Explore our 2018 Thinkery Camp themes!

Thinkery is excited to welcome young innovators (Pre-K–5th grade) to camp during spring break and summer 2018. Thinkery Camps are designed around unique themes that inspire campers to learn through having fun. Campers use science, technology, engineering, arts and math (and their imaginations, of course!) to explore new concepts, solve challenges and develop critical learning skills.


STEAM Themes

Think Austin

Keep Austin—and Thinkery Camp—weird while exploring the unique engineering, architecture, science and art that makes our city so special.

Pre-K–K

Let’s take it to the limit—the Austin “city” limits! Tackle a new Austin historic, cultural or natural landmark each day as we “travel” all around Austin. Build a sturdy bridge to cross Lake Austin, dig for the fossils of amazing animals that once roamed this land, and stay movin’ and groovin’ as we celebrate the city we love.

1st–2nd grade

Hi, how are you? Ready for some Austin-inspired antics? Thought so! Engineer machines to help you build sky-high structures, draw inspiration from local artists and create a colorful graffiti wall, and explore some of Austin’s most awe-inspiring scientific and cultural innovations.

3rd–5th grade

Design, problem solve and save the day! After exploring Austin’s history and geography, tackle creative challenges both large and small. Fix the Capitol’s dome, create a brand-new skyscraper to dot the city’s skyline, investigate the Hill Country’s famous bluebonnets and experience the hands-on science happening in our hometown.

Week Pre-K–K 1st–2nd 3rd–5th Location
June 25–29    ✓   Thinkery 
July 9–13   National Instruments 
July 23–27       Thinkery
August 6–10        Emergent Academy
Once Upon a Design

Embark on an imaginative adventure designing and engineering solutions to problems that occurred “once upon a time” for storybook characters.

Pre-K–K

Once upon a time, there was a camp where you could team up with your favorite storybook characters while exploring STEAM concepts. Plant a beanstalk for Jack to climb, make a safe landing for Humpty Dumpty and design sturdy structures to protect the Three Little Pigs.

1st–2nd grade

Solve a new and adventurous mission each day—one fairy tale at a time! Help Little Red Riding Hood design and construct the perfect basket. Build tools to help you beat Robin Hood in an archery contest. Shrink and expand with Alice as you whip up peculiar potions and crazy concoctions. Use your imagination and hone your problem-solving skills in this hands-on camp!

3rd–5th grade

Create and collaborate as you engineer innovative solutions to imaginative storybook problems. How would you escape from a tower? How can a gingerbread man cross a river? How will your hero save the day? Use science, technology, engineering, art and math to debunk magical myths and tell legendary tales. Let’s make “happily ever after” a reality!

Week Pre-K–K 1st–2nd 3rd–5th Location
June 11–15 Thinkery
June 25–29 International School of Texas
July 9–13 Thinkery
July 23–27 The Magellan International School
August 6–10 Thinkery
Up, Up and Away

3, 2, 1, blast off! Join us for a high-flying week of exploration and experimentation that defies gravity.

Pre-K–K

How do things float? What is Earth’s atmosphere made of? How do birds fly? Tackle age-appropriate physics concepts as we study the natural flight of birds, create gravity-defying projectiles and play games that keep us moving. Explore engineering and refine fine motor skills as you fly high in this fun camp!

1st–2nd grade

Pack your bags! We’re traveling through time and exploring the exciting history of airborne travel. From early hot air balloons to futuristic rocket ships, you’ll navigate your way through the challenges, successes and surprises faced by fearless trailblazers in aviation history. Test out their techniques as you design and develop creations that can glide through the sky.

3rd–5th grade

Explore the science of flight and see if you have what it takes to achieve liftoff! Construct amazing aerodynamic contraptions that hover, spin and soar. Discover the four forces of flight as you build and test your very own flying machine. Team up to engineer launch-ready rockets, robotic rovers and cool space tools as you design and plan a colonial mission to Mars.

Week Pre-K–K 1st–2nd 3rd–5th Location
June 18–22 Thinkery
July 16–20 Thinkery
July 30–August 3 Emergent Academy
August 13–17 Thinkery
Engineering with Sound

Let’s make some noise! Boogie while making instruments, vibe with vibrations and investigate the science of sound with us.

Pre-K–K

Calling all mini-music makers! Are you ready to explore the music and science of sound? Design and dance as we spend the week investigating physics, art and rhythm of sound through hands-on, play-based learning. There’s no doubt about it—from symphony to cacophony, this camp’s going to be a blast.

1st–2nd grade

Get ready to tinker, make and play! Construct musical instruments and explore the components of an orchestra. Build an ensemble that tells stories—starting with percussion, moving to wind instruments, then string. Star in your own one-person band as we explore waves, vibration and pitch. What are you waiting for? Let’s use technology to make some music!

3rd–5th grade

Who’s ready to boogie? We are! Dive deep into the science of sound by creating vibrations in strings, membranes and speakers. Design some seriously wild and wacky instruments, and tinker with their variables to create cool new sounds. By the end of the week, you’ll use technology to engineer a brand-new instrument of your own design. Bravo!

Week Pre-K–K 1st–2nd 3rd–5th Location
June 4–8 Thinkery
July 2–3, 5–6 Thinkery
July 16–20 The Magellan International School
July 30–August 3 Thinkery
August 13–17 Emergent Academy

Robotic and Programming Themes

Secret Agent Robot

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to join an elite group of secret agents to use robotics to crack codes and solve fun challenges.

1st–2nd grade

Don your best disguise, recruits—you have been selected to complete a super-secret mission. Explore the basic concepts of robotics and computer programming in this creative and interactive robotics camp for super sleuths. Use simple machines and LEGO® WeDo computer programming to conduct covert operations and overcome tricky obstacles.

3rd–5th grade

TOP SECRET: Team up to program your secret agent sidekick—a MINDSTORMS® EV3 robot—to help you tackle challenges you’ll face throughout your weeklong mission. Develop digital literacy skills while designing and programming your robot to maneuver mysterious mazes, crack cryptic codes and collect enigmatic clues. Are you ready, recruits? This message will self-destruct in 3, 2, 1…

Week 1st–2nd 3rd–5th Location
June 11–15 Thinkery
June 25–29 National Instruments
July 9–13 The Magellan International School
July 16–20 Thinkery
July 23–27 National Instruments
July 30–August 3 Thinkery
August 13–17 National Instruments
RoboCircus

Step right up and join the fun, robotics ringmasters! Juggle coding and creative problem solving as you build wacky, whimsical carnival contraptions.

1st–2nd grade

As the master of ceremonies, you’ll learn about and build circus-themed robots while exploring the basic concepts of robotics and computer programming. Use simple machines and simple programming to engineer one-of-a kind, out-of-this-world attractions like dancing birds, drumming monkeys and amusement park rides. And discover that everyone’s a winner when collaboration and creativity take center stage!

3rd–5th grade

Step inside the circus tent, where you’ll spend a fun-filled week balancing hands-on activities with robotics and computer programming. Team up and use MINDSTORMS® EV3 robots in tricky circus events and challenges. Develop digital literacy skills while designing and programming your very own robot conductor, clown or carnival attraction. Explore sensors and gears as you walk the tightrope and test your robot’s structural integrity and maneuverability. Come one, come all!

Week 1st–2nd 3rd–5th Location
June 4–8 Thinkery
June 18–22 Thinkery
June 18–22 National Instruments
July 16–20 National Instruments

Medieval Minecraft

Let’s travel through time! Explore simple machines and tackle medieval technology to design and engineer your very own kingdom.

1st–2nd grade

Hear ye, hear ye! Construct a castle fit for a king and queen, alternating between physical models of towers, bridges, thrones and siege machines and modeling them in MinecraftEdu with a limited amount of materials. Use your 3D-modeling skills (and teamwork, of course) to ward off wicked enemies and save your kingdom. It’s medieval madness!

3rd–5th grade

Design and engineer your very own medieval village, complete with houses, shops, castles and walls. Team up to create a coat of arms, make strong moats and build collaboratively in MinecraftEdu’s virtual playground. Movement activities, design challenges and a weeklong quest will help you sharpen your Minecraft skills—and survive the Dark Ages!

Week 1st–2nd 3rd–5th Location
June 4–8  ✓ National Instruments
June 11–15   National Instruments
July 2–3, 5–6  ✓ Thinkery
July 9–13  ✓ Thinkery
July 30–August 3  ✓ National Instruments
August 6–10  ✓ Thinkery
August 6–10  ✓ National Instruments
August 13–17   Thinkery

Here is what families say about their Thinkery Camp experience:

I am truly and sincerely grateful for making this summer a very special one for my sons. I want to let you know that your programs and resources DO make a difference in many families.
Camp Parent
The camp teachers were so amazing with helping my shy child feel comfortable and confident. They also really encouraged group camaraderie and positive social skills. Amazing staff! They clearly love kids and have a passion for teaching.
Camp Parent
I just want to say thank you! This first week my 4 1/2 year old son has completed has transformed the way he looks at the world. Suddenly he is looking for answers to deeper questions, searching farther and really grasping new ideas. It’s truly a sight to behold!! I am grateful!
Camp Parent