Kids & Families

At NIU STEAM, we know that science is more than a career path or set of facts. It’s a way of understanding and interacting with the world that’s available to everyone, not just a rarified few. The STEAM mindset begins in wonder and curiosity. We ask questions. How does this work? Why does this pattern exist in nature? How could we make this design different, and better? We strive to answer those questions together, in a community of curious learners. And we embrace the journey, knowing that every question answered uncovers a new wonder to explore.

The STEAM Learning Philosophy

You’ll find no transcripts, no testing, no requests for grades at NIU STEAM Studio and STEAM Summer Camps. All we ask is that our students approach learning with curiosity and an open mind. We hope you join us for an epic STEAM learning adventure!

Featured Learning Topics

Our vision is to bring the latest STEM research and hands-on learning to all people, of all ages. You bring your curiosity and openness to learning and trying new things. We’ll provide STEAM experts who are passionate about the subjects they teach.

For young people, check out our STEAM Summer Camps and STEAM Studio sessions.

Special Topics and Events


BLOCK Fest® is designed for children ages 8 months to 8 years and their families. During BLOCK Fest®, children can play with five varieties of non-interlocking blocks, designing and building structures and deconstructing what they’ve built. Meanwhile families interact with their children and learn how to support their child when they play with blocks at home.


STEM Fest is a creative mix of online and in-person events in the month of October. When it’s safe to do so, we have an all-day, in-person event at the Northern Illinois Convocation Center. When we’re distancing, the fun still goes on with virtual events and activities leading up to a half-day online celebration of presentations, activities and chats with STEM experts. Whether in-person, live-streamed or recorded, STEM Fest will inspire you when you discover your spark of STEAM inspiration all October long!

STEAM Summer Camps

Our camps are led by a passionate, well-trained team who love to teach, laugh, and have fun. Join us for an epic summer adventure in a wide range of areas. Our campers return year after year because of connections they create with peers who share their interests and passions and with faculty and staff who nurture their creativity. This may be the first time a camper develops their own robot, film or video game or conducts an experiment of their own design. But it likely won’t be the last.

Can we insert the block of Featured Learning Topics from STEAM Camps here?


Learn the science. Live the book. STEM Read uses live and online programs to inspire readers to learn more about the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts in popular fiction. Readers enjoy the books on their own or with school or library groups and then meet at NIU or connect with us online to explore the science behind the fiction through hands-on activities, presentations by NIU faculty and staff, author visits, interactive games, collaborative writing projects, and other STEAM activities (STEM plus the arts).

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