No matter what kind of cool summer camp you were planning to send your kid to this year, thanks to coronavirus, it’s probably not happening. It’s frustrating and kids are bummed, but parents, even more so. But this doesn’t have to ruin summer. There are still lots of fun alternatives to camp that will entertain the kiddos and let them have some much-needed fun and interaction with other kids. These are some suggestions for saving the summer while staying on budget.
- Attend virtual day camp- Lots of day camps are turning to virtual versions where kids can go online for fun activities and experiences with other campers. It’s not as fun as in-person camp, but it includes many of the same elements to keep kiddos entertained.
- Assemble 'camp' on demand -You can book different camps on individual days or weeks and pick and choose the ones you want. A cool option is the new National Children's Museum in Washington, DC that has one-day virtual summer camps with a focus on STEAM activities. Tuesdays are science days and Thursdays are about building kid-size structures with everyday materials
- Embrace the quick fix -Younger kids may not be ready for full-on camp-style activities, but a breaking up the day with some fun interludes can help. One option is virtual character visits from Hope, Love and Magic, where kids get a 30-Minute Zoom visit with singing, chatting, and story time with princesses or characters inspired from fairy tales and kids’ movies.
- Join a reading club -Check your local public library to see if they have a virtual reading club your kid can participate in. These programs encourage reading and give kids a change to discuss what they’ve read, which gives them a social connection they may be missing this summer.
- Try “neighbor camp” -Time to get a little help from your friends and neighbors who may be experts in something they can teach a group of kids. Know someone who’s an excellent guitar player? Maybe they can share some basic chord progressions with a group of socially distanced kids. What kids really need is a chance to play and interact with each other, so give them that and they won’t need camp.