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We are so excited with the plethora of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs on offer in Toronto. There are camps, courses and drop-ins galore, but this list focuses on the after-school programs that allow the kiddos to dive into projects and really build both their skills and their confidence. From encouraging "mathletes" to supporting kids in learning to code, there is a stellar range of offerings to check out.
There's lots of fun happening at STEAMLabs! The Imagineering Club offers time to learn and for the Imagineers to do their own thing with fun tools, materials and technology—like 3D printers and the laser cutter. Every two-week cycle has a different theme and allows time for kids to show and share creations. There are also periods for snack (food provided), homework/quiet time and outdoor play. Sign us up!
Location: 192 Spadina Ave., Toronto (just north of Queen St.)
If your child's school is amongst those that offer Mad Science's amazing programming, you're in luck. Choose from fund hands-on programs like Brixology (building with Lego), Schoolhouse Chess, Kinder Science (JK/SK), and Crazy Chemworks. Wee scientists will be experimenting with rockets, magnets, polymers and delving into the science of toys. Cue the learning, and the excitement as well!
Locations: In-school only on weekdays; weekend workshops available.
Locations: Sign up for a program at one of three Hatch Centres—at Yonge and Lawrence, in Richmond Hill, or in Oakville—or find out if your child's school offers Hatch After School.
If you or your child has been inspired by the movies like Hidden Figures, The Man Who Knew Infinity, and Gifted, this is for you. Spirit of Math is all about encouraging kids to love and excel at math, and be challenged in creative ways. The program incorporates drills, core curriculum, and problem-solving and each class ends with a "mental math" challenge. Sessions are divided by grade level, so they're age-appropriate as well as fun, setting the foundation for discoveries for years to come. Children must have a B+ average or higher to participate.
Locations: More than a dozen Toronto locations are available.
The granddaddy of maker programs for kids in Toronto, MakerKids excels at their after-school programs in robotics, Minecraft, and coding. Kids will thrive on learning and implementing design, engineering, coding, problem solving and leadership. At the end of the session kid inventors will have created something of their very own, from a Minecraft marvel to a tech breakout, while building relationships and camaraderie along the way.
Locations: Classes take place at the MakerKids HQ at Jane and Bloor. Some schools run in-school MakerKids programming; find out if yours is one of them!
Coding for kids takes them on a jungle safari or on the travel adventure of a lifetime as they use coding to program explorers to create stories, solve puzzles and make art. They’re learning about sequences and algorithms while making maps, discovering treasure and animals and conquer quests! Toronto programming is offered through public schools only; find out if your child's school is registered.
Locations: At select schools
Lego is more than just a toy—it helps develop important connections with science and technology, building a strong foundation and communication skills. At Wizz Kidz the Lego Smart programs begin with My Discovery for young tykes (ages 4–5), progressing to My Adventure (ages 5–6) and My Inventions (ages 6–7). Classes are limited to four participants.
Location: 660 Eglinton Ave. E., Toronto (at Bayview Ave.)
Creative Club only offers its Lego-based programs through schools, but more than 150 schools in Toronto and Southern Ontario are signed up. If your school participates, you might opt for Build and Design with Bricks, where kids work in groups to build a different structure each week, or a Lego robotics program that combines design, building, and programming. That's a lot of great engineering going on!
Locations: At select schools
Kids can learn the real programming languages that all the pros need, while working together to design and build a video game. Math is included, as it is a foundational element of any programming. Classes sizes are small at four students per class to allow for more attention, and sessions can run as long as 27 weeks to make some serious progress. We can't wait until they design and program the robot to help unload the dishwasher!
Locations: 822 Millwood Rd., Toronto (at Bayview Ave.) and 7 GTA locations
Any place with the tagline "Get excited about science" is okay by us. We love that Chamelea is truly enraptured by science and spreads the interest and exploration to students. The Wonder of Science class attempts to answers all those questions little explorers have about dinosaurs, cause and effect, and so much more. In the Science Explorer Lab, little inventors get hands-on, experimenting with electricity, weather, microscopes, test tubes, and loads of other cool stuff. Expect the kids to come home brimming with ideas, energy, and connections.
Location: 126 Limestone Crescent, North York (near Steeles and Keele Aves.)
Coding is fun at Codezilla, where kids can play with tech toys like Scratch, Makey Makey, and Snap Circuits and create their own apps and games, program robots, and make their own webpages. There are workshops just for girls and for Minecraft-lovers! Weekday after-school programs are only available through registered schools, but anyone can sign up for weekend workshops.
Locations: In schools or (on weekends) at the Centre for Social Innovation, 720 Bathurst St., Toronto (at Bloor St.)