Advertisement

A Summer Without Bug Bites or Sunburn? Adventures in Virtual Camping


We may be “over” coronavirus, but it’s clear this pandemic is not over for us. Summer has looked a lot different for our family, and we’re certainly living a smaller life.

I wouldn’t have called us an on-the-go, big-life family necessarily, but in hindsight, we definitely were! Last summer, my now-eight-year-old attended her first sleepaway camp with the Girl Scouts. We took a trip to the beach with my in-laws. Other day camps and church events were consistently on our calendar last year. Regular trips to the library for summer reading activities and overflowing bags of checked-out books have been features of every summer of my girls’ childhoods.

Until now.

One way for Miss Eight to experience some fun from home has been with virtual camps. So far, we’ve participated in two from the LSU Online & Continuing Education’s pre-college program. The week-long camps gave her access to fun content and twice-daily Zoom calls (which are still a novelty for my children!) to check in with the camp teacher and meet new friends doing the same activities.

As a rising third grader there were several options, and the first we chose was the Hogwarts-themed camp. Harry Potter rules around this house (J.K. Rowling’s recent tweet-storms not-withstanding), and my older daughter loves nothing more than reading the books (we own them all), watching the movies (a pandemic purchase) and listening to the audiobooks (we check out on repeat from the library). The camp was very hands-on for me, much more so than our first foray into online learning this spring. I spent about an hour searching for my glue gun for a project! (It turned up AFTER the camp.) We made it work, and the activities were all great fun and definitely inspired learning. She’s still doing Minecraft-inspired drawings of the characters and writing in her custom-covered spell book.

Kids Can Code was the second camp, and this was way lower-key on my end since there were no supplies to find or crafts to supervise. We have a permanent stain on our dining table thanks to the invisible ink from our first camp! As my daughter says, it didn’t ruin the table, as it still functions as a table. But it sure doesn’t look great! For the coding camp, everything was on the computer, and she loved it and has continued tinkering with the various sites and tools introduced during the week.

These first two virtual summer camps were so successful that we’re looking into adding a few more to our calendar and considering checking out some Girl Scouts camp-from-home options, too.

A Vacation Bible School from a local church presented entirely online was another way to fill the time, and this one was engaging for my four-year-old as well as older sister. Crafts, snacks, story videos and nightly calls helped fill our time and give our days structure. I have established I’m not a mom who “plays” easily, so I’ll gladly sign up for activities that ease some of that burden through these long, hot days.

While we do stay at home the majority of the time, we have gradually added short trips to our community pool to our routine. We joined for the first time this year, pre-pandemic, thinking Miss Eight could join the swim team. It wasn’t clear if the pool would be able to open, but so far social distancing has made cooling off (and learning lots of new diving board tricks!) possible for us. Our many semesters of swim lessons have been paying off and a sliver of something fun beyond our home provides a lot of health advantages for my girls, mentally and physically.

We have a preschool in-person camp for little sister starting soon, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Big sister did a week-long, in-person horse camp earlier in the summer that felt bizarrely normal, although with only eight students and entirely outdoors, it felt like a “safe enough” option. That may be where things will end up for the foreseeable future–what is our “safe enough” option?

How is your summer shaping up? Have your kids been able to take part in online or regular camps? Let me know in the comments.

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

30 Jun 2020


By Mari Walker

Recent Articles more articles

Summer is Coming

in A Day in the Life of Dad

Alright, here is the warning shot with a twist for all my Game of Thrones fans, SUMMER IS COMING. We must get ready. What does that mean? Well, I–being the optimist I am–believe we will be back to a much closer-to-normal summer than last year, with s

The Camp Next Door: 5 Skills Campers Gain

in Things To Do, Family Life, Summer Fun

Many parents want their kids to experience summer camps, but the idea of spending several nights away from home is a little scary for both the parent and the child. A great alternative, especially for younger kids, is to send them to day camp. Day ca

Don’t Get Caught in an Itchy Situation: The No-Panic Parent’s Guide to Lice

in Health and Wellness, Family Life

One of the lessons that parents try to teach their children is the importance of sharing with each other. Whether it be their snacks, their thoughts, and occasionally, even their toys, parents know that sharing is an important lesson for children to

Surviving Spring Sports: A Parent’s Guide

in Things To Do, Family Life, Summer Fun

As the older sister of a lifelong baseball player, I spent many hours at the ballpark. When it came time to sign my son up for spring T-Ball, I wasn’t worried–I had been living the baseball mom life for years! I was way ahead of the game.

Featured Listings more listings

Quarters Endless Entertainment

Quarters Endless Entertainment

in Party Venues

Three exciting party package options are available at Quarters Endless Entertainment: Laser Tag Pack includes 10 guests, Xtreme Laser Tag, Arcade Cards, large pizzas, fountain drinks; the Bowling Pack includes 10 guests, bowling, Arcade Cards, large

Advertisement
Newsletter