STEM programs near you
As STEM focus grows in influence, an increasing number of organizations offer after-school and weekend programs. Find your city in the list below and find kids’ programs for STEM near you.
You might also consider these other programs
Nowadays, there are dozens of education programs. If your child is interested in STEM, you might also look into some of these related options:
Engineering programs: in-depth instruction in engineering, an important field with a wide range of applications in the sciences and social sciences
Science programs: a broad field covering several sub-disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy
Math programs: teach a wide variety of abstract and applied subjects, such as algebra, calculus, logic, geometry, and number theory
Computer and technology programs: focus on the basics of computer science and related technologies
Coding programs: teach and develop skills and knowledge in programming languages and their applications
Robotics programs: teach and develop interest, skills, and knowledge in robotics and related technologies
What you can expect from a STEM program
The multidisciplinary approach of STEM can be extremely engaging. It can also be very effective.
After-school and weekend STEM programs, like summer STEM camps, tend to have quite a bit of individualized learning. Most programs allow children to work independently and collaboratively, and can tailor the curriculum to individual students. They also offer many hands-on projects and activities—rarely, if ever, will your child be sitting down quietly listening to a lecture.
Other key benefits of STEM programs include:
- Foundational studies: they offer an education that’s sure to serve your child well in the future. Your child will learn both the basics, and depending on the program, the more advanced features of the four STEM subjects. This will support and reinforce what they learn in school, and stimulate their thinking about future educational pursuits.
- Love of learning: your child will focus on areas of interest they’re passionate about. They’ll also get to work on independent and collaborative projects with peers also interested in STEM. This allows them to pursue their passions, and inspires a love of learning—sometimes a lifelong one.
- Expert instruction: in addition to regular instructors, the STEM curriculum is often taught by guest experts and professionals in the field. For example, this can include university professors, who do research on the cutting edge of the STEM disciplines.
- Preparation for the future: STEM programs and classes can pave the way for future studies and work. They can help your child decide which of the STEM disciplines they want to pursue deeper study in, in primary school, secondary school, and even in university. Sometimes they also stimulate sufficient interest, and offer a strong enough foundation of knowledge, to provide the basis for a future career. More on this below.
STEM, STEAM, and other variations
There are several variations of STEM programs. For instance, STEAM programs, in addition to the regular curriculum, offer learning in the arts. One appealing feature of many STEM programs is that they also offer STEAM learning. They may also offer one or more of the following related programs:
- STREM programs: Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, and Mathematics, adding robotics as a field
- GEMS programs: Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science, for learning programs that encourage young women in science and technical fields
- BEMS programs: Boys in Engineering, Math, and Science, for programs that encourage young men
- STEMM programs: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine
- AMSEE programs: Applied math, Science, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship
A career in STEM?
Kids who are into STEM tend to be passionate about it. They tend to love STEM learning. Depending on their age, they may even be considering a career in or more of areas of STEM.
The good news is, STEM after-school and weekend programs open up a whole host of possibilities for future work. Given their broad, yet focused, curriculum, they can be a crucial stepping stone in preparing your child for numerous different careers.
There are countless careers STEM students might eventually pursue. Here is just a fraction of the possibilities:
- Computer scientist
- Cognitive scientist
- Software developer
- Environmental scientist
- Medical researcher
- Exercise physiologist
- Information technologist
- Urban planner
What’s the right STEM program for your child?
This is a difficult question. Not all STEM programs are the same. They each have their own focus, approach, curriculum, community, and culture.
You’ll want to make sure you find the right fit for your child. To do this, make sure you research prospective programs carefully.
You can start right here on OurKids.net. Make sure you check out our detailed profiles of STEM programs on this page and through our advanced search.
You should also, though, make sure to learn more about any programs you shortlist. A great way to do this is to ask lots of questions, especially those most relevant to your child. Here are just a few to get you started:
- What is your curriculum?
- What is your approach to teaching and learning?
- What kinds of tasks and activities do you offer?
- In what ways do you combine the four disciplines of STEM?
- Who are your instructors—full-time and part-time—and what are their qualifications?
- What can my child expect to learn?
- Do you offer any of STEM-related programs or courses (like STEAM or STREM)?
You’re unlikely to find a program that ticks ALL your boxes. Virtually no camp or program can do this. More realistically, you should aim to find a program that meets the majority of your most important criteria.
For instance, you’ll want a program that meets your child’s learning needs. But you’ll also want one which meets their social and emotional needs, e.g., that gives them the chance to meet a peer group with similar interests.
Keep in mind, though, you’re not just picking a camp or program for your child: you’re picking it for your whole family. This means you’ll want a program that isn’t too far from your home, overly expensive, or inconveniently scheduled.
Making the final decision
Choosing the right STEM program is a challenging decision. Another way to check out some of the options available to you is through the Our Kids camp and program expo, held in Toronto each year in February. You’ll find many STEM camps and programs there. You’ll also find numerous other types of camps and programs at the expo, in case you decide to go in another direction.
Consult other Our Kids resources: How to choose a camp or program, STEM program reviews, Camp and program guide
To learn more about STEM learning, check out the following sources:
Livescience.com: what is STEM education?
Education.wa.edu.au: what is STEM?
Wikipedia: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Engineeringforkids.com: why is STEM education so important?