18 Virtual Summer Camps That Make Us Want to Be a Kid Again
Summer camp IRL is up in the air this year as some are opening up to smaller groups and others are just plain shutting down due to coronavirus, leaving many working parents in a panic. Not to worry! There are a bunch of cool online camps to fill up the school-free weeks of summer, many with actual camp counselors who will teach them everything from coding to cooking to opera and more! S'mores optional.;)
Photo: Smart Buddies Virtual Summer "Camp-In-A-Box"
Camp Supernow keeps it real with a virtual cabin where kids are paired up with a counselor for an hour-long camp of crafts on Zoom. Each two-week session runs $199; ages 5 to 11.
Camp DIY offers virtual classes in photography, drawing, music, Lego building, and even offline activities. Start with a 14-day free trial, then $15/25 per month; ages 5-18.
Happy Camper Live is like a traditional camp with arts and crafts, cooking and outdoor adventures, sports, even a virtual campfire and camp songs, all instructor-led. Free 7-day trial, then $5 and up/month; ages 5-18.
Varsity Tutors offers virtual courses with astronaut Leland Melvin, Olympian Aly Raisman and celebs like Julianne Hough and Mayim Bialik. Their free virtual summer camp hosts half-day, weeklong live classes like "Recycled Art", "Fractured Fairy Tales", and "Cooking 101" and more. Free; age 5-18.
Chess CampChess NYC offers hour-long, full and half day camps for kids all over the U.S. There are group lessons for beginners (Learning the Language of Chess, Pawn Football and Introducing the Rooks!) up to private lessons. $12 for full day; ages 4 and up.
Dog Training Camp
Woof Wag Dogs offers virtual summer camps for kids who want to learn how to train their pooch. Great if you're one of the many families who adopted during the shutdown! $100/session; ages 7-15.
Girl Scouts at Home from the Girl Scouts of America offers virtual camp sessions on everything from wildlife education and astronomy to STEAM and culinary arts. Starting at $25/week; K-12.Boy Scouts of America is hosting locally led virtual camps like Camp Kinda-Like-A in Connecticut and the Cub Scout Jurassic Adventure Day Camp in Atlanta where kids can earn merit badges along the way. Prices vary by location; K-12.
Best Buy's Geek Squad Academy offers classes in coding, film production, photography, 3D Design and more but while they're off during COVID they're offering online challenges in binary numbers systems, Godot game engines, mobile photography, and website creation. Free; ages 9-18
Camp Wonderopolis offers free self-directed STEAM camps that answer questions like "Where is the fastest roller coaster?" or "How does a hot air balloon fly?" Free; ages 7 and up.
Connected Camps offers camps through Outschool on coding, game design (Minecraft anyone?) and engineering. Each week-long camp includes 90 minutes with an instructor. Girls-only programs available too. $100; ages 8 to 13.
MarcoPolo World School's summer camp offers weekly video lessons, quizzes, and hands-on STEAM activities. June is Nature Explorer month, July is World Travelers month and August is Problem Solver month. Free 7-day trial, then $10/month; ages 3-7.
Play-Well Teknologies offers weeklong classes that help kids get creative with Legos and STEM concepts. Play-Well instructors guide them through 45 minute lessons via Zoom from Monday to Friday. $36 per class; ages 5-12.
Smart Buddies Virtual Summer "Camp-In-A-Box" is a two-week online camp with daily Zoom classes with counselors and fellow campers where kids learn how to code with their Smart Buddies robots. $180/ages 7-11.
The Help Group's Kids Like Me offers instructor-led STEM camps for kids with autism, ADHD, and other learning and attention issues. Each weekly camps runs two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon via Zoom, Monday to Friday. Starts at $90; age 6 and up.
The United States Tennis Association offers live workouts, where kids can learn the difference between a double volley and a body volley as well as videos and activities like storytime with Billie Jean King, math and drawing challenges, and more through its Net Generation site. They also offer free lessons on Facebook Live every Friday at 1 p.m. ET. Free; all ages.
Met Opera Global Summer Camp is an eight-week online camp where kids get the chance to explore the Met's digital library of operas, plus they can get creative with projects at home, connect with music educators, and even get a chance to meet Met artists. Free; ages 8-18.
San Diego Zoo Global, as part of SDZG's #WereHereTogether campaign, offers DIY activities to do at home and 13 live cams of animals to watch online, plus video content, quizzes and games. Free; all ages.
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.