Summer ideas for kids from camps to workshops – free ideas available
School is (almost) out
and you are wondering what to do with your kids over the summer? Maybe you can dig them into the beach-sand like I did?
If this is not an option, many websites offer summer ideas for kids. They are collecting ideas and I want to bring some together so you don’t have to search all over. Keep your kids engaged, take them to different places and free workshops, make play-dates, and collect ideas to keep them busy and learning. Don’t wait to sign-up, some camps fill-up quickly! And a hint from me (Anja) because I am one of the few woman who studied IT and is unhappy about the segregation of boys and girls: Please, please encourage girls to go into “hands-on” and IT camps and boys can visit craft camps, too!
Crafts and “home improvement”
- The Home Depot: Yes, the big home improvement store offers not only workshops for adults but also for kids age 5 to 12. I just saw a workshop for “learn to build a minions scooter”. If you have older kids you may also want to check out the adult and do-it-herself workshops. Here is the search-page.
- Lowe’s: The second big home improvement store offers kids courses, too and call them “Build and Grow”. You can find the courses here.
- Michaels: A store for arts and crafts. Their classes and events include online classes, in-store classes, and even birthday parties. Many courses are free or for a small fee for the supplies. Check for their courses here.
- Jo-Ann: A store for arts and crafts. They offer kids courses and appart from live events they also record their events and offer them for free on their website.
- A.C. Moore: A store for arts and crafts. The website offers kids projects and a link to classes – though those seem to be more adult oriented. They also have online-classes often for a fee.
Information technology and technology
Got a boy or girl (yes!!! girls will like this too and should be encouraged to go) that is interested in technology, computers, photography and movie making, software and game design
- Microsoft: Multiple courses including coding and designing available at local Microsoft (US and Canada) stores for kids 8 and older, if you have a bigger group they may even schedule special events, too. Microsoft also offers courses for parents – AuPairs allowed, too 😉 Find more information here.
- Apple: Offering three-day workshops for kids ages 8 to 12 including movie and interactive book creation and sound effects. Check for your local stores here.
- Maker Camp: This one is an online summer camp (worldwide!) but they also offer camps in different neighborhoods (worldwide!) for kids ages 8 to 12. Six week-long themes include fantasy (movies), funkytown (instruments), farmstead (sustainability), fun & games, flight, and far-out future. Find more information and register here.
- LEGO: Yes, the stores offer courses and model-building, and some give even away free blocks. Check your local store for more details.
- Toys R Us: The toy store offers free activities for kids every month in their stores, including craft projects, parades, and LEGO camps. Freebies and giveaways are often included. Take a look here.
- Disney Store: Costume parades, games, free gifts, songs, and stories and things to do at the stores. Visit the Disney Store Locator website and scroll down to Upcoming Events at Disney Store toward the bottom of the page.
- Pottery Barn: Stores host free classes for kids including crafts, readings, and giveaways. Here is the link.
- Williams-Sonoma: Instead of arts and crafts, they offer cooking classes for the Junior Chefs. Check for your local store and events here.
Outdoors & Indoors
- Your local library: This was my favorite spot. They offered book clubs, readings, arts and crafts, as well as indoor and outdoor activities.
- Your “local” National Park: You have a National Park close-by and your family has a yearlong pass (for example the “America the Beautiful” one) then you can take your kids there. Many parks (not only the national ones but also the state ones) offer Junior Ranger programs and special activities for kids. For National Parks check here for your local parks Google.
- Fishing? Yep, Bass Pro Shops offer family summer camps and workshops on all things outdoors including fishing, kayaking, archery, water safety, camping and other activities. Click here and select your nearest store to find out the events.
Online summer ideas for kids
- How about some astronomy for kids? Here is a link with online resources.
- A list with 50 (free) eLearning courses is available here.
- 200 free kids educational resources: video lessons, apps, books, websites and more is available here.
- eLearning for kids is another website with many resources available here.