Going to Camp: 9 Virtual Summer Camp Options

After several months of quarantine and remote learning, the school year is winding down for many, if it has not already ended. Educators and families are looking to plan activities for the summer, hoping to recharge and explore new opportunities. Summer typically means more time for outdoor activities, camps, classes, and other in-person events. As a teacher, although I am sad when each school year comes to an end, I do look forward to having more time to attend conferences and participate in other learning events. However, this summer, many of those plans have changed. Conferences and camps have been cancelled, vacations are on hold, and we are still facing some planning obstacles as we work through life during this pandemic, while staying at home.

Although it has not been an easy transition, we’ve worked together to provide the best that we can for our students and their families during school closures. Over the past few months, we’ve come up with alternate ways to connect, to learn, and to work by leveraging technology and pushing through the challenges and uncertainties that we faced together. There have been so many resources shared as we were “getting through” each day. We have had to rethink what schools and classrooms look like and design our virtual learning space. We’ve had to think creatively of how to plan events such as end of the year celebrations like award ceremonies and graduation or even personal celebrations like birthdays and weddings. We’ve had to rethink a lot about our daily activities and do the best that we can to push through to the end of the school year. Now is the time to think about the summer and how to replace the summer camps and classes that we had planned.

Although those in-person camps or classes are always great opportunities to make new connections and to learn from and with others, there are alternatives available that will provide unique learning opportunities. These virtual camps will facilitate more collaboration between students from around the world and empower students to explore many ideas and activities.

Each of these virtual camps are focused on helping students to develop essential skills for the future by creating interactive virtual spaces for them to explore emerging topics and pursue personal interests. By exploring these options, students may have access to opportunities not otherwise available due to location, time, or financial constraints.

Camp Kinda. Enroll students in grades K through 8 in a free virtual summer camp from June 1st to September 1st. There are five activities offered for each weekly theme that will have students “explore, create, read, play, and move.” The first theme is “History’s Mysteries” and includes both online and offline activities for students to learn about languages, legends, and secrets from history.

Camp EDMO. Starting the week of June 8th, virtual camps will be available for kids in Pre-K through 8th grade. Camp EDMO will offer camps and programs related to STEAM and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Camp EDMO also has live drop-in sessions where students can learn about Minecraft, coding, Roblox, and more topics related to maker-ed and science.

Camp WIT. Students can explore entrepreneurial skills during a camp where they become a “do WIT”, or a do Whatever It Takes, entrepreneur. During CAMP WIT which takes place from June 1-26, students have the opportunity to learn from more than 45 entrepreneurs representing 20 different fields of work. For the weekly class schedule, each day offers a Move, Create, Develop, and Connect activity to help students explore new ideas and develop their own as they pursue passion projects or hobbies.

Connected Camps. Available beginning June 1st and running through August 14th, weeklong camps are available to girls and co-ed groups of students ages 8 through 13. Connected Camps provides interest-based options including the arts, technology, community, esports, Roblox, and coding for girls. The focus of these camps is to help students to develop skills in problem solving, collaboration, creativity, organization, and other essential skills for the future.

Interlochen Center for the Arts. This annual program will begin providing virtual summer camps for students in grades 2 through 12. There are classes available in general arts, creative writing, music, theater, and visual arts with virtual events scheduled including a “Collage” which is a student showcase and “Les Preludes” a final performance. Students will receive a “Camp-in-a-Box” which includes materials for the week such as crafts, games, and snack-making kits. Classes run from June 29th through July 17th.

IVY Virtual Camp. Offering more than fifty classes in a variety of topics including business and entrepreneurial skills, engineering, humanities and arts, languages, technology, or Minecraft, this camp schedule includes options for different age groups and interests based on each of these categories. Classes are held using Zoom, and class sizes are limited to six participants, which promotes more personalized learning for students. Students can enroll in a single class or up to three per day.

NuVu Summer Studio. Beginning in July, NuVu, an innovation school, will launch a digital learning platform to bring design-based learning experiences to students (ages 11 through 18). The program is divided into NuTopia, for middle school students, and Earth 2.0, for high school students. The focus is on real-world learning about topics including Soft Robotics, AI, and Fashion Tech. Program fees include access to NuVu student coaches, studio kits and lessons, and a maker kit. Each NuVu course lasts two weeks and includes 20 hours of synchronous instruction, 20 hours for project work, and 5 hours of additional coach support time. NuVu is also offering an innovation camp for educators in July.

Studio Summer. Whittle School is offering weekly intergenerational online learning experiences for children (ages 3 through 17) and their families. From June 22 through August 14, options include culinary arts, language immersion, and life skills. Mandarin Chinese, English, and Spanish language immersion courses are available for children (between the ages of 3 and 12), providing differentiated instruction through in-person online lessons and asynchronous materials. Culinary classes offer children the chance to learn to cook lunch for their families through daily lessons and a theme for each week. Life Readiness Toolkit classes are available to help students create their resume, learn about budgets, explore social media, and build digital skills.

Varsity Tutors. This online tutoring organization is offering free interactive online summer camps for K-12 students that take place during June, July, and August. Students can choose from a variety of topics including Art, Enrichment, Filmmaking, Languages, Math, Technology, and even Mindfulness. Each class meets Monday through Friday and provides students with the opportunity to connect with students from around the world and join in live sessions. New camps are added each day and will be offered throughout the summer months.

These are just a few of the choices available which will not only be helpful for extending learning, but more importantly, for giving students an opportunity to engage in authentic and meaningful experiences that build skills beyond just the content. Students can explore design thinking, coding, become an entrepreneur, start a genius hour project, or get a head start on learning a language. The goal is to offer choices that will allow students to participate in something they may be curious about or that connects them with powerful learning experiences as they prepare for the future.

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Getting Smart has launched the Getting Through series to support educators, leaders, and families on the path forward during such an uncertain time. This series will provide resources and inspiration as we face long term school closures, new learning environments, and address equity and access from a new lens. Whether you are just getting started with distance or online learning, or you’ve had plans in place and have the opportunity to share your work and guidance with others, there is a place for your voice and an opportunity to learn.

We’re going to get through this together, and we invite you to join us. Please email [email protected] with any questions or content you’d like considered for publication. We also invite you to join the conversation and on social media using #GettingThrough.

Rachelle Dené Poth

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Spanish and STEAM: Emerging Technology teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, and the author of seven books, her most recent Things I Wish [...] Knew includes stories from 50 educators. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator. Follow Rachelle's blog at www.Rdene915.com.

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