Asian Mommy, a Chicago-area mom/blogger with gifted children. Not all geek camps are created equal. Some focus more heavily on curriculum than others and some camps hire only teachers or experienced professionals as opposed to teens or college students. There's no saying which camp is right for your child, because it depends so much on the personality, interests and temperament of the child in question.
I’m always looking for ways to enrich our kids’ minds, and there are many summer options for gifted kids in the Chicago area. We chose The Center for Gifted, a Northern Illinois University partner, mainly because it’s nearby and fit nicely into our schedule.
This was our second year with this program. In the past, we’ve done camps at the Brookfield Zoo, Morton Arboretum, and local park district. Last year, we even did a Chinese Folk Arts camp. I find that the kids are stretched a little more at The Center for Gifted, and I love that the program helps my children challenge their brains while having fun at the same time.
Summer Wonders & Worlds of Wisdom and Wonder at the Center for Gifted are 2-week programs for gifted kids entering grades PreK-8. There are locations in Buffalo Grove, Burr Ridge, Chicago (Beverly, Lakeview East, Lakeview West, Oriole Park), Elmhurst, Grayslake/Prairie Crossing, Naperville (North & South), Oak Forest, Oriole Park/Park Ridge, and Skokie. Most programs are half-day; some are full-day.
Our kids did a 2-week, half-day program with 3 classes each. Our 3rd-grader chose Bubble-Ology and learned about air, density, and surface tension. She also picked Theater Club, where she got to help create the set and perform in 2 plays.
Our 5th-grader had Computer Lab I, where she used Power Point to design her own computer game. She also chose Creative Writing, where she wrote poetry and stories to be published in the camp magazine.
Both girls took Lego Robotics I, where they were able to program Mindstorms robots using a computer.
There are many more class offerings, including Mandarin Chinese, Crime Lab Chemistry, Painter’s Studio, The Art of Math, Chocolate-Ology, Geometric Design and Construction, Going Very Green, Combustion and Pyrotechnics, Drawing from Inside Out and Upside Down, Chess Club, Harry Potter-Ology, and more. My daughters had a great time, learned a bit, and are eager to return next summer. I’m impressed by how much the kids accomplished in such a short amount of time.
There was also a parent seminar and book sale on one morning of the session. Scott Hobson, an educational consultant, spoke on “Practical Ideas for Parents to Foster Critical and Creative Thinking.” We learned about using logic stories to encourage divergent thinking. One example he used was this:
“Bambi did not have shelter on the day of the terrible rainstorm, but not a drop of rain fell on her. Why?” Can you figure it out? Let me know if you do!
If you’re looking for a camp like this, talk to your child’s teacher or school gifted coordinator, as well as parents of other gifted kids in your community for recommendations.
We recieved a 10% off discount on the course by signing up in May, so be sure to look for early bird discounts.
Other Gifted Summer Programs in the Chicago Area:
Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University*
Summer Lab at University of Chicago Laboratory School
Summer@IMSA (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy)
Summer Adventures at Science and Arts Academy*
College of DuPage Talent Search Program
ID Tech Camps*
Avery Coonley Summer Program
Click to read more about parenting gifted children.
*Yikes, my teen has attended all of these, including Center for Gifted.
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