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Summer Chemistry Camps

Scenes from Chem Camps.

Fun with Chemistry camps have been a Madison tradition since their inception in 1984. These 5-day afternoon summer programs offer a perfect combination of innovative hands-on science curriculum and fun!

An ICE Fun with Chemistry Camp is really special because campers actually get to do science, they don't just watch it happen! Through experiments, projects, and discussions they explore chemistry and science in laboratories in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Experienced staff supervise students in small groups, emphasizing lab safety while communicating fundamental science concepts and encouraging campers to exercise their reasoning skills. Campers entering grades 5 to 8 will typically carry out a variety of laboratory experiments including:

  • Flame tests (Chemistry; Forensic)
  • Plating pennies (Chemistry)
  • Chromatography (Chemistry; Forensic)
  • Monomers and polymers (Chemistry; Inventions)
  • DNA isolation (Forensic)
  • Substance analysis (Chemistry; Forensic)
  • Gold and silver nanoparticles (Inventions)
  • Flocculation, water treatment (Engineering)
  • Crystals and liquid crystals (Inventions)
  • Circuits and communication systems (Engineering)
  • Programming a game (Engineering)

Learn more about ICE Fun with Chemistry Camps:


Comments from parents

Hands-on at Chem Camp.

  • The program was wonderful. My daughter learned so much and can't wait to attend [another camp].
  • Great experience for a boy who loves science!
  • Can't wait to go again. [My child] told [their] 6th grade science teacher about it...and showed [their] class the things they brought home!
  • They absolutely loved it. [My kids] came home every night excited. Loved the labs and pretty much everything!


How to enroll your child(ren)

  • First, read all information in this section about required forms, program expectations, charges, payment, and cancellation/ refund policies. Make certain you agree to all items in each required form. Once you register a child the registration cannot be cancelled with a full refund.
  • Then, go to the camp schedule to register your child for each camp session the child will attend.

Required Forms:

Before your child can attend Chemistry Camp, University of Wisconsin-Madison and ICE require that the forms listed below be completed, signed, and received for each registered camper for each camp session your child will attend. All items must be signed and no items can be changed or deleted. If you have a question about any form contact ICE at chemcamps@chem.wisc.edu.

Send scanned forms by email to: chemcamps@chem.wisc.edu

Send printed copies by U.S. Mail to: ICE, Institute for Chemical Education, Department of Chemistry, 1101 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706.

What to Expect in Camp

Please discuss our program expectations and policies with your child. We strive for a camp experience in which children are safe, included, respected, and challenged as individuals. To maintain a safe, hands-on, laboratory environment students are supervised at all times. Campers should dress appropriately to work in a lab: covered shoulders (no tank tops), long trousers, shoes that cover the feet (no sandals or open-toed shoes), and old clothes. Some experiments involve matches, flames, simulated blood, and latex. Chem Camp will supply safety goggles and gloves. Campers may not carry out any unauthorized experiments, must follow all instructions of their group leaders, and are not permitted to leave the chemistry building unsupervised. Any misconduct by a camper is grounds for immediate dismissal from the camp with no refund of camp fee.

Charges and Payment:

The registration fee for each one-week half-day camp session is $230. Campers may register for multiple sessions. Payments can be made by credit card during the online registration. (Those who choose to pay with a check will find complete instructions with the email that confirms your registration.)

Note: Payment must be received within two weeks of submitting the registration or your child’s spot in the camp session will be automatically cancelled.

Camp Scholarships are available for those who can demonstrate need. If you are applying for a camp scholarship, do NOT register online. Contact ICE at chemcamps@chem.wisc.edu or by phone at 608/262-3033 before registering.

Cancellation/Refund Policies:

If your plans change and your child can no longer attend a camp session you have registered them for, please contact the Cashier’s Office, University of Wisconsin-Extension, 432 North Lake Street, Madison, WI 53706; 608/262-2451.

  • Cancellations received by or before May 17, 2019 will receive a 75% refund.
  • Cancellations received after May 17, 2019 and up to 14 days before the beginning of your child’s session will receive a 40% refund.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations that are received within 14 days of the beginning of the session for which your child is registered.
  • Refunds may take up to 6 weeks for UW-Madison to process.

Note: your child is not confirmed for Chem Camp until payment is received and all forms listed above have been completed and received by ICE. The deadline for receipt of forms and payment is by or before May 17, 2019. Once your registration is complete you will not receive further communication from ICE until about a week before the start of the camp.


2019 Summer Chem Camp Schedule and Online Registration

Session 1: Fun with Chemistry Camp

June 17–21, 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m

Session 1: Register Online

At the Fun with Chemistry camp, each day your camper will have two hours of laboratory work, and a period of group discussion. Experiments students will run include flame tests of common metals, making acid-base test papers, reaction of an acid and a new penny, chromatography (several), plating copper, and polymer (several).

Session 2: Fun with Inventions Camp

June 24–28, 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m

Session 2: Register Online

In this hands-on Chemistry Inventions camp, students will learn and practice concepts from chemistry, engineering, and materials science. Campers will learn: how to use an electron microscope; how to make and use gold and silver nanoparticles, liquid crystals, and more.

Session 3: Fun with Forensics Chemistry Camp

July 8–12, 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m

Session 3: Register Online

During each session of the Fun with Forensics Science camp participants will gather evidence from a different crime scene: collect DNA information, gather and interpret fingerprints, do drug analysis, and employing the scientific method to solve mysteries and crimes. Guest speakers from forensic science related careers enhance the program's connection to real-life science.

Session 4: Fun with Engineering Camp

July 15–19, 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Session 4: Register Online

This Fun with Engineering camp provides students with hands-on activities that introduce them to different engineering disciplines and some basic engineering principles. In this camp students use the engineering design process to develop a Morse telegraph, build a water recycling system, learn to program using Scratch, build hydraulic systems, and more.