After three months of laptop school, the kids are probably Zoom'd out, so parents aren't wasting money on virtual camps this summer.  Unless they're totally unique.  And free!

One of the silver linings of the pandemic for me has been seeing the kids get completely sick of screens.  Yay, finally!  They don't want to Zoom one more thing, and the other day they even suggested we all go play outside for a change.  This is fantastic.

They've had two in-person camps canceled, and even the annual Vacation Bible School program at church is off this year.  Some paid camps are offering online versions, but the last thing my girls want to do is be reminded about the good times they're missing through another Zoom meeting.   The only way I can justify signing them up for a camp at this point is if it's free and short, like an hour a day.  Then there are no worries about getting our money's worth.

The LifeHacker blog has a list of free virtual camps to check out with your kids:

They've got articles, videos, and activities on topics like dinosaurs, space, art, and animals, along with talking points to spark conversations.

Camp Wonderopolis
There are courses in four main areas: music, construction and engineering, health and fitness, and science for kids in grades 2-8.

Reading Rockets
The “Start with a Book” program helps kids dive into their favorite topics like sports, music, and cooking through fiction and nonfiction booklists.

Varsity Tutors
My middle schooler is taking a CSI class on this site this week, and there are more than two thousand kids who Zoom in to watch for an hour a day.  Other classes cover recycled art, improv, dinosaurs, Minecraft, creating slideshows, and more.  We have a German class coming up in two weeks and it's all free.

TakeLessons TV
Kids in grades K-6 take free online classes on topics that include foreign languages, acting, cooking, music, and yoga.

Family Maker Camp
It's exactly what it sounds like -- making stuff like robots, Father’s Day gifts, “Scrappy Circuits” and more.  You just need the materials.

There are plenty of virtual museum tours, zoo cams, and other free things to check out too if the kids have some screen energy left.  And then we're goin' outside!

READ MORE: 6 ways the whole family can play together at home

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