Summer is the time for rest, relaxation, popsicles by the pool and bike rides with friends. Kids need this downtime, but it also makes sense to keep them learning in a low-pressure and fun
way. If you’re worried about summer learning loss, there are plenty of stellar options in the
Garden State. From enriching camps to family field trips, these ideas will help them keep pace while school’s out.
The words “academic” and “camp” don’t necessarily go together in the minds of most
children, but there are some truly innovative programs specifically designed to engage kids at their interest level. Here are a few great options:
At the Morristown Beard Summer Institute, students participate in project-based courses designed to encourage collaboration and brainstorming. There are in-person courses for middle schoolers and high schoolers.
THE ELISABETH MORROW SCHOOL
Camp meets classroom at Summer Explorations (kids ages 2 through grade 9), which offers workshops that delve into woodworking, coding, sports, animation and more.
THE WRITERS CIRCLE
Teen scribes hone their craft at one of three WC’s week-long Summer Creative Writing
Intensives at Drew University. They’ll focus on poetry, playwriting or memoirs, enjoying support, feedback and literary fun along the way.
Hands-on, in-person STEAM (think engineering, math, programming) learning will keep your child age 5-15 in peak performance mode (full and half days available). Virtual, small
group camp is also an option.
Typically held at one of 150+ campuses nationwide, iD Tech’s camps focus on popular STEM obsessions like coding in Roblox and Minecraft. Online camps are also offered.
Top-notch academics and enrichment for young scholars in grades K-12 meets terrific classes for thinkers like podcasting and financial literacy. NA-X Courses, Jump Start Courses and Mott-Leeney Baseball Camp are all offered.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Other ideas to keep learning going are to join a book club or your local library’s summer reading
program. Most libraries make summer reading fun with contests and prizes so cracking a book becomes something kids look forward to doing.
For older kids, enrichment classes or SAT prep classes may be a good bet during the summer months so they can head into the next school year feeling more confident and prepared.
For younger kids, subscription boxes make learning fun (and will keep them checking the
mail for their next adventure!). Eat2explore lets kids try food from around the world while getting a culinary education. Boxes can center on a single country such as Japan, Peru or Morocco, or by US regions.
OwlCrate Jr boxes are curated for kids ages 8-12. Each box includes a brand-new novel, an exclusive letter from the author, plus activities and games related to the theme of the month.
FUN WITH FIELD TRIPS
Opportunities for learning experiences are around every corner. Here are a few favorites:
Kids will marvel at the aquarium’s collection of 15,000+ aquatic animals which includes the largest collection of sharks in the Northeast. Walk through the Shark Tunnel and don’t forget to say hi to Button and Genny, their two massive hippos!
Do you remember walking your way through the gigantic human heart here? It’s still there—and as beloved as ever. There’s also a Harry Potter exhibit though September 18, a mirror maze, escape rooms, science shows, 3-D printing displays and more.
HOWELL LIVING HISTORY FARM
Open since the 1730s, this farm is a prime location for learning about the seasonal activities of a working farm. Kids can explore the hen house, corn crib, ox barn and more.
LIBERTY SCIENCE CENTER
The kids will get hands-on experience with electricity, amphibians and more as they
explore this interactive museum. Don’t miss a show in the biggest planetarium in the western hemisphere!
OLD BARRACKS MUSEUM
Head to the state’s capital city to see where soldiers lived during the Revolutionary War. This museum brings the world of colonial America to life with tours and exhibits.
THOMAS EDISON NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
They may know Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb, but what about his other works?
Here, kids can explore his chemistry lab and tour Black Maria, the world’s first movie studio.