Design + Build Camps for Kids and Teens
Summer camp at Bit Space is week-long, project-based learning for children entering 1st through 12th grade. Each week, we introduce a set of tools, techniques, and materials to each of three age groups. Using the week’s theme as a starting point, campers work individually, in small groups, or as a team to create something that explores, expresses, and expands upon their skill and creativity.
About Bit Space
Bit Space is Chicagoland’s premier maker lab for kids and teens–a place where they can learn to use real tools to build real things. Students work with our guides to learn how to use hand tools, power tools, electronics, robotics, 3d printers, laser cutters, CNC milling machines, computer modeling and design software, computer game development software, virtual reality, and new media to design and build just about anything. We try to live up to our goal of inspiring and guiding the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, and problem solvers by teaching kids and teens to be producers rather than consumers of technology. Our guides are experts from the fields of architecture, design, engineering, and computer programming.
Step 1: Register or Log in
Tap on the My Account link at the top of the page to log in or register.
Step 2: Fill out the Waiver
Once you’ve logged in, you can check out your My Account page to look at Orders, Bookings, Addresses, and more!
Before you can sign your child(ren) up for any Bit Space events, you must sign the waiver and provide information on students and contact persons.
Step 3: Choose a Location and Age Range
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Summer camp at Bit Space is week-long, project-based learning for children ages 6-18. Each week, we introduce a set of tools, techniques, software, and materials to three different age groups. Using the week’s theme as a starting point, campers work individually, in small groups, or as a team to create something that explores, expresses, and expands upon their skill and creativity.
- Full-day, one-week camps ($500)
- 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Monday – Friday
- Before care available: 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. ($10 per day)
- After care available: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. ($20 per day)
- No lunch provided; bring a nut-free lunch and snack
- Focus on fun and skill building
- Unique theme each week
- Free construction time each day in addition to themed projects
- Campers get to bring home what they make
- Parents are invited to end-of-week presentations
- Divided into three age groups: 6-9, 9-12, and 12+
- Camps offered at two locations: Lincoln Square and Wilmette
Safety is the number one priority at Bit Space. To that end, we make sure to have a better than 10:1 ratio of campers to guides, and even smaller ratios in the wood shop. Campers are ever left unattended, and the level of direct supervision depends on what tool they’re using. Campers are given safety and usage training on all of our tools before using them, and we have procedures in place to ensure safety throughout the shop (see our Code of Conduct form for more information). When using tools, campers will always be required to wear eye protection, and we have ear protection available as well.
By dividing our campers into age groups, we are able to equip our campers with tools, technologies, and techniques in a structured environment appropriate to their developmental level. Each week provides a theme that unites the imaginations of all of our campers, yet each age division will engage with that theme in different ways. All levels emphasize learning-through-doing in a social environment. Campers work on projects that bridge the physical and digital world and end with an exhibit of their work each Friday!
Our youngest campers learn to safely and effectively use basic hand tools and power tools in our woodshop, become familiar with 2D design software and laser cutting, and integrate basic circuitry and motors into their projects. Campers create individual projects in a group setting.
Our intermediate campers take the next step in their “making” journey by being introduced to programmable electronics (Arduino), 3D modeling software (Blender), 3D printing, video game development (Unity 3D), and video & sound editing software. Campers work in small groups and collaborate to re-imagine the Inter-Act Cube every week.
Our campers entering their junior high and high school years will determine how they will engage with the week’s theme and choose where and how they will make their contribution to Friday’s exhibition. There are very few restrictions as to which tools and technologies they can use. Higher level craftsmanship in physical construction, virtual reality technology, new media, and real coding skills are all on the table. These campers are paired with our most experienced maker-educators to maximize their potential.
Each week of camp has a different theme, and each location has a different schedule for themes. Check the Themes tab for descriptions of each theme, including what campers might be making. Each product page (linked above) lists that location’s theme schedule.
The morning of the first day of camp will include activities to help the guides and campers get to know one another. The campers will go through our “stations” where they will learn how to safely and effectively use the tools in our shop. We will discuss Bit Space rules and expectations and brainstorm ideas for the week’s theme.
On the final day of camp each week, parents and friends are invited to come to our end-of-week presentations at 3:00, so our campers can show off their fantastic creations. Check out each theme’s description to get an idea of what our campers will make!
Registration, Payment, and Cancellation
Registration for all camps can be found on our website. Until January 20th, summer camp purchases are fully pre-paid at a 10% discount. After January 20th, a 50% deposit is required to register for camps. Full payment is due by March 31st. Bit Space will offer refunds if we receive a written cancellation notice prior to March 31st, but a cancellation fee of $100 will be incurred. After March 31st, full payment is required for registration. No refunds will be given after March 31st. We do not issue full or partial refunds during the summer for campers who miss a day or more due to illness or other factors.
Drop Off and Pick Up
Campers should be dropped off between 8:50 and 9:00 each morning, and picked between 4:00 and 4:10. Parents will automatically be charged regular before care or after care prices for early drop off or late pick up. For campers who are not picked up by 6:00 p.m., a $50 convenience fee will be charged to parents, and we will get in touch with emergency contacts unless otherwise notified.
Before Care and After Care
If you need before care or after care you can add that on at the time of registration or call us at any time if you’d like to add on those services. Before care starts as early as 8:00 a.m. and is $10 per day, and aftercare lasts until as late as 6:00 p.m. and is $20 per day.
Lunch + Snacks
Lunchtime at Bit Space will generally fall between noon and 1:00 depending on the number of classes and the morning activities. Eating a good breakfast is vital to the attention and energy needed for great making. Please send your child full and ready to make. Bit Space is nut-free. Please pack lunches and snacks for your children that are free of peanuts and tree nuts. Bit Space allows time for snacks during the day.
If your child is showing signs of illness or has a fever, we ask that you strongly consider keeping the child home for that day of camp. We will notify the listed caregivers and request an early pickup for any camper who has a fever or is clearly ill during the camp session. Please be sure to let our staff know if your child has any medical issues of which we should be aware.
Spend all your quarters on the coolest kid-crafted games and activities! Younger campers use the wood shop to build their own versions of arcade classics like skee-ball, ring toss, and strength testers. Older campers work in small groups to make their own takes on digital and/or physical games.
Thrills, skills, and chills are the name of the game as we turn Bit Space into a crazy carnival! On Friday, campers staff their carnival event, showing off games of skill made in the wood shop, laser cut prizes, custom-created video games, and more.
Back by popular demand! Both the 6-9 and 9-12 age groups design and create a custom skateboard from scratch. They make foam molds, lay up and glue together layers of veneer into plywood, cut, shape, sand, finish, and assemble their decks. Each camper walks out the door on Friday with a real, rideable skateboard!
Lights + Motion
Prepare for a mega light show party this week as campers put electricity to work. Younger campers learn the basics of circuitry using simple motors and lights to brighten up their wood shop and laser cutter projects. Older campers expand upon that toolset with programmable electronics and real light fixtures to make wild room lighting and more!
Ahhh, mini golf. A summer pastime, redone! Young campers work on portable mini golf games, while the older groups work together on interactive, electronic courses! Come by on Friday to try all out all their creations and see if they’re par for the course.
It’s a puzzle party at summer camp! Young campers work individually on stringing together a series of sneaky ciphers, jigsaw puzzles, and secret codes made in the wood shop, while older campers work in teams designing clues for their own built-from-scratch escape room.
Robot Dance Party
Robots: the maker favorites that do work for you! But what happens once the makers leave the space? Our charismatic robots like to hang out and dance, so each camper makes a guest for our Friday dance party. Young campers create simple circuits that lead to silly motions and behaviors, while older groups can code more complex motions and interactivity.
Clear off your coffee table because game night is coming to Bit Space! Our youngest campers put the woodshop to work building fun contraptions for holding cards, rolling dice, and making their own versions of classic games. The older campers spend the week remixing their favorite board games to be even more awesome.
This week is all about “making” your dreams come true! Young campers use the wood shop to make a window into a dream world of their design. They can add lights or motion to enhance their narrative experience. Older campers can choose to focus 3D modeling a wild dreamscape, or work together to turn our famed Inter-Act Cube into something out of alternate dimension.
City of Small Shoulders
We’re flipping the script this week and saying, “It takes a child to raise a village.” Each camper can turn a small plot of “land” into their own part of a fantastic city. Older campers can instead take their ideas into the digital realm and focus on making scaled 3D models of (im)possible cityscapes. All campers are encouraged to work together to arrange their plots into blocks and neighborhoods and form the City of Small Shoulders.
The intrepid explorers of the I.S.S. Bit Space have just landed on a far away planet. Now it’s up to them to make life on this unknown world possible … and awesome! All campers can use the wood shop and laser cutter to make the coolest colony creations they can think of, and campers 9 and up can choose instead to make digital space exploration games or experiences.