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Top 8 FAQs for Families Who Are New to Camp Invention

This year’s Camp Invention® program is right around the corner! To help make sure your child has the best experience possible, we put together a list of answers to our most frequently asked questions from first-time Camp Invention parents and participants preparing for a week full of hands-on fun and exploration.


1. What will my child experience during the program?

Whether they join us for Camp Invention In Person or Camp Invention At Home, children use their creativity, imagination and inventive thinking skills to solve problems, always building on what they learned the day before. Through hands-on fun, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts are made exciting and accessible while children work together as a team. Using both provided materials and upcycle items from home, they are challenged to overcome obstacles in activities like protecting robotic crickets from predators, designing a vehicle that can move underwater and solving a worldwide problem with a device of their own creation.


2. My child is nervous about their first day of Camp Invention. How can I help them feel more at ease?

It’s normal for children to be nervous on their first day of a new experience. We recommend that parents talk with their kids about other times they were nervous to try something new but ended up enjoying it. We also suggest parents show children videos of the different activities they can look forward to throughout their week at Camp Invention.

Because the program is progressive and builds on itself throughout the week, often, once apprehensive kids experience the first day, they can’t wait for the next one. We’ve received thousands of positive testimonials from parents whose kids had reservations the first day and ended up not wanting camp to be over!


3. What safety measures will NIHF have in place for children attending camp in person?

Over its three-decade history, Camp Invention® has always maintained the highest health and safety standards. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain committed to prioritizing safe environments led by certified educators and backed by policies developed with our own children in mind.

In addition to following the guidelines laid out in our Communicable Disease Preparedness Plan, we clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces each day, provide individualized materials to limit sharing, maintain safe social distancing and ensure proper air ventilation at all in-person camp locations.

To learn more about the health and safety measures we take at Camp Invention, we invite you to visit our website.


4. How should I prepare for the week of Camp Invention In Person?

You can start by sending your child on a fun scavenger hunt around the house to search for upcycle items to be used for prototyping during their week of camp. Good upcycle items include boxes, tubes, craft items, old toys or games, and miscellaneous paper (nothing of personal value please). Do not bring batteries, cords, glass, glitter, hangers, liquids, medicine containers, packing peanuts, paint, wire or anything used to store food or beverages.

Each day, your child will need to bring a packed lunch, drink and snack clearly labeled with their name, unless your location notifies you otherwise. Children should dress comfortably for play (no flip-flops please). If your child needs medication during the program, please provide the necessary information during registration and bring it in its original container with a signed physician’s note (if prescription), the approved administrator and instructions.


5. What does a typical day look like at Camp Invention In Person?

Campers participating in our in-person format will kick off each morning at Base Camp, where they join other children in their age group for an energetic warm-up activity. Campers will rotate through two modules, then break for lunch and outdoor games (weather permitting). In the afternoon, children regroup for two more exciting modules before ending the day at Base Camp for one more problem-solving activity. As campers leave for the day, we encourage them to continue inventing at home!

Newsletters recapping activities from each day will be added to our Parent Resource Center as they become available. You will also receive an email from your Camp Invention Director with program specifics closer to your camper’s start date.


6. How should I prepare for the week of Camp Invention At Home?

Look for your Innovator’s Toolkit to arrive a few days before the start of your program. Everything you need for a week of hands-on STEM fun is included and organized, along with a complete materials list. Feel free to unbox it all and get familiar with everything inside. Just make sure items remain in their color-coded bags so they will be easy to find during camp.

To make sure your child has the best experience possible, designate an area for them to set up the provided Innovator Workshop! This includes a Maker Mat, Pegboard and Toolbelt. (If the toolbelt is too loose, try tying a knot for a better fit!) Your camper will be all set to explore, create and experiment using this special makerspace where messes are OK and part of the inventing fun!

You will also receive an email from your child’s Coach with login information and a schedule for the week.


7. What does a typical day look like with Camp Invention At Home?

Children participating in our at-home format will kick off each morning by joining their Coach and fellow campers for a live online session with icebreakers and instruction, so your child should have their materials ready to go. Campers take a quick break, get back together online to collaborate, create and invent, and then take time for lunch. In the afternoon, campers join the Afternoon Hangout session to socialize, then unplug and get outdoors (when possible) for more high-energy activities. To conclude each day, campers join their Coach and friends once more to share their progress and celebrate successes.


8. Are at-home campers required to attend all the live online sessions?

Though the online sessions are recommended, if you prefer a screen-free summer, all activities can be completed offline by using the step-by-step instructions in each Inventor Log. You’ll find the Inventor Logs in your Innovator’s Toolkit, and digital versions can be found on the Camp Invention At Home Welcome Hub. Remember, our camp is flexible, so you can change your approach at any time, going screen-free one day and jumping online the next.

Whether or not your child joins us online, you can encourage them to take their activities outdoors for fresh air and inspiration, provide support as they build their confidence and use “I wonder…” statements to help them stretch their imagination and develop creative solutions.


We’re Just a Phone Call Away

If you have any other questions about Camp Invention, we invite you to reach out to our customer service team at 800-968-4332.

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