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Parents have long relied on summer camps to keep their kids stimulated and occupied while they’re out of school. But like everything else affected by this life-altering pandemic, in 2020 the concept of sending your kid off to summer camp isn’t as simple as it used to be.

The good news is, unlike the days of the 1918 pandemic, we have online options that would make even George Jetson jealous. Between digital classes, activities, and day camps that are all available remotely using Wi-Fi and a smart device, there are plenty of ways to keep your kids engaged.

And sure, while the feeling of playing capture the flag at camp on a hot summer’s day is hard to replicate, there are a handful of perks to digital summer camps.

For starters, kids go at their own pace and schedule when playing online. Plus, they often get one-on-one time with qualified instructors — not to mention online camps are usually cheaper than their in-person counterparts.

Using user reviews and our own experiences, we’ve compiled this list of online summer camps and activities. So, even if this summer won’t be exactly as they envisioned, your kids can still make new friends, do some cool activities, and even avoid the summer learning gap with online academic options. Have a great summer, campers!

A note on price

A lot of these programs offer free trials or are free altogether — we’ve noted those! Otherwise, pricing varies on the number of kids attending or the duration of the session you enroll in. Click the link under each camp’s description for the most accurate pricing for your family.

Camp DIY

Age: 7 and up

Camp DIY offers over 80 summer projects and activities for kids. With topics like drawing, photography, sewing, science, Lego, and inventing, your little one can craft and design something new every day at their own pace (some are completed offline).

When they’re done with their creation, they can show it off to the other campers via a heavily monitored social platform — DIY’s promise is “No trolls. No jerks. No exceptions.” Plus, if they need help with anything, they can ask a counselor for guidance!

Maker Camp

Age: 12 and up

Make, the brains behind the Maker movement, have created a camp to get the whole family involved. With a series of self-paced projects, kids can use household objects to create cool (and kind of mind-boggling) experiments such as a lemon battery or a butterfly chandelier.

Maker Camp is free to join, minus the cost of whatever equipment you need to complete the day’s creative endeavor. And if you’d rather have the tools sent to your house for more complex projects (like a DIY robot!) you can order a Make: Kit online.

Gas Lamp Players Summer Workshops

Age: middle and high schoolers

Gas Lamp Players features workshop and week-long camps on dialogue, singing, and dancing from professional actors, singers, and directors —including those in current Broadway roles. This camp lets tweens and teens with a flair for the dramatic get instruction from the pros.

Prices vary depending on session length, ranging from $75 to $300, so be sure to check the website for the right fit for your little star.

Camp Wonderopolis

Age: upper elementary and middle school

This free, whimsical, STEM-focused camp leads kids on self-directed activities with a flexible schedule to explore topics in music, fitness, engineering, and more.

Each topic includes videos, lessons, outdoor activities, and additional reading resources to supplement each program. Added bonus: The Wonderopolis website is also a great way to explore the answers to a multitude of boggling questions from the serious (What is CRISPR?) to the silly (Who invented the first TV?).

Marco Polo Summer Camp

Age: preschool and lower elementary

If you have the flexibility to be a little more hands on, Marco Polo Summer Camp offers a downloadable calendar of guided activities complete with ready-to-use worksheets, puzzles, and more. Designed for little learners, gets kids going with more than 3,000 lessons and 500 videos on STEAM topics like math, science, and engineering.

Brain Chase

Age: upper elementary and middle school

If you’re looking to sneak some education into the fun this summer, Brain Chase sends kids on an academics-based, online scavenger hunt with a global leaderboard.

Your kiddo will choose three subjects from a list (including topics like math, foreign language, writing and even yoga) and complete courses to unlock the next level. Over 6 weeks, they’ll complete their odyssey to track down buried treasure! According to reviews, it’s a little competitive, but a whole lot of fun.

Mail Order Mystery

Age: upper elementary and middle school

Honestly, this one sounds so fun we want to participate in a mystery of our own! The brainchild of a Toronto mom, Mail Order Mystery offers themed story-based puzzles that send your child on an adventure of sleuthing and problem solving.

With each mystery, clues arrive by mail (think: ciphers, maps, old photos, and fingerprints) letting your little one unravel the clues to decode the puzzle. When it’s all said and done, your kiddo will receive an artifact to commemorate the hunt. Complete it together for a fun family activity, or let your little detective soar on their own.

The National Academy of Athletics

Age: All ages

Whether they’re into basketball, volleyball, martial arts, football, or baseball, the NAA’s virtual sports camps will help them perfect their form all summer long from home. Plus, there are even sessions with the pros, like the Mets’ J.J. Newman and Grant Haley of the New York Giants.

America’s Test Kitchen Young Chefs’ Club

Age: 5 and up

You don’t need a pricey subscription box to — ahem — egg on your budding gourmand. The Young Chefs’ Club from America’s Test Kitchen isn’t necessarily organized as a camp, but their selection of free recipes and activities (like growing scallions!) are enough to keep your little chef occupied all summer long.


Age: All ages

Looking for a one-stop shop for a never-bored kiddo? Outschool offers a truly enormous a la carte menu of online live classes, grouping kids by age range. Whether they want to learn card tricks or coding, or even how to make treats from Harry Potter, Outschool has a course for everything anything under the sun. Costs vary per class.


Age: All ages

Kidpass is another awesome database of courses and activities, and this summer their Summer Camp options can be livestreamed weekly. There’s something for every age range and every interest, from piano to painting, comedy to soccer.