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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Cool Virtual Summer Camps

This summer, camp options are more varied than ever and more accessible than ever because of the wide array of virtual options available to families. 

While many of us are eagerly stepping back toward a more “normal” life which involves in-person activities, many families are still interested in staying online this summer or are putting together a hybrid summer that prioritizes cool virtual learning experiences alongside more traditional summer camp experiences. Preferences vary, but among the key reasons that families are still turning to virtual summer camps and may do so well into the future include: 
  • Flexibility and convenience, 
  • Increased access to opportunities and instructors not in one’s local community, 
  • Affordability 
  • The lack of a vaccine for younger children and/or immunocompromised children or family members in the home, and 
  • tThe preference that some children seem to have for virtual learning. 
As an educator and the partner of an educator, I have observed that some students thrive in a virtual setting in a way that differs from their in-person learning experiences. As such, I hope that online experiences continue to be an option for the families and students who prefer them.  

Fun Digital Arts Experiences 

Most of our kids love playing video games, but consider the possibility of students learning the basics of coding this summer or, even, beginning to create their own video game. Rather than solely consuming video game content, students can become creators as they activate their imaginations and engage in worldbuilding and acquire the technical skills to get started in the game design space. WorldOver International School offers fun coding introductory classes like Code Your Own Music, 3D-Oriented Animation using ALICE and Superhero App Maker and Pencil Code, some in two parts, and a Coding for Video Games in Unity summer camp. Coding for Video Games starts June 21st! Sign-up soon!! My children have done both with WorldOver instructors in the past and have not only enjoyed the experience, but have successfully created apps and/or video games that they excitedly share with friends and family.

Similarly, the summer often also means summer movies with new releases that we look forward to and with family movie nights in which we revisit our favorite classics. For 7 year-olds and up, Animation Games from Calibraska is sure to be a hit. As children enjoy watching their favorite animated films this summer, they can also pull out some supplies and start creating animation themselves. Students will enjoy the experience of creating moving images out of their own sketches as they learn the basics of animation. 

Camp Reel Stories has a few spots left in their July Filmmaking Virtual Summer Camp for 12-18 year-old female identifying and non-binary youth. This camp offers students the ability to learn from award winning, professional filmmakers. 

Get Moving 

Another Calibraska summer camp experience that I can’t overlook are their Hip Hop Classes! So often, we imagine virtual summer camps to be static experiences with students planted in front of screens, but that is not exclusively the case. Calibraska offers Beginning Hip Hop Fundamentals for Middle School and High Schoolers as well as Beginning Hip Hop for Grade School and High Schoolers. 

For Art Lovers 

For students that prefer sketching, drawing and painting to digital arts or physical artistic expression, I also love Calibraska’s Character Design Course, which is sure to ignite any sketcher’s or comic book creator’s imagination. I also recommend Art Like an Animal through WorldOver International School or their Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) class, which combines art and Spanish language learning. 

Fun in the Kitchen 

If you have a baker, or a child who would love to bake, or a rising culinary star in your household, definitely check out Bake Austin. I love the variety of what Bake Austin is offering and that their virtual options include Drop-In options and full summer camps with Baking Club or Dinner Club and themed weeks. My sons have a friend who makes amazing pastries, sushi and so much more because of what he’s learned (and is still learning virtually) with Bake Austin. 

It’s clear that no matter if you’re out and about this summer, staying at home or doing a little bit of both, there are plenty of cool virtual summer camp options for any type of kid! What will you choose? 

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