A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Created by two spouses who have operated a summer camp for 20 years, so functions as a virtual summer camp. Offers dozens of video-based activities listed under Create, Discover, Play, and Inspire headings. Kids can attend painting, robotics, basketball, other camps, and get golf tips or learn magic or tap dancing. Some streamed live. Kids can also watch a PG-rated web series about eight teens in summer camp. Kids can also submit videos showcasing their skills.
Kids are encouraged to try to learn about new things.
Products & Purchases
Site has a $4.99 monthly subscription, or $11.99 for a three-month subscription. An online store sells branded gear, other items.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Happy Camper Live is a website designed around activities and events for kids. But access to the content isn't free: A site membership is $4.99 a month, or $11.99 for three months, although a free seven-day trial is available. The content covers a range of interests, including specific sports like tennis; playing musical instruments, such as a ukulele; and searchable in-person camps. There are some commercial elements: In addition to the subscription cost, branded and other gear is sold on the site, but kids won't see in-your-face ads or feel particularly pressured to buy them.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.