Virtual Summer Camps to Keep Kids Busy

The pandemic has thrown a serious wrench into most summer camp plans for kids. But that doesn't mean your summer plans have gone completely out the window. Thankfully, there are still options for kids and parents to keep busy and active while staying safe through virtual summer camps. There are many options available, with some goof free alternatives. This is just a few ideas.

1. Shedd Aquarium 2020 Summer Splash Camp

This summer, your child can join Wellington the penguin and dive into the world of aquatic animals with Summer Splash Camp: Stay Home Edition. The week-long virtual summer camp will transport your camper to Shedd Aquarium where they will explore the impressive world of aquatic animals and uncover the adaptations that will make them say “WOW!” Your camper will look nature in the eye as they meet animals up-close, explore Shedd Aquarium habitats, and participate in hands-on activities, games, crafts, and more. Each session is designed to be fully engaging for your camper.

2. San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Global is reaching millions of families around the world right now as part of their #WereHereTogether campaign, which is offering free online learning resources for kids. San Diego Zoo Kids online is also full of video content, activities, quizzes and games to keep students engaged over the summer. The program includes several do-it-yourself activities kids can do right at home and 13 live cameras of animals.

3. Camp Wonderopolis

Hosted by the National Center for Families Learning, Camp Wonderopolis offers fun, free STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts, and math—programs. How does a hot air balloon fly? Why does slime feel so gooey? How does a crane work? These are just a few of the things your child can explore this summer. This camp is free, but you can purchase Camp Kits to enhance the experience.Their programs are geared toward kids in grades 2-8.

4. Camp PBS Kids

PBS Kids offers different, parent-led learning activities with themes like dinosaurs, space, and books, among others. PBS KIDS offers articles, videos and activities on topics little kids love: dinosaurs, space, art and animals. Often, the activities are connected to a different PBS program and are designed for kids ages 2–8.

5. Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets' "Start with a Book" program is free is free and allows kids take a deep dive into their favorite topics. With 24 topics including superheroes, dinosaurs, sports, cooking, fairy tales, time travel, music or animals, there is sure to be something your child is interested in. There is also suggested activities and additional apps and websites to explore.

6. Baketivity Bake-A-Camp

Baketivity Bake-A-Camp provides campers baking box featuring four themed Baketivity kits. Each week’s kit, including pre-packaged and measured dry ingredients, hands-on instructions, science tips and guides, will take them through progressively advanced recipes and techniques as they explore one topic, theme or cuisine throughout the month.

7. The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami Camp

From June to August, kids ages 6 through 13 can enjoy mixed media, painting, drawing, and textile art classes via Zoom through The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami. Families in the area can even pick up art supplies curbside before class.

8. Varsity Tutors

Varsity Tutors offers free Virtual Summer Camp for kids ages 5 to 18. Each half-day camp will be a week long with live, interactive enrichment-based classes, including themes like “Recycled Art,” “Make Your Own LEGO Movie,” “Detective: Crack the Case,” “Is it Ready Yet? Cooking 101,” “Travel the World with Google Earth” and many more. They also offer virtual courses with astronaut Leland Melvin, Olympian Aly Raisman and stars like Julianne Hough and Mayim Bialik.

9. Miss Megan's Camp Kindergarten

Megan Jessen, a former kindergarten teacher, does lessons, music, and storytime on her Facebook group, which has close to 100,000 members. On any given day, thousands of kids are watching her go over the calendar, letters, sight words and more.

10. Act One Theatre Camp

At the Act One Theatre Camp, kids ages 6–15 can spend the summer singing, dancing, and acting in one of three different themed theater sessions. Little performers will enjoy themed acting, singing, movie-making, dancing, design, and improv programs and an optional two-hour Wrap Party for socializing every day. Some kids may participate in immersive film projects, which will allow them to include their families.

11. Kids Need More

Kids Need More is tailored to children who have experienced serious illness, whether the children themselves or members of their family have suffered from cancer, heart disease, or other illness including COVID-19. Staffed by volunteer social workers, educators, nurses, and more, Kids Need More features voluntary live activities all day, including crafts, STEM, theater, and social time. Activities are designed to keep your spirits high, your family engaged and helping feel connected with your community.