The coronavirus pandemic seems to be slowing down and vaccines have become more available, but many parents are still questioning whether they should be sending their kids to in-person summer camps this year.
In certain ways, the online programs might even have a slight edge over the in-person camps. With lessons that are designed to go-at-your-own-pace, one-on-one online meetings with experienced instructors and counselors, children are able to benefit from a variety of different learning opportunities.
Below are some of the free and popular virtual camps you may want to consider for your kids:
Happy Camper Live
From photography and arts and crafts to magic and sports, Happy Camper Live provides children with an authentic camp feel from home. They even get to enjoy the virtual campfire.
Happy Camper Live provides multiple videos helping kids to recreate summer camp adventures from the comfort of their own homes. The camp videos include topics such as food, music, sports, crafting, and so much more.
Your children can also gain access for free to many of the videos without having to sign up for a monthly subscription. These free videos all feature green circle icons. You can also buy some of the camping gear they will need to make your kids feel like they are actually at camp.
Virtual Summer Camp with the NY Library
The New York Public Library has offered families 6 weeks’ worth of virtual camp activities which you can enjoy at home or with your community.
Their experienced children’s librarians craft and design exciting activities each week for kids from kindergarten age all the way up to middle school. The programs are focused on literacy skills and STEM learning. The activity guides are easy to download directly from their website.
This site allows your kids to enjoy many activities and crafts as they discover and explore all the things that have made up our planet.
Camp Khan Kids
This virtual summer camp guides children and parents along a playful and exciting journey using Khan Academy Kids as the launchpad into extremely hands-on learning.
Each week in July, parents that have already registered with the Khan Academy Kids app (available for tablets, and smartphones), will receive emails that contain self-paced schedules of recommended activities for playing, creating, learning, and reading.
Families can then choose what will work best for their children, with a weekly theme that includes animal adventures, space, dinosaurs, and much more.
Microsoft Free Virtual Summer Camps
Smithsonian Museums and Microsoft have teamed up to add regular history and natural history to the STEM stream.
Anyone that signs up for this summer camp online will receive a “digital passport” where they get to collect a digital badge after completing each workshop. This allows them to easily document the learning journey and activities they have completed with an accomplishment as they progress through each of the themes.
The kids that love STEM will really enjoy all the opportunities to explore with this virtual summer camp hosted by the National Center for Families Learning. It provides activities and courses in 4 main areas, including science, health and fitness, engineering, and construction.
A free summer learning online destination, this is an interactive, creative and fun camp dedicated to all types of personalities.
Children can enjoy hands-on experiences with cool and exciting experiments that not only exercise the body but also the mind. Build reading comprehension, vocabulary, science knowledge, critical thinking, along with many other literacy skills as you go.
Camp Bonkers offers a digital twist when it comes to summer camps, providing children a creative and safe online space from their homes. This site allows kids to hang out with Camp Counsellors and craft and experiment on YouTube.
Children get to explore the Camp Bonkers world and play games about the camp on Roblox. Your kids can also enter the challenge to become the best Super Camper using the Camp Bonkers Badge System available online.
Molly Simms has worked hard on creating virtual activities for children along with the other folks at OshKosh B’Gosh. The result is a well-formulated list of activities that parents are able to do with the younger kids, or for older children to do by themselves.
Change a couple of simple and cheap ingredients into an educational and fun safari dig. During a time where a camping trip is not an option for you and your family, you can think about turning your yard into your own personal campsite. Leave reality behind by changing the interior of your home into an epic pillow and blanket fort. Transform stones lying around your backyard into decorations for the outside or interior of your home.
NBC Sports Camp
This site contains a jammed-packed roster of expert coaches (many Olympians). The end result includes many exciting videos made to get your children active.
The virtual summer camp program for 7 to 12-year-olds is designed to help kids play and learn various sports directly from home. Cardio, soccer, gymnastics, sportsmanship, and basketball are all included. This is all available right now for a few summer-sweat workouts.
Family Maker Camp
Family Maker Camp is one of the best sites to get the entire family involved, allowing you to create new things and stretch your imagination. Gather your STEM materials, crafting supplies, and a few other odds and ends. Family Maker Camp will help to keep your children occupied this summer thanks to all the crafting and science projects and several activities.
The partners from the “Make Community” came together to create and design these virtual events. This camp is focused on projects, where your children get to enjoy building things that interest them. A strong focus on technology, art, and science has brought several disciplines together.
Your kids receive potential activities every day that they might like. They can also join a live stream or choose something from the project library. Before they know it, they would have easily built their favorite musical instrument or a hovercraft. You can also head over to the library to check on previous Maker Camp sessions.
Virtual 4-H Camp
The Virtual 4-H Online Camp provides children with a range of fun and exciting learning activities focused on our natural world. This includes gardening, the environment, animal study, along with other gear and resources to assist young campers to carry on learning and growing throughout the summer.
The at-home online activity guides on the 4-H camp website offer many hands-on projects along with free activity guides and printables.
Participants can learn about the 4-H pledge, participate in arts and crafts projects, experiment with recipes, and actively engage in STEM activities. Your kids can also enjoy a singalong to several campfire songs directly from the website’s curated playlist.
PBS Kids has always had a keen interest when it comes to finding fun methods for children to learn. The PBS Kids for Parents website provides free games, activities, and age-by-age tips to help you navigate the summer.
The programs include popular characters from shows like Daniel Tiger, Ready Jet Go, Wild Kratts, and Sesame Street. It is easy to search using the age of your children and the areas you are interested in working on to locate the ideal options.
Every category provides questions and talking points that you can use to actively initiate conversations with your child, especially when they are addicted to shows such as Nature Cat, Wild Kratts, and Dinosaur Train.
You can also register for your daily newsletter as well as download the Summer Activity book when you need extra inspiration and ideas to make sure your kids stay busy.
DIY Summer Camp
DIY Summer Camp is completely focused on experimentation and creativity. Children get to select summer projects and activities from categories that include outdoor adventures, cooking, art, and science.
Children at all skill levels are able to easily use the handy DIY app where they can watch virtual classes, including “Drawing Bootcamp”, “Build Anything With Lego”, “Become a Music Star”, and “Photography”.
This is available for free up until 31 August. Your kid should be able to find a project or activity they will enjoy. Many projects will require a few household ingredients or items, which means you won’t have to buy long lists of supplies.
The Reading Rockets’ “Start with a Book” program is a free online kids book club. It encourages children to learn about the topics they like best through nonfiction and fiction booklists, recommended activities, and other websites and apps to explore.
There are 24 topics to choose, from sports and time travel to dinosaurs and much more, your children are then matched to corresponding activities, books, ideas, and apps to make sure the fun continues well after the book is done.
This site offers many free virtual summer camps dedicated to students on every grade level. It is focused on various themes, including recycled art, the “science of bites and stings”, dinosaurs, Minecraft, and improv, among many others.
With an aim to get your children to experiment with new things and taught by several professional instructors this is a virtual and free summer camp that is a fantastic choice for K-12 students.
It provides interactive week-long summer camps that help to keep your children’s minds active. The starting dates stretch throughout the summer.
Wide Open School
Curated and created by Common Sense Media, Wide Open School has content created by premium-quality providers including Khan Academy, GoNoodle, and PBS.
It helps educators and families locate trusted resources that support and enrich distance learning. Each day students are able to access high-quality and free learning activities that span many subjects from one place. With over 80 supporters and partners that have joined together to match up to the changes in learning requirements for families, teachers, and students caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regardless of what type of summer activities and programs you decide on, we truly hope this summer is packed with new adventures, learning, and fun together.
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