Summer camp may be out of the question in many places this year, but that doesn’t mean the public has lost interest in the concept. In the build-up to Memorial Day weekend, Google searches for the virtual version were off the charts in the US, and in response, its subsidiary YouTube debuted a digital learning experience called #CampYouTube to meet demand.
Available now through July 5, #CampYouTube programming features more than 1200 videos tailored to home-bound parents and kids across camp-oriented categories like arts, adventure, sports, and STEM, plus snack recipes, craft projects, virtual field trips (think: the inside of a space shuttle, or a visit to a Japanese Garden), and “campfire talks” about race and discrimination.
On the adventure front, Explore Live Nature Cams give budding wildlife biologists the opportunity to observe bald eagles, polar bears, manatees, and more in unguarded moments, while the SciGirls take young explorers along to a dig site in Utah, where they’ll witness the discovery of Native American artifacts dating to the past millennium. With a practice rope on hand, courses like knot-tying will help boost their survival skills, so when they make the leap from virtual to reality, they’ll be prepared for whatever comes their way, whether they’re camping, hiking, or boating.
For more archaeological discoveries, teenagers can check out the American Museum of Natural History – if they’re lucky, they might tune in in time to discover a dinosaur fossil or two – and learn best practices for fieldwork via The Brain Scoop, while younger kids will relish the chance to make a backyard tide-pool aquarium or learn how to prep for a hike.
Arts-wise, teen offerings run the gamut from art history, dance, and music to acting, songwriting, drawing, and creative writing. For kids under 14, the Art for Kids Hub has them creating masterpieces with household items, all while learning art history, practicing ballet, and learning other dance moves.
There are videos on sports and wellness – soccer, football, baseball, yoga, even meditation and stretching – as well as two youth basketball development camps divided by age and ability and created by the Jr. NBA. For kids 13 and under, that means drills, drills, drills; for teens, it’s more advanced training.
STEM camp includes curriculum for science, space, coding, and – for teens – chemistry, as well as space exploration, earth science, and computer programming. Young kids can learn to code with Goldieblox or conduct unusual experiments with PBS Kids.
To cap off that sense of accomplishment, participants can grab bingo boards and cross off the activities they’ve completed, then look for new subject material on the website, which will be updated each weekday with new content. (Under each theme, there’s a separate section for kids under the age of 13.) For more information, visit Learn@Home and YouTube Kids.