Virtual summer camps are a great answer to kids’ summer boredom

Use these free resources to help kids stay creative, adventurous and learning during the last weeks of summer. | Adobe Stock

Use these free resources to help kids stay creative, adventurous and learning during the last weeks of summer

Most students have a month or so to go before going back to class in some form or another. And since lots of schools closed early because of the novel coronavirus, parents have had much more time than the usual summer break to find ways to keep kids busy.

If you are searching for a way to educate and entertain your kids while summer winds down, it’s not too late to sign up for some virtual summer camps. These offerings from well-known organizations are completely free and still open for registration.

There are countless summer camps for kids online in 2020, but many of them are pre-recorded tutorials for kids to watch and do at their convenience. WildEarth’s safariLIVE kicks it up a notch by taking kids along on an African safari broadcast in real time. Children can interact with the game rangers as they head out in search of free-roaming animals. The safaris happen every day of the week at sunrise and sunset in Africa and are completely unscripted and unpredictable. The adventures happen at several South African reserves and last 45 minutes as the activity bounces around among the different locations. Kids can ask questions about what they see, which can include elephants, zebras, antelope and more. I tuned in to one of the safaris and saw hyenas, meerkats, hippos and two lions all within about 20 minutes. The game rangers narrated the whole safari, answering questions and giving great play-by-play explanations. I could have watched for hours.

And if the scheduled safaris aren’t enough, wildlife enthusiasts can tune in any time to the Djuma Dam Cam. This camera is always live and is set at a popular water hole where animals like to visit. The camera pans and zooms with a highly sensitive microphone and infrared capabilities. Volunteers from around the world take turns remotely controlling the camera. They are constantly looking for movement and will follow birds or animals and magnify them, giving viewers the best shot possible. This camera has been broadcasting live from this spot since 1998.

While WildEarth says it allows “our community to see the good, the bad and the ugly of what really goes on in nature,” it also says it avoids overly graphic content. So parents shouldn’t be nervous about something popping up they don’t want their kids to see.

For car and truck lovers, check out the Monster Jam Virtual Camp happening July 17-31. Each day, kids will participate in a variety of activities including crafts, recipes and physical play. Monster Jam offers a supply list so kids can stock up on everything they’ll need before camp starts. The list includes things you likely have around the house like markers, dirt, pretzels and a blender. Without even knowing why kids will need those supplies, it sounds fun, right? Some of the activities include designing a Monster Jam truck, building a track to reenact Monster Jam moments and making something called a Champion’s Smoothie.

For a virtual summer camp with possible rewards for completing assignments, give Camp Google a try. Sign up to receive two weeks of interactive activities and assignments. These are designed for kids between the ages of 8 and 18 and are sometimes broken up into junior and senior age groups with different challenges.

Virtual campers can expect to paint, write, code, cook and even become storytellers. They can complete the assignments as fast or slow as they want, but must finish up by July 25 to qualify for the giveaways. Kids who complete everything by the deadline could get a chance to have sessions and courses with YouTube creators, receive e-certificates and earn prizes.

One example of an assignment tasks kids with exploring the waters of India using a guided tour on Google Earth. After that, they’ll need to paint something, upload a PDF of their masterpiece and then share thoughts about water conservation. Everyone who participates will also learn internet safety tips to help them stay safe online and be more responsible digital citizens.

Parents have no need to fear when trying to find educational, entertaining activities for kids as the summer winds down. Free virtual summer camps are the perfect answer to any kid’s claims of being bored.