As we dive deeper into spring – and look forward to summer – we prepare for the upcoming changes.
The warmer months ahead can mean many things, both good and, well, not as good. Better weather usually means more outdoor activities such as summer camps, but the extended time out of school can mean bored kids and a learning slide teachers fight against the rest of the year.
But spring fever doesn’t have to equal a lack of learning, and summertime doesn’t have to mean boredom. If you want to keep the learning going and keep students engaged, there are several things you can do.
STEM, STEAM, Rockets, and More
Many of today’s warm-weather camps and activities look much different from the summertime days of old. There are, of course, the traditional adventure-type camps where kids sleep in cabins or tents, go canoeing and on nature hikes, make s’mores around a campfire, and so forth. But there are also activities and camps that nurture the whole child. STEM or STEAM camps, robotics workshops, and rocketry camps are just a few ways to engage students’ minds as well as their creative sides.
Pitsco’s Got You Covered
Whatever type of activity you choose to keep those young minds from melting like popsicles in the summer sun, Pitsco has what you need.
We asked Product Development Specialist Bill Holden and Educational Account Representatives Staci Goodson, Alan Kirby, and Preston Frazier for their top 10 Pitsco picks based on their interactions with teachers. Stick with these picks and you’ll cruise through these spring and summer months like Mark Twain on the Mississippi.
Top 10 Picks
- Water Rockets: Some empty plastic bottles, art supplies, a launcher, water, and a tire pump, and you’re set for a high-flying STEM adventure perfect for those hot summer days. That’s probably why our water rockets got top billing!
- Straw Rockets: Straw rockets are great for multiple age groups, and they’re perfect for either outdoors or indoors, which makes them an awesome camp activity. Students learn a variety of physics principles without even realizing it because they’re focused on the fun and making sure they get their rockets to fly as high as possible.
- Solar Vehicles: The SunEzoon Solar Car was mentioned the most in this category, but the Ray Catcher Sprint Deluxe Solar Vehicle is also a popular item. Whichever you choose, you’re bound to keeps kids learning – and loving it – with these sun-soaking cars. Both can be found alongside our other solar products and activities.
- AP Bottle Racers: For a fun indoor activity that incorporates the concepts of force and motion as well as creative design, try our AP Bottle Racers. They’re fun to build, and students will enjoy personalizing their own racers before they send them speeding down the track.
- Solid-Fuel Rockets: For high-flying fun in a single hands-on project, you can’t beat solid-fuel rockets. When students watch something they’ve created take flight, the excitement is palpable. This is one activity sure to chase the summer blues away.
- TETRIX® PRIME Robotics: With TETRIX PRIME robotics, kids will wish for rainy days! Whether they’re using the TETRIX PRIME Programmable Robotics Set with the PULSE™ Robotics Controller, the TETRIX PRIME STEM Units, or anything in between, the only thing they’ll be focusing on is making sure they code their robot correctly.
- TETRIX MAX Competition in a Box: Use the summer to gear up for those upcoming competitions. The Competition in a Box comes with an introductory guide, numerous competition components, and a highly customizable competition arena system.
- T-Bot® II: The T-Bot II has been helping students grasp the concepts of hydraulic power and mechanics for years. If you’re looking for an easy indoor activity, look no further than the T-Bot II.
- Hot-Air Balloons: Zoon Hot-Air Balloons are a great way to get kids outside while also introducing them to the principles of lighter-than-air flight and the concepts of temperature, density, and buoyancy. Plus, hot-air balloons are just plain fun to watch!
- Invention Explore-A-Pak: Kids love exploring. Give them a giant box, and they’ll spend all day creating something magical out of it. That’s the concept behind the Invention Explore-A-Pak. Using the variety of included materials, such as rubber bands, straws, basswood, dowel rods, and balloons, if your students can dream it up, they can invent it.
Need some more inspiration and planning tips? Check out our blog that shares insights from three seasoned summer camp educators.
UPDATE: Are you planning a summer camp and looking for ideas and resources? Check out our recently released Hands-on STEM and Coding & Robotics Camps Guides. From sample camps to loads of product ideas, we’ve got you covered!
UPDATE 2020: And, there’s still more where that came from. This blog was originally published in 2018 and our Top 10 list still stands. These products are time-tested, teacher-approved, and student-used, but since then we've expanded to offer some additional products, especially in our Coding portfolio. Looking to help students develop their computational thinking skills and develop some social-emotional learning capacities too? Be sure to explore Code Cube and Smart Buddies, both especially suited for grades 3-5.