Seattle-area parents are used to meticulously and opportunistically planning their kids’ summer early. Some popular summer camps fill up as early as February. But this year, the pandemic has thrown everything up in the air. At press time, it’s still unclear when, or if, in-person summer camps will be allowed this year. Many of our usual options have been canceled, while other camp providers are waiting to decide.
Whether or not state restrictions are lifted, a lot of parents understandably won’t feel comfortable sending kids to camps this year. Fortunately, some organizations have gotten a jump start on designing fun options for virtual summer camps. We’ve found a baker’s dozen to keep your kids active and engaged.
Coding with Kids jumped right into online camps, with offerings up and running shortly after schools closed in March. For the summer, it has weekly camps in Minecraft modding, Python, app development, C# and more. Camps last from one to three hours per day and serve coders ages 5 and older. Prices vary, but expect to pay around $200 for most camps.
This company’s online computer skills courses serve kids ages 7 and older of all skill levels, with some girls-only options. Most iD Tech courses cost $499, and include subjects such as Minecraft, Scratch and Roblox, as well as 3-D modeling and animation. Camps offer live instruction, peer collaboration and a maximum of five students per instructor.
Taught in real time, DigiPen Academy’s online summer programs offer elementary, middle and high school students more than 40 course options. Programs vary from weeklong, 90-minute daily art classes for younger students to monthlong, six-hour daily high school courses in game development and sound design. Prices vary by program, ranging from $165 to $2,425.
Pending state policy, Stone Soup Theatre’s Summerstage program will take place in person or online, serving aspiring thespians ages 5–16. If the program goes digital, camps will run half days on Zoom with a combination of group activities and independent, at-home exercises. Weeklong camps cost $375.
Village Theatre’s Kidstage, for participants pre-K to age 20, will build off its spring trial of virtual classes, with themes such as “Frozen,” “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” for younger kids, while teens can take skills-based classes in technical theater, acting for the camera and songwriting. More than 30 classes will be held from June 6 to July 24 via Zoom. After July 27, camps may be held in person at both the Issaquah and Everett locations if restrictions are lifted by the state. Camp tuition runs from $85 to $580, and financial assistance is available.
Studio East offers one- and two-week performing arts summer camps for kids 4–19 and of all skill levels. Through at least July 17, camps will be conducted online with a combination of interactive Zoom conferencing and at-home independent activities. A final performance will be recorded, edited and shared with families. Later camps may be held in person. Online camps cost $125–$485, and scholarships are available.
Coyote Central will offer a wide variety of creative classes for kids ages 10–15 via Zoom. Classes include filmmaking, fashion, dance, writing, drawing, photography, cooking, magic performance and much more. Class costs are pay-what-works-for-you, ranging from $0 to $210.
Seattle Children’s Theatre is reimagining its summer program for kids ages 3 and a half to 18 with new online versions of its creative drama classes, from improv to the art of drag to Shakespeare. Meeting for up to three hours daily, classes will be small to keep things interactive, and many classes will include individual activities to be performed away from the screen. Courses cost $110–$250, and financial aid is available.
Kong Academy will offer two very different virtual camps this summer. Dungeons & Dragons Camp, for ages 9–13, will fill kids’ afternoons with connection and storytelling through this virtual version of the game. Living Room Ninja Camp, for ages 6–12, will fill kids’ mornings with physical activity through basic parkour movements, such as jumping, vaulting, balancing and rolling, in their own indoor obstacle course. Both camps cost $195.
At least for the beginning of the summer, Tilth Alliance’s summer farm and garden camps will be held online via Zoom. Virtual garden camps featuring garden activities, crafts, games and hands-on learning for kids as old as age 15 are designed to be completed independently by campers, but organizers do ask that an adult be present for supervision. Virtual camp prices range from $80 to $180, with scholarship and sliding-scale rates available.
Pratt’s previously planned summer programming has been transformed into ‘online art camps’ and ‘online art weeks.’ Organizers are attempting to maintain the Pratt experience with hands-on learning, personal step-by-step mentorship and livestreamed classes. Programs are tailored to serve youths ages 5–12 and teens 13–19. Costs for weeklong virtual camps start at $220.
Seattle Opera is offering virtual summer camps with personalized instruction for campers ages 7–18. Weeklong camps for participants ages 7–14 will explore opera and the performing arts through Zoom-based group discussions and creative activities that encourage kids to get up and move. Older teens (ages 15–18) will complete a two-week vocal intensive, with collaboration and performance opportunities along the way. Camps cost $150–$350, and financial assistance is available.
Skyhawks Sports Academy knows that virtual offerings can never fully replace in-person sports camps. But unusual times call for unusual solutions, and this year it is offering online skills camps for soccer, basketball, general physical activity, STEM sports, and even chess and esports. Kids ages 3–12 can learn game rules and build physical skills in exercises specifically designed to be practiced at home or in the back yard. Weeklong camps will run from 45 minutes to two and a half hours daily and cost $45–$119.