Chances are an Xbox whiz will be a powerful drone warrior as well. A national STEM program new to North Texas, the Drobots camps are now offered at several locations, including The Episcopal School of Dallas, Good Shepherd Episcopal School, and The Hockaday School. Sample camps: In session one, campers compete in the Ultimate Drone Games, where they use coding to battle drones equipped with mini Nerf cannons and grabbers. In session two, search-and-rescue specialists teach campers via video chat how drones locate victims, then kids race the clock to find targets using aerial mapping in timed mission challenges.
Price: varies Multiple locations.
Eagle Aviation Summer Camps
Kids get firsthand aviation experience through flight simulations, advanced airplane design, and meet-and-greets with real-life aviation professionals, making it worth the 25-minute drive to the C.R. Smith Museum locatedjust south of the DFW Airport campus.
Sample camp: In the Flight Adventure Camp, third- and fourth-graders design and build aircraft that hover in a wind tunnel, learn the communication networks that keep pilots in contact with ground control, and complete a satellite design challenge. The latter helps engineers resolve actual problems.
Ages: grades 3–9
Price: $275 to $350 for nonmembers
4601 State Hwy. 360, Fort Worth. crsmithmuseum.org.
For seven years, Mess Wright (yes, that’s her real name) has been the mad scientist behind The Lab at Lakewood. Now rebranded and located inside the West End’s The Grove coworking space, Mess Labs teaches everything from slime-making to computer coding.
Sample camp: In the Special Effects Camp, kids will learn how cinematic visuals are simulated by playing with black lights, lasers, fog, and light bending, and by mixing fake blood. Campers will also try their crafty hands at a new project this summer—programmingsoft circuits to light up original costume creations.
Price: $425 to $475
501 Elm St., Ste. 450. messlabs.com.
The ultimate goal here: encourage kids to be makers instead of just users of technology. Inspired by his experience as a Silicon Valley prep school headmaster, Dr. Allen Selis
created a “crazy over-the-top ambitious” camp specializing in computer skills, coding, and robotics for North Texas youngsters.
Sample camps: Kids as young as kindergartners can become programmers, collaborating as a group to build a full-fledged digital community in the Minecraft Makers camp. In the Digital Animation Lab, teens use Pixar-like software tools to learn the technical and creative processes of animation, starting with the harder-than-you-think task of making a 3-D ball bounce.
Ages: grades K–9
Prices: $195 to $600
Multiple locations. techedventures.com.
The Prometheus Academy
Geared toward home-schoolers throughout the year, this education center welcomes all summer vacationers to explore science using nontraditional methods (think: mini-weapon construction and DNA extractions).
Sample camps: The culinary-inclined learn that not everything we consume grows on trees in the Science of Food camp. There, they’ll use organisms and chemicals to make pretzels, fruit caviar, and root beer, and physics to prepare food via canning and solar energy. In Fun With DNA!, kids learn how to isolate DNA and discover how cells interpret the genetic code.
Ages: grades 4–8
Price: $175 to $425
1100 E. Campbell Rd., Ste. 200, Richardson. theprometheusacademy.com.