Though some parts of the U.S. are slowly "getting back to normal," schools and camps are looking for new ways to keep students safe and prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infection. Doing so has meant distance learning, modified summer kids programs, and now virtual summer camps and at-home camp kits. Whether you're looking for safer and more affordable alternatives to the traditional drop-off summer camps or you just really need some great classes to entertain the kids while helping them learn a new skill they enjoy, this list is for you. We've rounded up some of the best virtual summer camps for kids ages 4-10.
Kit-Based Summer Programs
These summer programs not only offer virtual summer camp classes, but activity kits to complement the lessons for each class. Project-based learning through activity kits gives families the option of doing the activity on their own or with the class, and a fun way to retain everything they're learning in the summer session.
Treetop Academy at Home: A nature-inspired, teacher-led camp with daily projects based on a variety of weekly topics like bugs plants, art, bubbles, and STEAM. Classroom lessons come alive through arts & crafts, storytime, and field trips. Classes are limited to 12 students, offer LIVE 45-minute sessions that can be watched anytime if missed, and weekly project pouches sent to your home with everything you'll need to make an activity. Though classes are for ages 3-6, my 9-year-old enjoyed doing the activities with me too.
Ages: 3-6 Cost: $55/weekly themed session with themed project pouch, $25 for a pouch of projects a la carte. When: Through Aug. 7, 2020
Camp KiwiCo: Each day of camp is structured around a specific Kiwi crate and meant to provide families with 4 hours of activities. Based on your child’s age group, there will be a different Camp KiwiCo option: Preschool Play (ages 3-4), STEAM Games (ages 5-8), Around the World (ages 6-11), and STEAM Explorations (ages 9+). There are also free daily videos, printables, and DIY crafts available!
Ages: 3-11 Cost: $100 per one-week session (includes 5 crates) or $25/daily class crate When: Staring June 22, 2020
Art Camp in a Box: This summer program by Art Classes for Kids offers several sessions, each with 10 distinct art projects for two different age groups (5-8 and 9-12). Everything you need to create the activities is delivered to your door in the art box and organized by activity with written (but visual) instructions and all the art materials needed. There are also LIVE zoom sessions for campers to meet mom founder and art class expert Kim Bavington and master crafter, Lily (her daughter). Can't make the session? Catch the Beginner Class (ages 5-8) or Advanced Class (9+) recordings. If you already have every art supply you could ever need or live outside the U.S., you can opt to sign up for just the LIVE camp (and recordings) for $95 per session and skip the supply box. But I personally am really excited about having everything delivered to me so I have less to worry about.
Ages: 5-12 Cost: $175 per session ($225 for two kids) When: July 13-17 & Aug. 3-7, 2020
Beyond Camp: Campers of Beyond Camp by Bump Club & Beyond receive daily activities they can do outside and away from the computer. Expect arts & crafts, outdoor games, sports, cooking, and more. An upgrade is required to unlock all activities during this camp session. Limit 750 families.
Ages: 4-10 Cost: Free, $150 upgrade When: June 22- Aug. 14, 2020
Genius Gems: Choose from weekly camp themes around topics like Harry Potter, YouTube, stop motion, and slime, then if you want a morning or afternoon session. Classes are kept small with no more than 8 students each. Project materials for LIVE STEM projects are shipped to your door before camp starts. The 3D work your child creates during class is printed then shipped to you at the end of camp!
Ages: 6-12 Cost: $289/week When: Through Aug. 21
Treasure Trunk Theatre: Act, move, and play! Kids follow their imagination through different weekly themed small group theatre camps like MOANA Camp, Frozen Camp, Harry Potter Musical, and Matilda Camp (to name a few). If you register for camp in advance (a week or more), a camp kit filled with the week's crafting supplies is sent to your home. Drop-in day camps also available.
Who: Ages 3-9 Cost: $185/week, $40/day When: Through July 31, 2020
Single-subject summer camp sessions
Want your little to learn something specific? These summer options allow you to sign up for one subject (like learning Spanish) for your little to focus on during a week-long program. Create your own sort of DIY camp schedule by signing up for all of your kids' favorite subjects (or what they need the most help with).
TinkerLab Schoolhouse: Sign up to join this STEAM-based at-home art program by Rachelle Doorley while the list is open! TinkerLab Schoolhouse is a groundbreaking preschool creativity program that offers developmentally appropriate projects you can put to work right away AND teaches you how to set up hands-on creativity with joy and ease. Learn the tools to set up a maker space, organize supplies, understand process art and creative development, and set up invitations to create. This member-only program is filled with LIVE project sessions, detailed emails, a closed parent discussion group, an outlined monthly activity calendar, an activity supply list, and more. Check out the 7-day trial for just $1!
Ages: 3-8 Cost: $9.99/mo or $89.99/year When: July 2020 — Ongoing
Goldfish at Home: Are your little fish missing their summer swim lessons? Tune in to Olympic swimming trialist and owner of Goldfish Swim School, Jenny McCuiston, as she shares exercises inspired by swim lessons to help kids learn and retain new swim skills. Aside from being a fun way to get the kids moving, these videos are a great intro to swim or refresher.
Ages: 5-8 (intermediate), 9-12 (advanced) Cost: Free When: Anytime
Varsity Tutors: Piece together your child's summer learning one class at a time. Varsity Tutors is offering free virtual summer sessions in a wide range of subjects from computer coding and video editing to recycled art. Sessions meet for 1-3 hours a day for five days.
Ages: 5-18 Cost: Free When: Through August
The Jam Club: An interactive 3-month virtual experience with a variety of performers and weekly themes. Jam with Jamie Jam Club sessions are held 3x/week at 9 a.m. EDT on MWF and feature musicians who personalize every jam to make them dynamic, engaging and most of all fun! The Grand Finale Jamboree is the ultimate celebratory jam!
Ages: 0-6 Cost: $179 (3-month term) When: Through August
These camp options are the closest to a traditional summer camp that you can get while taking classes virtually. Kids have "cabins," for the length of the week-long (or weeks-long) session with multiple activities to choose from, and counselors to lead the way. Some of these options even have campfire stories or songs!
Camp Supernow: Kids join a 2-week long virtual cabin of 6-8 campers for counselor-guided arts and crafts, movement, games, field trips, and more with a different theme each week. Campers meet with their cabin for one hour per day then opt into an additional 3-5 hours of camp activities like morning music, magic shows, book readings, talent shows, and field days each week. The curriculum is tailored to each cabin's ages and interests/needs.
Ages: 5-11 Cost: $199 (2-week session) When: Now-Aug. 21, 2020
Happy Camper LIVE: Join a free trial or for the month and try our different classes from learning to play an instrument to sports and photography at any time! LIVE classes are available as well as on-demand classes during the whole session.
Ages: 5 and up Cost: 7-day free trial then $5-$10/ month When: Anytime
Camp EDMO: Sign up for full-day or half-day camp sessions. Not interested in the whole camp? You can also register for specific drop-in classes or 1-on-1 online coaching on a variety of topics from Minecraft and dance to acting.
Who: Grades K-12 Cost: Varies by session (honor system pricing) When: Through Aug. 14, 2020
Camp Tinkergarten: Enjoy 8 weeks of expert-designed indoor/outdoor activities that are easy on you and delightful for kids. Littles ages 6 months to 9 years will discover how to keep cool, enjoy a Silly Summer Olympics, and more. With different versions for baby, toddler, preschooler, and elementary ages, all kids can enjoy and develop Tinkergarten's 8 core skills as they play.
Ages: 6 months to 9 years Cost: Free When: June 19-July 24, 2020
Camp Play@Home: Little Tikes Camp Play@Home will share daily fun and exciting activities on the brand’s website and social media channels (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) to keep the kids entertained and busy Monday – Friday for 7 weeks! There are fun new activities, songs, games, and more for the whole family every Friday and daily activity videos with the chance to earn badges & join the sweeps!
Who: Ages 4-10 Cost: Free When: Through Aug. 7, 2020