Kids are looking forward to summer because it’s a time to shut the books and play outside for endless hours. But with studies showing that a portion of what your child learns is lost over the summer holiday, is there something that parents can do to increase the education retention rate?

You might be surprised that there are numerous camps that specialize in keeping kids engaged through informal learning while there having fun. Academic camps, like S.T.E.M. programs, offer opportunities to explore and learn about different areas without textbooks, tests or homework and most importantly, while having fun.

Why Academic Camps?
Depending on your child’s age there are different benefits to attending academic summer programs. Younger kids will be introduced to many different areas of like robotics, chemistry, the environment, zoo animals, history, architecture and much more through fun, hands on activities that will help them grasp general concepts.

Being exposed to these topics during the summer will give your kids confidence when they presented with them during the upcoming school year. This will make them feel comfortable.

If your older child already has an interest in a subject like science or math, summer might be a great time to find a specific math or science-related programs that expose them to a career they might be interested in and meet with mentors or professionals in that field. This will help your older kids make connections, find internships and eventually lead to jobs after college.

What is STEM?
Many math and science programs are based in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), which was created to engage kids through fun, hands-on activities. These programs use a number of different education tools like computers and experiments to approach dealing with creativity, discovery and invention. And the benefit of STEM is that the programs are constantly changing, allowing your kids to return year after year for new learning experiences.

Explore Collegiate Programs
If your teen is heading into grade 9, 10, 11 or 12, you may want to explore collegiate or pre-college programs as a way to engage your kids over the break.

“Pre-college summer programs are a fantastic way for high school students to test drive college life, discover great new schools and find the colleges that best fit their individual needs”, says

As well as living in a college dorm, your teen will explore exciting academics, SAT/ACT prep courses, internships, intensive workshops and trips, just to name a few things. And the best part is, many of these programs offer college credits for a certain number of hours completed.

Reaching out to local and national museums, universities, zoos, aquariums, schools, state and national parks to learn about their programs is the first step to finding the perfect academic summer camp. We’ve compiled a list of some great camps for you to start your search.


Berkeley Summer Programs
4811 Kelly Road, Tampa
813-885-1673 –
June 2 – July 25

With more than 100 activities, there is something for everyone and every age. Children can explore diverse interests or a singular passion. There are full- and part-time sessions in a variety of areas, including sports, science, academics and fine arts. Try programs such as Juguemos en Español, Science Magic and Just Art. Register online!

Camp Invention
Various locations
630-431-7754 –
Dates vary by location

This nationally acclaimed, week long summer enrichment day experience for children entering grades one through six is free to schools and organizations nationwide. The program’s top priority is to provide quality enrichment programming in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Local schools host the program and the week’s hands-on activities are led by local teachers to ensure a safe learning environment. Go online to find a camp near you.

Gr8Code Summer Coding & Technology Camp
1724 E. 5th Avenue, Tampa,
(813) 248-CODE –
June 9 – August 15

Does your 8-13 year old have the next great Flappy Bird idea? Create an app, design a website, shoot a short film, or create a video game during our weekly summer camps. Led by experts, we also teach business fundamentals and entrepreneurial skills. We are Florida’s first and only STEM Center USA partner for the Pi-Bot robotics program. Lunch program available. Early drop off and pick up at NO charge. Conveniently located near Downtown Tampa. Each week ends with our very own Shark Tank pitch session for parents. Teams will also have the opportunity to participate in StartUp Weekend for kids! (www. Register now at Space is limited!

iD Tech and iD Teen
888-709-8324 –
June 23 – August 1

Build apps, video games, programs in C++/Java and more during weeklong (day and overnight) programs for ages 7-17 at the University of South Florida. Space is limited.

MOSI Science Summer Camps
4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa
813-987-6000 –
June 9 – August 15

What do launching pumpkins, designing video games, explosions, slime and fashion design all have in common? They are just part of the MOSI Summer Science Camp adventure waiting for your child. MOSI offers science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM, camps for preschoolers to high schoolers. There are half-day, full-day, technology, travel and residential camps, with certified teachers for all programs.

Summer Institute for the Gifted
Various locations around the country
866-303-4744 –
Dates vary by location

SIG offers students a wide range of excellent programs at a host of prominent academic institutions. As well as working with dedicated, local instructors and faculty that will help them through their summer journey, your kids will enjoy innovative academic offerings, a safe learning environment and much more that will help them prepare for the upcoming academic year and beyond.

USF Pre-College
4202 E. Fowler Ave., SVC1072, Tampa
813-974-4926 –
June 8 – August 1

USF offers high school students an outstanding pre-college summer experience, offering programs in engineering, global sustainability, toy and game design, animation, film studies, S.T.E.M. and more! Students can pursue academic interests, discover career options, earn college credit, and explore university life. Programs begin June 8 and range from one to four weeks and offer overnight (residential) or daily (commuter) access.