Summer Arts Camp vs STEM Camp: How Do I Choose?
Looking towards summer, a lot of parents are struggling with the age-old question: is my child a scientific prodigy or an artistic genius? Should you foster a love of science or arts with your child’s summer camp experience this year? Let’s take a dive into the benefits of arts and STEM programming to see which route is the best for your child.
Arts programs for children go beyond coloring sheets and simple crafts. Engaging in arts curriculum allows children to explore their creativity in new ways, build their confidence, and allow them to indulge their imagination.
According to USANews, “Children can use art to tap into their creative side and hone skills that might not be the focus of other content areas, including communication, fine motor skills, and emotional intelligence.” Arts programming helps children develop social-emotional skills, enrich their experiences, become comfortable with constructive criticism, and master their anxiety.
Social-Emotional Skills: Performing and creative arts activities encourage students to interact with each other creatively and constructively. This not only encourages interpersonal relationships, but it allows students to feel comfortable chiming in with their own thoughts.
How many of us are silent in a brainstorming session because we are worried about the validity of our ideas? Children who are encouraged to express their ideas in a safe and supportive environment exercise that muscle of confidence. Students will not only form friendships, but they will gain confidence that will follow them throughout their lives.
Enriched Experiences: Art has been a cornerstone of the human experience for as long as we’ve been around. From cave paintings to stories written in stone, humans long for creative expression. A study out of the University of Pennsylvania found that art and culture programming was significantly linked to improved health, schooling, and security.
James Bartlett, the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, says “The findings of this study prove what we’ve witnessed anecdotally for decades: the arts improve lives. It draws upon our most fundamental human qualities such as creativity, discovery, and community.”
Constructive Criticism: Art is always subjective, and an important part of practicing the craft is getting constructive criticism from supportive sources. If you’ve ever taken an art or writing class in college, you know that classroom critiques are an integral part of the experience.
Michelle Schroeder, the president of the New York State Art Teachers Association, explains how on a smaller scale, elementary art teachers engage in the same type of constructive criticism with their students. This is vitally important for children as it allows them to receive critique gracefully as a part of activity direction.
Master Anxiety: Raise your hand: how many adults have public speaking anxiety? How many of us struggle with leading meetings, asking questions in a group, or just having more than two eyes on us at one time? Far too many of us, I know. Arts programming, specifically performing arts activities, is a great way for your children to confront that anxiety early!
If children are allowed to face that anxiety early, they will grow into more confident adults. Ensuring a safe and supportive environment while children are performing plays, dances, or songs will give them a positive experience with getting in front of their peers. This creates a foundation of confidence and security!
We’ve already explored the importance of STEM programming for kids in our recent blog post, 5 Benefits of STEM Summer Camps, so check out that post for a more in-depth exploration of STEM programming. In that post, we explore how STEM programming helps students build confidence, embrace curiosity, develop problem-solving skills, encourage resilience, and inspire creativity. Here, we’re going to explore three benefits a little more deeply.
Embrace Curiosity: According to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, “The ability to think critically and challenge standards is the basis of innovation.” STEM programming helps to prepare the students of today to be the innovators of tomorrow. Children are naturally curious; the whole world is new to them! STEM allows students to follow their curiosity on their own and encourages them to find their own answers.
Resiliency: Built into the foundation of scientific study is resilience. Scientists’ entire process involves trying, failing, and trying again. Resiliency is a wildly important skill for children to cultivate. Children who aren’t afraid of failing will be more daring with their attempts, and won’t take failure as a character flaw, but as a challenge to try again.
Creativity: Arts aren’t the only field that encourages creativity. STEM classes allow students to follow their curiosity and build critical thinking skills as they try to test their ideas and figure out what works. Allowing children into an environment that indulges their interests and curiosity gives them a sense of autonomy, critical thinking skills, the courage to try their ideas, the resiliency to fail, and the creativity to figure out another way to tackle the problem.
WHAT TO CHOOSE?
Now that we understand what Arts and STEM programming offers children, we can look back to the question in the title of this article. How do I choose?
STEM Prodigy: If your child loves to interact with the world around them, they may benefit from STEM programming. The child that loves to get their hands dirty, find new bugs, play with LEGOs, build their own play forts, and spend all afternoon asking questions might have the makings of a STEM Prodigy!
Little Creative: If your child has an imagination that could fill a room, they may benefit from Arts programming. The child that loves to play make-believe and is content with a stack of papers and a box of crayons wants to be a YouTube star, and is always dancing around the room might be a budding creative. Allow them to follow their imagination with Arts Camps!
Ask your kid! The most effective way to figure out what your child would enjoy the most is to simply give your child the choice! Even children as young as 4 years old, need to have some autonomy in their lives. One way we can give our children a sense of control is to allow them to choose! Either way, your child will gain vital skills and have fun! So, why don’t you just ask them?
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
For the indecisive, KidzToPros has you covered. We have camps that combine Arts and STEM in engaging, exciting, and interactive ways.
Minecraft Coding & Game Design: Theater Script & Performance utilizes Minecraft to allow students to explore the art of playwriting! Students will design an original, pixelated production with this creative writing and performance camp. They will develop set designs, props, plots, and scripts on their own or in teams while collaborating with classmates to build stories together. Let your child’s imagination be their guide as they tell beautiful, powerful, and fun stories!
MakerSpace: Games & Toys is an exciting opportunity to make fun replicas of popular games! In Games & Toys 1, students will utilize their creative design skills to craft towers, roller coasters, and zip lines. In Games & Toys 2, students can unlock their inner Leonardo Da Vinci with kinetic toys like catapults and marble coasters. They’ll learn physics principles while designing creatures with LED lights and small motors. This workshop is a toy maker’s delight!
MakerSpace: Electronic Gadgets & Wearables bring fashion and STEM together! Students will create dazzling gadgets and wearables with a mix of science, artistry, and imagination. Your child will make electronic name tags, wearable flashlights, and robotic arms. They’ll harness the power of the sun with solar-powered hats or make a wacky pneumatically powered accessory. MakerSpace helps children design projects that are both fun and functional!
KidzToPros Music Production Camp lets you create your own beats, samples, and songs! Students will learn the history of beat making, learn about different techniques and approaches to music, and utilize some of the powerful free digital tools that keep music production accessible for all of us. All this hard work culminates in a unique, self-written final project they can showcase at the end of the camp.
We also have combo camps that combine Arts, STEM, and Sports camps to give your child the best combination of summer camp enrichment! Check out our website for all of our KidzToPros Summer Camps!