How to Find Local Coding and STEM Youth Programs

Summer is the perfect time for adults and kids to sharpen their technology related skills. Most likely, you know that “STEM” is hot! Parents, business leaders, and educators want to improve education in science, technology, engineering, and math. Local STEM youth programs are a perfect way to give your children a head start while they have fun!

Now is the time when many families plan summer activities. We previously mentioned some innovative STEM-related educational toys  that offer fun ways to integrate STEM into playtime.

Families may enjoy summer activities that introduce STEM concepts in fun and engaging ways. This round-up features resources to help you find the best youth and family STEM programs in your area.

Most of the resources relate to learning computer programming and coding as so many innovative programs revolve around these skills. The tips are relevant for youth interested in science and other STEM subjects.316ipad-1721428_1920

Code.org Shares Why Kids (& Adults) Should Learn Coding

Educational nonprofit Code.org aims to expand involvement in computer science. They are especially interested in reaching women, girls, and members of underrepresented minorities. Their flagship program, Hour of Code, reaches millions of students aged “4 to 104” in over 108 different countries! Hour of Code offers one-hour project tutorials to help participants gain hands-on coding experience.

Code.org commissioned a short film about the benefits of learning to code for people of all ages and career fields. Commentators include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am, and other thought leaders.

Code.org also offers a directory of local in-school and outside-of-school coding programs.

Scratch & MIT Media Lab Help Youth Create While They Learn

Scratch offers free programs designed for people aged 8 to 16. They say all ages are welcome to use their materials. The Scratch is a free, open learning community where members create and share animation, games, storytelling and computer coding.

Scratch Overview from ScratchEd on Vimeo.

Where To Find Local STEM Youth Programs

Of course, STEM goes beyond coding and may include any science or technical field. Some programs further expand the program to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathmatics).316robot-1206469_1920

Since most programs are locally based, here are some tips of the types of activities to look for and how to find your local options:

  • Local summer day or sleep-over camps with a STEM or STEAM emphasis
  • Local parks and recreations programs
  • Check your  local libraries, schools, and community centers for code clubs, makers clubs, Raspberry Pi clubs and other STEM programs
  • Check your local YMCA as they offer youth STEM activities throughout the year at over 1,000 sites in the USA
  • When all else fails, a Google search might do the trick! Search for “summer camps” (or summer programs), your city, and your child’s STEM interest.

Do members of your family participate in local STEM programs? If so, which types of programs and what advantages do you see?

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