A Guide to STEM Classes for Kids in Massachusetts

Would you like to engage your child in STEM enrichment outside the classroom? There are plenty of STEM activities in every imaginable format these days, but if you’re looking for a regularly scheduled, in-person, organized STEM activity led by an instructor, I’m happy to tell you that many organizations offer these types of classes throughout Massachusetts. These are great opportunities for kids to get extra STEM learning and experiences while spending time with other students and making friends!

engineering class with young students

What’s Available?

This article will give you lots of ideas! You’ll find classes that teach kids as young as kindergarten about computer programming, engineering, video game design, robotics, digital arts, science, and more. Some classes are focused on one subject, while others are multidisciplinary, blending a range of STEM topics. Many are project-focused with lots of hands-on learning. Most of these organizations offer a variety of classes and both beginner and more experienced levels, so if your child wants to continue to learn more, they can come back and try something different or progress to higher-level classes.

Finding a Program

I have categorized classes into coding, math, and multispecialty programs; you’ll also find a section on programs your child can attend at their school. Many classes are offered after school; some are offered on weekends. Students typically enroll for a season or a set of weeks, so you will find classes that run during the fall, winter, and spring. Visit each organization’s website for specific curriculum information, schedule, dates, and price details.

Community-Based Classes

Computer Science

Learning to code is a great way for children, even very young kids, to be exposed to computer science in a fun, low-stress environment. Coding classes are a popular activity for kids who are curious about coding and want to give it a try, as well as for others who have already been introduced to coding and want to keep learning. My article on Coding Classes and Camps for Kids & Teens will help you find a class near you and get tips on choosing a program.

Math

Math enrichment comes in many different formats, teaching methodologies, and curricula, so whatever your child’s interest or need, you’ll probably be able to find a class, camp, competition, or club to match it. 

Most programs work to build a deep understanding of math concepts and develop analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, but they vary considerably in approach. Read more about the diverse array of offerings and how you can choose the best one for your child in my article on Math Programs for Kids

Multispecialty 

Many STEM enrichment organizations offer classes that cover more than one topic. For example, they might combine coding, engineering, and robotics or science and STEAM. These programs are typically held on-site at the organization’s physical center, although some continue offering classes online. Here are a few Massachusetts-based organizations that offer multispecialty classes. 

  • Acera School (Winchester) runs an after-school program for kids ages 5 and older. They offer experiments for curious scientists, skill-building for programmers and artists, and rich discussions for rising philosophers, all taught by specialist educators with passion and field-based expertise. 
  • Einstein’s Workshop (Burlington) offers activity-based coding, robotics, making and inventing, and game learning classes for students in grades K-8.
  • Empow Studios (Lexington & Newton) offers coding, robotics, film & animation, Minecraft, and engineering for kids ages 7-15.
  • Guild Hall (Woburn) is an education-focused makerspace that helps teens discover their passion for making, in anything from VR, game developent, and robotics, to custom furniture, illustration, and design. They have a full shop equipped with the latest professional tools, guided by knowledgeable, passionate teachers and mentors to help students grow in any area they choose.
  • Inventor STEM School (Bedford) teaches students aged 3-16 problem-solving, engineering design, and programming concepts through an extensive curriculum focused heavily on LEGO®, Minecraft, and the Unity Game Engine. The curriculum is designed around the importance of play, intended to keep students challenged and empowered and to develop self-sufficiency and creative skills in their work. Free trials are available.
  • New England Sci-Tech (Natick) is a non-profit education center and makerspace offering programs in space science, rocketry, ham radio, electronics, robotics, photography, astronomy, coding, computers, 3D design, woodworking, leathercraft, and more.
  • Parts and Crafts (Somerville) is an educational nonprofit focusing on child-directed, hands-on STEM/STEAM learning through making, doing, and taking things apart. Students also play games, write stories, and run around outside.
  • Tinkerhaus (Newburyport) is a community makerspace that offers STEAM-based classes for students.

After-school STEM Programs at Your Child’s School

If you’re not ready to commit to an independent STEM provider organization, a great place to start is right nearby: at your child’s school. Many PTOs and after-school programs host STEM classes on-site for elementary and middle school students. Aside from their convenience, these classes are usually reasonably priced, well-organized, and low-stress for your child: there are no grades, they already know the space and some of the other kids, and the focus is usually on having fun and unwinding after the school day. Along the same lines, recreation departments are another possibility to consider. 

Here are well-known organizations that offer programs in schools and community centers in Massachusetts. Visit their sites to see if they have a program near you. Or, if you don’t see what you want in your school’s after-school program, make a suggestion!

  • LetGo Your Mind offers enriching programs using LEGO® bricks in simple machines and robotics, as well as an introduction to stop-motion animation for grades 1-5.
  • Mad Science covers various subjects, from engineering and physics to chemistry and biology, through interactive activities.
  • Play-Well TEKnologies provides project-based classes designed to teach engineering principles and methods to grades K-8, utilizing LEGO® materials.
  • Wicked Cool for Kids partners with schools, PTOs, recreation departments, homeschool organizations, and other community-based organizations in Massachusetts to provide hands-on STEAM, art, and LEGO® enrichment programs for kids through grades 6.

Looking for More Options?

This article is just a starting point. In addition to these organizations, there are many other ways to participate in STEM learning during the school year or summer! Find programs with a national reach and STEM summer camps in Massachusetts, and discover online STEM programs offered by organizations around the country. 

Finally, keep up with STEM program news and upcoming events by subscribing to the BostonTechMom newsletter. I regularly publish articles featuring STEM events and activities around Boston and Massachusetts.

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