Summer Camp at Home: Interactive Online Activities for Kids

Summer Camp at Home: Interactive Online Activities for Kids

The following post is from Lauren Rothlisberger of Get Me Geeky:

Summer Camp at Home: Interactive Online Activities for Kids

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and as we discussed the impending summer days I realized even more that I need a summer plan. Not just for the weeks, but for the hours in the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I am really looking forward to summer, but I know that the downtime and breaks are not always what I dream of. The bottom-line is even during vacation times kids really thrive with a bit more structure.

I am all for “boredom” and letting a kid figure out something to do when they are only left with their imagination, but you as a parent will appreciate putting some required work time in place. This “work time” doesn’t have to be miserable, but instead can be an opportunity for your kids to explore a different interest.

Last year I wrote about some of the fun things kids can do online, but those were mostly games geared at younger kids. This post is dedicated to older kids who may be ready to really dig deep into a particular subject. Many of these ideas include a hands-on component. It requires a little more planning, but can give kids an opportunity to discover and hone new skills.

[PUBLISHING]

It is pretty inspiring to see your stories come alive. It is now easier than ever to actually print your own book. Scribblitt is really geared towards kids and allows them to write and create illustrations with pre-drawn characters and landscaping. If your kids are more advanced they can use something like Fast Pencil to write and  Lulu or CreateSpace to publish their book.

[MUSIC]

Music in schools is getting less and less common, and even homeschoolers have to figure out how to get kids lined up with the right person and the right instrument. There are many options to learn an instrument online. With The Zoen you actually line up with a teacher you choose and pay for classes which are taught over the web. Playground Sessions is for piano only. You watch pre-recorded videos and can plug your keyboard into your computer for feedback. For a more advanced musician check out ArtistWorks.

[LANGUAGE]

In schools, language is being introduced earlier than ever. But like most things it is easily lost without regular use. If your child really into picking up a second (or third) language check out Duolingo. Duolingo has earned high praise for being an innovative learning tool that works, is easy to use, and is free!

[ART]

In the art category there are two directions to go: There are art classes for traditional art on a site like Arty Factory.

Or if your kid likes art they might be interested in exploring the graphic design world. On the iPad you can introduce them to graphic design through iDraw. If they are more serious, a membership to Adobe Creative Cloud gives them access to all the top notch programs. There is a  student discount on the monthly fee available. If they want to dig into a tool like illustrator there are an endless number of videos online to learn how to get started.

[COOKING]

Not too long ago I read this article in the New York Times about a mother that turned over a majority of her cooking to her two sons. I think this is another area where we have lost touch with the way things used to be. Kids are no longer part of the kitchen and unfortunately, it is out of fear for hot and sharp things. But most kids love to help cook and can even learn to contribute to the weekly meals. The summer is the perfect time to work through some of those skills while you have a bit more time for guidance. While there are a gazillion food blogs, it might be best to start with some online learning that is going to develop cooking essentials.

[HANDCRAFTS]

Despite living in a very industrial age where most everything comes from a factory thousands of miles away we continue to discover the joy of making something with our own hands. Sewing (not just for girls!), crafting, woodworking, building, pottery, electronics, robotics, and the list goes on and on. There are an amazing number of opportunities for your kid to work with their hands while learning online.

This is a short list compared to the options out there:

[BONUS]

There are two sites that are dedicated to learning a huge variety of things. Both have a unique way of teaching online. Skillshare is run on a membership model and Udemy is a pay per class model.

What other sites encourage hands-on learning?

Lauren Rothlisberger blogs and consults over at Get Me Geeky. As a military wife and mom of three girls five years old and under, she loves focusing on technology and productivity and finding new ways to simplify her life. She recently started putting together MacMinis, which are easy to follow videos for Mac users, and also wrote an ebook, Evernote for Moms.
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