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Summer Activities for Kids Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing During COVID-19

This will be a summer to remember. Family trips and summer camps have been cancelled due to COVID-19. When it’s hot outside and school’s not in session, how will the kids stay occupied?

Written By: Lisa A. Goldstein

This will be a summer to remember. Family trips and summer camps have been cancelled due to COVID-19. When it’s hot outside and school’s not in session, how will the kids stay occupied?

The good news is there are lots of options, and they’re accessible for kids who are deaf and hard of hearing!


There are actually three camps for kids with hearing loss this summer, though they’re operating a little bit differently.

OYO Camp: July 27-31, Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 or 4:00 p.m.

If you live in Ohio, this camp for kids who are deaf and hard of hearing will be mostly online with some in-person activities. As the website states, “It’ll be a cool mix of big group sessions, small group meet-ups, and activities to do at home by yourself, with your siblings, or with your family! We’ll have different activities, such as outdoor skills, environmental education, and staff will share and teach their favorite skills! We will also have surprise guests and more!”

Cue Camp New England – Home Edition: July 19-August 8, three class time options

All virtual, this camp provides an introduction to Cued American English and a chance to work on cued speech skills. If you have questions, contact

Crew at the Zoo: Ages 5-8, July 6-9, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

The University of Texas Speech and Hearing Center is offering a virtual camp experience for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Led by audiology graduate students supervised by a licensed audiologist, language enrichment activities will be provided over Zoom. For more information, email


Theoretically, now that school’s out, there’s plenty of time to read for pleasure. But it can sometimes be hard to get your kids to pick up a book – even if they’re readers.  Here are some reading programs that might motivate them:

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading for Kids: Grades 1-6

This program has three easy steps: “Read any eight books this summer and record them in this Summer Reading Journal. Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between July 1 and August 31. Choose your free reading adventure [from the list].”

Camp BOOK IT!:

The first camp version of BOOK IT!, parents can track and reward their kids’ reading for June, July, and August on a digital dashboard. When they meet their monthly reading goal, they’ll receive a free Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut. To keep the fun going throughout the summer, fun activities and book recommendations will be shared weekly.

Half Price Books: Preschool to teens

The summer reading program, called “Feed your brain” has gone virtual. The website encourages kids to check out the “brand new reading logs, printable coloring sheets, online story times, and mystery book recommendations.” It also tells kids to “stay tuned for details about social giveaways!”

Start with a Book: A one-stop shop for book ideas and other learning resources by Reading Rockets, a national multimedia project.

Creative Options

Now’s the time to try new things, explore interests, and just have fun! Check out these options, which will nurture your child’s creativity:

Camp PBS Kids: Ages 2-8

This website has a daily newsletter for parents, and fun options for kids including a summer bucket list, summer activity book, and a summer reading chart. Favorite PBS Kids characters make appearances.

Home Depot: The kids’ page on the Home Depot website has projects and activities for kids. Difficulty levels are listed, along with how long each project will take.

Kindermusik: This music-based education program is for children from birth to age seven. Classes involve music paired with movement and instrument play. There are themed weekly kits that come with a craft, song, and parenting tips. These classes are held in person, but because of the pandemic, many studios are moving to a digital class format. See if yours is!

Maker Camp: This is a great site for DIY crafts. Each project has pictures and detailed written instructions.

Online Art Classes: This site is run by an experienced parent and art teacher. She believes that art class should be fun, easy, and meaningful. Not only does she have a free resource library, but she has free online art classes with written instructions, pictures, and captioned video tutorials.


Don’t we all wish we could swim all day to beat the heat? Maybe doing it virtually is the next best thing.

Great Lakes Aquarium Summer Camp in a Box: Kindergarten – 5th grade

Even though this aquarium is in Duluth, Minnesota, kids can have a one-week virtual experience. This Summer Camp in a Box will be delivered to your house, with pre-packaged activity kits for each day of the week. Camp includes online access to a pre-recorded video to kick off each morning. According to the site, this includes interviews with animal care staff and demonstrations of science experiments. Each afternoon there’s a live virtual camp session via Zoom, where campers can engage with staff and each other to play games and show the results of that day’s work.

Emily Wartman, assistant director of learning, says that all pre-recorded videos are edited for high-quality captions and played through a YouTube channel. Regarding the live sessions, she says, “We are more than happy to provide closed captioning services upon request. Please register a few weeks in advance of the camp of your choice to ensure that we are able to secure a closed captioning service for that week! You will find a field on the registration form to indicate the request.”

National Aquarium: The Baltimore aquarium needs your help to find Oscar’s stolen Oscar. In the process, kids will learn about sea creatures and get a virtual tour of the aquarium.


Technology skills are a hot commodity. Here are a couple of free options to get a leg up:

Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy: Ages 9-18

These courses are designed to be accessible. The material has been real-world tested and provide step-by-step written instructions. As the website says, “Use your phone to practice new photography skills, create videogames and websites using free software, and learn to write in the secret language of computers!”

Code with Google: Age 12 and up

Google’s research with Gallup shows that many students aren’t getting the computer science education they need. These step-by-step videos have captions and will help bridge the gap.

 Escaping – Virtually

 The escape room industry is booming, even during the pandemic. If you Google “online escape rooms,” there are lots of options, but be sure to check about live hosts and how communication occurs. Here are some free options in the meantime:

Hogwarts Digital Escape Room: Harry Potter themed escape room – that’s all you have to say!

Minecraft Escape Room: This one combines another popular activity.

Two player puzzle game


Other Tips

Your local library is an excellent resource; many offer summer programs. You can also travel from the comfort of your couch – Google “virtual tours.” Googling “scavenger hunts” will also yield great results.

While this summer may not have been what you envisioned, at least there are options. And ice cream. Don’t forget the ice cream!

For additional information and resources, please visit

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