How Camp Can Spark a Lifelong Passion for Science

While it can seem like a daunting subject, science is very important for children to grasp. When children start to learn science they gain an appreciation of how their whole world works. Everywhere they turn, science can be found. There’s science in their mom’s cooking, there’s science when they’re hiking, there’s science when they’re crying on a plane. Almost everything has science in it, but it’s hard to see unless you know what you’re looking for.

Often, kids only get excited about science when they are doing experiments in school. Imagine how excited kids would get about the subject if they could not only do experiments every day, but also develop their own experiments or creations, and test and play all day long. That’s where places like Destination Science, a specialized camp for kids ages 5-11 with locations all across the tri state area, come in. At Destination Science, counselors help campers discover on their own how principles of science happen in their everyday world, whether they’re bouncing a basketball or sitting next to dad driving in the car. Once kids start to grasp that these things don’t happen by accident but because of scientific principles, it can spark a love of nature and a deeper appreciation for life. It’s also Destination Science’s belief that it sparks a lifelong love of learning science, says Kathy Heragthy, camp director. Here are some reasons why camp is the perfect setting for creating a science lover.

Camp Vs. School

Should your child choose to attend a specialized camp like Destination Science, the learning is implemented in different ways than at school, and that is not only enticing for parents, but for kids as well. At camp there are no due dates, tests, assignments, or homework. And unlike school, kids are doing hands-on activities every day. If children are engaged and having fun, they are more likely to absorb the lessons and learn new things. 

“At camp it’s fun and easy for kids to be excited, curious and confident about science. This early enthusiasm is a huge boost for our children that will help them both in and out of school. Developing curiosity makes kids lifelong learners about everything,” says Heragthy. “In school there’s very distinct end goals that have to happen. Children have to learn this proficiency by the end of this grade year and be tested to have accomplished that, whereas in a summer camp it’s much more open-ended. We can explore things that spark interest in them, like the science behind the gears on a bicycle. Getting exposed to these concepts and hearing them and starting to question them and experimenting with them, kids are building this foundation of comfort with vocabulary, and having that childhood connection to the concepts will help develop a lifelong love of the subject.”

Learning is Fun!

The other thing about summer is, of course, that summer is fun. We all have our memories of splashing in water, running on a field, or just lounging around with friends and doing nothing. And in a camp setting you can incorporate all of those activities into the learning. At Destination Science, learning is a main focus but having fun is equally as important. “We make sure that the kids are making new friends, having that social connection that’s so important to them, being exposed to new ideas that are fun and exciting, but without the pressure of having to do it, having to learn,” Heragthy says. “We want kids to learn different concepts because it’s there and it’s cool and everyone’s doing it and it’s going to result in fun. I really think the summer camp setting is the perfect arena for being able to kind of saturate that passion and that interest and intermix it with all the joys of summer, with all the fun and friendship that goes with that.”

The Future is Bright

Of course school is necessary to a child’s upbringing and future. Science camp is by no means a replacement, but it can act as a supplement and help create lasting memories that will encourage a child to pursue a subject such as science or technology in the future. “We immerse the kids in science for five consecutive days and at a very young age they’re getting to really experience it fully. There have been many different research studies that have shown that by the 4th grade kids start to lose an interest in science and that by the 8th grade they say that 50 percent of kids have lost interest in science. Most of them probably didn’t have these kinds of experiences that we’re talking about where you’re getting to be so immersed in the science in such a fun project-driven solution-oriented challenge as we can do in a camp setting,” says Heragthy.  

Cultivating a love of science early on means more scientists, technologists, engineers, and computer programmers in the future–and that’s good for all of us!

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