10 Summer Camps Where Your Kid Will Actually Learn Something

Just because school’s out doesn’t mean kids can’t keep learning during the summer.

From an entrepreneur camp backed by Silicon Valley heavyweights to a whale-watching camp that teaches marine biology, here are 10 camps where your kids will keep using their brains this summer.

Kids will learn business skills at Camp BizSmart.

Where: Stanford University or Silicon Valley Community Foundation, south of San Francisco, Calif.

When: Four 12-day sessions run between June 16th and Aug. 8th

Cost: $1,590 standard tuition for the camp at Standford, $US1,290 for the camp at SVCF

What they will learn: Camp BizSmart pairs teams of kids between the ages of 11 and 15 with top executive mentors. Each exec gives their team of kids a business problem they must solve, giving them a chance to learn teamwork, financial analysis and negotiation.

Tech entrepreneurs at Google, Microsoft and Cisco have backed the camp.

Concordia Language Villages offers language immersion.

Where: Moorhead, Minn.

When: 1-week to 6-week sessions offered between June 9th and Aug. 30th

Cost: Between $US515 and $US5,975

What they will learn: Kids at Concordia Language Villages aren't called campers, but villagers. They're issued passports and given names in other languages to create an immersive language-learning environment.

The camp offers courses in 15 modern languages including Arabic, Japanese and Danish. In addition to learning a new language, students also get a cultural experience, participating in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony one day and playing fútbol like they do in Spain the next.

Hawthorne Valley Farm Camp is a working farm.

Where: Columbia County, N.Y.

When: Six sessions up to three weeks long run between June 29th and Aug. 9th

What they will learn: Hawthorne Valley Farm invites 8-to-15-year-olds to live, work and play on their 400-acre spread. Younger kids go to House Camp, where they live together with staff in a large barn house and learn the basics of farm life. Older kids go to Field Camp, where they actually help do the work of the biodynamic farm.

All campers eat together family-style to emphasise community spirit. Everything eaten is grown or produced on the farm, oftentimes by the kids themselves. Campers also assist in the farm-to-store system of running a profitable farm.

Teens learn high level maths skills at Honours Summer Maths Camp.

Where: Texas State University in San Marcos, Tex., between San Antonio and Austin.

When: June 22nd - Aug 2nd

Cost: $3,100

What they will learn: If you're going to go to maths camp, the Honours Summer Maths Camp at Texas State University is the place to be. It shares the same home state as Texas Instruments, which introduced the handheld calculator to the world.

At Texas State's Maths Camp, students take courses in elementary number theory, combinatorics and abstract algebra. They also learn to use Mathematica software to model real-world problems. Returning students have the option to work with faculty to conduct maths research into a chosen problem.

Model U.N. Camp is a simulation of global diplomacy.

Where: Pine Hill, N.Y., in the Catskills

When: Three one-week sessions offered between July 21st and Aug. 10th

Cost: $US875 for one week, $US1,650 for two and $US2,425 for three

What they will learn: Students from around the world practice diplomacy and learn about international relations at this camp in Upstate New York. Staffers include professors, former peace corps volunteers and university-level Model U.N. participants.

Each week has a different theme. This year, week one includes a simulation of the World Trade Organisation discussing access to medical care and a crisis committee coordinating the response to natural disasters. Week two focuses on dissecting the progress of the Millennium Development Goals and cyber warfare. Week three simulates a meeting of the U.N.'s Office on Drugs and Crime discussing how to combat the narcotics trade.

Kids can design their own games and apps at National Computer Camps.

Where: Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Ga., or John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio

When: Six one-week sessions between June 22nd and Aug. 1st in Connecticut, two one-week sessions between July 6th and July 18th in Georgia, and two one-week sessions between July 6th and July 18th in Ohio

Cost: $US1,095 per week, $US245 for weekends between camps

What they will learn: National Computer Camps was the first computer camp ever established in the U.S. in 1977. Current campers learn how to design a 2D or 3D video game, code an Android phone app and produce digital video.

Younger campers have the option to learn programming in the morning-only sessions, while older campers can get certified in A+ and Network+ programming language, a great start to an IT career.

Canada's Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students is incredibly competitive.

Where: University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada

When: Aug. 11th - 15th

Cost: No cost besides getting yourself to and from Waterloo. University dorms are covered by the program.

What they will learn: The University of Waterloo is Canada's top tech university, producing the next generation of Silicon Valley startup geniuses. The school's annual Quantum Cryptography School For Young Students is incredibly competitive for kids 15 and older.

Quantum cryptography combines maths and physics disciplines and students at the camp will learn to use them to develop unbreakable encryption that protects communication, among other things. They will have access to world-renowned researchers in the field of quantum computing and conduct hands-on experiments.

Space Camp alumni include NASA astronauts.

Where: Huntsville, Ala.

When: One-week sessions run between June 1st and Aug. 29th

Cost: $US929

What they will learn: Space Camp alumni include NASA astronauts, engineers, scientists and technology specialists. It was created by Dr. Wernher von Braun, who led propulsion efforts for the Apollo-era space program in the U.S.

Campers between the ages of 9 and 18 participate in a range of activities that allow them to use their real-world science, technology, maths and engineering knowledge. There are simulations for mission control and scuba-based microgravity. Students can also design a spacecraft and analyse mission findings.

Kids learn survival skills at Walking Mountain Science Center.

Where: Avon, Colo.

When: Three- or four-day sessions run between June 23rd and Aug. 6th

Cost: Between $325 and $US415

What they will learn: Campers at the Walking Mountain Science Center stay in high altitude cabins while learning survival skills like using a map and compass. They also practice ecology field research with activities geared toward helping kids develop a stronger connection to the natural world.

High school-aged students can opt for a week-long backpacking camp through Colorado's backcountry. They investigate principles of ecology and observe scientific phenomena in nature.

Whale Camp is a unique experience for budding marine scientists.

Where: Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy between Maine and Nova Scotia

When: One- to three-week sessions run between June 22nd and August 30th

Cost: Between $US1,395 and $US4,995

What they will learn: Campers get a hands-on feel for oceanography and marine biology at Whale Camp. In the summer, up to 12 species of whales use the Bay of Fundy as a feeding ground and nursery.

Students spend most of the session on a 56-foot long sail boat, operating the vessel and charting the course of the whales. Kids use professional oceanography equipment to gather and analyse data about the water source and the creatures who live there.

They also learn from marine scientists and researchers who spend their summers rescuing porpoises from fish nets left in the bay.

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