Galileo Innovation Camps: Great Way to Spend the Summer—and Save Money!

galileo summer camp

Sponsored by Galileo, but all opinions are mine alone.

We all love summer vacation. And why not? For kids, it’s a long, long break from projects, homework, and essays. And for parents, it’s an equally long break from having to bug the kids to do all of those things. But there’s a downside to all that time away from school, and it’s sometimes called the “summer brain drain.” On average, kids lose from one to three months of learning between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. And teachers have to spend the first month or two of the new school year getting the kids up to speed on everything they’d learned the year before.

camp galileo4For me—and many other parents—avoiding the brain drain is a top priority. But so is giving the kids (and maybe ourselves) a little down time. The challenge, then, is to find activities that keep the mind active but are so fun that no one realizes that they’re actually learning something. In my family, that often means field trips. Lots of ‘em. Some last only a few hours, some a few weeks.

Over the years, we’ve spend incredible amounts of time at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, Zeum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Randall Museum, the DeYoung, MOMA, and many of the dozens of lesser-known museums around the San Francisco Bay Area, featuring collections of Pez, tattoos, banned toys, mummies, pinball machines, modern art, cable cars, and cartoons.

galileo 4Unfortunately, most adults can’t take off the entire summer to hang with the kids. Someone’s got to put food on the table and shoes on everyone’s feet and we don’t want to just leave the kids to fend for themselves. In most cases, that means finding camps that are both fun and educationally engaging. Oh, and is a little convenience for mom and dad too much to ask for? My kids have done day camps and sleep away camps, science camps, sports camps, boating camps, tech camps, and pretty much any other kind of camp you can think of.

One of our favorites has always been the Galileo camps, which have it all: convenience, education, fun, if you visit their website now you can save $30 per camper (sign up for their newsletter and you can win an expense-paid week at the camp of your choice). When my kids went to Galileo camps, they did art, science, and plenty of outdoors activities. I always loved that when I’d pick them up in the afternoon, they were usually filthy, exhausted, smiling, and full of stories about some cool thing they’d learned that day. The experiences they have at Galileo will last a lifetime. My older two kids (now 24 and 21) still remember the words to some of the songs they learned at Galileo—including one that involved a rubber chicken. I’ve never quite understood that one.

If you’re in the greater SF Bay Area, you can—and should!—make Galileo a part of your family’s history. Your children will get engrossed in art projects, science challenges and outdoor activities that will make them laugh, think and express themselves with complete freedom.

For kids pre-K through 4th grade, Galileo has more than 25 camps around the Bay Area (see the full list here). Every year, Galileo introduces rich, riveting new themes to inspire budding innovators. Each theme combines art, science and outdoor activities around a whimsical week-long narrative that’s crafted to keep kids giggling and engaged. This year features four fresh themes, each adapted for three different age groups. The themes are created together with Galileo’s fabulous curriculum partners at Klutz, The de Young Museum, The Tech Museum of Innovation and The Chabot Space & Science Center.
camp galileo2

  • Adventures Down Under: Art & Science of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
  • Galileo Road Trip: Art & Engineering along Route 66
  • The Incredible Human Body: Art & Science of Being Human
  • Leonardo’s Apprentice: Inventions & Art of the Renaissance

And for 5th-8th graders, there are 18 camps, called Summer Quest (see the complete list here). Summer Questers pick from 18 week-long “majors,” including digital filmmaking, video game design, fashion design, inventors workshop, chemistry, and cooking. Call it (as the camp does) “an incubator for emerging innovators.” If that doesn’t make you want to be a kid again, not much will.

camp galile3Concerned about the staff (you’d be crazy not to be)? Here’s what Galileo says about that. And I can add that in my experience, they do exactly what they say they’re going to do: “Our curriculum team spends thousands of hours developing creatively fertile themes, activities and majors. We interview thousands of applicants to find the most talented counselors and instructors. We combine those two essential elements to introduce kids to a third—an innovation process inspired by the one developed at the Stanford d.school.”

If you sign your camper for any of the Galileo camps by May 31, you can save $30 per camper by using the code 2014INNOVATION. And if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a free week of summer camp.

Images and video provided by Galileo camps.

Understanding and Loving Your Emerging Adult + No More Sleepless Nights + Dads Get the Blues

[amazon asin=0761162410&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Elizabeth Fishel, coauthor of When Will My Grown-Up Kid Grow Up?
Topic:
Loving and understanding your emerging adult.
Issues: The zigzagging road to adulthood; the college years; the boomerang kid; the bank of mom and dad; when things go wrong; having–and enforcing–expectations; emerging at last.


[amazon asin=B001G8WQU2&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Jodi Mindell, author of Sleep Deprived No More.
Topic: Helping you and your baby sleep through the night, from pregnancy to early motherhood
Issues: Determining how much sleep your body needs; catching up on lost sleep; getting babies to sleep through the night; understanding sleep problems faced by school-age kids, tweens, and teens.


Dr. Will Courtenay, a psychotherapist and creator of
www.saddaddy.com
Topic: Even new dads get the blues.
Issues: What is paternal post partum depression? How big a problem is it? What are the causes? When men can do to prevent and/or treat it?

Marking the End of a Sweet School Year

end of year xyz

When I was little, on the morning of the first day of school, my parents would gather my sisters and me and we’d all have bread and a piece of gooey, dripping (but delicious) honeycomb. The idea, they said, was that learning should be sweet.

Years later, when I had kids of my own, I remembered that tradition. But I tweaked it a little. For years, on the morning of the first day of school, I’ve made my kids special pancakes in the shape of the letters A, B, and C. We slather them with maple syrup or any other sugary topping, and wolf them down. The idea remains the same: learning is sweet.

About five years ago, when my youngest was finishing up Kindergarten, I wanted to mark the end of the year in a way that would celebrate her accomplishments and gently remind her that even though school was over for the year, the sweetness of learning never ends. So a new tradition was born, and every year, on the morning of the last day of school, I make a different batch of pancakes. This one in the shape of the letters X, Y, and Z.

Freedom from Fear and Worry + No Mind Left Behind + Feeling Like An Outsider

[amazon asin=1583334955&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Anne Marie Albano, author of You and Your Anxious Child
Topic:
Free your child from fears and worries
Issues: What causes anxiety? What’s normal–and what’s not; Annihilating anxiety; when and how to get help; treatment options, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication


[amazon asin=0399534555&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Adam Cox, author of No Mind Left Behind.
Topic:
Understanding and fostering executive control–the eight essential brain skills every child needs to thrive
Issues: How do children develop coordination, handedness, depth perception and other important skills; skills to emphasize during the magical windows of learning in kids, from birth through age six; what if your child has no interests in sports at all?


[amazon asin=1402748841&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Leonard Felder, author of Fitting in is Overrated.
Topic:
The survival guide for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.
Issues: The importance of being unique and different; giving children the strength to be individuals and, at the same time, to navigate the subtleties of belonging and making good friendships.

5 Best Math Museums In America

Math can be a crashing bore–or it can be incredibly fun, engaging, and exciting. It all depends who’s doing the teaching. In this guest post, Noelle takes us on a tour of five museums that bring math to life–and get kids (and by “kids” I mean anyone from about 2-102) excited about learning. That right there makes them worth the price of admission.

Math is one of the easiest subjects to learn while traveling. Our natural world surrounds us with math, and learning it opens a whole new perspective on the planet we live in and the forms that inhabit it. Geometry in particular can be taught on the road, by looking at architecture and solving equations relating to it. For parents traveling with younger children, try quizzing them often on their math skills to keep their abilities up to par. Another interesting way to learn about math while on the road is to take your family to exciting mathematical museums around the world. Here are a few of the best in the United States:
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