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Alternative Summer Options

Gifted Resources

Each year, many families find themselves in a position where it’s suddenly summer and all their top-choice summer camps are full. With the added uncertainty around travel and COVID-related restrictions, it may be that your family is opting for nearby or online activities as well. This summer, we wanted to share some of our favorite online and local ideas for last minute summer enrichment for your family!

Online Camps, Activities, and Classes

Even before the pandemic, many companies have utilized virtual learning to create an accessible summer experience for students all over the country. If your student is looking for fun ideas or a little bit of structure to spark their creative side, try some of the following online camps and activities throughout the summer!

  • Camp Wonderopolis is a camp devoted to inspiring wonder and curiosity in the whole family.
  • Maker Camp is a free program from the people behind Make magazine.
  • Young Scholars Academy Online Camps is a virtual enrichment village that helps twice-exceptional students (Please note: this program is not associated with the Davidson Young Scholars program)
  • Brain Chase is a camp that based around academic challenges that has your child looking for real, buried treasure!
  • Start with a Book is a summer reading program that recommends books on many topics and pairs those books with fun activities.
  • and Marker Campus have plenty of projects to keep your child engaged all summer though it’s not a formal camp.

Many gifted families use summer as a time to explore academic enrichment or pursue new interests outside of school. During the school year, the academic, social, and extracurricular calendar may leave little time to try out Latin, pick up a new programming language, or engage with philosophy, but many great online organizations like the ones listed below offer the chance to do just that:

Don’t forget summer enrollment options through various online programs listed in our Online Program Comparison Charts:


Local Ideas to Explore Over Summer

If you are looking for an in-person camp or activity in your area, we would recommend using a searchable database like Activity Hero or to find options that meet your family’s needs.

Students can also utilize their local community or regional resources to help create a fulfilling summer calendar. Sometimes looking in your own backyard over the summer can open up new opportunities for the future. In the past, our Young Scholars have participated in a variety of local activities that have led them down exciting paths in science, civic engagement, and the arts. A few of these include:

  • Attend a national or state park guided tour to learn about natural history in your area
  • Ask a local museum for a behind the scenes tour to learn more about their collection and profession
  • Participate in your local library’s summer programs and reading groups
  • Volunteer for a nonprofit organization like a community garden or food bank to learn more about local issues and solutions
  • Attend a community class to learn a new skill like painting or stage design
  • Join the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, or other youth groups to meet new friends
  • Check out your city’s summer recreation calendar to get involved with local fairs, festivals, events, and more

Lastly, you can also find alternative ideas for summer activities for your gifted child through our Gifted Talent Development Guide  which includes resources like A Short Guide for Building an Independent Study Course , and our Long List of Educational Resources. Additional, you can read through Very Well Family’s ideas for alternative activities this summer.

We hope your family is off to a great summer!


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Please note, the Davidson Institute is a non-profit serving families with highly gifted children. We will not post comments that are considered soliciting, mention illicit topics, or share highly personal information.

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