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Parents' Guide to

Happy Camper Live

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

More interactivity and content would increase campers' joy.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this website.

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This subscription-based site offers videos filmed in a summer camp setting for kids who are interested in topics such as photography, sports, cooking, music, crafts, and magic. In addition to the traditional topics you might expect at a summer camp, Happy Camper Live also features a few specialty subjects, such as drones and robotics. Kids can see a camp counselor explain how to spike the ball in a sand volleyball camp video, for instance, or learn how to paint a sunset. Users can watch and save any of the items on the site to a list to view later. The video production is generally good quality. Clips include introductions and music, and a text version is available in case kids want to read a transcript before or after they watch. The site creators have even included some items to try to replicate the in-person camp experience. Kids can learn classic camp cheers and clapping games and see a 360-degree visual of a real-world camp. A Campfire page also gives kids a chance to showcase their talents and see other campers' skills by sending and viewing videos.

Since the content mostly involves videos, though, the activities aren't too interactive. The outdoor adventure section, for instance, centers more on camping tips, such as showing how to tie different types of knots, than on actual activities kids can participate in while watching. Other videos end with a vague call to action, like "be creative," but without any suggested tasks. Three of the music-related videos involve specific instruments, and the drone videos center on how to use the technology, which may only be of interest to kids who own a device. In addition, the content isn't too robust, with only two or three videos for a range of topics. As a result, kids will likely dabble in subjects, rather than learn about any one topic in-depth. But the site recently started offering several live events per day, which kids can view after they air, so this may be more significant in the future. Even now, since the monthly subscription cost is comparatively low, parents may feel there's enough to make Happy Camper Live a solid option for kids who can't physically attend a camp.

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