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(Photo Credit: Gretchen Bossio / Seattle Refined)

Yes, you can still 'send' your kids to summer camp

Despite Washington being on the the path to reopening, I scrolled my email last week to discover another cancellation. This time, a summer camp my son had been looking forward to in mid-August. I’ll have to break it to him soon. Prep him for more disappointment, somehow replace it...but how? With what?

Perhaps an online camp?

Nothing will truly replace the in-person camp he was so excited to attend, but Outschool, one of our favorite online learning platforms, has launched a whole new wave of summer camps for families who are currently in the midst of restructuring their summer fun. And I think it just might be the ticket! Each online camp offers a week (or more) of fun that can all be participated in from the comfort of home. Not a perfect substitute to the real camp experience, but definitely something to look forward to.

All year long Outschool hosts live, interactive single and series classes for kids of all ages with a huge assortment of teachers. Many are parents, classroom teachers, and/or experts in their field of interest and we have yet to be let down by a class we’ve taken through Outschool. Just last week my son took a one hour, small group class about constrictor snakes. Not my cup of tea, but Teacher Leyla shared with enthusiasm and answered my son’s countless questions. She even brought her snake to online class for a visit! My daughter recently took a two week film analysis course that even had me interested! Outschool really seems to have a broad spectrum of learning opportunities.

Scrolling Outschool’s offerings is a bit of a rabbit hole. Thank goodness for their heart/favorites list to keep track of everything that catches our eye. The class topics are truly endless. Anything and everything you could dream of, from cooking to fashion to chess, writing, art, yoga, math, and more there is something for everyone. And now, in the wake of summer's upheaval, Outschool has expanded their offerings as we move into summer by partnering with a number of traditionally in-person summer camps to offer a wide range of online summer camps. Here are a few upcoming camps that are on my radar. Don’t they look fantastic?

In our experience with Outschool, fellow students are respectful and engaging while teachers are well-versed in online education and very encouraging of their learners. My kids are always excited to sign up for a class and the new summer camp format will not only further engage them in one topic but allow them to build a longer lasting, camp-like relationship with their teacher and fellow students.

If you’re overwhelmed by all the choices, I can wholeheartedly endorse the following teachers as we’ve completed multiple classes with each them. Some have camps coming up and others have one-off classes available in the summer months.

  • Leyla Billman - She’s the snake teacher! She also teaches classes about other animals.
  • Suzanne Tomlinson - Nature studies, animals, and more!
  • Heather Muse - An amazing art teacher!
  • Kristen Cwynar - Another wonderful art teacher many of her classes are flex, which means they are pre-recorded and teacher interaction is through chat only. These are nice sometimes because you don’t have to remember when to login. You just watch and follow along anytime during the week of the scheduled class.

If you’re like us and shifting summer plans, definitely consider Outschool’s online camps - you won’t be disappointed!