Virtual Camp

Another 20 Virtual Camp Ideas

This is Part 3 of a 5-part series. Check out the other posts in the series.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5

Kahoot!

Kahoot! is a gamified educational platform. The games (or “Kahoots”) are multiple-choice quizzes that can be accessed via a web browser or the Kahoot! app. They have pre-made quizzes or you can create your own. While this is designed for learning (schools, employee training, etc.) it can also be used just for fun.

Setting up a fun end-of-activity quiz on Kahoot! would be a great addition to any educational program you offer, from science to nature to cooking. 

It would also be a fun addition to a general camp session as a simple trivia game by creating quizzes full of general questions, movie questions, Disney questions, etc.

Click here to view a video on how to run a game using Zoom.

Karaoke

Here’s a fun activity to do with your teens. Using Zoom and a free app called Watch2Gether, you can hold a karaoke session. According to this article, “(Watch2Gether) is a free social video website that allows you to watch videos and other content in sync with others. This way, everybody in your karaoke group can watch the same YouTube or Vimeo lyric videos at the same time.” Check out the article for a basic tutorial on how to run virtual karaoke.

Hangman 

Hangman is a classic schoolroom game, you know, where the kids have to call out letters one at a time to try and guess a word or phrase that the teacher has in mind. Too many wrong guesses of letters and the game is over, the man is hung. Well, this is an easy visual game to play virtually.

While everyone knows this game as Hangman, the idea of a man hanging from a rope is a bit dark. Consider Gretchen Reeson’s twist – Make a Pizza. She writes, “We don’t “hangmen”. We make a pizza with 8 slices and add toppings to each slice. Instead of a body part getting “hung” we add a topping to a slice of pizza. Once all pieces have toppings the game is done.  You are also asking kids – what do you like on your pizza?”

Show and Tell

People, especially kids, love to share things about themselves. Most of us really enjoyed Show and Tell during elementary school, bringing in items that mean something to us. This is a perfect virtual activity. I suggest themed Show and Tell activities.

  • Show and Tell us about your pet
  • Show and Tell us about your favorite toy
  • Show and Tell us about your room
  • Show and Tell us about your family
  • Show and Tell us about something you made

Act Out Short Stories Written by Your Campers

Go over the principles of storytelling and then have your virtual campers write their own short story. You can also do this as a collaborative effort where everyone in the group helps to create one story at a time. Then have your staff act it out. Or you can read the story or stories using different voices. If you go with the voices, try a few out for each character and have the kids decide which ones you should use.

If you really want to get into the storytelling side of this, introduce the kids to The Hero’s Journey as a template for their stories.

Teach Life Skills 

Teach your virtual campers some skills they may not know. Sure, they can find YouTube tutorials, but they won’t have that live interaction to guide them, answer questions, and correct any mistakes. The skills you choose will depend on the age. Title your activity/class 15 Skills Every (6-7 Year Old, Middle Schooler, etc.) Should Know.

Skills can include:

  • How to whistle
  • How to tie shoelaces
  • How to throw a Frisbee
  • How to do laundry
  • How to fold clothes
  • How to sew
  • How to plunge a toilet
  • How to give criticism
  • How to communicate effectively
  • How to use certain kitchen gadgets
  • How to cook
  • How to use tools
  • How to wrap a gift
  • How to fix a bike
  • How to shuffle cards

Staff Competitions

One thing I have learned is that campers enjoy watching camp staff compete against each other. I guess it makes sense since people all over the world love to be spectators, watching sports, reality shows, games shows, etc. 

If you have a couple of year-round staff at camp, set up competitions between them. Your virtual campers can root for them in the chat, make predictions about who will win, give staff words of encouragement, and even choose a winner for competitions that need judging. Here are some ideas for competitions.

  • Archery
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Basketball
  • Disc Golf
  • Acting
  • Dancing
  • Impersonations
  • Telling Jokes
  • Board Games

Blanket Forts

As a kid, one of my favorite things to do was set out the dining table chairs and throw blankets over it to create a fort. My mom allowed it as long as I put everything back before dinner. After all, my forts always blocked the TV in our small apartment, so leaving them up was not an option.

Host a blanket fort party. Have kids and staff show off their fort. Have a fort interior design class. You could also have a backyard tent party (indoor tents are ok, too).

Pictionary

Using the annotation tools in Zoom you can draw pictures on the screen or whiteboard and have the kids guess what you’re drawing. The first to shout it out or write it in the chat gets a point. You can also just have your own whiteboard or paper on an easel and draw the picture in your office or room.

If you’re really brave, you can give your kids access to the annotations in Zoom and have them draw.

Charades

Here’s a fun and easy game to play virtually. Private message one of the kids to act out the title of a specific movie, TV show, job, animal or whatever. The first person to guess it correctly gets to act out the next one. 

Alternatively, YOU can act out all the words. The first kid to guess each word receives points. At camp, I’ve had kids who didn’t want to get up and act anything out, so they would never make a guess during charades. If the staff person does all the acting then those kids who are a little more shy are more likely to participate in the guessing part.

Another fun way to play charades is to have one person guess while everyone else acts out the word or title. Just have the one person turn their back while you show the word or title to everyone else. When the person turns back around everyone starts acting. I suggest you mute all their mics for this.

Count to 10

This is a time-filler game that my campers always enjoyed.

Everyone’s camera is on screen and the mics are unmuted. The group must count to 10 without talking over each other. Usually, that happens when two or more people say the same number. The group cannot plan a strategy and nobody can say two numbers in a row. If you haven’t played this one it sounds pretty each. It’s not. It’s rather difficult. If you have a super-group that can do this, see if they can count to 20.

Animal Show

If you have animals at your camp, show them to the campers and give them some fun facts about each one. You could have the kids ask questions in the chat or on video about the animals, as well. If you have kids of your own on site, have them handle the animals as you talk about them.

Special Guests

Having special guests like magicians, animal handlers, youth speakers, comedy acts, etc. are great for a virtual camp. Plus, you won’t have to pay for their accommodations or travel.

CIT Leadership

Depending on how you run your CIT program, a lot of it can probably be virtual.

  • Leadership Training
  • Babysitting Techniques
  • Planning Special Events
  • Virtual Team Building

PARENTS AND CAMPERS

Including parents in your virtual camp offerings can be a great addition to the overall program. You can have parents participate in most of the activities suggested in these posts so far. Below are some additional parent/child suggestions for activities. Really, any of the activities below can be used for any parent/child combo, but the idea I want to get across is to have separate activities for one parent and one or two children.

Mother/Daughter

  • Crafting
  • Nail Art
  • Cooking
  • Yoga

Mother/Son

  • Puppet Show
  • Plant Something
  • Fort Building
  • Design an Act for a Talent Show

Father/Daughter

  • Learn to Dance
  • Science Project
  • Build a Robot
  • Paint

Father/Son

  • Wood or Leather Project
  • Model Rockets 
  • BBQ
  • Lego Building

Paper Airplanes

There are a number of ways to make a paper airplane. Teach your virtual campers four or five different ways and then watch as they attempt to fly them. Give them time to decorate their airplanes, as well.

GooseChase

Design a goose chase at GooseChase.com or GooseChase EDU. This is a scavenger hunt app where individuals or teams are tasked to complete challenges or find things. Once they do, they take a picture (or video) with their phone and go on to the next item or challenge.

While this is an app that was designed to have teams run around town as part of a city-wide scavenger hunt, it has evolved into much more. Today teachers are using it to engage their students. 

One way to use this as part of your virtual camp is to create a list of tasks and have your campers complete them and submit their photos and videos as proof. They receive points for all of them that they can accomplish. You can give them any time limit you want (i.e. an hour or a week) to complete as many tasks as they can. Here are some ideas. They have to take a photo or video of each one as proof.

  • Build a 3-foot tower using Legos or blocks. (photo)
  • Find a live insect. (photo)
  • Make a pirate hat and wear it. (photo)
  • Get a picture of an adult with mustard on their face. (photo)
  • Draw a self-portrait. (photo)
  • Make slime. (photo)
  • Take a picture of your favorite book. (photo)
  • Get a picture of an adult dabbing (photo)
  • Show us your favorite dance. (video)
  • Act out a scene from a Disney movie. (video)
  • Record yourself or someone else that can juggle 3 or more objects. (video)

__________

2 Comments

  • Great information! However, your mother/daughter, father/son etc stuff should really just be guardian/child. Each family is different and will know what the caregivers’ skills are, and what the children’s interests are. I know you have your “disclaimer” that it could be any parent/child combo, but why even feel the need to break it out like that with stereotypical activities assigned to different genders?

    • I used to work at a recreation department where we had family events and also separate events for Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, Mother/Daughter, and Father/Son. Grandparents or aunts and uncles could go instead of a parent even though they weren’t the caretakers. The discussion of offering general guardian/child events instead of gendered events was brought up by our director at the time. The idea was quickly shot down by parents in our community, even by those families that had two dads or two moms. We also surveyed them on what sort of events they wanted and they were all stereotypical ideas like I listed. Chloe, I see you are with the Girl Scouts. Gender inequality and differences are very prevalent in scout programs. The Girl Scouts have lots of pink badges, while the Boy Scouts have none. The Girls Scouts do not allow boys to join and, from what I can tell, don’t allow men to lead the troops without having a female leader with them. The Boy Scouts are a bit more progressive as they now allow girls to join and women to lead with no restrictions. The Girl Scouts have babysitting and social butterfly badges that you won’t see in the Boy Scouts. My point is that, while I agree with you that those parents who identify as female may be into things that I listed in the “father” event category and vice versa, it seems to me most families want events where one parent or guardian can have a special outing with their child away from the rest of the family and do so with other similar parents/guardians who identify as the same gender. As for the stereotypical activities I chose to list, right now, there are more dads that are into things like model rockets than moms and more moms into activities like nail art than dads. As a business, which most camps are, it’s always best to create events for your audience, whoever they may be.

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