Virtual camp brings a world of learning to kids in their own homes!
This summer, Google and Make: are offering hands-on kids and teens an alternative to the traditional summer camp. Instead of following the typical camp structure that involves trails in the woods, friendship bracelet crafts, and canoe lessons, Maker Camp is totally web-based, and engages kids in creative and educational DIY activities in their own homes – and best of all, it’s completely free!
Offering six weeks worth of programming, the 2015 Maker Camp is filled with activities and virtual field trips that match the interests and abilities of an incredibly wide range of learners. Held on weekdays from July 6th-August 14th, Maker Camp offers a new theme each week and, in addition to daily project tutorials, each week’s theme includes a virtual field trip or two. Check the Maker Camp schedule for these weekly themes.
Whether or not kids are able to complete the activities included in each theme’s days of programming, they’re sure to enjoy learning about these fascinating places (filled with their own specific kind of makers) and the things that people do at each one. Each of the places visited in a field trip chronicles the work of people who utilize their creativity in order to problem solve and to produce new ideas, tools, and products, and Maker Camp uses creativity and DIY skills as a lens through which to explore the making of all sorts of things that may not appear to require creativity at first glance.
In order to participate in Maker Camp, young makers must sign up using a Google ID. Kids have to be at least thirteen years old in order to sign up for a Google+ account; however, younger children are welcomed to participate in Maker Camp so long as they sign up using a family Google+ ID – while they cannot have their own account, it is acceptable to share one with parents. Each day of camp programming is broadcast online at 2pm (Eastern Time), and field trips will take place on Fridays, after participants have explored a theme for a few days prior to the trip.
Maker Camp is a fantastic resource for learning not only because it is free and fairly easy to access, but because it allows children to choose when and how they participate, helping them to develop their ability to pursue their own individual interests. For example, a child interested in circuitry may choose to join in on a few days of Makers Camp that involve tinkering with basic electronics, and could then use the skills learned from Makers Camp as a foundation upon which to build further skills and knowledge. For any of the topics included in the camp schedule, campers may pick and choose based on their interests – thus allowing them lots of opportunity for choice, autonomy, and self-direction.