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Kids can learn about science and STEAM at Van Andel Institute Summer Camps

Registration now open
Posted at 10:48 AM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 10:48:47-04

Whether it's a mission to Mars or a deep dive into what's in the Grand River, there are many fascinating areas of focus for the summer camps offered at the Van Andel Institute!

Registration is now open for the following summer camps for kids in elementary, middle, and high school, to discover the world of science and STEAM.

Grades 2–3 | Can You Dig It | June 13-17

"Explore the amazing world of fossils. Think and act like a true paleontologist as you collaborate with new friends, make your own fossils, create a fossil sandwich, and participate in a unique fossil dig! Learn how fossils are formed, discovered, and used to help us understand Earths’ past!"

Grades 2–3 | Sense-sational Animals | August 8–12

"Join us as we explore the amazing world of animal senses. Meet, and handle, resident VAI animals and learn about their extraordinary eyes, fantastic feelers, and other sense-sational senses. Learn how animals use their senses to survive in their environment and use what you learn to design your own new animals with amazing abilities!"

Grades 4–5 | Animal Survivor | June 27–July 1

"Explore the world of animal adaptations and the habitats they live in! Learn about, meet, and handle a variety of species including invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles! Study animal behavior, observe structural traits, and discover the unique ways animals survive in the wild."

Grades 4–6 | River Rescue! Exploring the Grand River| June 27–July 1

"The Grand Rapids Public Museum, in partnership with Van Andel Institute for Education (VAIE), will provide a unique opportunity for students to think and act like scientists. Young scientists will learn about the history of the Grand River, the Grand River Watershed, and its diverse habitats. Be prepared to get your feet wet and explore the river, conduct laboratory experiments, and learn how you can make a difference in protecting river habitat."

Girls in Grades 4–5 | Journey Through a Life in Space | July 25–29

"Join us for a week of exploration to learn what it’s like to live and work in space. Earn your Space Science Investigator badge as you discover how the human body works differently in space, gain an understanding of the dangers associated with space travel, learn about what robots can do for humans in space, and much more!"

Grades 4–6 | What's in Our Water? River Rescue | August 1–5

"Ever wonder, “what’s in our water?” Well now you can find out in this summer camp! Investigate this question as you collect, test, and analyze local water samples. Examine possible sources of contamination in our waterways. Build your environmental expertise as you explore ways to improve our water quality. Learn from environmental experts to better understand how all our water is connected—and how crucial it is to keep it clean!"

Grades 6–8 | Crime Scene Forensics: Catching a Criminal | July 18–22

"Explore and learn what it takes to be a crime scene forensic scientist. Study different techniques used to analyze a crime scene, determine who is ultimately responsible for committing different crimes, and participate in hands-on investigations focusing on fingerprinting, DNA analysis, and more! Talk with an actual crime scene forensic scientist to learn more about this exciting career. Be ready to put your skills to the test and solve a crime on the last day of camp!"

Grades 6–8 | Power Up: Energizing Our Future | July 18–22

"Discover different types of renewable energy. Design a car powered by alternative energy; make a machine that transfers energy to complete a task; use solar energy to cook a marshmallow. Now more than ever, energy needs to be renewable. Through hands-on investigations, learn how alternative energies can be used to power the future."

Grades 6–8 | Hogwarts in Grand Rapids: The Science Behind the Magic | August 8–12 & August 15–19

"Calling all witches and wizards! Grab your brooms, or use your Floo powder, and travel to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—Van Andel style! Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter as you get sorted into houses, make a magic wand, and attend courses such as Potions, Care for Magical Creatures, History of Magic, and Broomstick Flying! Use your newfound knowledge to compete in the all-new Triwizard Tournament at the end of the camp."

Grades 6–9 | Mission to Mars | August 1–5

"Explore the science, engineering, and technology needed to complete a mission to Mars. Learn about the red planet and why scientists are so interested in learning more about it. Build and test a rocket that will travel into space! Use LEGO® Mindstorms robots to construct and test a rover to investigate the surface of the Red Planet. Simulate the role of mission control as you attempt to program your robot to complete mission-critical tasks."

Grades 9–12 | Fascinating Physiology | June 20–24

"Discover all the unique and amazing things that the human body can do in this weeklong camp. Participants will dissect a cat specimen and spend each day examining a different body system. Comparisons will be made between cats and humans as students learn more about amazing human attributes. Students will discuss the use of model organisms at medical research institutes such as Van Andel Institute."

To learn more and sign up for camps, visit