Recreate Summer Camp at Home With These 8 Free Virtual Options
Parents, we see you.
There’s a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, but you’re still concerned about your unvaccinated kids, new virus variants and people completely letting their guards down as summer approaches.
Although more summer camps are open this year compared to last, you may be considering virtual camps again.
We’ve rounded up eight of these options, and they won’t require you doling out hundreds of dollars per week like traditional camps. In fact, your kids can enjoy any of the virtual summer camps listed below without you paying a cent. Most of these camps also don’t have traditional enrollment so you can participate anytime, except where specific dates are noted.
8 Free Virtual Summer Camps Your Kids Will Love
Find a free virtual summer camp option that fits your child’s interests or try out a few to really fill up the calendar for the summer.
1. Virtual 4-H Camp
The youth development organization has put together a virtual 4-H camp offering various activities for children in grades pre-K through 12.
Participants can learn the 4-H pledge, do arts and craft projects, try out recipes and engage in STEM activities. They can even sing along to campfire songs from a curated playlist.
With #CampYouTube, your kids can view content geared toward topics like adventure, STEM, the arts and sports.
This platform also includes campfire talks, crafting how-tos, recipe videos for summer snacks and virtual field trips.
Families can download a bingo sheet to cross off the different activities they complete throughout the summer.
3. Maker Camp
Gather up your crafting supplies, STEM materials and other odds and ends. Maker Camp will keep your kids busy this summer with various science and crafting projects and activities.
Partners from the Make:Community help put on these virtual summer camp events. Your kids will get the chance to tap into their curiosity and creativity while learning about art and STEM.
4. Start With a Book
Your little bookworm can expand on their love of stories with this summer reading program. Start With a Book is a self-paced program where your child can choose from 24 book topics, dive into a selection of stories and participate in related activities.
This program captures a wide range of children’s interests — from superheroes and sports to nature and nutrition. It highlights books for kids from ages 3 to 12.
5. Camp @ Home with UNICEF Kid Power
UNICEF Kid Power brings the summer camp experience home with dozens of kid-friendly videos covering activities like sports, arts and crafts, cooking, campfire songs, macrame, water fun and more.
With each video they watch, campers earn points that unlock donations to help children in need all around the globe. The videos are also designed to encourage campers to have some off-screen fun, trying out what they’ve learned in the videos in real life.
Sign up for Camp @ Home with UNICEF Kid Power to participate in this virtual summer camp.
6. Camp PBS Kids
PBS Kids is always big on finding fun ways for kids to learn — and the learning doesn’t stop in the summer.
Camp PBS Kids provides information and prompts for parents to engage their little ones in subject matter like reading, science, art, animals, social skills and more. The programming includes characters from popular kids shows like Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger, Wild Kratts and Ready Jet Go.
Families can sign up for a daily newsletter and download a summer activity book for more ideas to keep the kiddos busy.
7. Camp DIY
Camp DIY is all about creativity and experimentation. Kids can choose summer projects to tackle in categories like science, art, cooking and outdoor adventure. Most projects require basic household items to complete, so you don’t have to worry about buying a bunch of supplies.
While this virtual camp isn’t technically free, you can try it out for two weeks at no cost. If your kids have gotten their fill, cancel before you’re charged.
If you don’t cancel, you’ll pay about $4 to $8 per month depending on what subscription package you choose. Still a steal over typical camp prices.
8. Happy Camper Live
Happy Camper Live is another program that comes at a nominal fee — $4.99 per month — but you can enjoy a free 7-day trial to try it out.
Your kids can also get free access to select videos without enrolling in the monthly subscription. Each free video is indicated with a green circle icon.
Happy Camper Live offers a selection of hundreds of videos that help you recreate the summer camp experience at home. These virtual camp videos cover topics including crafting, sports, music, food and more.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.