Article / Published Apr 19

Send Your Kids Back to Camp (Kinda) this Summer

We considered naming it “Sorta Summer Camp” or even “Camp Quarantine.”

A year ago, reeling from the still-new pandemic, our team got together to think about what we could do to support overwhelmed families during the summer. As it became increasingly clear that “normal” activities like camps, sports, pool time, and family vacations would be cancelled, we quickly settled on the idea of offering a virtual summer camp—one that could happen at home, providing a few hours of engagement for kids in grades K-8 and some peace of mind for parents juggling work responsibilities and crushing stress. In a matter of weeks, Camp Kinda was born.

From the beginning, we designed Camp Kinda to be the kind of virtual camp we’d want for our own kids. It would appeal to their sense of curiosity and expose them to new parts of their world. It would include not just screen time but creative projects, invention, and physical movement. It wouldn’t involve any “easy” craft activities that actually make a huge mess, and it wouldn’t cost a lot of money. Most importantly, it would actually be fun for kids to do.

At the outset, we were optimistic that perhaps a few thousand families would join us. Instead, we registered more than 18,000 families before the first “official” day on June 1. By the summer’s end, Camp Kinda reached over 42,000 families in all 50 states and 95 foreign countries. They said some really nice things:

“We are floored at the curated content and the level of engagement keeps them interested and poking deeper into the topics. The kids like to share the things they learned or did with me when I get home from work MORE than they did with school assignments.”
“Camp Kinda was often a launching pad for my kids’ day.”
“It has a nice balance of science, art, movement, activities and the themes are interesting. Neither my child or I had ever heard of ball lightning, for example. Wow. I learned something new most times I engaged and I thought the format was engaging.”
“Camp Kinda has been amazing. The content is truly great (not just a time-filler), and took a lot of work off my plate as a parent to find interesting but educational things for my kids to learn.”
“They ask to log on the computer and go to Camp Kinda. They have genuinely enjoyed learning new things - from animals in the rain forest, to how to draw, to touring Hogwarts castle, and learning about mythical animals, we have had some fun conversations.”

My own kids, who were 9 and 10, begged to spend time with Camp Kinda in the morning after breakfast or in the late afternoon when they were tired from being outside. I overheard them discussing strange new things. First it was the extinction of megalodon sharks, followed by the phenomenon of raining diamonds on Jupiter and Saturn. They repeated their favorite adventures the way they used to re-watch movies.

Now, it’s April once again and the pandemic is… still here. Summer 2021 – thank goodness – will offer more opportunities for outdoor programming and (hopefully) a gradual return toward normalcy. But with millions of parents still working from home and limitations still in place for youth activities, Camp Kinda is returning to wage the triumphant battle against boredom.

For 10 weeks from June 7 to August 13, kinda campers will enjoy unlimited access to brand-new adventures as well as fully revised and updated versions of their favorite adventures from our library. There will be some exciting upgrades, too, including an entirely new “CK Jr.” section of the website with weekly adventures specifically for kids under age six.

As before, we’ve designed Camp Kinda with flexibility in mind. Every adventure is self-directed, so it’s easy to fit Camp Kinda into your summer schedule. There are no Zoom calls, no start or end times, no pop quizzes. If your kids are lucky enough to be in a real camp, Camp Kinda can be a great fit for the hours before or after. It’s also perfect for rainy days and those pockets of time when kids need something to do besides Netflix or Roblox.

As a non-profit, EdNavigator is committed to making Camp Kinda available to every family that needs it. The cost is only $25 per family for the entire summer, and full fee waivers are available for families that need them. We will partner with employers that sponsor it as a benefit for employees and school districts that offer it as a complement to summer learning.

We hope you’ll join and adventure with us this summer. Please visit CampKinda.org to take a look at camp for yourself and register today.

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