Camp Google: Inspiring Kids to go Outside

Do you remember your mother or grandmother saying, “It’s a beautiful summer day…what are you doing inside?” Well, online giant Google has heard that message, and wants young children to get offline too, with the help of its Camp Google.

Are the young children in your life starting to act a little restless as we enter the dog days of summer? Although school seems to start earlier than ever, we all know that feeling when waning summer days seem to stretch out longer and longer…Just in time, Google has launched its online summer camp (on July 13), starting with a bevy of science and tech themed adventures. The first was called Ocean Week. This week at camp is Space Week.

I know we’ve written a lot on the topic of kids online, and most of us are worried about the next generation being too connected—and mobile devices turning them into bigger couch potatoes than the previous generation. While it may sound counter-intuitive, Camp Google seems like a great strategy to get that generation (ages 7-10) excited about life and get them out of doors.

The camp explores the outdoors, science, and technology. You don’t even need a Google account to sign up. As Google says, “Camp Google is designed to get kids outside exploring and experimenting with fun science activities.”

And did I mention the camp is free? Sign me up!

There are activities that even sound fun to me: Creating a magnifying glass to explore your backyard? Building crystals? Making a constellation for your bedroom? A levitation device for Space Week?

For budding chefs out there, the current Google Camp Space Week also allows them to participate in a cook off between two junior chefs competing to create a signature dish for astronauts in space. Kids will get a front row seat for all the fun and learn about how space food is made and what’s needed to survive in space.

Exploring a volcano? Google’s got that too, coming July 29t, and with an online escort by a National Park Ranger. Miss a week of camp for a real vacation? Content is there for you to experience the camp after the designated week.

The engineers at Google worked with prestigious educational organizations like Khan Academy and with content experts such as National Geographic Kids, NASA and the National Park Service to develop the excellent content that will get kids to see the potential science has.

The directions and lessons are fun, simple to understand and motivating.

All activities list supplies required (usually basic household items) and also specify when parental supervision that is required as well. With this camp, there are even completion badges too.

To me it seems like the perfect mix of technology and outside awareness with content and interactive engagement really designed to inspire the next generation to pursue science and technology.

I also would like to point out that it seems like a great way to encourage young girls to learn about and explore science and technology in a non-threatening and fun way.

Empowerment, engagement, and exercise…Good job Google!

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