Happy Campers

5 virtual and in-person camps to keep Houston kids occupied this summer

5 virtual and in-person camps for Houston kids this summer

Little boys playing with clay
MECA Houston's Sunburst Arts Camp includes both in-person projects and virtual trips. Photo courtesy of MECA Houston

Some people are comfortable returning to semi-normal daily life in Houston 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 — mostly online, but also one that's in-person — so parents and caregivers can get a much-deserved break now that school's out.

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 Galveston Bay Foundation
Study Texas' impressive marine life with the interactive Camp at Home sessions, which run throughout June and July. The four-day sessions are exclusively available to students in the Greater Houston-Galveston area, because the $100 cost includes delivery of the $50 Camper Kit with all the materials needed to get truly hands-on. Classes are divided into ages 9-12 and 13-18, ensuring students are learning at their age level. Registration open until June 12, for sessions running June 22-26, July 6-10, and July 13-17. More information and registration can be found here.

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
Children ages 4-12, grouped in classes by age, can explore everything from arachnids to the wonders of water in these five themed camps. Kids can watch pre-recorded video lessons from Arboretum naturalists, do hands-on crafts and experiments, participate in family-friendly outdoor activities, and take part in mindfulness moments to encourage reflection on each day's theme. The virtual camps run June 8-August 7, at a beginning cost of $125 per child (member rates are available). More information and registration can be found here.

In-person option

Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts (MECA) Houston & MECA at Talento Bilingue de Houston (TBH) Center
MECA's Sunburst Arts Summer Camp is an eight-week course that provides youth (kindergarten through ninth grade) with broad arts exposure through virtual trips to the theater and museums, opportunities to meet professionals in engineering and the arts, and a virtual performance as the finale. To follow safety precautions, staff will be screening children each morning, limiting the number of children per class, and all kids will be practicing social distancing while wearing face masks at all times, having lunch in individual classrooms, and practicing hand hygiene throughout the day.

The summer camps run June 8-July 31, Monday-Friday from 8:30 am-5:30 pm. The cost contains a $30 registration fee, followed by a weekly fee on a sliding scale depending on family household income. More information and registration can be found here.