Disclosure: LCFPD is a paid advertising partner with Little Lake County.
While campers can’t meet in the preserves this summer, kids can still learn about local nature and history. All six Lake County Forest Preserves Virtual Summer Camps offer a fun educational experience presented by LCFPD’s professional nature and history educators. Some camps will feature a self-guided outdoor adventure component that families can do together. Let’s take a look at what they are offering this summer and answer some frequently asked questions.
Experiencing a Lake County Forest Preserves virtual summer camp is online time well-spent. Every day at (virtual) camp is different from the last, offering a balanced learning experience focused on nature and history.
These themes are strongly tied into the place many of our campers call home: Lake County.
This year’s camp opportunities follow a totally new format. But whether learning virtually indoors with LCFPD educators, or outdoors on their own, campers can still explore some of the most beautiful natural areas in the region, hear about Lake County’s rich history, and discover what prehistoric times were like when dinosaurs roamed our area.
Parents and guardians consistently say that LCFPD camps help foster a love of and curiosity for nature and history in their children.
LCFPD answers some of the questions parents have about this new camp format:
There are so many virtual options available, how is LCFPD different?
We understand that many virtual e-learning options exist for parents and guardians. They should sign up for a Forest Preserves camp because our content focuses closely on Lake County’s nature and history. A camper may learn about the feathers on a species of bird one day in Animal Attire Camp, then notice that bird in their neighborhood the next. Or a camper may discover facts about a dinosaur that once called Lake County home during Prehistoric Lake County Camp, then use their imagination to picture what its habitat might have looked like.
We have been e-learning since March, why should we consider doing more online learning with a virtual camp?
We know parents and kids have been coordinating or participating in e-learning for months. However, we think they should consider registering for a virtual camp for the same reason as an in-person camp during a typical year.
Our camps offer a different, more informal learning environment that encourages curiosity, creativity, and social skill development during summertime when school-based instruction is paused. There may be no grades or exams, but there is still good, practical education in knowledge and skills that campers can instantly apply in their communities.
Additionally, while they won’t be held in the preserves this year, multiple camps will also still incorporate outdoor and/or off-screen components, so not all content will be screen-based.
For those families who have already experienced camp with us and are returning this year, it also provides a sense of normalcy and stability.
Will there be off-screen or outside components as part of the virtual camp experience?
Yes, all nature camps include outdoor, off-screen components that families can experience together. History camps also contain off-screen activities.
If there are hands-on activities as part of the experience will the forest preserves be providing supply kits?
We are still finalizing these plans, but certain camps may provide supply kits and mail them to campers’ homes for select hands-on activities.
An integral part of the camp experience is interacting with other campers and making friends. Will there be interactive opportunities in the virtual experience?
Certainly! We know firsthand that conversation and interaction between campers is a huge component of a successful, enjoyable camp. Each live session will allow campers to not only engage with an educator but also talk with and learn from each other. For example, a camper might know a great way to bait a hook and can share that directly with other campers in Fishing Camp 1.
How involved do parents need to be in the virtual camp?
Younger campers may need adult supervision or assistance, primarily to set up a Zoom account and follow a link to each live presentation. We encourage those parents or guardians who are able to be in the room with younger campers to do so, but there is no need to be directly involved in participation. Older children should be able to join and participate on their own. Off-screen and outdoor activities may need adult caregiver involvement.
How long is the camp day?
Depending on the age range, live virtual camp sessions with our educators run 30-60 minutes on weekdays. Camp sessions geared toward younger ages are shorter than those geared toward older ages.
What is your student/instructor ratio?
The student-to-instructor ratio for all virtual camps is 10:1. One educator will lead the live session and another educator will provide technical support.
What system will you be using for the virtual camps and how can you ensure it’s secure and safe for children?
We understand that parents and guardians are concerned about safety and security online. All live virtual camp sessions will take place in password-protected Zoom meetings. Links to join each meeting will be shared only with registered campers and their caregivers.
Lake County Forest Preserves are offering several different camps to fit whatever interests your child. A great nature-themed option is Animal Attire Camp. Each day, campers interact virtually with an educator for 30-45 minutes and learn how fur, feathers, fins, scales, and skin all help animals live in the wild. Content varies from themed activities to virtually “meeting” live animals and discovering how well-adapted animal coverings are for survival. Digital resources and crafts will also be shared. Available for ages 6-7.
Dinosaur-loving kids will enjoy Prehistoric Lake County Camp. Campers become young paleontologists and uncover the past from the Paleozoic Era to the Ice Age, discovering the diversity of plants and animals from tiny trilobites to mega mastodons. Each day, there will be an hour of virtual instruction and engagement with a museum educator. Extra videos, at-home crafts such as creating a dinosaur, and activities such as cookie excavation will be sent to each camper. Available for ages 8-9.
Learn more and register for Lake County Forest Preserve Summer Camps
Disclosure: Lake County Forest Preserves is a Little Lake County paid advertising partner. They provided us with the information needed to write the story. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If you are interested in having your business featured please contact us.