• Ashley H

Online Camps and Classes For Your Little

Virtual classes and summer camps

ActivityHero. Serving as a clearinghouse for in-person activities as well as online classes and camps, this site lists a wide range of things to do for all ages, interests, and budgets. You'll find both single-day sessions and more in-depth "camp-like" experiences. American Camp Association. A usual go-to site for families researching in-person summer camps, the ACA now offers a directory of virtual camps for all ages and topics. You can search and sort by cost, activity, and other filters to find the best fit for your kid. Outschool. This site offers hundreds of online classes in just about every subject -- from mindfulness to Minecraft -- for kids age 3 to 18. There are both live, interactive classes, as well as "flexible schedule" options where kids can go at their own pace. Classes also vary in their start date and meeting frequency. (Note: Common Sense Media has a business relationship with an investor in Outschool.)

For kids who love learning Camp Kinda. Free; age 5–14. Camp Kinda offers themed activities like "Histories Mysteries," for kids to complete at their own pace. Each week until Sept. 1, kids get a new week's worth of online, offline, and even outdoor activities designed to take about three to four hours per day. How it works: Self-directed activities on a flexible schedule, with new daily activities released every week. Camp Wonderopolis. Free; age 7 and up. Sponsored by the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), this online camp lets kids explore topics such as weather, food, and technology. Each topic includes lessons, outdoor activities, videos, and additional reading suggestions for all ages. How it works: Self-directed activities on a flexible schedule. Varsity Tutors. Free; age 5 and up. Kids can join a weeklong session based on their grade level for a variety of original, educational subjects like basic engineering using household items, mastering strategy games, and drawing anime. How it works: One hour of live instructions via video chat from Monday to Friday, with some self-directed work time. Wide Open School. Free; all ages. Created and curated by Common Sense, this site makes distance learning easier and more accessible for families and educators. Kids from preschool to high school can browse through engaging videos, lessons, and activities by topic or subject -- all created by top-quality providers including PBS, GoNoodle, and Khan Academy. How it works: Self-directed activities on a flexible schedule; parents can use the "virtual summer camp" schedule, create their own, or let older kids explore themselves. For kids who love tech K12 Destinations Career Academy. Free; age 13 and up. High schoolers can get course credit with these free summer school classes and coding bootcamps. Teens can also explore careers by taking informational courses. Teachers are available to help during traditional school hours. How it works: Students have one month to complete school classes on their own time (approximately two hours per day); coding bootcamps have 60 to 90 minutes of live instruction via video chat in the morning and afternoon. For kids who love creating and making The Lion King Experience: At Home. Free; age 8–15. Originally designed for classrooms and adapted for home use, this immersive theater program teaches kids performance art through The Lion King. Each lesson plan (there are 11 for kids, 18 for teens) contains videos, journal prompts, performances, and more. How it works: Self-directed activities broken into 45-minute lesson plans on a flexible schedule. Make: Online. Free, but materials cost extra; age 12 and up. The folks behind the maker movement offer instructions and advice on projects using primarily household materials, like a banana piano or a leaf blower hoverboard. How it works: Self-directed project ideas on a flexible schedule, with a regular newsletter offering new virtual events and activities. Play-Well Start with a Book. Free; age 6 and up. In addition to a summer science camp, this site offers a long list of themes, such as Art, Night Sky, and Weather Report, for kids to explore. For each theme, you get book suggestions (for all reading levels), discussion guides, hands-on activities, and related sites and apps. (You'll need to check the books out of the library or buy them.)How it works: Self-directed activities on a flexible schedule.

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