Online summer camps for children and teenagers
From coding to learning a language, sculpture to film-making, all these are taking bookings
For many parents, summer camps are an important way for children to learn new skills, make friends and stay active over the long break. And they also often provide crucial time and space for parents.
This summer, however, is very different, with traditional “in-person” camps still not guaranteed to take place, even later this summer, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead, online camps are experiencing a growth in popularity, especially with parents looking to balance childcare with working from home.
Here are some options for the coming months that may appeal to parents, children and teenagers.
The Academy of Code has been running coding and technology classes for children and teenagers since 2014. When they aren’t in lockdown, company runs classes in locations across the country, but this summer’s programme is online, with a student:teacher ratio or 7:1 or better. Suitable for coders of all abilities and experience levels, courses are taught using a wide variety of languages including Processing, HTML/CSS and Python.
Format: Four-day, one hour per day Zoom courses are available, as well as weekly classes. The Summer Coding Term starts on Monday, June 8th.
Cost: Courses start at €55 for a four-day week, or €119 for 10 weeks of weekly classes.
Age: Open to primary school students going into second class this September, right up to Leaving Cert students.
Alliance Française Dublin is offering its French summer camps online through its e-learning platform. Available from June to August to everyone, whatever a child’s level of French, the classes will be led by native-French qualified teachers.
Format: There are one-week camps available every week for children (4-6/7-10 years old) and two-week programmes every two weeks (from first to sixth year). These live group classes take place every day Monday-Friday and are complemented with online self-training modules.
Age: 4-18 years.
Another camp more used to in-person camps, Anyone4Science are planning camps using two formats this summer. The first option is via Facebook Live, which the camp ran over Easter. With the second option using Zoom. Either way, a pack of material needed for experiments will be sent out beforehand to students and then a tutor will show children how to do the experiments.
Format: The Zoom camps are divided into two groups - junior (7-12 years) and senior (13-16). The Facebook Live is just for 7-12 years.
Cost: Starting from June 29th, the Facebook Live camp is €40, with the Zoom camp costing 60.
Age: 7-16 years.
Teaching children to have a passion for healthy cooking is a worthy summer camp. Children will cook simple, child-friendly recipes alongside health coach Deirdre Doyle and then be ready to eat them at lunchtime with their family. Ingredient and equipment lists will be sent out the week before camps start.
Format: Via Zoom, the cooking classes are on the weeks of July 6th and 20th, from 11am-1pm daily.
Age: 8-11 years.
Dig it Kids have been providing fun hands-on learning for young archaeologists for 10 years. Like many other camps, this year it will take place online. The camp has a different history theme each day. Children make a craft, learn some cool history, have a giggle or two and listen to some legendary storytelling all designed to bring history alive and be very engaging.
Format: Information packs and activity templates will be sent to registered parents in advance. The team will show children how to make a craft step-by-step as part of the live Zoom workshops. The camp takes place from July 7th-17th, from 10.30am-12.30pm (two hours for older children, one hour for younger children).
Cost: €40 per week (4 days Tue-Fri) or €12.50 per day.
Age: 6-12 years
The Gaiety School of Acting will be running camps via Zoom for children aged 13-18, throughout July. The camps include musical theatre, film-making and casting. The school has been delivering actor training online since March with its full-time professional actors and has developed a nuanced and creative approach to this new teaching platform.
Format: Live via Zoom
Age: 13-18 years
Animation, wire sculpture, mask making, comic art, model making, set building and more, Inspireland is a creative summer camp that has moved online.
Format: They send out the materials that a child needs, and then you work on them in online classes during July and August. Tutorials are scheduled with live tutors at regular intervals between 10.30am and 2.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Age: 8-18 years.
Would your child like to learn to speak the most spoken language in the world? Founded in 2018 by Irish husband and wife team, Andy and Lauralee O’Donovan, the objective of The Institute of Chinese Language and Culture is to develop linguistic skills, cultural awareness and critical thinking, while providing adults and children with the tools to communicate in Mandarin Chinese. Like other groups, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the institute has brought their Mandarin tuition and training exclusively online.
Format: Live one-on-one online courses are delivered via Zoom, with lesson plans ranging from 20 to 30 to 40 sessions. Each is 25 minutes in duration, delivered at flexible times, 9am-5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Age: 5-13 years.
Want your child walking around the house for the summer saying, ¿Cómo estás? Instituto Cervantes, the worldwide organisation which promotes Spanish language and culture, runs weekly online camps for kids and teens. The young participants have the opportunity to learn and practice Spanish in a fun and friendly atmosphere. There are specific camps - June 8th - August 21st - for both non-native learners and heritage speakers.
Format: Live sessions are led by native teachers in small groups (six children or eight teens). Courses are organised in one-week blocks, Monday to Friday, for one and half hours a day (morning or afternoon).
Cost: €63 - €94
Age: 4-18 years.
A chance for children to absorb and learn a foreign language in a virtual classroom. “As soon as the announcement came through that the schools were to close we were up and running,” says Sinead McKeever, founder of Little Lingua Languages, established in 2014. “We had practiced and prepared in advance, so our afterschool classes moved seamlessly online with minimum fuss and interruption. Our Easter camps booked out early and were hugely successful.”
Format: Live Zoom camps are complemented with downloadable songs, games and interactive PDFs. Camps run Monday-Friday for five weeks, beginning June 29th, 10.30am-11.30am. Maximum of 10 students per class.
Cost: €49 a week (10% discount for two weeks).
Age: 5-18 years.
Burning House Productions, a film and theatre production company based in Dublin, are running an Online Screen Acting Course for Teens starting July 1st to 3rd. Students learn the basics of screen acting and take direction from industry professionals. The modules include Screen Acting; Script Writing; Script Analysis; Character Breakdown; Self-taping; and Smartphone Film Making
Format: Running from July 1st-3rd, from 10am to 1pm, students will also be given assignments to do outside of course hours - which consists of writing, rehearsing or filming (self-taping mock auditions).
Age: For teenagers.
Burning House Productions are also facilitating an online smartphone filmmaking course for Teens, from July 8th to 10th. During the course students will learn the following modules: Script Writing; Directing; Working With Actors; and Smartphone Film Making.
Format: Students will also be given assignments to do outside of course hours. This will take up an additional one hour per day and will consist of the student writing, rehearsing or filming. All filming and editing will be done using smartphones. 12 Students to one teacher.
Age: Suitable for teenagers.
A camp used to giving children the experience of music, dancing and acting, Starcamp – like many others – beginning the summer with online camps. Children will be able to enjoy a mixed bag of activities each day, from dancing to Dance Monkey, from learning magic tricks to baking their favourite treats.
Format: Ninty minutes a day for five days, Starcamp are organising the online camp similar in format to RTÉ Home School Hub.
Cost: €30 for the week.
Age: 4-12 years.
Covid-19 has caused many challenges and one major impact for the Leaving Cert class of 2020 has been the cancellation of this year’s exams. ThrivingTeens is a programme for those students which focuses on three core themes: Confidence, Communication and Careers.
Format: The programme which is traditionally run in community groups, is moving online for this Summer using live webinar sessions. It is scheduled for June 15th, 22nd and 29th.
Age: For the Leaving Cert class of 2020.
Tutti Music Ireland is running choral and orchestral online workshops for teenagers. The workshops include singing, solo performance, composition, performance platforms and many other interactive activities with professional musicians.
Format: Live on Zoom from June 29th to July 3rd (with further dates to be announced).
Age: 11-18 years.
Help shy students command the attention of a room, and turn chatterboxes into gifted communicators. The camp will use online platforms to enable students to fully-engage in the teacher and participate in debates, activities and workshops. Students will receive personalised coaching, training, feedback and guidance from accomplished debaters. All abilities and experience welcomed, from complete novices to experienced competitors.
Format: Live on Zoom from August 10th-14th.
Age: 12-18 years. The Junior Camp is suitable for 1st-3rd year secondary school students and the Senior Camp is suitable for 4th-6th year secondary school students.
Another company that have big experience operating traditional summer camps across Ireland, WhizzKids have created four zones within their “Online Academy”, with 20 courses - including animation, HTML, logo design, 3D digital design and app development. Suitable for beginners as well as more advanced students, the courses in their live camps include scratch coding, game development and Web Design through HTML & CSS.
Format: Live online lessons delivered daily with one hour per day on the chosen topic or software. Maximum of 12 participants.
Cost: €50 for one week with live lessons each day, as well as access to additional online lessons on their “Online Academy”. €80 for annual membership to Online Academy, with 20 courses in the child’s own time, at their own pace.
Age: 8-13 years.