While my kids are enjoying the freedoms of summer immensely right now, I also want to make sure that their minds are staying active and avoiding the dreaded “brain drain” (it’s a real thing!).

In addition to getting them to read and spending time with activity books, I’ve found two amazing camps to keep kids’ minds sharp this summer–one of them virtual.


app camp for girls | cool mom tech

Check out the awesome App Camp for Girls in Portland, OR, where instead of soccer or tennis, it teaches girls how to develop apps so that more of them become future tech titans.


app camp for girls | cool mom tech

Started by Jean MacDonald, a prominent app developer herself and partner at Smile Software, App Camp for Girls is a great place for tech-minded girls from 12-14 to come together and bond over a shared love of code. Or at least develop one. And apparently, there are plenty of others who think it’s a good idea too, judging from the huge success of its IndieGogo campaign (which already raised more than double their targeted funding amount.)

While the camp is just starting out and is limited to Portland, you can submit information to organizers to hopefully get an App Camp going in your area. Because if there’s one thing we’re counting on in the future, it’s for the next generation of girls to make us proud in the tech world.



This is free virtual summer camp that lets kids and adults of all ages gather online to build cool DIY projects and learn about everything from science to music to arts.

Lego flash drive DIY project at Maker Camp on Cool Mom Tech

Each week, the camp features a different theme – this week is Fun & Games where some of the project examples are building a Lego USB flash and Repeat After Me memory game; next week’s theme is Art & Design where the tasks include building a Giant Art Spinner and something called Extreme LED Throwies. How fun!

Maker Camp Google+ Hangout at Cool Mom Tech

There are so many great things about this virtual camp, one of the coolest being the Google+ Hangout that occurs each day at 2PM (Eastern) featuring experts who explain the daily project at hand and what is needed to build it. Anyone can join the Hangout, ask questions and even share some of their Maker Camp creations with other participants, for a truly interactive camp experience–only from home.

Maker Camp DIY projects at Cool Mom Tech

You can check out the full schedule of Maker Camp themes and projects scheduled through the August 16 and also plan which particular projects you want to do so you can plan ahead and purchase materials.

Given the specifics of each project and what is needed, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do all the daily projects, but being able to hand-pick which ones you’ll do with your kids is a great way to get them involved and spend quality time with them too