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Camp Topics

Mad Science of Mt. Diablo

Summer and Vacation Camps

Attention Parents and Guardians:

Please pack a snack for all summer camp attendees!


(Camp topics are not in chronological order and topics may be done in any order)



Let’s Get Growing, Preschool (Ages 4 to Kindergarten)


Soil and Seeds

Sun, Wind and Rain

Plants and Leaves

Butterflies, Bees, and Ladybugs

Flowers, Fruits, and Veggies


In this camp preschoolers will learn all about how their gardens grow, from the very first seedling, to the important roles of sun and rain, to the amazing plants and flowers that sprout and bloom. They will also get acquainted with the many insect inhabitants of their gardens, and how those insects help make their gardens so beautiful. Campers will add daily to a mural reflecting what they’ve discovered.

 DAY 1: Soil and Seeds - Learn all about what is under a garden in this fun filled day! You will dissect soil and discover its components. Play a super seed relay game! Observe the life cycle of a seed with hands-on activities. Make your own super seed expert badge!

 DAY 2: Sun, Wind and Rain - Investigate the elements as you discover what they do for gardens. Make your own sun visor so you will be protected from the sun. Become a weather artist using rain and wind as your tools!

 DAY 3: Plants and Leaves - Get ready to grow! Learn all about living plants and leaves. Discover the art of rubbings. Play a leaf sorting game, as you learn about their differences. Grow your own budding bean necklace to take home with you.

 DAY 4: Butterflies, Bees, and Ladybugs - Get ready to see and make some bugs and creepy crawlers. Explore the life of a caterpillar as you discover how it turns into a beautiful butterfly. Make your own bug bracelet!

 DAY 5: Flowers, Fruits, and Veggies - Discover the difference between fruits and vegetables with your own placemat. Learn super songs to sing about nature. Make a mural of the garden with your fellow campers. Bring home your own journal that you use to keep track of everything you unearthed.


How Things Work ages (6 – 11)



Rocket Scientists

 Rock, Paper, Scissors Part II: Great Inventors (Tetrahedrons)

Cell City

Circuit Science + Watts Up/Van de Graff

Description: How do plants grow, live, and “eat”? How do we travel into outer space? What powers humans and our homes? All of our greatest scientific advancements started with a question. In “How Things Work” young scientists set out to find answers! Students will learn how animals track scents and follow a trail of amazing aromas. We’ll delve into natural dyes found in plants and even make our own paper! Blast off to fun when we explore rocket science and the physics of flight. Learn from the designs of great inventors like Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Discover the dynamic bustling city of organelles that is our cells. Take a journey through circuitry and test for “invisible” conductors. “How Things Work” is a fantastic week of experimenting with zany xylem, building your own rocket to launch and witnessing indoor lightning strikes! Each day campers will create and take home a project to remind them of what they learned during each awesome day of camp.

DAY 1: Cell City

We will learn how cells and all of their parts work.

DAY 2: Nature  

We will learn how zany xylem works to help plants drink and how other plants and animals live day to day.

DAY 3: Rock, Paper, Scissors Part II: Great Inventors (Tetrahedrons)

We will learn about how structures work, and how engineers choose shapes for strong buildings. We will learn also learn about how sound works.

DAY 4: Circuit Science + Watts Up/Van de Graff

We will learn how electricity, conductors and insulators work.

DAY 5: Rocket Scientists

We will learn how rockets work!

How To Be A Mad Scientist (ages 9 – 12)


Science Fiction

Glow Show + radical reactions

Whiz Kids II: Wright Brothers – sled making day (long table cloth)

Robots 101

Description: Young geniuses will launch us into the future with their rad Mad Scientist skills! It’s time that we make sure our future science super heroes have a good foundation for being a Mad Scientist. Campers will explore how what was once science fiction is now science fact and build a light saber worthy of a battle against the Dark Side. We will experience eerie glowing potions, fabulous fluorescence, and even make glow-in-the-dark slime! Join the Wright brothers and their super scientist mom to test your engineering skills in a fantastic race. Learn about bodacious bionics and make a marvelous robot of your own! Each day campers will take home a project that reminds them to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! MWAHAHAHA! Oh, wait… we mean, they will take home a project that reminds them of what they learned at camp that day.

DAY 1: Glow Show and Reactions In Action

“Glow-In-The-Dark”/Phosphorescent Slime for Take Home

DAY 2: Whiz Kids II: Wright Brothers

Sled making day

DAY 3: Robots 101

Of course Mad Scientists make robots. Mwahahaha!

DAY 4: Advanced Robotics

DAY 5: Science Fiction

Light sabers! And wrapping up any projects from the robots days which weren’t completed.

History of Time (ages 6-11)


Milky Way + Atmosphere and Beyond

Chemical Counting

Organ Trail


Dragon Breeding

Box of prepped cardboard

Description: A long, long time ago, in a galaxy called the Milky Way a planet called Earth was born near a star called the Sun. Have you ever wished you could travel through time and space? Well, in “History of Time” that is exactly what we will do! The story of the universe is an epic science saga of amazement. On our very first day of camp we will strap on our imagination caps and build a Super Science Time Machine to explore the known universe. Time travelers will journey into the past to traverse our Milky Way, and examine the chemicals that make up the Universe as well as the human body. From Brain Goo to Mad Mucus, we’ll explore biology by traveling through the different parts of our bodies here in the present day. We will even travel into the future to learn about genetics while making our own baby dragons! Each camp day includes a project that campers will take home to remind them of their travels through time.

Since campers will have a time machine to travel anywhere in time this camp can be done in any order. I have placed the kits in “chronological” order for the sake of organization.  

DAY 1: Milky Way + Atmosphere and Beyond

13.6 Billion years ago

Campers must work together to create a “time machine” out of cardboard.

Students will explore activities surrounding air pressure.

DAY 2: Chemical Counting

3.5 billion years ago

This day’s activities “take place” as we build on concepts from the Milky Way day. We are now in a place and time where many different chemicals, called elements, are coming together to the form the building blocks of everything we see around us today.

DAY 3 and 4: Organ Trail

Present Day

Travel through your time machine back to present day where you will discover the amazing muscles, neurons, and goop that make up the human body!

DAY 5: Dragon Breeding

800 million years in the future!

Use your time machine to travel into the future and let students breed their own baby dragons while discussing genetics and DNA.

Spy Academy (Ages 5-12)


Discover Detection

Spy Academy

Sleuths on the Scene

Funky Forensics

Science of Security


Crime Lab

Jr. Detectives


Look out 007-the Mad Science Spy Academy is here! From decoding messages to metal detectors and night vision, campers have the opportunity to check out spy tech equipment and take home lots of gadgets like a UV Fingerprint Finder! Step into the shoes of a detective as you uncover the science involved in evidence gathering and analysis! Figure out the science of forensics in a hands-on look at crime scenes! Become a super spy and learn clever ways of performing tasks as we take a hands-on view of the science that spies use!

DAY 1: Sleuths on the Scene

Use your skills of listening, testing, and observation during this day of detection. We will investigate fingerprints, handwriting, and shoe prints to reveal the identity of our suspects.

DAY 2: Spy Academy

We will utilize spy gear such as metal detectors, spy ears, and motion sensors to hone our skills. Spies need to understand and use secret codes to pass along important information.

DAY 3: Discover Detection and Crime Lab

As a spy you will need to learn how to process clues at a scene. Discover proper procedures as we use all of our senses to study and dissect debris for evidence.

DAY 4: Funky Forensics and Jr. Detectives

Using forensics to evaluate evidence is a huge part of the spy business. Today we will analyze evidence with chemistry, collection skills, and spy tools.

DAY 5: Science of Security and Whodunit?

Unlock your spy skill as we tackle the toughest security breaches. We will “pick open” locks, sneak past a whispermeter, and create our own security system.

N.A.S.A Camp (Ages 5-12)


Atmosphere and Beyond

Planets & Moons

Space Technology

Sun & Stars

Space Travel

Living In Space

Rocket Science


Mad Science and NASA have teamed up to bring you the excitement and wonder of space in this new voyage of discovery. See the principles of thrust and propulsion at work as we explore the atmosphere on earth and beyond! Watch star dust burn, and journey through a galaxy as you investigate the life cycle of stars. Explore the farthest reaches of our solar system and create a lunar eclipse in this “mad” planetary tour. Probe the mysteries of meteors and bounce around satellite light as you learn about space phenomena. This is an experience that is truly out of this world!

DAY 1: Living in Space and Planets and Moons

Explore the farthest reaches of our solar system and create a lunar eclipse in this “mad” planetary tour! Understand how gravity is used to assist our NASA expedition utilizing your own gravity-assisted launcher.

DAY 2: Space Technology and Space Travel

Discover technology designed for outer space! Steer a laser beam through a laser maze, find hidden mountains using the principles of radar technology, and discover everyday objects that were originally designed for use in space!

DAY 3: Suns and Stars

This stellar program is your ticket to the stars! Watch star dust burn and journey through a soapy galaxy as you investigate the life cycle of stars! Use your cosmic disk to create your very own constellation.

DAY 4: Space Phenomena

Probe the mysteries of meteors and bounce around satellite light in this phenomenal program on space phenomena! Learn how to tell the difference between stars, planets, and satellites in the night sky.

DAY 5: Rocket Science

Learn all about flight and rocket launches. Race your own rocket balloon using air pressure. Build your own shuttle copter and watch how is uses tension and air to fly around. 

EUREKA! CAMP (Ages 7-12) 


Rock, Paper, Scissors

Whiz Kids


Think Fast!

Science Fiction


Creative Contraption Warning! This Mad Science camp is designed by you—the Inventor! Each day you’ll be given a series of challenges which must be overcome using basic materials, simple machines, tips from world famous inventors and the most important thing of all – your imagination! With a little bit of ingenuity you’ll construct catapults and forts, then lay siege to the castle. Assemble your own working light saber to take home!

While Thomas Edison said invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration; kids say this camp is 100% fun! 

Day 1: Rock, Paper, Scissors

Inventing means curiosity! Leonardo da Vinci started as an artist and developed many scientific observations that he recorded in his notebooks over the course of his lifetime. Children learn about his many discoveries and try their hand at his experiments including writing notes backwards, measuring human proportions, building a self-supporting arch bridge and building catapults. The budding inventors bring home their da Vinci designs and devices at the end of the day.

Day 2: Whiz Kids

Inventing means practicality! Inventions and patents to protect an invention were very popular in the late 1800s. Inventors Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were locked in several battles over electrical inventions of their era. Children work together to form circuits and recreate Tesla's bright atmosphere for the 1893 World's Fair. They talk about sound and learn that anyone—a child, woman, or man—can be an inventor. The class moves from simple devices to Rube Goldberg devices and the children perform as parts of a complex human-machine. The children prepare a patent proposal and receive a patent certificate at the end of the camp day.

Day 3: Shipwrecked

Inventing means necessity! Archimedes and Benjamin Franklin both created devices to make their society function more smoothly. This day puts children on a “deserted island” on which they must work together to invent a means for collecting food and water, build shelters, bridges, and learn about density. They use the tools at hand to write messages to send in a bottle and witness a volcanic eruption. The children eventually design a boat to escape the island and bring it home.

Day 4: Think Fast

Inventing means cooperation! Orville and Wilbur Wright worked together to develop the first self-controlled motorized flying machine. Their team efforts also lead to improved bicycle pedals and faster sleds. Children review technological advances in flight and work together to produce improved paper plane designs. They will work as a group to put historical flight events in chronological order. The children then step into space by launching self-built rockets and loading a payload capsule puzzle. These flight fanatics go home with a squadron of paper airplanes for further test flights.

Day 5: Science Fiction

Inventing means dreaming! Jules Verne and Isaac Asimov wrote about things that would be available in the future. These science fiction writers developed the reality of their current technology into future possibilities. The children develop submarines that rise or sink and wind-up space stations. They follow a telecommunications timeline and develop one for transportation. The children decipher fact from fiction and play a future-based bingo game. These future inventors get a lesson on lasers and build their own light stick. The camp wraps up with a robotic relay and the children take home dreams of the future and new planets to explore.

Mad Machines & Robots (Ages 8-11)

($30 lab fee includes a take home robot)


Jr. Engineers

Machine Mania

Crazy Chemistry

The Birds & The Beasts


Description: Join us for a week full of creations, chemistry and cameras! Work together with your fellow engineers to build the best bridge in our shake, rattle and roll challenge. Turn your daily newspaper into a four foot high Geodesic Dome that you can sit in with your friends. Explore the world of birds and beasts with bird house building and our super bug investigation. Mix, mash and brew concoctions to create cool sidewalk chalk and bath fizzers during a day in the chemistry lab. Discover the wonders of photography as you study cameras, light and colours.

DAY 1: Jr. Engineers

Check out shapes and why they are so strong. Investigate arches, and geodesic domes. Discover why an egg’s shape is so strong and how you can find this shape in buildings. Test loads and build some bridges when you put on an engineer’s hat and learn about structures.

DAY 2: Machine Mania

Find out how wedges, screws and levers help us with our daily lives. Use simple machines to complete different tasks like lifting weights and launching ping pong balls. Run through an obstacle course and use teamwork to show how useful simple machines can be.

DAY 3: Crazy Chemistry

Become a Mad Science chemist as you learn all about the chemistry of things that you encounter everyday in your house and school. Discover how chemical reactions are everywhere and how you can figure out if a chemical change has occurred right before your very eyes. Mix, mush and brew together different chemicals to create things you can use in this hands-on chemistry lab.

DAY 4: The Birds & The Beasts

Where do owls live and what do they eat? How do some bugs walk on water? These questions and more will be answered with a walk on the wild side of things to explore owls, birds and all kinds of bugs.

DAY 5: Shutterbugs

How does a camera work? What does a lens do? How do our eyes work? What is a camera obscura? How did the idea of motion pictures start and how did early filmmakers figure out how to make images move? All these questions and more are answered in this hands-on program wherein campers get to experience many aspects of photography

Flight Academy (First grade to fifth grade)


The “Wright” Stuff

It’s an Up Thing

The Milky Way

Newton’s Loco-Motion

Rockin’ Rockets


The week will fly by as we travel through time looking at the earliest flying machines right up to modern day rocket launches. We’ll cover it all. Become a Junior Aviator and discover the principals of flight and aerodynamics. Zip up your space suit for a planetary tour while we investigate the wonders of our very own Milky Way.  Join your fellow astronauts as we send an awesome Mad Science rocket to the moon…well at least into the sky! As Mad Science Technicians, you will build sundials, Bead Dippers, parachutes and an incredible wind tunnel simulator. It will be a blast!

DAY 1: The “Wright” Stuff

Children will explore the fundamentals of aerodynamics in this hands-on program about how things fly. From the basic principles of flight to building airplanes, testing them in wind tunnels, to hovercraft and balloon helicopter building, children will understand what makes things fly and how different types of aircraft fly. Campers will take home various paper airplane designs, balloon helicopters, hovercrafts, boomerangs and mini Frisbees.

DAY 2: Up, Up, & Away 

This program will explore the role that wind and the movement of air plays on simple flying devices such as kites, hot air balloons and parachutes. Children will experiment with solar bags, parachutes and build their own kites and parachutes during this hands-on look at early flight.

DAY 3: The Milky Way

What is the Milky Way and how do we know what’s up there? Children will explore the celestial sphere, learn about celestial navigation and build their own sextant, sundial, planisphere and Bead Dipper model while discovering the wonders of the Milky Way.

DAY 4: Newton’s Loco-Motion

Sir Isaac Newton was very curious about how things move. Discover Newton’s Laws of Motion and something called inertia in this hands-on program all about motion. Children will experiment to learn how inertia works and how gravity is a physical force that keeps all objects “stuck” to the Earth. They will build a Satellite Launcher” to take home to continue their exploration of motion at home.

DAY 5: Rockin’ Rockets

Campers will learn the fundamentals of rocketry throughout this day including the parts of a rocket, the stages of rocket flight and how Newton’s third law applies to a rocket traveling to space. The children will build their own Skyblazer rockets, experiment with water rockets and stomp rockets during this fun, day filled with hands-on activities.

Anatomy Academy (First grade to fifth grade)


At the Scene of the Crime

Organ Trail

Radical Reactions

The Science of Sport

Cell City


Campers will use forensic science to solve a crime. A visit to Cell City will reveal the inner workings of DNA while a trip down the Organ Trail will provide a Body Portrait.  Explore the wonders of gravity, balance and the science behind the illusive sweet spot.  Build the strongest helmet for our friend Eggbert in our safe egg challenge. We will discover how to get a rainbow in a test tube and build a Potato Power Plant during a day of radical chemical reactions.

DAY 1: The Organ Trail

Students are introduced to the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, and muscular systems. In the process they learn about some of the body’s most important parts: the heart, lungs, stomach, brain and more. They listen to their hearts, act as lung and muscle models and observe life-like replicas of our organs.

DAY 2: At the Scene of the Crime…

The importance of observation as part of the scientific method is the day’s first order of business. A mock crime scene is examined; relevant information presented in many formats. Campers are then challenged to sort and sift through the data in an effort to solve the "crime" using forensic techniques.

DAY 3: Cell City

Campers are introduced to several cell organelles and their functions. The membrane, mitochondria, nucleus, ribosome, and lysosome receive most of the attention. At times they will imitate the action of each of these parts with special emphasis on the nucleus and the role of DNA in directing and recreating life. They will learn the basics of the code of life, and make a model of a cell.

DAY 4: Radical Reactions

What holds atoms and molecules together? What happens during chemical reactions? These questions are answered while campers study physical and chemical reactions in depth. These reactions include those that emit heat (exothermic), those that require heat (endothermic), those that proceed at a very fast pace and reactions that occur in spite of the fact they shouldn’t!

DAY 5: The Science of Sport

What do football players, scientists and ballet dancers have in common? Explore how Newton helps us learn why we move the way we do and improve the games we play. Campers experiment with games and activities while learning how physical and chemical sciences affect their equipment, movement, and technique.

Crazy Chemistry (First grade to fifth grade)


Lab Works

pH Phactor

Dry Ice Capades

Glow Show

Chem in a Flash

Slime Time

Jr. Reactors

Super Sticky Stuff


We’ll explore and create exciting chemical reactions, make colorful concoctions and bubbling brews. Amaze yourself with magical temperature changing baggie science or growing ghost crystals. Study the chemistry involved in not-so-simple things like chalk and soap, and even experiment with the chemistry used by artists, spies and detectives! Chemists bring home a project each day.

DAY 1: Lab Works and pH Phactor - Start your chemistry career with some laboratory basics. Campers learn to swirl, pour and mix like a scientist! Make some fast-acting changes with your fellow junior chemists! Campers teach themselves to tell the difference between physical and chemical reactions and then put their knowledge to the test!

DAY 2: Super Sticky Stuff - Explore the science of sticky stuff! Campers find out what makes glue stick and try out a tape test. Mix up some solutions and mix some slime!

DAY 3: Glow Show and Dry Ice Capades - See the lighter side of science in this half day of chemical fun! Campers see how white light brings rainbow colors to our eyes and make some others glow. Then, chill down and heat up at the atomic level with solids, liquids, and gases. Campers see how cold dry ice is and melt metal in hot water! Make colorful chemical reactions and find out how they happen.

DAY 4: Chem In a Flash - Check out the colors of chemistry with the power of pH paper and create a stopper-popping reaction! Make colorful chemical reactions and find out how they happen.

 DAY 5: Jr. Reactors - Make some fast-acting changes with your fellow junior chemists! Campers learn the difference between physical and chemical reactions, and then put their knowledge to the test! You’ll be pushing the limits of chemistry today


Attention Parents and Guardians:

Please pack a snack for all summer camp attendees!

Check out ourIn-Class Workshops
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