“Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist,” Carl Sagan once said before adding, “and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.” If your child’s wonder and enthusiasm for science is strong, check out these science summer camps on the East End.
This year’s theme at the Town of Southampton Youth Bureau’s Summer Days program is Science! Each week campers will explore a different area of science through experiments, crafts, cooking and weekly field trips. The program runs July 2–August 23 and will be held Monday–Thursday from 12:30–5 p.m. Youth going into grades 5–8 are eligible to participate. Camp registration fee is $550 for 8 weeks, which includes the cost of field trips, lunch and supplies. Flanders Youth Center, 655 Flanders Road, Flanders. 631-702-2425, southamptontownny.gov/youthbureau
Quogue Wildlife Refuge has four different summer programs this summer depending on your want-to-be-a-scientist child’s age. The Little Naturalists Program, for children ages 4–6, is designed to introduce and immerse young children into nature through exploring the outdoors, hands-on activities, games, crafts and meeting many of the Refuge animals up close. A variety of topics will be introduced to the children, including forest and pond habitats, food chains, local plants and animals, birds, mammals, reptiles, animal defenses and adaptations, composting and recycling. Each session consists of three days: a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 9 a.m.–noon.
The Children’s Field Ecology Program, for children entering grades 2–6, will explore the infamous areas of the Refuge including the super secret, extra squishy mud trail; find the magic at Fairy Dell, get a taste of Chocolate Pudding Pond and journey to Dune Road to seine for slippery fish and quick crabs! Classes run Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–noon.
Young Explorers (grades 6–7) and Explorers (grades 8–9) will visit all their old favorite places, explore by kayak and enjoy off-site field trips. Time and places of this program vary. 3 Old Country Road, Quogue. 631-653-4771, quoguewildliferefuge.org
At their East Hampton campus, Summer Camp @Ross’s unique program offers campers ages 6–14 the opportunity to follow their passions and focus on creative activities, scientific investigation and sports. Campers choose a Morning Major and Afternoon Minor for each session from a wide range of topics, personalizing their camp experience with activities that they love and want to explore further under the guidance of specialists and experienced counselors. For more info on any or all of these Ross School camps call 631-907-5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The South Fork Natural History Museum’s (SOFO) Marine Science Summer Program consists of three one-week adventures in which campers will explore the various marine habitats of the East End and the ecology of their fascinating, secretive occupants.
The Peanut Bunker program (for children 6–8, runs Monday, July 30–Friday, August 3, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.) is an exciting way for children to experience marine ecosystems. Whether seining in eel grass beds, examining sand animals on a beach or wading through a salt marsh, campers will learn to identify marine plants and animals and understand how these organisms interact to create an ecosystem. Animal adaptations for finding food and how to avoid being eaten will be explored. Campers will learn what they can do to help marine animals on a visit to a marine animal rescue center. Finally, campers will become a marine biologist for a day and participate in research-sampling using scientific instruments on a SUNY Stony Brook Marine Research Vessel.
During the Sea Bass program (for children 9–11, runs Monday, August 6–Friday, August 10, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.) campers will learn how marine organisms depend on each other and how they are adapted to their environment. While digging for clams, visiting an active oyster farm field site, paddling in a salt marsh and trawling for larger fish and crustaceans campers will observe and identify local finfish, bird and shellfish species. Finally, like the Peanut Bunker program, campers will become a marine biologist for a day and participate in research-sampling using scientific instruments on a SUNY Stony Brook Marine Research Vessel.
The Fish Hawks program for children 12–14, runs Monday, August 13–Friday, August 17, from 9a.m.–3p.m. Campers will go hiking through a maritime forest, kayaking in a salt marsh, snorkeling in an eelgrass meadow and trawling for ocean fishes and crustaceans. They’ll develop an understanding of the ecological relationships between local fish, water birds, crustaceans, mollusks, seaweeds, marsh plants, plankton and the non-living parts of an ecosystem: water, nutrients, air, sunlight and sediments. Campers will help collect information on marine life populations and the health of our local marine ecosystems. 377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. 631-537-9735, sofo.org
A new camp, Camp Invention, is coming to the Springs School the week of July 23–27. Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention. Through hands-on programming, Camp Invention encourages children entering kindergarten to sixth grade to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum inspired by some of the world’s greatest inventors.
Each year, the program features a new curriculum. This year’s Fast Forward curriculum features several video challenges encouraging children to be confident in their ideas and explore their innovativeness. These hands-on activities include Optibot, in which campers will launch into the future with their own Optibot—a small self-driving robot that senses changes in light; Robotic Pet Vet, a module throughout which campers nurse their robotic puppy back to health, in addition to designing and building dog parks as they hammer out ideas for the best park attraction; Mod My Mini Mansion, in which campers will dream up and design their very own futuristic smart home filled with gadgets, LEDs, technology and innovations; and Stick To It, in which campers will invent something new every day as they explore what it’s like to be a physicist, engineer and entrepreneur.
Young innovators will invent, make and craft solutions to real-world challenges by building their own prototypes and discovering that anything is possible. At the end of the program, each camper will bring home two personalized robots! 48 School Street, East Hampton. campinvention.com