More than 14 million kids and adults attend camp each year, according to the American Camp Association, but the Covid-19 pandemic has made the summer pastimes quite different in 2020.
With large, in-person gatherings still unsafe, online camps from home have become a temporary new norm. Brands have hopped on the trend—launching free, interactive programs with events and tutorials for activities ideal for quarantine and social distancing.
Here’s a look at how brands including The North Face, Amazon Handmade, Arm & Hammer and more are engaging kids, and their parents, this summer.
The North Face Summer Base Camp
The activewear and outdoor recreation brand is offering two free weeks of programming around local exploration and nature, with pre-recorded video tutorials featuring the brand’s athlete ambassadors.
The North Face partnered with agency Sid Lee to produce the experience, which global vp of marketing Steve Lesnard said is meant to bring an “explorer’s mindset” into consumers’ homes.
“Our goal with the Summer Base Camp experience is to provide education, access and inspiration to kids at a time when conventional exploration is on hold,” Lesnard said. “We wanted to continue celebrating the outdoors and provide fun activities for all kids that they can do anywhere—at home or in the backyard—that inspires them now, and also when outdoor exploration begins to safely broaden.”
Running through July 31 on The North Face website and YouTube channel, the program includes:
- A pinhole camera-making tutorial by climber and photographer Jimmy Chin, director of Oscar-winning documentary film Free Solo
- Climber Nina Williams on creating geometric designs with backyard items
- Climber Ashima Shiraishi’s tips for making trail-friendly snacks
- Map making with ultrarunner Coree Woltering
- Wilderness survival skills with climber Manoah Ainuu
- Ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, who will discuss her experience climbing Mt. Everest and teach campers how to build and pack for at-home base camps
Amazon Camp Handmade and Camp Prime
Now through August 15, the ecommerce giant’s craft products platform Amazon Handmade is hosting crafting workshops and panel discussions with featured makers including Live By Being, Rebeca Flott Arts, Rumi Sumaq, Banter & Bliss Candle Co. and Sheep Farm Felt.
On a custom landing page, the brand a curated a list of supplies to purchase with step-by-step activity guides to complement the video workshops, which include making a needle felt hedgehog and a floral salt soak. Participants can also watch panels and Q&As with makers on topics like building a small business.
“We wanted to bring elements of the summer camp experience to customers in a fun format that made sense for Amazon Handmade,” said Katie Harnetiaux, global head at Amazon Handmade. “The main objective is to offer customers a fun solution to interact with Amazon Handmade and participate in nostalgic crafts like flower painting, candle making, and more, all from the comfort of home. We’re hoping to inspire anyone seeking creativity and craft to learn from the best, our Makers.”
Amazon Handmade worked with Autumn Communications and Sound Investment Audio & Visual in two months to produce the experience.
Additionally, Amazon Prime partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of American to offer a camp experience with free and premium membership activities including science experiments and fire-less campfires.
Arm & Hammer Summer Camp
Beginning July 27, the baking soda brand is hosting a weeklong virtual camp with a series of videos on its YouTube channel. The videos will offer ideas and instructions for kid-friendly bakes, crafts and STEM experiments for kids to do alone or with their parents.
The camp activities are curated by the themes of surprising, colorful, reactions, discovery and creative expression, and each offer a downloadable activity sheet.