Stay Busy with STEM in the Summertime

Stay Busy with STEM in the Summertime

By Phoebe Knight

As you may have noticed, the outside temperature in Atlanta has reached surface-of-the sun levels. Despite the urge to spend the next three months hugging your air conditioning vent, it’s up to you to plan engaging adventures for the family. Fortunately, we’ve got ideas that will give you more to do than cast well-deserved glares at people who you hear using the phrase “Hotlanta.”

Outsource the Fun

With day camps, everybody wins. The kids get socialization and enriching activities while the parents (hopefully) get to indulge in a little free time. If the experience fosters a lifelong love of science in the process, all the better.

The Metro Atlanta branch of Engineering for Kids is a STEM-based camp that blends learning, leadership and fun into their interactive programs. Students forge engineering skills with projects from Lego robot building to programming. At Kids 4 Coding in Roswell, attendees learn to create their own pixel art and code mods for the popular game Minecraft.

In addition to STEM programs, the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta offers trailblazing camps so campers can stretch their legs as well as their minds.

Be Creative, Without Stains

While it’s important to nurture innovation and imagination, no one loves spending an afternoon digging glitter out of their carpet or scrubbing “washable” paint off every surface. Local makerspaces like Geekspace Gwinnett and Decatur Makers allow visionaries of every age to flourish while keeping the debris of inspiration confined.

In a makerspace, crafters work collaboratively in a safe environment that provides the equipment and support for almost any venture. Classes and workshops help develop budding interests or refine existing skills. In July, Decatur Makers offers a variety of events such as a girls only introduction to coding and a class on copper foil stained glass. At Geekspace, participants not only have the opportunity to build robots, but they also team up in the FIRST national robotics competition.

Make it a Day

If you’re working around hectic schedules and vacations, sometimes the best activities are the ones that only take a single day to enjoy. Atlanta’s science-friendly atmosphere ensures there are lots of exciting learning experiences to keep the whole family busy.

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is Atlanta’s museum of design and art that operates on a mission to “advance the understanding and appreciation of design.” In addition to their sprawling exhibits, they host events and workshops for designers of all ages.

If you’ve been outside or on the internet any time in the past few months, you’ve probably heard of fidget spinners. At an upcoming July event, MODA will teach attendees not just the physics behind fidget spinners, but also how to design and 3D print their own spinner.

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History boasts three floors of exhibits, a planetarium and outdoor adventures. The Nature Quest exhibit isn’t just for display—it allows children to learn through playing by engaging with a wide variety of science-focused features. The STEM Day event on July 22 enhances the hands-on experiences by turning the entire museum into a STEM learning center.

Stay Active by Doing Good

It isn’t always enough to stay busy—sometimes you want to give back a little, too. Volunteering not only benefits those in need, but it also rewards volunteers with the rich joy of making a meaningful contribution.

Volunteering at local organizations that support education like the Sandy Springs Mission (SSM) also helps build a better future for everyone by equipping young minds with the tools to succeed. SSM encourages even inexperienced volunteers to get involved. Junior counselors support teachers for the organization’s summer camp and gain the experience to become full counselors. Reading buddies are also needed. Volunteers who can’t offer on-site services can hop on video chats to serve as virtual reading buddies.

If you want help the community and spend time outside (away from the dreaded device screens), volunteering at public green spaces like the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area or the Wylde Center is the perfect solution. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are needed, so the whole family can pitch in together.

Don’t forget about our suggestions for great ways to spend your summer on the Atlanta BeltLine. Got any more ideas of your own? Let us know!

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