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Summer Camps

Engage your kids with Summer Camps

Van Andel Institute for Education offers unique summer camps in science, engineering, and robotics for students in grades K–12. Our 1-day and 4-day summer camp options throughout the summer include a variety of hands-on interactive investigations where kids think and act like scientists!

See our Summer Camps in action.

1-Day Camps

Grades K-1:

Enter the enchanting realm of flowers! During this biology camp, students will embark on a captivating journey through the science of floral anatomy. They’ll learn how to identify each part of a flower, discover the essential role flowers play in pollination, and use creative thinking to engineer an imaginative pollinator. Get ready to unearth the surprising secrets of a flower’s power! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Dissect a variety of flowers. 
  • Identifying the parts of a flower. 
  • Understand the role of flowers in pollination. 
  • Engineer a pollinator. 

June 17 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day

Register

Embark on an exciting journey into the world of the Great Lakes Watershed at our STEM day camp! Campers will set out on a thrilling adventure where they’ll use hands-on activities to discover the importance of watersheds, explore the water cycle, and unlock the secrets of conserving water. These fun experiences will not only deepen their understanding of the environment but also spark their curiosity in science, technology, engineering, and math, turning their investigation into a memorable and immersive adventure! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Construct a model of the Great Lakes Watershed. 
  • Explore the journey of water through our local watershed. 
  • Engineer a solution for conserving the water resources in your watershed. 

July 22 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day  

Register

Embrace the world of mini but mighty living in our Tiny Town camp! Young architects and engineers will learn the essentials of designing small-scale, sustainable homes. Using principles of architecture and engineering, campers will draft blueprints and construct model tiny homes that maximize space without sacrificing style. By the end of the day, each camper will showcase a unique tiny home, learning that good things truly come in small packages! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Discover unique and space saving solutions used by people around the world.  
  • Explore the difference between architecture and engineering. 
  • Design and build their dream tiny home! 

August 5 | 9:00 AM–11:30 AM | $25/Day 

Register

The places where animals live are called habitats, and all animals are specially adapted to live in their unique habitat. Their mouths, feet, legs, and even eyes are all designed to give them the best advantage. In this camp, K-1st graders will learn about different habitats and adaptations. Then, they’ll climb into the skin of an animal and design a unique new creature that can prowl, swim, or fly through any environment! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Handle a variety of our resident animals!  
  • Discover how adaptations help animals survive in their habitats. 
  • Use nature as an inspiration to design and engineer their own unique animal! 

August 12 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day  

Join Waitlist

Grades 2-3:

Step into the alluring realm of flowers! During this engineering camp, students will embark on a scientific exploration of floral anatomy where they’ll learn to identify and analyze each part of a flower, discern the essential role flowers play in pollination, and channel their creativity by engineering their own elaborate blossom. Get ready to meet the botanical forces that make flowers bloom! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Dissect a variety of flowers. 
  • Identifying the parts of a flower. 
  • Understand the role of flowers in pollination. 
  • Engineer a flower.

June 18 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day  

Register

June 19 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day 

Register

Embark on an exciting journey into the world of the Great Lakes Watershed at our STEM day camp! Kids will explore the wonders of watersheds through interactive activities, unlocking the mysteries of the water cycle and discovering the importance of conserving water resources. These hands-on experiences not only deepen their understanding of environmental stewardship but also spark a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Join us for a thrilling and immersive adventure where learning becomes a captivating quest! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Construct a model of the Great Lakes Watershed. 
  • Explore the journey of water through our local watershed. 
  • Engineer a solution for conserving the water resources in your watershed.

July 23 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day 

Register

July 24 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day  

Register

Embrace the world of mini but mighty living in our Petite Properties camp! Young architects and engineers will learn the essentials of designing small-scale, sustainable homes. Using principles of architecture and engineering, campers will draft blueprints and construct model tiny homes that maximize space without sacrificing style. By the end of the day, each camper will showcase a unique tiny home, learning that good things truly come in small packages! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Discover unique and space saving solutions used by people around the world.                                                                              
  • Explore the difference between architecture and engineering. 
  • Design and build their dream tiny home. 

August 6 | 9:00 AM–11:30 AM | $25/Day 

Register

August 7 | 9:00 AM–11:30 AM | $25/Day 

Register

Embark on an adventure where Earth’s wildlife meets the final frontier! In this camp, students explore the fascinating adaptations of Earth’s creatures, from the dry and arid desert to jungles teaming with life. With this for inspiration, they’ll turn their gaze to the stars, imagining planets with unique environments. Our biological engineers will then design their own extraordinary animals capable of thriving in these off-world ecosystems. It’s a blend of biology, creativity, and astrological wonder—a cosmic quest for the ultimate space survivor!  

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Handle a variety of our resident animals!  
  • Discover how adaptations help animals survive in their habitats. 
  • Use nature as an inspiration to design and engineer their own unique animal!

August 13 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day  

Register

August 14 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day  

Register

Grades 4-5:

Get ready to fight for the flowers! During this camp, students will train themselves to master the beautiful and complicated science of floral anatomy. They’ll exercise their critical thinking skills by identifying each part of a flower, unravel the essential role flowers play in pollination, and challenge their creativity by engineering both an elegant blossom and an efficient pollinator. Discover what it takes to defend the floral world! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Dissect a variety of flowers. 
  • Identifying the parts of a flower. 
  • Understand the role of flowers in pollination. 
  • Engineer a flower, and a pollinator. 

June 20 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day 

Register

Prepare for an exhilarating expedition into the Great Lakes Watershed at our specialized STEM day camp tailored for 4th and 5th graders! Campers will engage in interactive activities that unravel the intricacies of watersheds, decode the secrets of the water cycle, and underscore the significance of preserving water resources. Through hands-on encounters, students will not only enhance their comprehension of environmental stewardship but also spark a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Come be a part of this thrilling and immersive quest, transforming the pursuit of knowledge into a captivating adventure!  

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Construct a model of the Great Lakes Watershed. 
  • Explore the journey of water through our local watershed. 
  • Engineer a solution for conserving the water resources in your watershed.

July 25 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day

Register

Embrace the world of mini but mighty living in our Mini Mansions camp! Young architects and engineers will learn the essentials of designing small-scale, sustainable homes. Using principles of architecture and engineering, campers will draft blueprints and construct model tiny homes that maximize space without sacrificing style. They will also consider ways to sustainably power and illuminate their Mini Mansions. By the end of the day, each camper will showcase a unique tiny home with working lights, demonstrating that good things truly come in small packages! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Discover unique and space saving solutions used by people around the world.                                                                              
  • Explore the difference between architecture and engineering. 
  • Design and build their dream tiny home!

August 8 | 9:00 AM–11:30 AM | $25/Day 

Register

This day camp experience will combine engineering, computer science, and biology! Campers will meet some of our resident animals, learn about the unique adaptations which help them survive in their environment, and then apply this knowledge to design their own mechanical animal. Finally, 4th-5th graders will use a Sphero robot to design, program, and test an animal that can move, make sound, and respond to its environment! 

 Some Guided Activities: 

  • Handle a variety of our resident animals! 
  • Discover how animals use adaptations to meet their needs in their environment.  
  • Learn the basics of block coding.  
  • Design and engineer their own animal using our Sphero Robots. 

August 15 | 1:00 PM–3:30 PM | $25/Day 

Register

4-Day Camps

Grades K-2:

Join us on an unBEElievable adventure as we learn about and explore one of Earth’s most important creatures – bees! In this project-based learning camp, students learn about the delicate balance of ecological systems as they investigate potential causes and consequences of dramatic drops in bee populations. Throughout camp, we will be seeking ways to answer this question: How can we save the bee population in our community? This PBL camp concludes when students design and create houses/gardens to provide a safe environment for their new favorite pollinators!

Some Guided Activities:  

  • Explore the integral role bees play in our environment. 
  • Learn about bee basics from a real beekeeper.  
  • Plant seeds to help bees with the pollination process. 
  • Design and build a beehouse to help increase the bee population in our communities. 

June 24–27 | 9:00 am–11:30 am | $80

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June 24–27 | 1:00 pm–3:30 pm | $80

Register

Once upon a time there existed a summer camp where fantasy and science collided! Campers explore their favorite fairy tales, new and old, as we bring fantasy to life using science. They’ll engineer solutions to save a princess or keep a villain from blowing their house down, and even meet fantastic beasts thought to exist only in story books!   

Some Guided Activities:  

  • Save Humpty Dumpty from falling apart. 
  • Keep the big bad wolf from blowing your house down. 
  • Meet a real-life Dragon (though it may not be exactly what you imagine) and learn how it protects itself.  

July 29–August 1 | 9:00 am–11:30 am | $80 

Join Waitlist

Grades 2-3:

Immerse campers in a fossil-filled adventure at this terrific summer camp! They’ll dig into the fascinating realm of paleontology, where they’ll team up with their fellow peers to think and act like true paleontologists. It’s a journey of exploration and discovery that promises fun, friendship, and a deeper understanding of our planet’s history!   

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Make your own fossils.  
  • Create a fossil sandwich.  
  • Participate in a unique fossil dig. 

June 24–27 | 9:00 am–11:30 am | $80 

Register

Join us as we explore the amazing world of animal senses. Campers will meet, and handle, resident VAI animals to learn about their extraordinary eyes, fantastic feelers, and other sense-sational senses. They will also discover how animals use their senses to survive in their environment, then apply what they’ve learned to design a new animal with amazing abilities! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Set up and conduct your own behavioral investigations. 
  • Use your senses of sight and touch to learn about animals’ unique adaptations. 
  • Get up close and personal with reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. 
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Research Institute.

July 8–11 | 9:00 am – 11:30 am | $80 

Register

July 8–11 | 1:00 pm 3:30 pm | $80 

Register

Grades 3-5

Calling all young sorcerers and enchantresses! Prepare to embark on a magical adventure like no other at the Witches and Wizards Grand Rapids School of Sorcery and Wizardry! Campers will enter a realm of fantasy where they’ll hone their magical talents, craft their very own wand, and enroll in mystical classes such as Potion-Making, Transformations, and Caring for Enchanted Creatures! Finally, they’ll utilize their newfound skills to partake in an exciting tournament at the end of the camp. 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Meet the Sorting Hat and let him determine the house that you belong in. 
  • Participate in a different magical class each day to become a more complete witch or wizard. 
  • Earn House points to win the House Cup at the end of the week. 
  • Use all your newfound knowledge to compete in a magical tournament. 
  • Meet a scientist from the Van Andel Research Institute.

July 22–25 | 9:00 am – 11:30 am | $80 

Join Waitlist

Grades 4-6

Join us for an exciting summer camp adventure that celebrates the remarkable achievements of women in STEM and inspires young girls to dream big and change the world. Our camp is designed to foster curiosity, creativity, and confidence in girls as they explore the fascinating world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Discover a range of exciting professions and “meet” inspiring women in diverse STEM fields.  
  • Investigate different Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields through hands-on investigations that will pique your curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. 
  • Explore your interests and passions, then craft a plan to make a positive impact on the world. 

June 10–13 | 9:00 am – 11:30 am | $80   

Register

June 10–13 | 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm | $80 

Register

Blast off into the unknown! Using LEGO Mindstorms, campers will discover the exciting intersection of building and programming as part of a Mission Control Team. They’ll learn coding fundamentals to bring Mars Exploration Rovers to life, tackling challenges that hone their skills in logic and engineering. Collaboration will be crucial as teams design, build, and program their robots to navigate courses and solve puzzles based on real problems that could be encountered while exploring the Red Planet. This camp is where future tech leaders learn to collaborate, innovate, and compute their way to success! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Design a space vehicle that will return astronauts safely back to Earth. 
  • Design and code your own programs using LEGO Mindstorms.
  • Tackle team building challenges that will highlight the importance of collaboration throughout engineering and design.
  • Earn points with their Mission Contral Team and prove they have what it takes to be a future NASA engineer!  
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Research Institute.

August 12–15 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm | $120 

Register

Calling all young heroes! In this incredible day camp, students will don their capes and leap into the world of STEM by becoming champions of science, technology, engineering, and math. They’ll learn how everyday objects can turn into superhero gadgets while developing their powers of innovation, problem-solving, and teamwork through thrilling STEM challenges. Don’t miss this chance to discover the science behind the superpowers! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Explore the world of magnetism and understand how to make a floating car. 
  • Investigate chemical reactions for web-slinging abilities. 
  • Test the principles of flight, to create the best cape for gliding through the night. 
  • Visit the Van Andel Research Institute and meet a real superhero who studies science. 

August 5–8 | 9:00 am – 11:30 am | $80 

Register

Welcome to Futureville where young urban planners transform the future of living! This camp introduces campers to the principles of sustainable city design, focusing on innovative transportation and renewable energy solutions. Participants will brainstorm and blueprint their ideal city, integrating eco-friendly methods like solar power and green transit systems. They’ll tackle real-world issues such as renewable energy, efficiency, and conservation, learning how a city can thrive in harmony with the planet. It’s a hands-on journey to crafting a cleaner, greener world, one city at a time! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Discover different forms of renewable energy and decide which is right for their city!  
  • Create circuits that can power their city of the future. 
  • Design and build their own innovative city! 
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Research Institute.   

July 22–25 | 9:00 am – 11:30 am | $80 

Registration will be handled by GRPM and will be coming soon.

Enter the fascinating world of zoology and conservation! Here, campers collaborate to create enclosures, habitats, and enriching environments for a variety of animals. They’ll learn what animals need to survive as they create their own model of a zoo. This hands-on experience will leave participants with a new understanding of wildlife, design skills, and a passion for the animal kingdom. 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Discover what all animals need to survive in their environment. 
  • Get up close to animals and learn about their structural and behavioral traits. 
  • Assess how well a zoo’s habitats meet the needs of their animals. 
  • Design and build their own model of a zoo to accommodate the needs of their unique population. 

July 29–August 1 | 9:00 am – 11:30 am | $80   

Register

July 29–August 1 | 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm | $80   

Register

Grades 6-8

Calling all young sorcerers and enchantresses! Prepare to embark on a magical adventure like no other at the Witches and Wizards Grand Rapids School of Sorcery and Wizardry! Campers will enter a realm of fantasy where they’ll hone their magical talents, craft their very own wand, and enroll in mystical classes such as Potion-Making, Transformations, and Caring for Enchanted Creatures! Finally, they’ll utilize their newfound skills to partake in an exciting tournament at the end of the camp. 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Meet the Sorting Hat and let him determine the house that you belong in. 
  • Participate in a different magical class each day to become a more complete witch or wizard. 
  • Earn House points to win the House Cup at the end of the week. 
  • Use all your newfound knowledge to compete in a magical tournament. 
  • Meet a scientist from the Van Andel Research Institute.

June 17–20 | 8:30 am – 12:30 pm | $120

Register

Discover what it takes to be a crime scene forensic scientist. In this camp, students will study different techniques used to analyze a crime scene, determine who is ultimately responsible for committing different crimes, and participate in hands-on investigations that involve fingerprinting, DNA analysis, and more! Campers will also talk with an actual crime scene forensic scientist to learn more about this exciting career. On the final day of camp, they’ll put their detective skills to the test by solving a crime and naming the perpetrator!  

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Learn how to complete a fingerprinting analysis. 
  • Engage in a (simulated) blood typing investigation. 
  • Discover how to analyze different powders left behind at the crime scene to determine what they are. 
  • Meet with a forensic scientist and learn how to analyze an actual crime scene, while discovering more about that career. 
  • Put their skills to the test and use their forensic knowledge to solve a crime!

July 811 | 9:00 am – 11:30 am | $80   

Register

July 811 | 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm | $80 

Register

Grades 6-9

Blast off into the unknown! Using LEGO Mindstorms, campers will discover the exciting intersection of building and programming as part of a Mission Control Team. They’ll learn coding fundamentals to bring Mars Exploration Rovers to life, tackling challenges that hone their skills in logic and engineering. Collaboration will be crucial as teams design, build, and program their robots to navigate courses and solve puzzles based on real problems that could be encountered while exploring the Red Planet. This camp is where future tech leaders learn to collaborate, innovate, and compute their way to success! 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Design a space vehicle that will return astronauts safely back to Earth. 
  • Design and code your own programs using LEGO Mindstorms.
  • Tackle team building challenges that will highlight the importance of collaboration throughout engineering and design.
  • Earn points with their Mission Contral Team and prove they have what it takes to be a future NASA engineer!  
  • Meet a real scientist from the Van Andel Research Institute.   

June 17–20 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm | $120 

Register

Grades 9-12

Give students the chance to spend a week thinking and acting like scientists while exploring different careers in molecular biology! Campers will delve into the world of microscopic organisms by conducting investigations with bacteria to learn their importance to human health. They will also discover how to plan experiments and test a hypothesis by working side by side with molecular biologists from the Van Andel Institute. This includes performing lab techniques commonly used in biomedical research such as bacterial transformation, testing substances on model organisms, and interpreting data. 

Some Guided Activities: 

  • Plan and run their own science experiments! 
  • Discover how to manipulate bacteria by using transformation! 
  • Investigate the effects of antibiotics and how they eliminate microorganisms! 
  • Test compounds that change gene expression and change the appearance of organisms! 
  • Meet molecular biologists from the Van Andel Institute and learn about different career paths! 

June 10–13 | 8:30 am – 12:30 pm | $120

Register

Refund/Cancellation Policy

  • Full refunds will be given if requested more than 7 days before the start date of your camp.
  • Partial refunds (50% tuition) will be given if requested 7 days or less of the start date of your camp.
  • EventBrite fees are nonrefundable.

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