I was a big summer camp kid. Every year, I looked forward to summer camps that exposed me to important life skills, such as patience and how to get along well with others—and tangible lessons from sleepaway camps that taught me how to swim and get ready in the morning without help from my parents. Camp was a huge part of my childhood and it saddens me to think that due to COVID-19 , most kids won't have that experience this summer.
These days, mamas are finding alternatives and looking to virtual summer camps to do a lot of the heavy lifting that traditional summer camps would provide. Ready for your little one to have some fun ? Grab their digital device and make sure your internet connection is steady.
Here are cool virtual camps to keep your kids entertained this summer, no matter their interest:
1. Shine Your Light Summer Program
This summer, the Atlanta Speech School (Cox campus) is offering a free program of activities dedicated to helping parents and educators lead children through lessons on literacy science, art, physical expression, math and much more.
Ages: birth to 9
Forget camping outdoors—let your little one develop a love for reading with Camp Hullabaloo's book subscription series. Over the course of 12 weeks, children will receive a new book and a selection of kid and family-friendly activities. Sign up by May 25 and get a free bag with your first week.
Ages: 2 to 8
Sadly, we can't travel abroad with our kids, but that doesn't mean they can't learn about various places around the globe. Little Passports, the educational monthly subscription boxes created for children, is bringing camp to your house with a summer camp in a box. The camp is offered in two categories—one for your mini world traveler and one for your little scientist.
Ages: 3 to 9+
Wondering what to do with your kid who's always tinkering with things? Campers at Camp KiwiCo will enjoy four weeks of hands-on STEM activities, programming and content. Camp doesn't kick off until June 22, but the week before, kids will receive materials they need to get kids set up for the day, including the crate projects (if purchased), and free DIY activities and print-outs. "Our goal is for that programming to be a couple of hours of activity," says Lin. "And then, if you'd like to add more to your camper's day, you can order the specific KiwiCo crates we've handpicked to go with each day's theme."
Ages: 3 to 9+
OshKosh is teaming up with mom and actress Molly Sims to offer a free virtual camp each week through July 10. Camp OshKosh will feature a schedule of virtual activities to keep children inspired. From crafts to outdoor relay races mamas and kids will enjoy summer fun right in your backyard—or apartment.
Ages: 4 to 10
6. Camp YouTube
YouTube is releasing more than 1,200 free videos for children and teens on its #CampYouTube page over the coming weeks. New videos include STEM, photography, crafts, sports and much, much more.
Ages: 4 to 17
Hot outside, sweet inside is the theme of Baketivity's camp. Bake-A-Camp campers will get a big baking box featuring four themed Baketivity kits that include fun recipes and techniques as they explore one topic, theme, or cuisine throughout the month.
Ages: 4 to 10
At Camp Super Now, sessions run weekly via Zoom and meet each day with fellow cabinmates and are guided through crafts, play-based learning activities, movement and mindfulness. The weekly curriculum is tailored for the campers' ages and can be customized to the interests and needs of a given group.
Ages: 5 to 11
Founded by former middle school teacher Samantha Barnes, Raddish Kids is a monthly cooking club that exposes kids to tasty foods and inspires confidence in the kitchen. This year, they are introducing virtual camp and will offer thematic kits that include illustrated recipes, a kitchen tool and an apron patch.
In addition to its virtual summer cooking camps, Raddish is also offering free recipes and learning activities on its website alongside a free downloadable guide that lets kids create their own in-home cooking camp. How's that for a fun-filled summer?Ages: 8 to 13
10. Adventure Links camp
From the morning prompt, each camper will work independently or within a group to collaborate with their teammates to fulfill their assignments themed around adventure and nature. In the afternoons, camp counselors will call in with their teams for Power Hour and lead a detailed, socially-interactive moment of reflection.
Ages: 8 to 16
11. Camp Woof Wag Dogs
Does your kid love dogs? Each day campers at Woof Wag Dogs will engage in activities that keep their dog involved in the fun (but educational) activities. Even when the dog is resting, your child will complete other activities like baking doggie treats or making a dog toy.
Ages: 9 to 13
12. Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy
If you're raising a little techie, you may look to Best Buy to help you teach your child new concepts. Each virtual lesson plan provides step-by-step instruction to create video games, websites and even hone photography skills.
Ages: 9 to 18
[This was originally published May, 2020. It has since been updated.]