Squishy Circuits. As run by our very own Tríona for the DCU summer scholars programme in summer 2011

Squishy Circuits. As run by our very own Tríona for the DCU summer scholars programme in summer 2011

From minibeasts to robotics, from feeding elephants to making movies with the latest technology, the long summer holidays are a great time to have fun with science.

Here is a selection of science camps on offer over the summer months, compiled by Keara Hall.

Whizzkids has been running information technology courses since 2001. Their summer camps are  based at third level institutions (NUIG, UL, UCC, UCD and DCU) and include a range of hi-tech activities such as web design, movie-making, online gaming and spy academy. There are half-day camps (€80) and full day camps (€159) for children from 8-15 years as well as residential camps for teenagers. Full details on dates and locations see www.whizzkids.ie.

For Lego fans, the Learnit camps are an opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering and mechanics using their favourite toy. Children, working in groups, design and create Lego structures, vehicles and machines. The Junior Engineer camps are for 6-12 year olds, while the Mindstorm camps are for 10 – 14 year olds. Camps are held in Cork, Galway, Kildare, Meath and various locations throughout Dublin. Cost €100/€125 per week. Check out camp dates, times and locations at www.learnit.ie.


Anyone 4 science provides hands-on science and engineering activities for children. Summer camps for primary school age students run from 10am to 2pm, over 4 days, and cover a range of chemistry, physics, biology and engineering topics. The teen camps are more physics/ chemistry-based and run from 10am – 3pm. Camps are held throughout June/July at venues in Cork, Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin and the Leinster area. Note that the teen camps are only held at IT Tallaght and Trinity College, Dublin. For details, see www.anyone4science.com.


Dublin Zoo is running four summer camps this year starting on the 9th of July. Each camp will run for 1 week, from 11am – 3.30pm each day, and includes hands-on investigations, animal observations and behind-the-scenes tours. During last year’s camp, the children studied animal habitats, went on scavenger hunts, and even helped to prepare food for the elephants. The content this year is likely to reflect previous camps, but flexibility is the key. You never know what will happen at the zoo! The camps are for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. Booking opens on the 21st of May. Details will be on the zoo’s website soon. See www.dublinzoo.ie.


Run by Rockbrook Park School in Dublin, the Dangerous Science Camp for Boys is part of the school’s Dangerous (and Not-so-Dangerous) Camp series. The aim of the camp is to investigate science through hands-on, practical experimentation. While no two weeks are the same, topics covered include CSI laboratory work, the art of flying and wildlife. There are also field trips and nature trails. See details at www.rockbrook.ie.


Atlantaquaria in Galway has a summer programme for aspiring young marine biologists. The Science4summer camp looks at aspects of our shoreline, hazardous habitats, and the world of minibeasts. The camps are aimed at the 8-12 year age group and include activities in the aquarium and fieldtrips to the shore/park areas. The weekly camps start on the 9th of July and cost €99. For more information see www.nationalaquarium.ie.


The space camp at Blackrock Castle Observatory is for children aged 8-12 interested in astronauts, the planets and the search for extra-terrestrial life! The half day camps use science and engineering to explore the universe, to learn about comets and craters and to build rockets. €95 per week. For details and booking, visit www.bco.ie.


Try out life on campus for a while. Check with your local university or college to see if they are running a summer school which includes science. Here are just a couple we’ve heard about:


The DCU summer scholars programme is a 2 week course which includes engineering, computing, biomedical diagnostics, genetics and pharmacy study options. The programme, for 12-17 year old students, is offered on a residential or non-residential basis. The course runs from Sunday June 24th until Friday July, 6th. Contact DCU summer scholars at summerscholars@dcu.ie


NUI Maynooth is running a Computer Summer Camp between June 26th and July 6th for 14 – 18 year olds. The activities include robotics, multimedia, computer programming, computer graphics, website design and music technology. The camp runs mornings only and costs €75 per week. See website for details www.cs.nuim.ie/summerschool.


Have fun! And tell us about any we’ve left out in the Comments below.