The Science of Summer Camps

The Science of Summer Camps

Create memorable experiences for kids this summer with fun-filled, exhilarating activities.

Let’s explore how you can boost your camper’s academic skills in an exciting and engaging way. After all, summer is supposed to be fun, right? You want your learners to have a blast, and at the same time, you want them brimming with confidence when they return to school. This challenge has a simple solution — integrate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) into your summer program! Let’s dive in.

Our cross-curricular STEAM programs are key to fusing academics with fun! A thrilling summer camp with an academic base boosts campers’ confidence, combats the summer slide and prepares them for the upcoming school year. Pairing a flexible learning environment with subject exposure increases learning retention in a manner that’s so invigorating campers won’t even realize they’re learning.

How Does STEAM Increase Learning Retention?

Learning retention is a child’s ability to store new information in their long-term memory and easily recall it. It’s directly related to the child’s achievement levels in school.

Summer vacation is equivalent to an entire month of instructional time and is the perfect time to supplement students’ education, especially when it comes to STEAM topics (Cooper et. al., 1996). Our STEAM programs foster a flexible learning environment by including multisensory learning experiences, collaborative activities and opportunities to apply academic concepts to real-life scenarios.

Multisensory Learning:

When multiple senses are engaged, children are more likely to retain information. That means our multisensory lessons are key to improving learning retention. Here are a few ways we captivate learners with activities that require movement, visualization and listening:

  • Movement: Whenever possible, our programs get learners up and moving. We include games, physical activity and acting opportunities that reinforce academic content. Physical activity in an educational setting is found to dramatically increase learning and retention. Learn more about Physical Fitness, the Brain and Active Learning in the Classroom.
  • Visualization: Images, detailed scenarios and hands-on manipulatives help bring academic concepts to life! For instance, learners use our signature Perfect Bricks to design a solution, object or visual representation connected to the lesson’s content.
  • Listening: Throughout our lessons, we’ve scripted comprehensive components for the instructor to read aloud. We use stories, scenarios and exciting language to capture campers’ attention. That means all the auditory content needed to engage and teach learners is right in front of you.

Not every child learns the same way, which makes multisensory learning a wonderful approach to reaching as many individuals as possible. To read more, visit our blog, 7 Ways STEM Supports Neurodiversity.

Collaborate and Teach:

When kids work together to talk through new information, they are more likely to dive deeply into academic content and explore it from various perspectives. That’s why collaborative opportunities and rich, guided discussions are major components of our lessons.

During these experiences, kids organically “teach” the content to their peers or instructors. For instance, a camper may express what they know when explaining an answer to a question or guiding their team in a building challenge! They may help a peer in need or proudly share work with the class.

Summer is a great time to switch things up! Check out some Student Grouping Strategies to Maximize Engagement.

Real-World Connections:

Educators often hear, “Why do I need to know this? When will I ever use this in real life?” To prepare educators for these questions, PCS Edventures’ has developed programs with built-in, real-world connections!

Our extensive curriculum includes all the connections needed to emphasize the value of academics. Campers can easily identify examples of what they’re learning when the activities are associated with the world around them and increase their ability to retain information.

Da Vinci Camp is fantastic for exploring real-world connections. You’ll travel back in time to identify how Leonardo Da Vinci’s curiosity inspired many of today’s advancements.

What Is the Importance of Subject Exposure?

Not only do academic summer camps provide opportunities for students to explore STEAM, but they provide a variety of learning exposures in a comfortable and flexible learning environment (Krishnamurthi et al., 2010). Multi-subject programs are essential in combating summer learning loss by exposing campers to a wide range of academic concepts.

Through hands-on, collaborative lessons, campers are eager to perform fun tasks without realizing that they are calculating time, writing creative journal entries, developing maps and studying history, just to name a few! Attending a STEAM summer camp ensures that vast sets of academic skills don’t go unused all summer.

As a result of this consistent subject exposure, campers strengthen their skills in subjects they may struggle with, as well as boost their strengths. What’s more, they’ll continue to review concepts taught to them in the previous school year and learn new skills that’ll help them in the upcoming year.

Let’s look at ways PCS Edventures gets campers excited to explore different subjects:

  • Our lessons include fun extension activities that cover Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies standards. These activities are optional, allowing you to pick and choose which ones best suit your learners. They’re a great opportunity to practice, refine and grow skills specific to a subject area.
  • If your goal is to implement a program that specifically targets skills in Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science or Social Studies, we’ve got you covered! Download our catalog to view programs and their subject targets.
  • Looking to help campers with reading and writing? Discover how with our blog post, Boost Literacy with STEAM.

Our programs are so captivating, children hardly notice they’re learning (and retaining) subject-based content and preparing for the upcoming school year!

Let’s Fill That Summer Gap!

This summer, PCS Edventures is ready to help you balance relaxation and recharging with refining academic skills. Implementing STEAM programs is key to filling the summer gap with fun, educational pastimes. It’s possible to increase a child’s overall learning retention while simultaneously increasing their summer-time fun!

Ready to get started? We have plenty of resources! Here are a few you'll find helpful:

Author: Marissa Rosol

4th grade teacher and instructional coach, Marissa believes hands-on learning is the key to student engagement. Her love for literacy, STEAM and collaboration guides her instruction and PD sessions.

Leave a comment


Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996). The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and Meta-Analytic Review. American Educational Research Association. Retrieved from

Krishnamurthi, A., Ottinger, R., & Topol, T. (2010). STEM Learning in Afterschool and Summer Programming: An Essential Strategy for STEM Education Reform. Retrieved from