Yana Blog > #covid, #camp, #stem

Virtual camps

How's the first full week of no school?  Can you believe there're now real in-person events, including a Black Lives Family March?  And what are your plans for the summer overall?  

The week before last, I spent all my spare time helping my 5th grader's class put together a yearbook.  It's a bit sad they didn't have an in-person graduation or even got to say good-bye to some of their friends in person.  The teachers and staff though went the extra mile and made the virtual moving-up ceremony extra special.    The art and tech teachers actually spray painted all the kids' names together in Graffiti Alley.   I teared up and probably some of the other parents too.  

Then last week I realized I haven't done a thing for my kids' summer camps!  You know, all my past knowledge of camps are useless since most in-person camps aren't running. I asked other parents and found out it's a range.  Some of the more on-top-of-things parents got kids in YMCA summer camp which only takes 20 kids this year due to each class is only allowed 10 kids.  Other kids are doing NetResults tennis camp in Brookline. After months of no commute, I had no interest to start daily commute to Brookline.  Still other parents are just having the kids at home, maybe some reading or walk to the park, okay and some video games.  After all, we've already all gotten decent at managing WFH and kids at home.

Around the same time, I found out my retired inlaws are a bit bored and lonely at home since they are in quarantine and not watching any grandkids.   My usually hard-working father-in-law has become an expert on all the Netflix shows.  

I put the two and two together and suggested we could do grandparents camp!  After our daily walk along the river or in the neighborhood, the kids at 9am sharp get on Zoom with their grandparents.  Typically my son will read a few pages from a Chinese book. And grandpa and/or grandma will ask them some questions about the reading.  Then it's my daughter's turn to read from an easier Chinese book.  The other day my son wrote about social distanced trip to the beach with the  cousin,  and grandpa corrected his writing.  The calls range from half hour to 1 hour.

I congratulated myself on this solution that better connects the family across generations,  and also gives my husband and me some time to work in peace.

Soon I find my son still spends hours watching video or playing videogame.  I started quoting to them "A mind is a terrible thing to waste", or asking "Why don't you find something interesting to learn?"

I realized maybe grandparents camp is good but we could still use a bit more.  Okay, maybe finally it's time to research virtual camps, something I've just been procrastinating on. I guess I was just not psyched about digging thru a lot of info.  I tried a few sites:

  1. FindIt Cambridge's list of Summer Programs - the first one being free online/offline programs, which confusingly said registration starts 6/22, but shows everything as waitlisted.  It took a while for me to find out that apparently that's just how they handle things: they are not actually full from  Day 1.  By then I've already moved on.
  2. BostonTechMoms' local STEM camps - I found the Russian School of Math camps and signed my daughter up for one.  I've always wanted to try those but again not into the drive to Brookline, the closest.  So virtual camp actually works out.
  3. 6Crickets - lists camps nation wide.  I found a free intro to Python class through it that my son liked.  We might sign up for the real version, good it's one week at a time.
  4. OutSchool - Okay I haven't tried this one, recommended by another mom.
  5. Mommy Poppins also has a big list.

Where I am is probably trying a bunch of things and see what I and the kids like.  I'll share my findings... would be great if you could do the same!

What are you doing this summer with your kids? Share what you like, please!

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