Classroom Tips

5 activities for virtual summer camp

Can you believe it? Summer is just around the corner. While more educators will be offering in-person camps this year, virtual programming is still very much a part of the picture. After all, there are tons of benefits to virtual summer camp. Whether it’s smaller-group learning experiences or typically being more affordable programming, many parents will continue to turn to virtual camps and classes.

So what virtual activities will you incorporate into your curriculum this summer? We have no doubt you’re planning fun and festive games. But, if you need some extra inspiration, we have some ideas! By looking at some of our most popular classes and categories on Sawyer, we pooled together five summer camp activities that children and parents love. Check them out and then write your own summer camp lesson plans to make these activities the star! Looking for more support to jumpstart your camp? Check out our ultimate guide to starting and running a kids camp.

1. Lead a craft class

Art classes are consistently trending on Sawyer’s marketplace — probably because children of all ages can benefit from these classes. From improving fine and gross motor skills for toddlers, to teaching focus and perseverance to teens, art activities are always a success.

When it comes to leading a class, doing it live (opposed to pre-recorded) is always more engaging. Without a doubt, questions will arise from campers — so being in a live format is more ideal for kids. 

Once you decide on your craft (for example, origami lessons), you’ll need to prep for supplies. In general, we find there are three good directions for supplies: 

  1. Focus on crafts the campers most likely have in their home. This is the easiest route, but you run the risk of a child not having the necessary supplies.
  2. Send parents the supply list in advance. The sooner you can get them this list, the better. Ideally parents will have a few days to gather the supplies (even if they are just supplies in your home)!
  3. Mail out craft kits. This option is ideal if the project is a bit more intensive, and will be made up of supplies that most likely won’t be found in your home. Take into consideration the extra cost of kits, packing them, and shipping them.

2. Sing-along 

Sing-alongs are a great choice for quick and fun activities. If you’re running a program that gears towards younger children (ages 0 - 6), incorporating a sing-along into your routine is a great way to break up your class. Who doesn’t love a little dance and music break?

But slow your roll, we’ve seen first hand how a sing-along on Zoom can turn into a symphony of voices, sounds, chirps, and every other distraction under the sun. Try to keep the main singing to the instructor, or whichever camper you dub the song leader. If you’re doing multiple songs, you can change leaders. But, in general, it’s easiest to have everyone muted except for your “leader”.

Mix things up by adding fun background pictures, and encouraging your campers to do the same. If you send out the “tracklist” ahead of time, kids (and parents) can get the opportunity to plan out fun backgrounds!

3. Trivia time!

Time for edition! Believe it or not, trivia is a great game to play on Zoom, or any other live platform you’re using. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you create your own camp trivia game:

  • What kind of topics will you be curating? General questions revolving around the age group you’re teaching are ideal — maybe you’ll focus on Paw Patrol or Roblox? Speaking from experience...those are two things all children have encountered!
  • Develop a score system where campers keep track of their own points.
  • A visual presentation — using PowerPoint or Google Slides — will probably be the easiest way to play. Just share your screen!

Similar to the sing-along, things can get out of hand if there isn’t one leader. You can embrace your inner Alex Trebek by calling on campers who raise their hand or send a chat to first. The power to mute and un-mute is great!

4. Summer book club or story time

Who doesn’t love summer reading? Whether you’re at your home or in-person camp, curling up for part of the day and reading in the sun is so much fun. While it takes time to fall in love with reading, the best way for it to happen guessed it — practice! If you’re teaching the same campers for a week or a semester, try to add a book club into the mix. Assign a book that fits the age group of your campers, and set dates to go over chapters or topics. Opening the (virtual) floor for discussion is a great way to get children engaged.

This should be a fun activity for all ages, and a nice way to break up your day. During the day, consider adding reading time on Zoom together. Try playing popcorn reading on Zoom, and have kids read different sections live.

5. Show us your talents!

We have a confession to make...we love talent shows. Probably because every kid has some kind of talent to show. Hosting a talent show should be a fun way to encourage and uplift children and their fun and/or quirky skills. 

If you’re going to try out a talent show, it’s best to create a signup form ahead of time so you can get an idea for the types of talents you can expect (and write back in case something might not be the best fit. But in general, anything from craft projects to jokes are encouraged.

As the host, you can serve as the announcer of the talent show. It’s fun to hype of your campers before they go, and act like a host. Remember, before you start, make sure you put rules in place for the length of each talent! Keeping everything to two minutes or less is probably a good time.

Ready for virtual camp activities?

We sure are. Even with more camps taking place in-person, virtual camps and activities are a fun way to get kids engaged from home. Virtual camps won’t be going away this summer, so consider offering an option for families that might not be ready to return in-person just yet. If you're searching for solutions to make running your camp fun — Sawyer for camps can help you out.

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