lawrence, and more.
BitSpace Part shop class, part computer lab, part design school. Week-long full-day camps for ages 6 and up. Evening Apprentice custom programs just for teens. Chicago (Lincoln Square)
Camp Invention National program serving kids in grades 1-6 with a site in Chicago at Resurrection High School and several locations in the suburbs as well as around the country.
Camp Galileo (sponsor) inspires a spirit of bold exploration in pre-K through 5th graders. Grouped by grade, campers explore art, science and outdoor activities while learning lasting innovation skills like how to embrace challenges and create without fear. It’s all wrapped in four fresh weekly themes for 2016 designed to keep kids engaged all summer long. Lincoln Park, Evanston, Winnetka, Oak Park, LaGrange, Arlington Heights (also in California)
Center for Gifted Offers a wide range of exciting STEM and STEAM programs with half and full-day programs available. Project 2016 is just for 6-12 graders; other camps serves kids as young as preK. Not all sites serve all ages. Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Chicago, Crete, Darien, Elmhurst, Glenview, Naperville, Skokie, Wheaton
Center for Talent Development Run through Northwestern University in Evanston. Enrichment and academic programs in STEM, civics and more. Overnight (residential) options available.
Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) Campers ages 7-14 explore the built environment through design, creative problem-solving, art and technology. Recreate Chicago’s Loop in Minecraft, design the skyscrapers of the future and more. Full-day camps and one-day walk-in options. Chicago (Loop)
Chicago Botanic Garden Options from pre-K through grade 7, with leadership opportunities for 8-10th graders. Week-long camps for middle school students include chemistry and ecology. Glencoe
CoderDojo Campers ages 9-15 learn the fundamentals of web technologies to create, code, and produce their own project-based website during week-long sessions. Chicago (Avondale)
College of Lake County (CLC) Program options for 6th graders on up include NASA space camp, digital filmmaking, Minecraft, web design and lasers. They also offer fast-paced summer classes for gifted students. Camps are half-day, Monday-Thursday. Grayslake
Digital Adventures Half-day programs (morning or afternoon) for kids grade 1-8. Topics may include 3D printing, robotics, animation, video fame design and Minecraft modding. Wilmette
Digital Youth Divas This camp is for girls ages 11-13 who haven’t previously participated in a DYD program. Girls meet face-to-face and online while working together to design, create and re-imagine things like jewelry, hair accessories and music using design, circuitry, coding and fabrication. Chicago (Loop)
Digital Youth Network Chicago CHA residents, check the schedule to see if the Mobile Maker Lab is headed for a camp in your neighborhood.
Dominican University The Summer Gifted and Talented Program provides a range of STEM programs for kids in grades 2-8. River Forest
Engineering for Kids Camps for kids ages 4-14 in DuPage County. Topics include aerospace engineering, civil engineering and more. Frankfort, Oak Lawn, Willowbrook
Field Museum TBA
Galileo Summer Quest (Sponsor) Lets 5th – 8th graders dive deep into something that inspires them. Campers choose a major—something they already love or are excited to explore—then spend the week immersed in it. Working with expert instructors and professional tools and materials, they make short films, build Go Karts and more. With multiple majors to choose from, every week is a new opportunity to realize their personal vision. Chicago Lincoln Park, Winnetka (also in California)
GCE Lab School Unique half-day summer course offerings for kids who will be in grades 7-10 in the coming school year include Rapid Prototyping, and Stage Chemistry, which was developed in partnership with the Goodman Theatre. Chicago (Lincoln Park)
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Click to read more about their girls-only day camps, like Eco-Engineers, Roller Coaster Excitement, Get Ready to Experiment and Explore Nature (GREEN Girls), and residential camps, like Outdoor STEM Lab and the Engineering Design Challenge.
GreenApple Campus (sponsor) Full and half-day STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship programs for kids in grades K-8, with some programs just for girls. Chicagoland. Chicago-Polsky Center at the University of Chicago, DePaul College Prep and Elmhurst College and in the Boston area
iD Tech Camps This summer, encourage the awesome in your child! At iD Tech Camps, students ages 7-17 can learn to code, design video games, mod Minecraft, engineer robots, model 3D characters, build websites, print 3D models, and more! These week-long, day and overnight summer programs are held at prestigious campuses nationwide, including GEMS World Academy, Loyola, Northwestern, Lake Forest College, Benedictine, and more.
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT, Illinois Tech) Several programs for middle and high school students who are interested in technology, business, architecture, science, engineering, or computers. Some programs can lead to college credit while others are just for fun. Commuters only.
IMSA, Illinois Math and Science Academy Summer@IMSA offers week-long summer science and technology programs for rising 3rd-8th graders in Aurora (at IMSA), Chicago, Belleville and Springfield. They offer additional residential programs in Aurora for 8th and 9th graders. Note that some programs have competitive entry.
JCC EcoApachi 3rd-6th graders explore life science through hands-on activities and experiments in this new full-day camp. North Side
Kids Science Labs Science camps serving kids ages 4-12. Half and full-day options. Chicago (Lincoln Park, South Loop), Northbrook
Kids STEM Studio Week-long full-day STEM camps with a nut-free lunch included. Chicago (South Loop, Lincoln Park)
KSI STEM Camps Coding for robotics, video game design and video editing with Adobe Premiere. Weekly camps with morning, afternoon and full day options. Skokie
Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity (The Center for Gifted) “Project 2016,” located in Elmhurst, serves grades 6-12 with a wide range of STEM and STEAM classes. Other locations serve kids pre-K up to grade 8.
Moraine Valley Community College The Valley Learning Center in Palos Hills provides a variety of STEM offerings, some for kids up to age 18.
Morton Arboretum Science-themed camps for K-8th graders. Some evening options available.
Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) Boot Camp, 3D printing and robotics for students in 5th-9th grade.
Noggin Builders (sponsor) Explore! Build! Create! Camp Noggin Builders offers one-week summer camps are filled with fun, hands-on STEM activities! Your curious explorers will enhance creative problem solving and critical thinking skills. Each week has a different theme and hands-on, project-based learning to encourage exploration. Northbrook
Northern Illinois University STEM Summer Camps
An exciting variety of residential (overnight) STEM camps at Northern’s DeKalb campus.
Oak Park Educational Foundation BASE Camp kids in elementary school on up. Topics include LEGO engineering, architecture, VEX Robotics, and more. Oak Park
Oakton Community College Program for kids 8-12 including, making 3D video games, Minecraft camps, 3D printing, robotics and more.
Power Up Tech Academy (sponsor) Chicago’s lowest student-teacher ratio and small class sizes make Power Up Tech Academy a great place to start or continue your child’s personal coding adventure! Kids entering grades 1-9 code their own video games, Minecraft mods, animations, websites and more. Beginner to advanced coders welcome. Daily outdoor recreation. Register online! Don’t miss our early bird discount. Chicago (Roscoe Village)
Project SYNCERE Supporting Youth’s Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments, seeks to prepare the minds and create pathways for underrepresented and disadvantaged students to pursue STEM. They offer a free High School STEM Summer Camp at King College Prep and six, one-week, full-day paid Middle School Summer Camp (financial assistance is available) at Olive Harvey College.
Science and Arts Academy This K-8 private school for gifted children offers variety of camps with extended day options.
SEEK a project of NSBE, the National Society of Black Engineers, SEEK will take place July 18-August 5 at Miles Davis Magnet Academy. It’s a three-week commuter program for students in grades 3-5. Students will work in teams, using their knowledge to solve problems and create products while discovering the underlying math and science principles involved in these processes.
Steve and Kate’s Camp This national camp, more STEAM than STEM, now has five Chicagoland locations. Pre-K – 7th graders. Chicago (Lakeview, Lincoln Park, West Loop), Oak Park-River Forest, Evanston
The Laboratory Check out creatively-themed science camps like Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse and Harry Potter. Serves kindergarten up to about 7th grade, age 12. Chicago (Bucktown)
TinkRworks Week-long, full-day (9-4:30, with extension option) camps for 9-12 year-olds. Themes include Bionic Bicycle, Game of Drones, Remote-controlled Water Wars, and more. Burr Ridge, Westmont, and Wheeling
Triton College Summer camps for tweens and teens. Options include LEGO Robotics, Scratch, waterbotics, teraforming, automotive technology and the girls-only GADgET program, and more. River Grove
UIC Environmental Science STEM Summer Youth Camp Full-day, three-week camp sessions starting in July for students entering 6th or 7th grade in the fall. UIC campus
Looking for camps just for girls? We got your back! Check out our All-Girls Chicago STEM Camp Guide.