School’s Out for Summer: STEM Camps for Kids in Ohio

Activities around the state to sharpen your kids’ skills and keep them engaged all summer

Summer “break.” Summer vacation is often perceived as a “break” from education. But it’s actually a great opportunity to engage in new, exciting ways for your child to learn outside of the classroom!

Summer learning is not only a way to sharpen kids’ minds and help them get ahead— it prevents them from sliding back in their education. For students who don’t engage in meaningful summer learning, their achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning, with sharper declines in subjects like math and science than for reading and English.

In an evolving economy where the demand for coders, game developers, robotics engineers, and designers continues to increase, more and more families are turning to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education via summer programs. STEM-focused programs foster valuable skills, including problem-solving, creativity and collaboration.

We looked for some of the best STEM-focused summer camps and workshops to help your child get ahead. Here are some of our favorite activities for kids big and small at premier educational centers around the state:

Union Terminal: 1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati

LEGO: Engineering (Grades 2-4)

May 29 – June 1: Your kids will discover the many different types of engineering and put their skills to the test as they participate in design challenges, create paper airplanes, experiment with chemical reactions and learn to build simple machines. Engineering skills are extremely valuable and can teach your children that it’s possible—and fun—to create things of their own.


Cincinnati Observatory: 3489 Observatory Pl, Cincinnati

Rocket Science (Grades 3-7)

June 11 – 15: All systems are go for launch. As part of the crew, your children will learn about the science behind rockets, rovers and more. They’ll design their own bottle rockets, learn about NASA’s space program and take a field trip to the National Museum of the US Air Force. Enroll your kid in this program and they’ll be over the moon!


Great Lakes Science Center: 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland

Drone Camp (Grades 9-12)

June 11-15: Amazon is looking for new engineers to assemble, fly and fix their drone fleet. Kids will learn about these robotic helpers as they race to deliver goods to their friends and neighbors. Your kids will earn their drone pilot wings in this exciting new camp, which might spark their interest in studying related fields in college and beyond.


COSI: 333 W Broad St, Columbus

Video Games (Grades 4-5)

July 9-13: Does your kids spend their summer playing video games? Get them excited about developing their own. At COSI’s cutting-edge Video Games camp, children will explore basic programming concepts with the Scratch software, then develop, experiment and expand to create a shareable video game for all to enjoy. Get your kids thinking about the work that goes into creating the games that they love, and you may spark a desire inside of them to join this growing industry.


3D Modeling (Grades 6-8)

August 6-10: This camp can transform your child’s creativity from a computer screen to the real world through 3D modeling and printing. Educators in COSI’s Tech Studio will teach campers to design 3D models in Autodesk design software, and guide small workgroups in a collaborative, team driven design challenge, resulting in an assembled 3D print to be displayed in the Tech Studio.

Imagination Station: 1 Discovery Way, Toledo

Young MacGyver (Ages 6-9)
July 2 – 6, July 9 – 13, July 16 – 20: There was never a situation MacGyver couldn’t tinker his way out of! At Young MacGyver Science Camp, kids use a variety of tools to “MacGyver” their way to mission complete. Using simple household tools, they’ll devise grappling hooks, construct flashlights and even learn to pick a lock. At the end of the week, they will have tinkered their way to earning an official Young MacGyver badge.


Explore each of these awesome institutions linked to above to find more summer workshops and camps your kids might enjoy. And if you’re unsure about summer STEM camps, maybe your child would be interested in other technology-centric activities, like exploring new languages? Or… doing their chores! Whatever the summer may bring for your family, be sure to schedule some time for learning!

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