As Spring Break approaches, parent, guardians, and children will all be thinking about what their plans entail. And not too long after, minds will race about Summer activities.

This is where the expertise of Camp Galileo’s parenting and education experts can come in handy, as they think outside of the box with their mindful and strategic approaches to fun and educational activities. Whether camping, or spending the break at home, there’s always plenty to do – it just takes a little imagination! If you’re looking for the right activities and strategies for a successful and happy Spring Break that everyone will enjoy, we asked Camp Galileo’s VP of Education, Pamela Briskman, some questions that are sure to point you in the right direction.

Credit: Camp Galileo

Pamela provides stellar examples and strategies that could make even adults want in on the fun! Read them below.

Q&A With Pamela Briskman, VP of Education, Camp Galileo

Q: Hi, Camp Galileo Team! Can you tell readers about Camp Galileo and what your team does?

PB: Of course! Camp Galileo is a joy-filled, imagination-sparking summer camp for rising K-10th graders that features STEAM learning, outdoor games and plenty of traditional camp fun—all designed with a mission to develop innovators who envision and create a better world. Our team works full-time year round to dream up inspiring projects and experiences, hire and train the best staff and make sure camp operations are smooth, safe and delivered with unforgettable camp magic.

Credit: Randy Weiner

Q: Summer Camp is not quite on the horizon yet, but its little sibling, Spring Break, is fast approaching. Is there any particular ideology, mindset, or strategy the Camp Galileo team applies at Summer Camp that can be implemented by parents during Spring Break?

PB: At Camp Galileo we focus on making sure that every child experiences a summer full of innovation, friendship and fun. We think that focusing on these three things (you can include family under “friendship”) is a winning combination for creating enriching and inspiring out-of-school time.

Q: We know that it’s easy to just plan a vacation, or throw technology to the kids in order to keep everyone happy. But vacations don’t always mean connection and technology can be a hindrance. What’s the best approach for families to connect, while either eliminating or implementing technology from or into family time for fun and educational activities?

PB: Setting a shared vision and then working together to make that vision come to life is a great way to create connection and have fun (and it’s an empowering life skill that we focus on developing at Camp Galileo—we call it the Galileo Innovator’s Process). Whether you’re planning a vacation, a day trip, or a family activity with or without technology, start out by:

    1. Identifying a collective goal, or set of goals, that includes ideas from everyone in the family.
    2. Then brainstorm a list of different ways that you might accomplish those goals—be open to all the ideas, even the silly ones, and build on each others’ ideas (“yes, and…”) instead of passing judgment.
    3. Once you have a list of possibilities, evaluate the list together and create a plan that everyone feels invested in and that satisfies your budget, time and other requirements.
    4. During the vacation or activity, check in to make sure that the plan is actually working—staying open to redesign (within realistic constraints) to best accomplish your goal(s).
    5. Be sure to celebrate the wins, the “marvelous” mistakes for what you can learn from them, and reflect on what you’d do the same or change for the next time.

This approach doesn’t need to take a lot of time and adds a layer of intentionality to holiday planning that highlights collaboration, activates the creative process and empowers everyone to take part in creating the experience they imagine.

Credit: Camp Galileo

Q: With technology being such a large part of kids’ lives today, how can parents discover areas of educational fun that overlap with tech, rather than cutting tech out altogether? And ahead to this year’s Spring Break, can you list some intriguing and unique activities for families to reconnect, and the steps behind turning those plans into reality?

PB: One great and educational way to engage with technology is to approach it as a creator instead of as (only) a consumer. There are so many opportunities to use technology as a family in a generative way and customize the approach to suit your interests and goals. Some ideas include:

  • Watching DIY videos to guide you through building a project or learning a new skill—or making a how-to video to share your own passions
  • Researching new recipes online to plan and then create a special meal or dessert
  • Going on a geocaching adventure. Use a GPS device or smartphone app to find hidden caches (containers) placed around your city or local park.
  • Assembling photos from a family outing or activity into a slideshow or editing video into a polished piece with titles, music and special effects
  • Telling an original story by using drawing and painting apps to create illustrations for a comic or book, using stop motion animation apps with toys, clay figures, etc. to make an animated short, or using video editing software to bring your story to life through live action
  • Creating a video game using beginner-friendly platforms (like Scratch or Blockly) or more advanced programs that enable kids to design their own games with characters, levels, and storylines.
  • Exploring physical computing with devices like Raspberry Pi that enable creative projects combining coding with electronics like lights, sensors, and motors

Working on creative, technology-based projects as a family can be a great opportunity to learn new skills together (oftentimes kids can even teach their grownups!), have fun, and celebrate your creations. Plus, these activities produce lasting artifacts that you can enjoy yourselves and share with extended family and friends.

Q: And on the other hand, what are some great activities that don’t need tech at all? Activities where families can almost forget tech exists?

PB: There are lots of wonderful ways to unplug and reconnect as a family during Spring Break or anytime. Here are some ideas that involve working together or creating/learning something new:

  • Planning and going on an outing to a national or regional park, beach, city, museum or other destination.
  • Playing board games or card games, then thinking about changes you might try to make the game harder, easier or more enjoyable. Try them out and see how it goes.
  • Creating a meal or a special desert. Use favorite recipes or experiment with new ones then enjoy on your own or invite guests.
  • Volunteering at a local animal shelter, soup kitchen, or for an organization or cause you care about. This can be a great way to give back to your community and create a meaningful experience together.
  • Visiting an escape room or trying an escape room game. Once you have foundational ideas for how escape rooms work you can build one at home for friends to enjoy. (Middle schoolers can try Galileo’s Escape Room Experience this summer!)
  • DIY depending on your skills and interests or try something new. Plant a garden, build a birdhouse or a Rube Goldberg machine, try watercolor painting, the sky’s the limit.
  • Get Active. Go for a hike or bike ride. Try boating, or bowling, or roller skating, or juggling. Or invent a combination activity, ex trampoline-juggling.

By putting down the phones and tablets, families can find new passions or pursue old favorites while enjoying quality time together, fostering creativity and creating lasting memories.

Q: It is widely believed that before smartphones, kids spent more time outside and taking part in recreational activities. Is this true, and if so, do you think this trend can change?

PB: Both scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggest that children today spend significantly less time outdoors compared to previous generations. I think that there are many factors (cultural, environmental, technological, etc.) that contribute to this in addition to smartphones. While our evolving understanding of the impacts of screen time and social media on mental health and well being are concerning, smartphones are here to stay.

Most important, is for children to maintain a balance between physical activity (sports and outdoor recreation), interpersonal connections (with peers and family), creative expression with and without technology (suggestions above), and consumption-based screen-time (social-media, many video games, etc.) At Galileo, we believe that when kids see themselves as innovators—individuals who can imagine things that don’t yet exist and have the skills and creative confidence to make those ideas a reality—that these challenges due to technology can fade.

Credit: Camp Galileo

Q: Once the fun of Spring Break is over, it’s difficult for some kids to return to the classroom. Are there any strategies parents can use to ensure a smooth transition back to school, while giving them something to look forward to regularly, and even as summer approaches?

PB: While every child is different, here are some strategies families can use to to help their children smoothly transition back to school after Spring Break:

  • Organize Schoolwork and Workspace: Over the break help them clean out their backpacks, organize notebooks, and declutter/refresh their workspace at home. This can give them a fresh start after the break.
  • Use Positive Back-to-School Talk: Remind them of favorite teachers, friends, upcoming school activities or new learning opportunities. This can generate excitement and help them look forward to the remainder of the school year.
  • Prepare for the First Day Back: Reduce morning stress by readying backpacks the night before, packing a special lunch and laying out favorite clothes. Give kids the agency to take on these tasks independently as they are able. Feeling prepared eases anxiety and fosters a sense of control.

Q: Camp Galileo provides Summer Camp programs throughout Southern California with activities that make even us adults quite jealous! Please share more about the Summer Camp programs you offer for kids, when enrollment opens, and the types of activities that families can expect their kids to enjoy?

PB: Camp Galileo is open for enrollment at more than 60 locations (throughout California, Colorado, Seattle and Chicagoland) on our website: Our award winning programs are grounded in the Galileo Innovation Approach, our unique framework for developing innovators with substantive knowledge that guides breakthrough thinking, a mindset that promotes innovative work and a process that supports bringing the best ideas to fruition. We’re introducing an all-new program this summer with exciting projects and activities for campers in every age group.

This summer, our Elementary School campers (rising K-5th graders) will experience age-appropriate activities in each of our three daily rotations: Innovator’s Studio, Idea Lab and Outdoor Adventure.

  • In Innovator’s Studio, they will practice sustained focus to bring a personal vision to life, taking home impressive, polished, design & engineering project(s) that really work such as: a ride-on rocking pet (K-1st grade), a working hand-held vacuum cleaner (2nd & 3rd grade), and a custom pinball machine (4th & 5th grade).
  • In Idea Lab, the focus shifts from individual to collaborative projects as campers work on open-ended STEAM challenges where part of the fun is the spectacular crushing, crashing and crumbling that follows pushing a physical design to its limit. Campers learn to look critically at their “failures” and, with a growth mindset, glean learnings that enable them to take their designs (and their creative confidence) to the next level.
  • In Outdoor Adventure, campers experience exciting outdoor games along with classic, get-your-wiggles-out camp fun. Each day they engage in a combination of physical team-building challenges and collaborative games designed to build community and nurture kinesthetic practice of the Galileo Innovation Approach (including problem solving, collaboration, creativity, etc.)

Our Middle School campers (rising 6th-8th graders) experience aged up fun. Instead of three daily rotations, they focus on one epic project per week that allows them similar opportunities to collaborate with their fellow campers and flex their imaginations. This summer, project options include go-karts (where campers learn and practice woodworking skills to design and build a one-of-a-kind ride), remote controlled robots (where they bring an original character to life and add original attachments to navigate fun challenges), and an escape room experience (where they explore a range of puzzle types and flows and then create original clues and a themed room for others to escape).

Finally, we have a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program for our oldest campers (rising 8th-10th graders). Each day CITs experience an exciting mix of community-building games and engaging activities designed to develop their leadership skills, have opportunities to shadow instructional staff and mentor younger campers in their classrooms and flex their own design muscles by taking on projects that contribute to camp culture/magic or that enable them to express their own creativity. This program is a great transition for campers who are ready to take on new responsibilities while still having a blast as campers.

Q: Finally, are there any plans to bring Camp Galileo beyond the current areas served in Southern California? For example, the Santa Clarita Valley with its large family population?

PB: We are always looking to grow and bring Galileo to communities that are looking to help students become active members of their communities to envision and create a better world. If this sounds like something that would be interesting to you, we’d love to talk and be introduced to your school district! Our SoCal team is actively working to identify potential new partners and communities for summer 2025 so now is a great time to begin the conversation.

We partner with school districts in a couple of ways through our direct-to-consumer summer camp program as well as our Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (E-LOP) to help bridge the gap in accessibility to high-quality summer programming for unduplicated students. Feel free to reach out to for general inquiries and E-LOP opportunities.