Happy Campers

7 in-person and virtual camps to keep Austin kids occupied this summer

7 in-person and virtual camps to keep Austin kids occupied this summer

Camp Paramount digital summer camp
The Paramount Theatre is offering two performing arts camps online. Courtesy photo

Some people are comfortable returning to semi-normal daily life in Austin while others prefer to continue staying home, but there is one thing everyone can agree on: the kids need to be entertained by someone else this summer.

So we've rounded up the available summer camps — both virtual and in-person — so parents and caregivers can get a much-deserved break now that school's out.

In-person options

City of Austin
Though most of the camps are either canceled or waitlisted, there are a handful still available at the Dove Springs, Pan Am, Delores Duffie, Gus Garcia, and Turner-Roberts rec center locations for both younger kids and teens.

YMCA of Austin
The Y opened seven Austin-area locations on June 1, and with it 14 summer camp locations in Travis and Hays counties beginning June 15. New applications are not currently being accepted, but you can find ongoing updates about the YMCA's summer camps here.

Online options

Andy Roddick Foundation
This eight-week virtual program is free and offers hands-on learning activities for students in kindergarten through fifth grade around an "Explore Your World" theme. Over the summer, students will explore space, earth, world travel, cultures and language, oceans, jungles, deserts, and animals through engaging videos and lesson plans. Designed by elementary school teachers, all activities are aligned to the Texas Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. ARF Summer at Home begins June 8 and continues through July 31, and you can register here.

Camp Gladiator CG Victory
The wildly popular workout has a nonprofit arm that does plan to open its in-person day and overnight camps in Texas starting in July, but before this happens the organizers decided to create CG Victory: Game Time as a June option for kids entering the third through eight grade nationwide. For $49 a week per family (a rate that does not increase per child), kids get a daily 90-minute session from Monday-Friday. Because it is live, kids will know their counselors and fellow campers and will have personal connections and relationships rather than just watching a video. More info and registration can be found here.

The Contemporary Austin
There are no on-site classes at the Art School through at least the end of June, but you can access more than 100 virtual tutorials online. Seriously, take a look at this all-encompassing list. Your kids can learn everything from jewelry making to botanical illustration, ceramics to 3-D modeling, cartooning to smartphone photography.

The Paramount Theatre
Two separate performing arts camps — Camp Paramount and Camp Story Wranglers — will be set up online in two-week, full-day sessions to keep campers engaged from 9 am-4 pm, Monday-Friday. Campers will participate in acting, singing and dancing, as well as theater tech and design classes. At the close of each camp, a final professionally edited video performance celebrating the campers' hard work will be created that can be shared with family and friends.

The camps will balance direct online instruction with off-screen work each day. After each scheduled lesson, campers will have the ability to ask questions and review content with teaching artists in a small group setting. Kids will also have time to get to know their fellow campers through the virtual camp community. Kids can register and apply for scholarships here.

Thinkery's new Do/Make/Create: STEAM Activity Pack is a flexible camp alternative for kiddos in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. These pre-packaged activity packs include a week's worth of age-appropriate STEAM activities — all supplies included — that can be done at home. The step-by-step instructions are available in English and Spanish, and you also get access to the Thinkery's online learning platform. The packs are offered from June 1-August 14, with an online unboxing session each Monday at 10 am introduce the activities and provide a layout of the week.