Summer camps in a number of states have had to cancel their programming due to COVID-19 restrictions, which has left many parents asking: “What will our kids do this summer—and how are we possibly going to entertain them?!”
Parents, children, and counselors are bemoaning the loss of the treasured summer rite, and many of us are desperate to break up the monotony of the past few months. While traditional summer camp may not be an option, we’ve found a great selection of virtual camps, summer classes, and even camps-in-a-box, that are sure to keep them occupied all summer long.
1. Happy Camper Live
Ages: 5 to 18
Cost: $4.99 a month
One of the most comprehensive virtual camp experiences out there, Happy Camper Live is a multi-media portal to a true camp experience. There are hundreds of camp adventures and experiences to choose from to customize your kiddo’s camp experience. Kids can flip out with a world-class gymnast, spike a volleyball with a national high school champion or learn a new art, craft, or musical instrument.
Kids will learn from real coaches, experts, and camp counselors through live daily broadcasts and prerecorded activities. There is also a 40-plus episode virtual camp web series to immerse kids’ imagination in the world of summer camp. Kids can also get “camp famous” by uploading videos to the Happy Camper Live community to be shown to other campers around the “world’s biggest campfire.”
2. Kallpachay Spanish language camp
Ages: 3 to 14
Cost: $225 per week
The Kallapachay summer curriculum includes Magnificent Planet of Guatemala, Animal Habitats of Bolivia, and Musical Rhythms of Venezuela with weekly sign-ups going through the end of July. Central to all of Kallapachy’s classes, the focus is on speaking practice through games to help campers enjoy and advance at learning Spanish as a second language.
Before camp begins, counselors connect with families to assess a camper’s competency level. Youngest campers will be in a groups of four, while older kids will be in groups of six or fewer. The two-hour class works as teams and every Wednesday they have fun spirit days including Silly Taco Day, Cowboys vs. Aliens, Animal Parade, Board Game Day, Music Day and more.
3. Camp Supernow
Ages: 5 to 11
Cost: $199 for two weeks
Camp Supernow offers week-long Zoom camps for children ages 5 to 11. In an effort to mimic the bonding experience kids would otherwise have at sleepaway camp, the camp allows you to meet your “cabinmates” and go through a different theme each day with the same group of kids. Sessions meet for one hour daily and emphasize movement, art, creativity, communication and connection.
Kids will expand their imaginations, spark their creativity, and stay connected to friends—while parents get a little break. We love that this camp comes up with groups and curriculum that are age-specific and keeps campers with other kids at their grade level. The curriculum really hones the abilities and the attention span of your little—or big—camper.
4. Act One Theatre Camp
Ages: 6 to 15
Cost: $650 for three weeks
Located only a couple miles from Hollywood, California, this camp has some seriously credentialed thespians teaching kids through this virtual camp experience. Act One promises a “dynamic and interactive theatre experience” for children and teens, ages 6 to 15.
Each camp session is three weeks long and focuses on different themes, with additional spirit days like “Thursday Trivia” and “Dress Up Day Fridays.” Students spend each and every day acting, singing, dancing, and more… all online.
Ages: 3 to 18
Cost: Varies depending on course
The marketplace of live, online classes for kids taught via video chat, Outschool is offering a full range of online summer camps for kids. Sample camps include: Space Camp, Rocket League Club, Beginning Baton Twirling, Monsters, Robots and Aliens—and so many more. There are over 15,000 live Outschool classes to choose from, all conducted in small groups over Zoom and taught by independent teachers.
6. Guardian Adventure Camp
Ages: 5 to 19
Cost: $595 to $928 per week; monthly fees vary
Wizards, warriors, and zombies—with Guardian Adventure Camp, the quest awaits! This fantasy and zombie-themed summer camp will pack the fun of its live camps into five days of online adventure where young heroes can make new friends and save the world. From STEM-based experiments, to virtual sword-skills, to online NERF battles, this camp option offers interactive fantasy adventures to capture your child’s focus and inspire their imagination.
7. Smart Buddies Virtual Camp-in-a-Box
Ages: 7 to 11
Cost: $179 for two weeks
Campers will receive a Smart Buddies coding robot of choice and all learning materials and apps to get them started in this coding camp. Campers meet twice a day for two weeks over Zoom to partake in activities, social fun, and coding assignments.
Smart Buddies is dedicated to making this camp as much of a social experience as possible. At the end of camp, kids get certified as a “junior coder,” have made pen pal buddies for life, and have new skills and knowledge to bring into their classrooms in the fall.
8. Written Out Loud
Ages: 8 to 17
Cost: $250 per week
The storytelling school Written Out Loud has converted its program to a virtual storytelling workshop. Written Out Loud was founded in 2018 by Hollywood filmmaker Josh Shelov, modeled after a seminar he taught at Yale, and offers classes for kids 8 to 17 that combine a range of disciplines such as creative writing, film-making, and even improv comedy.
With a curriculum that examines the components of favorites from “Toy Story” to “Stranger Things,” participants will join Storytelling Crews and learn the art of effective storytelling. The camp will also focus on “creative consensus-building” skills and writing a collective original story, complete with its own “trailer.”
9. Black Rocket
Ages: 8 to 14
Cost: $159 per week
Black Rocket, a cutting-edge technology camp for children 8 to 14, has retooled their STEM and eSports camp programs with complete virtual instruction. Black Rocket programs are all taught live by virtual instructors for three to six hours a day, giving parents some crucial down time.
There are over 30 tech courses in coding, app design, video game creation, virtual reality, and more to choose from. Plus, students can also virtually socialize with kids across the globe during live eSports competitions at 4 p.m. EST every day for free—even without course enrollment.
10. Got Game Summer Academy
Ages: 4 to 12
Cost: $195 per week
With a focus on reading, writing comprehension, and math, Got Game will help your kids stay academically on track while still having fun, in an energized virtual learning environment. Kids will receive personalized attention from teachers while also participating in games that center around communication and collaboration on group projects, and building individual skills.
Got Game started hosting daily classes and team building activities within days of social distancing, so they have really honed their virtual teaching skills—bringing lots of individual attention and fun to each class.
11. Theater 360
Ages: 6 to 18
Cost: $130 per week
Theatre 360 is an award-winning, internationally recognized children’s theatre company for children ages 6 to 18 that’s known for churning out polished performers. Since 2000, this camp has trained thousands of students and has sent them off to some of the best performing arts colleges in the country and then onto careers on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television shows, and independent films.
12. Woodcraft Rangers
Ages: 7 to 13
Woodcraft Rangers is a nonprofit organization that has served youth in Los Angeles for nearly 100 years. Typically, their summer camps bring hundreds of kids to area mountains to explore, connect, play and grow together, but this year they are planning to offer camp for the whole family through Camp on Delivery (COD), to give families a woodsy, summer camp experience at home.
The camp kit comes with a full weekend of activities (including s’mores) so campers can participate in camp rituals and activities led by Woodcraft Camp staff online at set times. For parents looking for regular nature education content, Woodcraft Rangers will also deliver weekly activities curated by WR youth development staff to mobile devices all summer long. Text BIRCH to 56512 to sign up and receive updates and program registration information as soon as it is available.
13. Boy Scouts of America
Ages: 6 to 20
Cost: $20 to $55 per event
Boy Scouts of America will host virtual camps through some of their local chapters, but invite non-locals and non-Scouts to join, too. Some upcoming camps include the Circle Ten Council’s At-Home Day Camp in Dallas, Texas and the Capitol Area Council’s 2020 Cub Scout Day Camp in Austin, which will include such events as “Weird Science” and the “Great Outdoor Adventure.”
For Scouts who are hoping to move up in the ranks, or for a child that wants to get into Scouting, Crossroads of America Cub Scout Adventure (Indianapolis) will be offering Scouting-in-a-Box with rank-specific boxes and scouting activities.
14. Baketivity, Bake-A-Camp
Ages: 6 to 11
Cost: $199 for all four boxes
Baketivity is on a mission this summer to help build tasty skills with a baking camp-in-a-box for kids. Bake-A-Camp helps kids play, learn, create and develop new skills through baking, with the best baker-approved tips and techniques. Bake-A-Camp is a parent-led, skill-building camp that takes place over the course of four weeks. Each week campers will receive one skill-building box. Each box builds upon the last until, at week four, your child graduates as a master Baketivity baker.
15. Camp Kiwi Co
Ages: 3 to 11
Cost: $24.95 to $29.95 per box
Every day of Camp KiwiCo is structured around a specific crate and theme, with additional free content that includes videos, DIY activities, and downloadable printables to complement and supplement the hands-on project in the crate. Each camp week is meant to cover five days (approximately four hours of activities each day), but kids can mix and match, choose your own adventure, and go at their own pace.
16. Little Passports
Ages: 5 to 10
Cost: $124 to $150 per week
A parent-led summer camp at home, Little Passports is offering two summer camp options. Their World Edition, for kids ages 6 to 10, takes kids on trips around the globe, stopping to explore destinations. Science Junior, for kids ages 5 to 8, is a science camp in your kitchen. All “camps” promise to keep kids engaged for three to four hours a day for six days, and both have additional digital content including online tutorials, how-to-draw activities, and a camp book club.
17. Camp Tech Revolution Online
Ages: 6 to 14
Camp Tech Revolution Online has over 35 different hands-on classes in cutting-edge STEM topics, from Math Olympics, to Minecraft, to Digital Music. Tech Revolution’s curricula is designed for beginner, intermediate, and advanced campers in all age groups, so campers can progress each week. Each Tech Camp meets for three hours per day and features all live, online instruction—with a max staff to camper ratio of 1:8.
18. Camp Wonderopolis
Ages: All ages, with a focus on grades 2 through 8
This free online summer-learning destination is full of fun, interactive STEM- and literacy-building topics boosted by Maker experiments. Keeping kids and their families learning together throughout the summer and out-of-school time, Camp Wonderopolis can help build vocabulary, background knowledge in science, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and other literacy skills along the way.
19. Little Medical School
Ages: 6 to 12
Cost: $119 per week
If your child has an inner Florence Nightingale or Doogie Howser, this is the camp for them. Ideal for kids ages 6 to 12, there are programs for aspiring vets, pediatricians, and sports doctors. These weeklong, two-hour-a-day camps will conduct their online curriculum through role-playing, and kids will learn practical skills such as how to identify sports-related injuries, how to burp a baby, and how to clean a dog’s ears.
20. United States Tennis Association Virtual Camp
Ages: All ages
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has an entire online tennis and math curriculum for kids through its Net Generation, Tennis At Home program. You’ll find tennis tips, fun activities, and tennis-themed educational content to keep everyone in the family mentally and physically active. USTA is also conducting weekly live workouts every Friday at 1 p.m.
21. World Class Cheer Camp
Ages: Ages 3 and up
Cost: $125 for six weeks
This virtual cheer camp will move your athletes ahead this summer with an energized six-week training course. This virtual camp will have live sessions that focus on stunt conditioning, crowd-leading, motion and jump training and more. By the end of the camp, athletes will learn 30 cheers and six dance routines. This one caters to kids as young as 3 or 4, right on through to college.
22. Challenger Sports Soccer Camp
Ages: 3 and up
Cost: $49 per week
This Zoom-based skill-enhancing soccer camp is for kids ages 3 through their teens. Challenger Sports has partnered with the TopYa! soccer training phone app to bring kids customizable soccer instruction throughout the summer. Kids will be able to learn from and interact with their coach through daily two-hour sessions (one hour for kids 3 to 5).
23. Virtual All Sorts of Sports Camp
Ages: 5 to 18
Cost: $48 per week
From soccer to football, martial arts to basketball, and volleyball to baseball, the Virtual All Sorts of Sports Camp believes in exposing kids to all sorts of sports at a young age for a cross-training, multi-sport summer camp experience. Hosted by the National Academy of Athletics, the All Sorts of Sports Camp believes that even though we may not be able to get out onto the field or we are stuck at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep working on becoming a better player.
24. KidstoPros LIVE
Ages: 5 to 18
Cost: $150 to $250
KidstoPros LIVE has dozens of online camps for students in grades K through 12. Taught in real time by professional instructors to groups of 10 or fewer students, their weeklong camps provide structure as well as the interaction all of our kids are craving. Camps for grades K through 5 include a combination of activities across STEM, Art and Sports—including LEGO Masters, Hip Hop Dancing, Scratch Coding, Chess, an array of game design classes, and many others. There are also coding bootcamps for grades 6 through 12, for kids who have their eyes on a high-tech future.
25. Woof Wag Dogs dog training camp
Ages: Suggested age is 9 to 13, but they will customize
This interactive online camp is perfect for the animal-loving kid. Your dog may even be better behaved by the end since this virtual camp that promotes positive dog training. Each day campers will have a theme to keep your child and dog engaged in fun and educational activities. It’s not all work though: The camp also offers fun activities like tutorials on baking doggie treats and making dog toys.
26. Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy
Ages: 9 to 18
Wouldn’t it be cool to have your own Geek at home? Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy has launched a downloadable virtual set of tools for kids ages 9 to 18 who want to develop their tech skills. Classes including lessons on binary numbers systems, Godot game engines, mobile photography, and website creation. The virtual instruction is set up so kids can teach themselves with downloadable lesson plans, giving focused guidance to motivated kids who want to take their tech skills to the next level.
27. Camp Hullabaloo
Ages: 2 to 8
Cost: $15.95 per week
The Hullabaloo Book Company offers Camp Hullabaloo to inspire young readers ages 2 through 8. Over the course of 12 themed weeks, campers will receive a brand new book each week, plus a selection of kid and family-friendly activities and craft ideas that correspond with the week’s book and theme.
28. San Diego Museum of Art
Ages: 6 to 10
From early elementary multimedia art exploration, to exploring wearable art, to sculpture, each of the courses in this virtual camp experience are inspired by works on display at the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed for grades 1 to 5, the camps are led by artist instructors, and allow young artists to explore art activities, a variety of media, and take virtual trips to the museum to view exhibitions.
29. Interlochen Arts and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Ages: 7 to 18
Cost: $1,950 to $2,950
Interlochen Center for the Arts will offer a terrific repertoire of online arts offerings, but where it’s really going to shine this summer is through its collaboration with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Over the course of three weeks, musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will work closely with Interlochen campers, providing them with workshops on orchestral repertoire for all instrumentalists of intermediate and high school levels.
They will also provide tips for performance careers, including practice habits and audition preparation. The musicians of the famed orchestra will also record movements of select chamber music for small ensembles that students can practice and listen to. There will also be virtual recitals by professional musicians and Interlochen faculty, as well as a leadership roundtable with Detroit Symphony Orchestra management and educational personnel to talk to students about a life in the arts.
30. Teachers Who Tutor
Ages: 5 to 18
Cost: $525 per week
Offering fun, interactive classes that range from fundamentals to electives, the Teachers Who Tutor summer program covers grade-specific fundamentals for grades K through 5, as well as a wide range of electives for grades K through 12. Each hour-long class will be capped at five students to ensure that every child receives individualized instruction. If you want to keep your kid connected to classmates, parents can coordinate their own set group of children, or they can match kids together.
31. Healthy Teens
Ages: 12 to 14
Make sure your tweens and teens stay socially connected this summer. Healthy Teens offers virtual programs for summer camp, with programs including book discussions and writing, cooking basics and challenges, LEGO challenges, photography, theater, and wellness programs.
32. WIT Summer Entrepreneur Program
Ages: 12 to 18
Cost: $1,750 for four weeks (financial aid is available)
Camp WIT provides tweens and teens a chance to connect with entrepreneurs who have turned their passion into purpose and their hobby into a career. The Whatever It Takes (WIT) organization focuses heavily on empowering teens to make a difference, develop as leaders, and even launch businesses. All of the WIT activity leaders are entrepreneurs from different fields and industries, including podcast hosts, celebrity stylists, film directors, Top Chefs, extreme athletes and bestselling authors. Teens and tweens will get inspired for future possibilities through this program.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.