Below are some questions we hear from parents about our Mad Science summer camps. If you do not see your question and answer, please feel free to e-mail a Camp Specialist at Info@MadScienceofCentralVA.com or click on Contact Us above.
What ages are appropriate for a Mad Science camp?
Mad Science camps are offered to a range of child from grades 1 to 6. By law, children must be a minimum of 6 years of age prior to the start of their Mad Science camp.
All Mad Science activities are specifically designed to be conducted in an age and grade appropriate manner. Activities are comprised of large group discussion, work in small teams of 3 - 5 campers and individual attention. Depending on the nature of the activity, our instructors will typically split the campers by age and/or grade to ensure the material is presented at an appropriate level. If there are different aged children in the same camp, we use the buddy system where the older camper will sometimes help the younger camper. For the most part, campers work in small groups with children of similar age.
Our camps usually have a good mix of both ages and gender, therefore your child will be paired with children his age and he will make new friends. All kids have fun at Mad Science, but any activity can be more fun if it is shared with a sibling or friend. Please mention our camps to your family, friends and neighbors. After all, you just may gain a car pool partner!
Mad Science strives at all times to provide fun and safe science activities for all children participating in our programs. To fulfill this commitment, we ask that all children enrolled adhere to basic behavioral guidelines. Our instructors set clear boundaries and expectations as to appropriate conduct and we will hold all children to these expectations. We stress these expectations at the beginning of each day of each program. We ask your cooperation should any parent be notified of discipline issues. It is our intention to provide children with, not deprive them of, exciting and fun science. It is only when a child interrupts this positive learning environment that we would take any action. Some actions may include things like sitting out for a few minutes to regroup, asking a parent to pick a child up early or in extreme cases (such a physical aggression or continuous disruption that affects the instructors ability to teach) a child may be asked to not return.
Mad Science also has expectations of the parents whose children are enrolled. Only children with a sincere interest in our programs and the necessary maturity to handle the time commitment and the social interaction of a large group of children should be allowed to enroll. Parents are welcome to observe any class and to participate where appropriate. We ask that you limit your participation so that the hands-on nature of our programs is preserved. All parents should support the learning process after the camp is dismissed.
Who are the Mad Science camp instructors?
Mad Science instructors tend to be college students pursuing an education or science degree, former/retired teachers or teachers on summer break. Most of our instructors have worked for us in our after-school programs. All of our instructors have experience working with large groups of elementary-aged children, have undergone a background check and received summer camp specific training. The main characteristic that our instructors all share is their love of working with children. Our camper to instructor ratio will never be greater than 12 to 1. Last year the average sized camp was about 20 children with two instructors.
How do I register my child for a camp?
Depending on the location of the camp, there may be many ways to register: mail-in, over the phone, in person or on-line. The easiest way is through our on-line registration system. It takes about 5 minutes and accepts Visa, MasterCard and checks. Almost all of our camps are available through our on-line registration system. However, several locations are responsible for processing their own registrations.
Will all camp sessions be run?
We create our camp schedule with the intention of being able to offer each and every session. We ensure there is sufficient equipment and instructors to manage the schedule we publish. Unfortunately there is no science to how the registrations for each camp session will progress. We have established a minimum number of campers needed to offer a session. If this number is not met, we must cancel that session. In this case, all parents will be notified promptly with a list of alternative camp sessions. Last year we were able to accommodate over 90% of campers in another camp session after their original session had been cancelled. If we are unable to accommodate your schedule, we will offer you a full refund of your registration fee.
What is your refund policy?
For all camp registrations that occur through Mad Science (i.e. our on-line registration system), cancellations by you that occur greater than 60 days prior to the start of the camp will be subject to a $25 service charge. Cancellations requested less than 60 days prior but more than 15 days to the start of the camp will be subject to a $50 service fee. There is no refund offered 15 days prior to the start of any camp. If you need to change camp days prior to 15 days before the camp starts, we will accommodate your request if there are schedule openings. There is no service charge for this.
If we do not get sufficient enrollment to hold the camp, Mad Science will make every effort to provide alternative camp locations or you will be offered the option of a full refund. Should your child be removed from a camp due to behavioral issues or consistent late pick ups, there will be no refund. Since Mad Science is offered at a number of host locations, their refund policy may be different than ours. In these instances, Mad Science will adhere to the host location's refund policy. Please check with your location for their specific refund policy.
What is the difference between a Half-day camp and a Full-day camp?
We offer most of our camp themes as either a half-day or a full-day camp. On occasion we will offer a theme as only a half-day camp. Half-day camps are typically held from 9AM to Noon. Full-day camps are typically held from 9AM to 4PM. In each version we will present demonstrations and activities that will highlight the scientific principles of each theme. The full-day camps allow us to spend more time on certain aspects, go deeper into the material and provide additional hands-on activities. Half-day camps allow children and parents greater flexibility for other pursuits during the day either before or after the Mad Science camp.
What is the Before and After Care option?
We offer the option of an additional 2 hours a day of supervised care. Through the Before and After Care option you may now extend select full-day camps from 9am - 4pm to 8:30am - 5:30pm. Before and After Care is offered only at select locations. See schedule for camps and dates.
Before and After Care will be supervised recreation such as indoor games, videos, arts and crafts projects, etc. It does not include additional Mad Science programming. This extended care takes place each day from 8:30 to 9:00 am and from 4:00 to 5:30pm. Regular Mad Science camp programming will take place from 9am to 4pm each day. The Before and After Care option is NOT available for half-day camps. There is no discount for partial usage of this program. You must enroll for both the camp session AND the corresponding Before and After Care session.
Start your own Mad Science Camp
If our schedule does not work with YOUR schedule then bring Mad Science to you! All you need is 12 children and a place to hold the camp and Mad Science will come to you! We may even be able to adjust the start time, length of the day, number of days or customize our programming to exactly match your needs. Give our camp specialists a call to find our more.
Is payment due in full when I register?
No. We offer you two ways to pay for your child's summer camp. You may pay in full at the time of registration or you can use our Lay-away Payment Plan. To use the Lay-away Payment Plan, you must contact our office prior to registering so we can set up your plan with you.
The easiest payment method is to use our on-line registration system. If you are using the on-line Registration System you can pay by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or by check. NOTE: if paying by credit card, the full amount of the camp will be charged at the time of registration. Payment by check must be received in our office within 5 days or your registration may be cancelled.
How does the Lay-away Payment Plan work? How do I sign up for it?
If you do not wish to pay for your child's summer camp in full at the time of registration, you can set up a series of installment payments through the Mad Science office. Lay-away payments can be made by cash, check or credit card. For half-day camps, you can make up to 3 installment payments. For full-day camps, you can make up to 4 installment payments. The first payment must be at least $50. This first payment will hold your child's spot in the camp pending success sequential installment payments. Failure to make an installment payment in accordance with your plan may result in your registration being cancelled.
If you complete your lay-away payment plan by the Early Bird discount deadline, you will qualify for the Early Bird discount. All lay-away plans must be paid in full no later than one week prior to the start of your camp. The Lay-away Payment Plan is offered only for those camps where registration and payment takes place at http://centralva.madscience.org. The Lay-away Payment Plan is not valid at our partner locations.
To establish your Lay-away Payment Plan, call our office and a Camp Specialist will be happy to help you. A typical payment plan will include a first payment of $50 and then payments of $40 - 50 on regular intervals (such as bi-weekly or monthly) until the registration is paid in full.
I have a Mad Science camp Gift Certificate. How do I redeem it?
In order to redeem your gift certificate you must call our office (804-359-1500). Unfortunately, our registration system cannot handle this payment transaction. You can register for the camp of your choice through our on-line system. When the system asks you for payment information, check the box for "Cash/Check/Money Order". This will save a spot in the camp until our office can help you redeem your gift certificate.
Please keep in mind these important aspects of the gift certificate program: Mad Science gift certificates are valid for the type of camp listed on the face of the certificate UP TO the retail value of the certificate. You can elect to use your certificate for a camp whose cost is greater than that of the certificate. In order to complete your registration you will need to pay the difference in price.
Mad Science gift certificates can be redeemed only for camps where the registration and payment is administered by Mad Science. Typically this means any camp where registration and payment is accomplished through our on-line registration system. Mad Science gift certificates are not valid at our Partner Locations (also called Host Locations). These locations may include Park and Rec programs, YMCAs, Weinstein JCC or other organizations that use Mad Science camps as part of their own summer programming, conduct their own registration and receive camp payments directly.
Your Mad Science gift certificate is similar to cash - DO NOT LOSE IT - however it has no cash redemption value and can be redeemed only for a Mad Science camp. Lost, stolen or destroyed gift certificates will not be reissued. To receive credit for the value of your gift certificate, you must present the gift certificate to Mad Science. We reserve the right to charge you the full cost of the camp until the gift certificate is presented. Mad Science gift certificates are valid only through the end date printed on the face of the gift certificate. Unredeemed or expired gift certificates will not be honored nor reissued.
How soon do I need to register to reserve a space for my child?
This is the toughest question we get because we have no idea. Some camps and dates fill very quickly, while some may have spaces available up to the start date. We recommend that you register as soon as possible.
Mad Science offers two discounts: the Early Bird and the Multi-Camp/Sibling discounts.
Early Bird Discount: Register and pay in full by the Early Bird Discount deadline (the exact date changes from year to year but is usually the start of April) and save up to $25 per camp. Half-day camps save you $25 and Full-day camps save you $15. This discount is automatically calculated in our on-line registration system. If paying by check, your registration must be completed by midnight on the Early Bird discount deadline and your check must be received in our office before 5pm no later than 7 days after the Early Bird discount deadline. Early Bird Discount is available only on camps where Mad Science processes both the registration and the payment (camps available on our on-line registration system)
Multi-Camp/Sibling Discount: Register for 2 camps and save an additional $10 on each camp. Register for three or more camps and save an additional $20 on EACH camp. Multi-camp/Sibling Discount is available only on camps where Mad Science processes both the registration and the payment (camps available on our on-line registration system) and is limited to members of the same household. Registration and payment for all camps must take place at the same time to receive the discount. Use the coupon code "MULTI-CAMP" when registering and your discount will automatically be registered. One child can register for 2 or more camps to receive the discount or two or more siblings can register for one camp each to receive the discount. Siblings do not have to be registered for the same camp(s). Your summer camp orders need to be on one invoice to properly calculate your discount. If you want to add additional camps after your initial order, please call our office and we can add them to your order and apply the correct discount codes!
What should my child bring/wear to camp?
Mad Science provides all the equipment and materials for both the in class activities and the take home projects. All you need to provide is a child who is ready to have fun!
Children should dress comfortably for that day's weather. We ask that children not wear open toed shoes to a Mad Science camp especially no flip-flops. Also, as we will be outside on a number of occasions, please do not dress your child in any clothes that you do not want to get dirty. You may wish to apply sunscreen or insect repellent or send these items with your child. A hat and/or sunglasses may also be useful. Please clearly mark your child's name on all items he brings to camp.
Do you provide a lunch with the Full Day camp?
No. You must send a bag lunch with your child. We will provide a mid-morning snack-tivity and a mid-afternoon snack-tivity along with water. The snack-tivities are not a significant amount of food. If your child would benefit from some additional calories during the day, please pack additional snack items. Please clearly mark your child's name on all items.
What is your policy for early drop off and late pick up?
For most of our camps, Mad Science cannot accommodate early drop off or late pick ups. To ensure our instructors are ready to provide your child with an exciting, stimulating and safe day, our doors will open promptly at our stated start time. Please do not drop off your child and leave him unattended before the start time of camp. Our instructors will not be responsible for your child until the start of the camp day.
An authorized parent or guardian must be at the camp site prepared to assume responsibility for your child at the stated end time of camp. We ask that you do not enter the room until the instructors dismiss the camp. The vast majority of our camps end on time. However, to ensure all children complete the activities for the day, our camps may run a few minutes long. Should an authorized parent or guardian not be present at the end of camp, Mad Science reserves the right to charge a late pickup fee of $1.00 per minute per child beginning 10 minutes after the stated end time of the camp. This late fee must be paid by cash or check directly to the Mad Scientist who has supervised your child. Your child cannot return to camp until this fee is paid. Consistent late pickups may result in your child being removed from camp without a refund.
Additionally, some of our host locations may provide options such as extended day care (before camp, after camp or both) or an additional activities package so that you may add to the Mad Science camp. Such options may be listed in the schedule but please directly contact the host locations and secure these arrangements for yourself.
Mad Science Authorization Form
There is an element of risk inherent in participating in the scientific process and handling scientific materials and equipment. We at Mad Science of Central Virginia take every precaution to ensure the safety of our campers and staff. It is important for campers and their parents to understand that if used improperly, and/or without instructor supervision, certain equipment and materials can be dangerous and could result in severe injury or death.
Please print, fill out and sign the below Authorization Form and bring it with you on the first day of camp. Your child will not be allowed to participate in a Mad Science camp without a completed Authorization Form on file with Mad Science. Should your child be enrolled in more than one Mad Science camp, you will need to complete an Authorization Form for each camp.
Medical & Dietary Needs
Due to the nature of our camps, we cannot guarantee an environment free of common foods such as peanuts, wheat or eggs. We use a variety of products in our demonstrations and for our snack-tivities, and campers bring in a bagged lunch. If your child had dietary restrictions, you can provide alternative snacks or you can advise us what types of snacks are not appropriate and we will do our best to minimize any contact with any possible allergens.
We can administer oral medications as long as we have a doctor’s note or a note from you which clearly states what is to be administered and when. All medications MUST be in the original bottle. If your child requires an Epi-Pen for severe allergies, we can hold onto them and administer them in an emergency. The majority of activities take place indoors, but campers will participate in outdoor activities up to twice a day (weather permitting) and we cannot guarantee your child may not come in contact with bugs, although we certainly do our best to not go near them. However they are out there (mosquitoes, bees, wasps, etc) and as such if you child has a severe allergy to them please let us know and send in any medication they may need in case they get bit or stung.
Lastly, our instructors are not trained to administer injections (other than Epi-pens in emergency situations) therefore they will not be able to do finger sticks to check insulin levels, draw up and administer insulin or any other invasive procedures. If your child requires such medical attention parents or other family members are always welcome to come to our camp at any time to perform such procedures. Thank you for your cooperation.
We understand that there are more children these days that are either ADHD, on the autism spectrum or have processing issues. We would never disenroll a child just based on a diagnosis and we are always willing to work with a child and put into play some accommodations that will help your child (and our others campers) have a great experience, because that’s what it is all about! Please know that in order to do so it is helpful for our scientists to be aware of any concerns before camp starts so they can be best prepared; we will not share that information with anyone else other than our instructors who will be working with your child. We do not have the resources to dedicate an instructor to an individual child, but we will work to implement reasonable requests and advice regarding your child. In some cases, we have had parents send in an aid or attend themselves to work with a child. That is fine in our camps! Just communicate with us ahead of the camp. We do expect a level of class participation and behavior that you would expect from a school environment, and all campers will be held to the same behavioral expectations.