Science. Technology. Engineering. Math. Break! STEM’s the newest cheer in our land of Microsoft and Amazon uber-tech. And LEGO summer camps are an easy place to ignite that STEM spark or fan an existing flame. From robot builds to space adventures to girls’ only LEGO engineering sessions, we’ve rounded up the STEM-y-est, LEGO-y-est summer camps in town.

Play Well Tek Cover Photo

TechKnowHow
There’s a new LEGO player on the south end of town. TechKnowHow, an established LEGO and technology camp out of California, is excited to bring their summer programming to our neck of the woods. And we’ll admit we’re pretty psyched. During week-long sessions, the youngest campers (ages 5-7) will learn building techniques and explore basic engineering concepts through compelling, creative challenges (think rocket ships and city design) during the Young LEGO Builders camps. While the older campers (ages 6-9 and 8-11) get to play around with robotics and electronics using the NXT LEGO microcomputer and sensors. And some will even get to make stop-motion animation of their amazing creations. The best part? Throughout the day, campers will find time to play in the great outdoors, too. Because sunshine is good for the soul. Shine on!

TechKnowHow LEGO Computer

3611 45th Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98116
206-466-6882
Online: techknowhow.com/seattle-south/

Ages: 5-11
Cost: $330/week before June 1, 2014; $360/week after June 1, 2014; with additional optional costs for extended day.
Check the online schedule for all the important date, time and location information.

Digital Media Academy
Campers who register for the Adventures in Robotics with LEGO NXT camp, through Digital Media Academy, will work with industry professionals throughout the week to build and program robots with their own dedicated robotics kit. And while the camp is an expensive one (yep, that’s the right price), it promises to combine a serious educational foundation with engaging activities so that campers build skills, but don’t seem to mind. And let’s face it, that’s priceless. After robots are crafted, the kiddos spend the week putting their robots through a series of tasks, figuring out how to control their mechanized creations, like little Dr. Frankensteins. Who will prevail? Creator or creation? All will be revealed at the week-end DMA Robo Games. It’s a not-to-miss event!

Digital Media Academy LEGO class shot from website

University of Washington
866-656-3342
Online: digitalmediaacademy.org/

Ages: 8-12
Cost: $965 (includes a $75 lab fee), with additional optional costs for lunch and extended day programs
Dates & Times: June 30-July 4, 2014; 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

LEAP4Kidz
LEAP4Kidz boasts six awesome LEGO summer camps on their roster this season. Whether you’ve got a junior builder looking to learn some basic math and spatial reasoning or an older kiddo looking for an engineering or movie making challenge, these camps are chocked full of STEM-y goodness for everyone. Camps like Extreme Star Wars and Jr. Robotics bring technology and engineering into vivid real-world color for budding engineers, no matter what their skill level. And they’ll learn some classic classroom rules while they’re at it, too. After all, who doesn’t need a little practice playing well with others, sharing and following instructions? This is a whole package deal with a neat LEGO bow. A definite reason to jump (or in this case leap) for joy!

Leap 4Kidz roboticsOnline: leap4kidz.com/default.php

Ages: 4-12
Cost: $60-$250, depending on the location and program
Check the online schedule for important date, time and location information.

Play-Well TEKnologies
The Play-Well Northwest Activity Center is amping up their summer camp playlist by adding a few new hits to the mix: Constructions Vehicles and Machines; Mine, Craft, Build Jr. Engineering; and Jr. Robotics using LEGO WeDo. While the many greater Seattle-area locations continue to rock out with classic camps like Jedi Engineering, Ninjaneering and Lady LEGO Engineers. But no matter where your camper’s registered, they can count on Play-Well’s amazing instructor-led, play-based curriculum that capitalizes on kiddos’ natural curiosity, as campers work to solve real-world problems through experimentation and exploration. Sounds like a perfect STEM/LEGO pairing to us! And don’t forget, Play-Well’s camps fill up fast (some are already at capacity!), so jump on this bandwagon sooner rather than later.

PlayWell Tek pneumatic claw seattle

11743 124th Ave. N.E.
Kirkland, Wa 98034
425-244-9361 (for the Northwest Activity Center)
206-310-0678 (for camps on the West side of Lake Washington; Tacoma)
206-484-1043 (for camps on the East side of Lake Washington)
Online:play-well.org

Ages: 5-14
Check the online schedule for all the important date, time and location information. And use this schedule for summer camps offered at the Northwest Activity Center in Kirkland.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Think of the Engineering Adventures: Creative Computing camp, offered at the KidsQuest Children’s Museum, as an Intro to Engineering class for kids…but totally awesome! Mini campers use the LEGO PicoCricket program to test out basic programming logic (think “if/then” clauses) through challenges and free play. Whether they’re turning an LED light on and off, or programming their own music to play through speakers, they work in teams of 2-3 to transform abstract coding ideas into tangible tasks. It doesn’t get much cooler than that for budding computer engineers. The best part of this big kid camp experience? Little sibs can play with LEGOs in the museum building area with mom or dad during camp time. Three cheers for the family that builds together!

KidsQuest Museum Lego camp photo

4901 Factoria Mall S.E.
Bellevue, Wa 98006
425-637-8100
Online: kidsquestmuseum.org/page.php?id=105

Ages: 6-8
Cost: $200 for members; $225 for non-members
Dates & Times: July 7-11, 2014; 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.

Bricks4Kidz
Bricks4Kidz and Beam Experiences are at it again with their totally cool LEGO summer camp programs for kids ages 3-14. Choose one of the three main programs, based on age and preference, and we promise a LEGO-rific summer for your little creator. Bricks’ Creator Camps focus on robotics and Stop-Motion Animation. Plus, this series also includes a popular Girls Only Camp (sorry boys) where building houses, making jewelry and creating origami art are in order. The Coding Camps are a gamer’s delight because Minecraft. Need we say more? And for those who think they all sound cool, sign up for the Kids Choice Model Camps, where campers can pick three daily events, following only their curiosity and childlike whims throughout the day. Who says you can’t have it all?

Bricks4Kidz lego pic

Phone: 888-516-1233
Online: bricks4kidz.com/washington-seattle-proper/

Ages: 3-14
Check the online schedule for all the important date, time and location information.

Fun Assembly Required
Themed builds fill LEGO-rific afternoons at Fun Assembly Required’s week-long camp in Burien. Instructor Lucas Bonnema chooses a new theme each day with a clear building objective. Castles, underwater and even Ninjago are just a few of the worlds little builders will explore here. And whether they’re building a sturdy spaceship cleared for blast off, or using gears to create a tricky obstacle course for Kai, Cole and Zane to pass through, the end goal is always the same. That when a kiddo comes into contact with any pile of LEGOs, she can use her imagination to create new and inventive pieces. Score one for imagination!

Fun Assembly Required Lucas B

Moshier Community Art Center
430 S. 156th St.
Burien, Wa 98148
Online: funassemblyrequired.com/

Ages: 5 and up
Dates & Times: July 7-11, 2014; 1p.m.-3 p.m.

Has your kiddo attended one of these LEGO-themed camps? Tell us about their experience in a comment below.

–Allison Sutcliffe

Photos thanks to: LEAP4Kidz, Sue Mofsie-Stevenson and Lauren Johnston, KidsQuest Museum, Digital Media Academy’s website, Bricks4Kidz, Play-Well TEKnologies, Lucas Bonnema