We’re in those final weeks of school before summer break, which means my kids and I need to figure out how they’re going to occupy themselves and keep their brains and hands active. Turns out I’m getting some great ideas from the online camps at DIY.org.

While we were all a little skeptical about the idea of camp that doesn’t actually get kids outside doing, you know, camp stuff, maybe you want to reframe this more like awesome four-week courses that can help fill in the days.

Four-week sessions focus on a topic like filmmaking, comic books, toy hacks, and Minecraft. Using the iOS app, kids can view video instructions and challenges that are posted by their counselor, post their own creations, and interact with other kids for feedback and fun. Plus they can work on their own time, so it might be a cool option after the kids get home from actual camp or other activities, and could use a little downtime on the computer with the A/C blasting.

Related: Maker Camp and App Camp for Girls: 2 summer camps to keep kids’ minds active.

My 10 year-old joined the Minecraft Adventure camp, and she is definitely getting a kick out of it. Her counselor is hilarious, and he’s been great at engaging the kids and responding to their questions and concerns. There’s always something new to greet her on the app each day, which means I never once hear I’m bored — two words every parent dreads.

Each session of camp is $39, but you can try your first camp for only $10, which I think is pretty awesome, considering how great our experience has been so far. The DIY app is free, but it does require iOS 8.1 or higher. That means unfortunately it’s not an option for Android users.

Zine camp and other four-week online

 

DIY galaxy shoes project | free tutorial online

Online camp on DIY.org

 

Regardless of whether an extended DIY camp will work for you, check out the DIY.org website for so many cool free activities and crafts with a STEM bent, like making R2D2 out of perler beads, or decorating your own galaxy shoes. The fun user-uploaded challenges may require materials, but are likely things you have around the house.

I love getting an email each time my daughter finishes a DIY challenge and earns an “experience badge.” In fact, those are the best emails I get all day. And way better than a notification that your kid wants to buy yet another mindless gaming app.

Explore DIY.org and sign up for a 4-week online camp through an iOS app. Most new camp sessions start on Friday, and your first camp is only $10. Also check out other cool free activities for kids on the site. 

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