Summer camps take the experience online to serve families during the pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Many summer camps are providing alternative ways to connect since many in-person programs are canceled. 

Even though online camps take place at home, they're still designed with much of the same enriching programming, says education and parenting expert Dr. Karen Aronian Ed. D.

"This is a possibility for our children to open up their minds into a new arena perhaps that they normally don,t have access to during their school year," she said.

Any camp that could take place in person can likely be found in an online summer program. Some choices include robotics, sports, coding, writing, debate, art, international programs and performing arts.

Aronian has seen some camps come up with creative ways to make the online content as similar as possible to an in-person experience.

"They will come to your home and drop off a week's worth of camp materials up front and then assist you virtually with those materials throughout the week," she explained.

Even sleepaway camps are trying to create programs that mirror what they offer campers in person.

"That is a good idea on their part to try and hold on to that camper population and keep those kids connected that often only see each other at this time of year," Aronian said.

With so many options, it can be difficult to choose.

"Talk with your child," she recommended. "Sit down and ask them, if they could do anything this summer, what would they be doing? What were your plans before? And then you have a framework to go on to build your plan for your virtual summer."

Then consider the camp's reputation before making a choice.

"Do your homework, look at what the options are," she advised. "See if you can find a place that's been running a show for a long time so they have some feedback, and you can see video and examples of past camps they've run."

Aronian said the online camp sessions can provide kids with a sense of camaraderie, consistency and fun and can help parents keep their kids occupied.