Museums Hot New Camping Site

United Press International

To most kids, sleeping bags have traditionally represented the fun of camp-outs or slumber parties, but every weekend, scores of children are also toting their bedrolls to science museums.

Aimed at blending fun with learning about everything from fruit flies and chemistry to shadows and mime, science museum “camp-ins"--aimed mainly at girls--are sprouting nationwide.

“Keeping the attention of youngsters who are bombarded by so much media and stimuli isn’t easy, but as evidenced by the number of girls who return year after year, camp-ins are accomplishing that goal,” said a science-technology center newsletter.

“The camp-in program is an excellent example of the efforts science museums are making to encourage young women to develop an interest in science and math,” said Susan Kendall, editor of the newsletter. “Space camps and computer camps have predominantly male enrollments, so in many communities the camp-in may be a girl’s only opportunity to get exposure to science in an informal education setting.”