The COVID-19 pandemic caused many things to move online in 2020 — school, work, grocery shopping, concerts, birthday parties, and even summer camp. While things are looking up in 2021 thanks to the vaccines and other successful spread-stopping measures, we’re not out of the woods just yet. COVID-19 will once again be an important factor for planning summer activities. Fortunately, there are plenty of virtual summer camps on the calendar to keep your kids active and learning from the safety of home.
If you opted out of summer camps in 2020, you might be unfamiliar with virtual summer programs and how they work. Here’s a helpful guide to bring you up to speed. When you’re ready to look for virtual summer learning programs, pop over to Blueprint4Summer STL’s free search app and see what’s available.
What Is Virtual Summer Camp?
A virtual summer camp is a summer camp program that is held remotely online instead of in-person at a physical location. With virtual camps, kids don’t need to leave the house to enjoy the benefits of camp programs. They meet online through video conferencing technology and do activities at home. Depending on the program, camp supplies may be delivered to the camper’s home or picked up by a caregiver at a specified location.
There are countless purposes for summer camps — academic learning, practicing sports, exploring new hobbies, connecting with friends, etc. These are all parts of our lives that have been impacted by COVID-19 and social distancing. Virtual camps offer a great way to develop these vital skills in a safe environment.
One way virtual camps are just like regular summer camps is that every program is unique! Virtual camps are new territory for many program providers, and many have taken the opportunity to try new and exciting things. Many have taken feedback and lessons learned from 2020 and made their programs even better this year. We are blown away by the options and programs they’ve come up with!
Here are a few examples of the types of structure and activities your child will experience at a virtual summer camp in 2021.
Summer Tech Camps at Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University offered several online summer technology camps last season. Camp subjects included coding, game development, robotics, and design for kids and teens.
The iD Tech camps at Washington University are taught by top talent recruited from elite universities. The camps included the hottest software and hardware, gamified learning for long-term success, official iD tech diploma and skill certification, 12 online iD masterclasses, a limited edition iD tech t-shirt, and more.
These iD Tech camps offered the highest quality remote instruction possible, giving students an opportunity to sharpen their STEM skills and bond with new friends all from the comfort of their own homes. There were structured, weeklong sessions available with five students maximum per instructor. The schedule included two hours of live instruction and peer collaboration plus two hours of self-paced project development per day.
Variety the Children’s Charity Summer Camp for Children with Special Needs
The Variety Charity hosted a 5-week virtual Adventure camp for children with special needs. The children participated in art projects, music class, games, movement activities, and virtual tours of museums and world sites. This camp was free and open to children ages 4-20 with medically diagnosed physical and developmental disabilities.
The campers had varying abilities, so unique content was developed in order to cater to their specific needs. Socialization is very important in their development, so Variety assured they would participate in virtual social interaction. Adventure camp helped participants meet new friends, learn new skills and build confidence.
Campers received packages in the mail addressed to them with a full set of art supplies and daily activities planned. The camp was led by a camp counselor throughout the week.
Calling All Doctors Camps for Children
Little Medical School hosted multiple online “Calling All Doctors” camps for children ages 6-10 with an interest in medicine. Camps included pediatrician camp, sports medicine camp, wilderness medicine camp and veterinarian camp. There was also a “Future Doctor Camp” later in the summer. The various camps had different week-long dates throughout the summer, so children could participate in multiple sessions.
In these camps, students role-played the key responsibilities of doctors. Depending on the camp, students received a package of all the necessary materials needed for them to act as a doctor and learn virtually. The packages differed from camp to camp. For the pediatrician camp, the care package included a white coat, plush baby, baby bottle, tape measure, markers and an LMS medical dictionary.
Virtual Camps Break Down Barriers & Improve Access
Blueprint4Summer’s ultimate mission is to get more kids better access to camp programs and educational opportunities. Some of the greatest barriers to access have historically been things like ability and special needs, transportation and location, timing, and cost. Virtual programs have helped to break down those barriers and improve access to summer learning for all kids regardless of their family circumstances. After a long year with few silver linings, we are happy to find this bright spot and do our best to help it grow.
Check Blueprint4Summer STL for Summer Resources
Blueprint4Summer St. Louis is a great resource for finding online summer camp sessions. Try keywords such as “virtual” or “online” and filter your search by category, age, location, cost, gender and date range for the best results and find the perfect virtual summer camp for your child today!