Not ready to let your kids head off to camp this summer? No worries. Here are some virtual summer camp options that won't break the bank and will still bring fun, nature, adventure, and activities indoors (or to the backyard), all while keeping your family safe from any potential exposure to COVID-19.
Updated 10 a.m. June 18
Camp Aranzazu’s The Good Times Never End
Located in Rockport, Texas, this beloved camp serves children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses and typically welcomes about 20 percent of its 1,000 annual summer campers directly from Houston each summer. Though sleep-away camp has been canceled this year, the fun activities have gone virtual for ten weeks (until August 7) as the camp recognizes its attendees need social connection more than ever—with that comes a slew of fun, daily activities created with children with special needs and chronic illnesses in mind, but suitable for all kids. Who doesn’t want to make a flower sun-catcher this summer?
UH's STEM Interactive
The University of Houston’s College of Natural Science and Mathematics has partnered with its STEM teacher training program to offer a STEM interactive camp for students in grades 6-9. The virtual camp is entirely free and will be available from June 22 to July 10. For three weeks, kids will be able to participate in activities involving engineering, math, and various sciences too.
Published 6 a.m. June 10
The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center’s Virtual Summer Camp
Virtual camp is on for our city’s young nature lovers (kids ages 4-12), with the Houston Arboretum—one of our favorite spots to walk in the city—offering sessions until mid-August.
The weeklong camp programs start at $125, with kids grouped together by age and receiving supplemental materials for crafts and experiments. Registration for the second camp session (in July) opens on June 15 right here.
The sessions your kiddos can choose from include: Survivor (June 8-12 and July 13-17), Wow! The Wonders of Water (June 15-19 and July 20-24), Creative by Nature (June 22-26 and July 27-31), Eat or Be Eaten (June 29–July 3 and Aug 3-7), and Spiders & Arachnids (July 6-10).
The arboretum is also bringing back a couple on-site events for all ages in June, including Bingo on the Lawn on June 25, but most of its classes and programming remains virtual. Check out the full schedule at houstonarboretum.org.
Galveston Bay Foundation’s Camp at Home
This hands-on virtual summer camp, with registration now open until June 12 (for June and July sessions), will offer weeklong camps that are ideal for kids who love marine biology.
For kids ages 9-18, the camp sessions cost $100 and include small classes divided into ages 9-12 and 13-18; a Camp Kit full of supplemental materials for their virtual Galveston Bay adventure; and lots of missions for the family to complete outside of camp time.
Younger kids, ages 5-8, can attend Wonders of the Wetlands, a one hour-long virtual workshop available for $5 per camper that includes activities; song and movement; and crafts—parents will receive a small craft materials list after registration.
Houston Dynamo’s Soccer Starts at Home
The Houston Dynamo and Houston ISD currently have a month-long virtual program available for students in Kindergarten through sixth grade, to learn new soccer skills at home. Daily instructional and motivational lessons feature Dynamo and Dash players—available though the school district’s digital student portal—and also includes digital checklist with daily practice time, skill development, and tips for parents to follow.
Houston Zoo's Virtual Camp
While the popular Zoofari Summer Camp couldn’t happen this year, the Houston Zoo’s new Virtual Camp online hub is full of frequently updated virtual content that will delight animal lovers of all ages. These include zoo tours every Monday; activities and animal ambassadors on Wednesdays; and fun videos on Fridays. Older kids may also like the Zoo Crew hub too.