Summer camp activities for kids have gone virtual! Adapt your summer ideas this year to taking advantage of these online summer camps for kids.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably sick and tired of hearing that we are living in unprecedented times. And yet, the only other way I can think to describe life in general right now is “extraordinary”.
Almost every aspect of life as we know it has been turned upside down and inside out. Daily life for most people is running on a completely different schedule (if on a schedule at all), and moms everywhere are working to get creative about how to accomplish working while having kids at home.
Normally during the school year and the summer, kids would be away at school or participating in summer camp activities, allowing parents a little peace and quiet to get their work done.
Now, with stay-at-home orders or safer-at-home orders in place, most families are together – a lot – and trying to accomplish all. The. Things in a very different way. The unfortunate reality is that this is most likely our “new normal” for at least a little while.
So, as parents, we need to pivot…and adapt. And that means that camp activities for kids who would normally go to summer camp are now going virtual!
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Virtual STEM/STEAM Summer Camp Activities For Kids
If your summer camps or other child care plans have taken a detour this year, check out online summer camp options to keep your kids entertained, safe, and having fun this summer.
Everyone has had to adjust at least some aspects of their lives while a worldwide pandemic has affected the entire country (and world). Businesses and camps have also had to pivot and start doing things differently.
A lot of the camps I’m showing you today are traditional summer camps that have taken their camp activities online so that they can continue to keep kids captivated while you work from home. Is this the summer you imagined? Probably not, but you can still make lemonade out of lemons with these virtual camp activities for kids.
1. Camp Supernow
For kids 5-11, Camp Supernow pairs kids with a counselor and fellow campers from around the nation in a virtual “cabin”. Each day of camp is an hour long, consisting of counselor-led crafts, field trips, and games.
Every virtual summer camp session runs for two weeks – you can check out a free day of camp to make sure it’s a good fit for you and your child!
2. iD Tech Camp
Week-long instructor-led sessions of virtual summer camp for tech-savvy kids that teach app building, computer animation, coding, engineering, and advanced programming languages – and even how to code for Minecraft!
While this camp is on the more expensive end, once you pay for one child, a sibling or friend can join for free! Expect 2 hours of live video instruction Monday-Friday plus about 2 hours of individual work.
3. Camp Wonderopolis
A FREE STEAM (that’s science, technology, engineering, arts, math) camp. Fun for all ages, Camp Wonderopolis explores 6 different branches of science in a fun and interactive way that keeps kids captivated and learning. (image)
4. Kids 4 Coding
A virtual summer camp providing week-long courses to kids who want to learn about app development and game designing to help sharpen their coding skills. Trained teachers and university-level computer science students teach small classes. Expect 1-2 hours of video live instruction Monday-Friday plus additional self-directed time to complete projects.
5. DIY Summer Camp
DIY’s summer camp offerings are like the combination of a Youtube that’s safe for kids and a Netflix that actually teaches them. Get a 14-day (unlimited access) free trial where kids at any level of skill can take, enjoy and learn from virtual classes like drawing, Lego, photography, inventing your own machines, and more.
Looking for free activity ideas for your kids? Grab our free mini activity book with fun and easy DIY activity ideas!
From chess to coding to hip-hop dance, art skills, origami, martial arts and more, KidzToPros has the perfect online course to get your child moving, match your child’s interests, and ignite their creativity.
7. K12 Inc. Summer Camp
Even if your teenager is too old for typical summer camps, there are still free opportunities for them to get off their duff and be a little more selective with their screen time. This summer camp offers career-oriented summer courses in video game design, coding, and programming, business and marketing, health care, and more—some of which will even earn students high school credit (wow!).
Online Summer Camps for Animal Lovers
Got an animal lover (or two!) in the house? These online summer ideas for kids may be just the thing they need.
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8. The Bronx Zoo Summer Camp Online
The Bronx Zoo usually has in-person camp opportunities for kids, however, for 2020 they are moving it to an online format, offering week-long programs for kids ages Pre-K – 8th grade. Kids will enjoy amazing behind-the-scenes tours of life at the Bronx Zoo and participate in a combination of counselor-led as well as self-directed activities to explore science, animals, and nature.
Ages: Pre-k through 8th grade
9. Columbus Zoo
With daily two-hour live video interactions directly with zoo staff, exclusive behind-the-scenes videos, and downloadable family activities that encourage exploration, this online summer camp is designed to get kids outside. There are programs for kids in 1st grade through 10th grade.
Ages: 1st grade through 10th grade
10. Great Lakes Aquarium Summer Camp in a Box
Think: summer camp subscription box. Geared for Kindergarteners through 5th graders, you’ll receive everything you need for a week-long camp right to your doorstep. Each day there will be a welcome video, projects to complete, and a Zoom meeting at the end of the day to engage with counselors and share projects with other campers.
Ages: Kindergarten through 5th grade
General Interest Virtual Summer Camp Ideas
If your kiddo has a lot of interests or hasn’t narrowed his interests down to just one or two areas, participating in a general interest camp that covers lots of areas may be the best option. Check out these stellar available options!
11. Happy Camper Live
From arts and crafts to sports to yoga, photography, music, or learning a new skill, Happy Camper Live will give your child the feeling of being at a real camp…at home. Check out a 7-day free trial and, while you’re at it, sit by the virtual campfire. (image)
12. The Story Pirate Creator Camp
The minds behind the Story Pirates podcast are offering virtual creative workshops to help kids create their own imaginative stories. In each camp session, kids will participate in small group workshops, live instruction, and interactive activities – all of which are focused on a fun theme (like superheroes or spy adventures). Expect 3 hours of live instruction over video 3 days per week.
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13. Varsity Tutors
Boost your kiddo’s learning through new experiences such as painting, creative writing, coding, learning a new language, or (my son’s favorite:) video game design (and more!). Kids get to meet other kids from all over the world and push their own limits through rising to new challenges. (image)
14. Wide Open School
Kids can participate in online summer activities that’ll keep kids active and curious, with new themes every week. Created by Common Sense and high-quality providers including Khan Academy, GoNoodle, and PBS. Expect self-directed activities on a flexible schedule, but there’s a “virtual summer camp schedule” that parents can utilize.
Ages: All ages
15. Camp Tinkergarden
Kids will receive self-directed outdoor play activities by email in this eight-week virtual summer camp program. Each activity kit includes reading lists, ideas, and tips/support for parents.
16. The Lion King Experience
An immersive theater program that teaches kids how to perform art through performing The Lion King. Through lesson plans which contain videos, journal prompts, performances, and more, kids progress through self-directed activities broken into 45-minute segments.
17. Camp YouTube
Show me a kid who doesn’t LOVE YouTube – I’ve never found one! Video playlists are segmented into activities for younger kids and activities for teens. Choose between art, sports, adventure, art or STEM-themed virtual summer camps comprised of self-directed video activities on a flexible schedule.
Ages: All ages
18. Camp Edmo
Camp Edmo is a terrific option for families searching for more structure in online summer camps. Each week of camp focuses on a different topic from climate age to music (depending on kids’ ages) through an engaging mix of indoor games, learning projects, and screen-time breaks. Expect 2.5 hours of live instruction, interaction, and activities through video chat Monday-Friday.
19. Camp Candlewick
Candlewick Press (the book publisher) hosts a 12-week summer reading program segmented into “cabins” by grade level. Each cabin gets a suggested book to read each month as well as activities, author interviews, and live discussions. Expect self-directed activities on a flexible schedule – all focused on a different book for each month-period.
Ages: All ages
20. Healthy Teens
Teens, especially, need to stay busy during the summer! This summer camp program includes crafts, art, books, writing, computer programming, Legos, theater, wellness, photography and games.
21. Chess NYC
You will find a full schedule of daily online activities to interest kids in the world of chess. Kids from all over the US can join to learn this sport and make new friends. Kids can drop in as they like, stay for the full day or even partial days, finding things that cater to their interests.
22. Camp WIT
Camp Whatever It Takes (WIT) focuses heavily on empowering teens to make a difference, develop as leaders and even launch businesses. This camp connects tweens and teens with people who have turned their passion into purpose and their hobby into a career.
Online Summer Camp Activities For Kids With Special Needs
Finding an in-person camp for kids with special needs can be challenging, but how do you get kids with similar challenges together during a pandemic? Virtual summer camps offer the ability for kids to meet other kids from all over the world!
23. Camp Kesem at Home
A free virtual summer camp for kids whose parents have cancer that allows them to build relationships with other children in similar situations. There are both live and recorded videos twice a week as well as offline activities and social media interaction with counselors and other campers.
24. Kids Like Me Camp from The Help Group
Camps for kids with autism, ADHD, and other learning difficulties where kids can choose from 3 sessions: STEM, traditional-style camp with activities from drama to sports to music, or learning and improving social skills. Trained professionals and experienced counselors lead each of the camps. Expect two hours of live instruction in the morning and two hours in the afternoon through Zoom.
25. KiDS NEED MoRE
KiDS NEED MoRE is offering Virtual Summer Camp this summer at no cost for children dealing with cancer or other serious illnesses, including being affected by COVID-19. Kids are invited to video chat with superheroes and Disney princesses, enjoy cooking classes and more.
Virtual Summer Camp Activities for Kids – Final Thoughts
Wow! There ya go! With 25 different options of free and paid, structured and self-paced online summer camps covering many different interests, I hope you found at least one option for your kids to try this summer.
Life is very different in many ways right now, but that doesn’t mean that summer is “canceled”!
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