Children ages 6 and up have the opportunity to learn about space and science through day camps at the Challenger Learning Center in Hammond.
The center has a wide range of camps that give kids hands-on learning opportunities to train like astronauts, said Rebecca Manis, the center’s director.
“The kids love our camps, and get hands-on experience to train like astronauts and use science in different ways,” she said.
Camps, for aged 6 through 14, begin in mid-June, and Manis said as many as 600 kids from around the region could participate in the camps.
The most popular camp might be the Underwater Astronaut Training Camp for ages 11-15, which allows campers to learn about how astronauts get ready for a spacewalk. They train in a Neutral Buoyancy Lab, receiving training from SCUBA instructors and then testing their skills underwater during training exercises. The two-day camp will be July 8-9.
This year, there will be an Advance Underwater Astronaut Training Camp for students who have already taken the first underwater camp, Manis said.
“It’s was a cool camp last year, to see the kids get interested in SCUBA as well as learning how they train for space walks,” she said. “They did all kinds of experiments about sink and float (in the pool) and built things underwater. We really couldn’t get them out of the pool.”
There also will be the first camp the center ever offered, the Indiana Space Adventure Camp for sixth and seventh graders. The students learn how NASA prepares teams for missions and learn things about different “teams,” including communications, life support, medical, navigation, and space weather teams during the four-day camp.
There also will be multi-day Astro-Tot Space Quest for kindergarteners and first graders, a Moon Explorers camp for second and third graders, and a Discovery Camp for fourth and fifth graders.
Day camps, which last for several hours, focus on a variety of topics, including chemistry, arts, computer programming and veterinary medicine.
There also are day camps on rocketry and robotics, Manis said.
The robotics camp will be at Jak’s Warehouse, and students will be able to build a robot and then test it on the facility’s go-kart track, she said.
Some of the day camps have morning and afternoon sessions, so campers can either take one session or combine sessions on the same day.