For children with an interest in technology, the summer can provide them with a wonderful opportunity for independent learning and exploration. And with the career potential for those with strengths in the field of technology, that interest should be fostered.
However, with the sheer amount of information and number of different devices children are exposed to, how can you ensure they don’t become distracted? And above all, how can you ensure that they’re having fun while learning new skills? Here are 4 fun ways your child can work towards mastering technology this summer.
1. Build Their Own Robot
While a single summer may be too short to create a robot capable of making their bed for them, it's completely realistic for your child to create a basic robot from scratch using accessible materials and instructions. The educational site DIY Hacking offers great tutorials on a range of projects, including a robot made from Raspberry Pi—a small, inexpensive computer that can be used to create all sorts of exciting DIY tech projects.
The device has become more prevalent in STEAM classrooms across the country, and tech happy kids and young adults have also begun experimenting with these mini machines at home. There’s no shortage of resources, so spend some time supervising your child's forum surfing to find the right level of guidance and support they need to create the DIY robot of their dreams.
2. Attend a STEAM Summer Camp
If your child is looking for a more social, interactive experience, consider signing them up for a STEAM summer camp. STEAM summer camps include the arts as well as the sciences, which results in dynamic summer enrichment for children of all ages. A summer enrichment program is a great option for kids who are already all about technology, as well as those who are just starting to dip their toe in the water of all things STEAM. Collaborating with peers through hands-on experiments and activities can help build confidence and communication skills, two qualities that will help boost their performance far more than another perfect score on their favorite video game.
When choosing a STEAM summer camp, it’s important to know how their programs weave other components of STEAM based learning together. For instance, if children are tasked to create their own functioning video game in a summer camp program, they are using technology to do so. That’s great for a young tech-lover. However, they also have to draw from their design, math, and even engineering skills.
3. Learn to Code
Another at-home option for children looking to master technology is DIY coding. Coding schools have become more prevalent than ever, with options for school age children and adults popping up all over the nation in brick-and-mortar classrooms, as well as online coding schools. If coding is still something of a foreign language for both you and your child, worry not—TechCrunch has a great compilation of gadgets that teach children of all ages pre-coding skills to give them encouragement and spark curiosity. But if your child is ready for more, check out the smartphone ready puzzle game, Box Island, which offers fast-paced problem solving fun that simultaneously teaches the foundation of coding logic.
4. Engineer a DIY Toy
If you're looking for a great technology project to do with your child, try one of the 10 DIY toy projects compiled at the Popular Mechanics blog. From a wild water balloon launcher to a tiny replica of the Mars rover, you can find something for every age, skill, and interest level. Creating a functional toy together can be a memorable way of bonding with your tech-loving child, and it's also a fun activity to plan for a play date. Review the safety procedures of your home "lab" before getting started, and make sure you have all the materials in place, then let your child take the lead to figure out how to put their tech skills to use thinking through construction and execution of their very own DIY toy.
Summer is a great time for tech-savvy children to take advantage of their free time and have a truly meaningful summer. Whitby’s summer camps offer programs that will pique any young technology-lover’s interest. View the full list of programs here.