Kids and parents have experienced a lot of disappointments as a result of the pandemic, but missing out on summer camp is pretty close to the top of the list. While nothing can replace an in-person experience, there are
virtual summer camps that can help to keep your kid busy and engaged, even if it's partly through a screen. And there's something for every kid: Whether they're into yoga, art, science, soccer, coding, or karate, there's a virtual camp for them.
Summer camp serves a few purposes: Kids get a change in routine during those lazy summer days; they have a chance to connect with friends with shared interests; and parents get a much-needed break. Since there's never been a time when parents have needed a break more than they do right now,
summer camp cancelations have been as much of a blow to parents as kids this year. Enrolling your kid in an online camp will give you a minute to catch your breath and give them an opportunity to learn something new (sometimes in a group environment) and engage in the things they love from home. There are one-day, one-week, and even custom camp options so everyone can get a much-needed change of pace.
Even better? A lot of great camps that were once local to their area are now open to kids everywhere since they're online. That cooking camp your kid really wanted to try that was a 45 minute drive in rush hour traffic could be a viable option now that it's online. They can even try camps across the country. This is a great opportunity to support your child's interests, your own mental health, and maybe even a local business. These are some of the best options out there.
Alex Potemkin/E+/Getty Images Discovery Science Center is based out of Georgia and they offer camps for interests like Ocean Science, Coding, Medicine/Veterinary Science, Forensics, and more. They're designed for kids between 6 and 11 years old and the cost of camp includes all of the materials they need (you need to sign up at least 10 days before a camp in order to have the materials shipped to you). Camps range from $180 to $225 a week.
Kids who love adventure and the outdoors will love the Avid4 Online Camp from
Avid4 Adventures. Conducted through Zoom, kids can participate in yoga classes, outdoor skills instruction, and camp games "tailored for an online experience." They have a morning session from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (MST) or an afternoon session from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (MST), both running from June to August. These camps are best for kids between 1st and 5th grade and cost $99/session.
Cupertino Virtual Institute offers a "Future Doctors" camp for 6th through 8th graders and an "Entrepreneurship" camp for 3rd through 8th graders, and they're also affiliated with other camps offering programs in robotics, app invention, and more. There are full and half day camps, ranging in price from $200 to $225 per week.
Whether it's cartooning, painting, sculpting, or sketching, there's a camp for it at the
Pacific Art League. Most camps run for one week for 90 minutes a day and there are a variety to choose from for kids as young as 5 or as old as 13. One-week camps cost $150. Imgorthand/E+/Getty Images
National Academy of Athletics is pressing on despite the coronavirus and offering virtual camps for everything from soccer to basketball to football to volleyball and more. The "camps" are videos of coaches giving training tips and drills which kids can practice at home for around 45 minutes a day. Most virtual camps run for three days, cost between $48 and $58, and are designed for kids between 5 and 18 years old. Raddish Kids is a monthly subscription box that helps kids learn how to cook through recipes, creative activities, and more. If you're a subscriber, you'll receive access to their special virtual camps that teach kids how to make things like chicken parmesan or biscuits and real homemade butter. Monthly subscriptions cost between $20 and $24 and one-day camps are $15 each.
If you've always wanted your kids to speak another language, get them started with the
French Academy. Each camp runs for one week, costs $220, and is designed for kids between ages 5 and 12 (from beginners to advanced).
Doug's Drama is offering a virtual
Creative Arts Camp that runs for three hours, five days a week. They cover everything from improv, theater, and immersive storytelling to dance, drums, and other creative activities (it's important to note Doug's Drama is coming out of California, so all times are PST). The camp costs $180 a week. mikkelwilliam/E+/Getty Images Mighty Coders offers camps that are designed specifically for the kids who love the world of computer creation. Most of their camps cost between $180 and $100, are three hours a day for five days, and are best for kids between 8 and 15 years old. They offer everything from coding for beginners, to 3D coding to game development, with specific courses for Minecraft and Roblox.
Creative Learning With Pros
If you sign your kiddo up for a
Story Pirates membership (between $5 and $8 a month) you'll have the ability to register for the program's streaming classes from Story Pirates University. Developed by pros in creative writing and art, the curriculum will help your kid learn how to bring their stories to life, whether onstage or in videos, podcasts, and more. Varisty Tutors offers camps in just about every subject for kids between kindergarten and 12 years old. Most camps last for five days with one live class per day. You're bound to find something your kid will enjoy ( and learn something from) in their catalogue of options (from Jurassic Class: The History of Dinosaurs to German Made Easy and Make Your Own LEGO Movie. Even better? These camps are free.
Smartbuddies is offering a two-week coding "
Camp in a Box" for kids between 7 and 11 years old. For $179, they'll receive their own robot to code, participate in two daily Zoom meetings with teachers and fellow campers (Monday through Thursday), and take lessons in fundamental coding. Dobrila Vignjevic/E+/Getty Images Baketivity is offering a virtual "Camp in a Box" for $200 that includes four themed kits. Each week they'll work on one of the kits (which get progressively harder as the weeks go on) with an end goal of "mess-free" baking by the end of the course. This one is best for kids between 6 and 11 years old.
If your kiddo already loves to bake, then they'll need to learn how to decorate their creations.
Sweetology is offering online cake decorating classes for kids in 1st through 8th grade. Most camps last for one week, with each session lasting around three hours. Camp costs range from $80 to $185.
There's no need to run to the craft store for summer art projects, because you can sign your little one up for a camp with
Art Classes for Kids instead. Your kid will get a box with all the materials they need to create 10 different art projects and have access to live Zoom meetings with campers and their instructor. There's a beginners box for kids between 5 and 8 years old an an advanced option for kids 9 years old and up. Each camp costs $175.
Kids between 8 and 14 years old can sign up for a virtual film camp through
Sarasota Film Festival. They'll learn about different roles in the film industry like screenwriter, cinematographer, producer, and more, meeting for three hours every day for five days. At the end, they'll have a completed film ready for a public screening. Each one-week camp session costs $175. Open Call Performing Arts is based out of California, but kids all over the country can now take part in their virtual summer camps. There are different camp "sessions" throughout the summer with different themes and targeted age groups like "Little Stars Camp" for kids between 4 and 7 years old and "Lets Get Technical" for kids 9 years old and up. Each camp runs for one week and has a one or two hour zoom practice every day. Camps range from $50 to $200. Godong/Universal Images Group/Getty Images Snapology has the camps LEGO-lovers want, with both one-day and week-long courses for kids between 3 and 14 years old. Each camp costs between $10 and $125, has its own theme (like Star Wars, "It's a Zoo", Villain Lairs, and Superhero Labs), and includes live daily camp sessions that last around one hour.
If your little one had their heart set on dancing this summer, sign them up for dance camp through the
Moving Arts Academy of Dance. The small studio is out of California, but camps are available across the country thanks to its new virtual model. There are ballet camps for beginners as young as 4 years old and contemporary dance camps for kids 8 years old and up. Each five-day camp costs $150 and has one two-hour live session each day.
If you don't need a full week of activities, you can enroll your kid in one of the creative art camps through
Choreography by Rae, a studio based out of California. Camp sessions are offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of every week and last for 55 minutes. You can sign your little one up for one session per week or several, whatever works for you. There are different session options for kids between 4 and 6 and 7 and 12 years old, ranging from $35 to $150.