Parts and Crafts Online April Camp!

Online April Camp Spring 2020

Usually we offer vacation week camps at our makerspace in Somerville Massachusetts. Our programs are choice-based – we offer a bunch of activities and kids can choose from among them or do their own thing. Camp is a busy, exciting place full of electronics projects, costumes, loud games, boffer sword battles, art, computer programming, woodworking and projects that defy description.

An unfortunate side effect of the social distancing measures due to COVID-19 is that we cannot hold our April Vacation Week camp in our space. So we’ve decided to do camp online! One advantage to this is that, for the first time ever, your kid doesn’t need to be anywhere near Somerville to join us!

Parts and Crafts is a 501(3)c, member-supported makerspace and the COVID-19 crisis has cast some uncertainty over our financial future. We’re holding on the best we can and exploring the various funding opportunities for organizations like ours as they arise. But we will suffer a substantial loss of income because of these closures. We’ve tried to price this offering as reasonably as possible, and limited scholarship slots are available. However in order to meet our community on the other side of this crisis, we need to be able to keep paying our staff and the bills associated with our organization until we’re able to open again. If you’d like to support our organization without registering for our programs, you can donate to this fundraiser here.

How It Works

Online April Camp will take place from Monday April 20th through Friday April 24th.  Camp runs from 10am to 3pm with a break for lunch between noon and 1pm.

We’ll start the morning and afternoon session with a group meeting.  We’ll offer a selection of activities (art, science, tech, games, etc.) and kids can choose which activity they want to join.  Kids can drop out of an activity and join another at any time. Certain select activities may have limits on numbers of participants, but most activities will be open to all.


Online April Camp costs $100 for the full week or $25 for a one-day drop in pass. The full week option allows your child to come to any activity offered during our April Vacation Online Camp.  The one-day drop in pass allows you to attend any activities on any one day of April Vacation Online Camp. Please register each child in a family individually.

Many parents have generously continued to pay us for our school year programs (afterschool and the Center for Semi-Conducted learning) in spite of our required closure.  We are incredibly grateful for this as it enables us to keep paying our staff and bills during the social distancing period.

If you are already paying us for one of those two programs, you are not required to pay us for April camp.  You can use the code PAIDAFTERSCHOOL if you are a paying regular afterschool attendee or PAIDCSCL if you are a paying CSCL attendee at check out.  You are certainly welcome to pay us however – just don’t use the code at checkout.

If you have already paid for April Camp and have decided not to ask for a refund, you can use the code PAIDAPRILCAMP.    

We really appreciate all the support!

If your family is suffering financial hardship and you would like to request a scholarship for April Vacation Online Camp, please email with the subject line: APRIL CAMP SCHOLARSHIP REQUEST.

Technology Requirements

In order to attend Online April Camp your child must have access to a device that is connected to the internet and a Zoom account.  You can sign up for a free Zoom account here.

What sorts of things do you have planned?

Obviously there are some projects that are hard to do via distance learning.  We’ve put together a list of activities that we think can bring Parts and Crafts camp to kids through video conferencing.  The final schedule will be emailed to parents before camp begins and in an updated email each morning, with links to activity meeting locations.

Here’s a selection of what we have in mind (subject to change.)

Recycling Bin Treasure Chest w/ Mike

 What’s in your recycling bin? Cereal Boxes, egg crates, plastic containers and scrap cardboard pieces from your own recycling bin are waiting to be created into model spacecraft, games and more. I will show you some tricks and tips for turning everyday recycled materials into something new and fun.

Parts & Crafts Art & Creative Writing Magazine w/ Nova

We’re going to make an April Camp Parts & Crafts magazine to spotlight any paintings, drawings, doodles, pictures, comics, stories, poems, silliness, seriousness… that you make this week! We’ll meet once on Monday to come up with a name and make a few pieces to be included. Submissions can be any art or writing made for any class or any funtimes.

Puppetry w/ Lorraine’

Create your own puppets using paper bags, recycled materials, paper, scissors, glue and craft items. We will work together to create a film about the adventures of our characters! It would be cool to share our film with other campers at the end of the week!

Scratch Programming with Dina

Learn now to use MIT’s kid-friendly programming language to design your own animations and games.

Drawing and Cartooning

What is cartooning? Exaggeration and simplification, … but mostly it’s just fun! We will test out these ideas as we create our own characters. With a few drawing prompts to help generate ideas, we will explore expression, line and color. What wacky, silly or strange characters will you make? 

Podcasting w/ Cora: Now more than ever, people are looking for things to entertain them at home, so let’s make a podcast our families and friends can enjoy! Over the course of a few sessions, we will record a podcast about whatever we choose. We can make it as silly or serious as we want. This workshop will be broken in 2 sessions with a 3rd optional session. First we’ll map out what we want our podcast to be about, write a few segments, and prepare interviews. In the second section, we’ll work on recording content. Finally, I’ll teach anyone who’s interested how to use the free open source sound editing software, Audacity, to produce the podcast. By the end we’ll have a complete podcast that we’ll play a portion of for everyone at Friday’s talent/no talent Very Hard Work Show. 

Baking Science!!! w/ Lorraine

Be your own baking show!! No seriously, we are going to bake online together. Through measuring, mixing and a little bit of science, we will brave the culinary escapades of baking granola. We will look at what happens to different types of sugars in the process of baking. Once we have the main ingredients in, you can choose your own adventure with additions to create your unique take on granola!

Intro to Java Processing with Dina

Learn how to program your own interactive graphics with this intuitive computer programming language.  Beginners welcome, but kids should be able to read, type and perform basic keyboard shortcuts (ie. cut and paste, etc.)

Magic the Gathering! W/ Kelly

Magic the Gathering is a card game that requires each player to already have a deck. It is officially recommended for kids 13+ but we have always played with anyone who wants to learn. It is a game where players try to “kill” each other and their creatures, and requires a lot of reading, math, and strategy. It’s super popular at Parts & Crafts, and we’ve been playing online for a few weeks now.  Both beginner and advanced playing opportunities will be offered.

Cooperative “text adventures” RPG w/ Seth

Can you imagine a time before computers had running, jumping, flying, exploding mind-blowing graphics? Can you imagine a time when computers had NO graphics? This silly RPG system takes us back to a time when players went on interactive adventures communicated completely by text. Computer programs (called parsers) displayed text descriptions of fantastic locations and dangerous situations and wait for players to type in very specific instructions — GO EAST. EXAMINE LAMP. Frustrating parsers often returned <<SYNTAX ERRORS>> and lines like DOES NOT COMPUTE or YOU GO TO DRAW YOUR SWORD, BUT DON’T HAVE ANY PAPER. Seth will act as a frustrating parser to lead the group through adventures like FLAMING GOAT, ACTION CASTLE, PUMPKIN TOWN, SPACE STATION, SPOOKY MANOR and JUNGLE ADVENTURE.


We are making a new world and want you to be part of it! Come play Minecraft with us; plant a garden, build a tower or secret base, explore jungles and deserts, tame an ocelot, find villages or build a portal. We will be getting to know each other as we work alongside other players in open ended style play. What can you make? The sky’s the limit!

The game will require Minecraft Java Edition. (Set up instructions will follow.)

Village w/ Cora

 A Parts & Crafts favorite, now online! A bit like the game Mafia, each player is assigned a role. The villagers try and figure out who the werewolf is before the werewolf eats them! Village requires no prior experience and is a semi-cooperative game. Learn just a few simple ground rules and then dive right in. There must be at least 8 players, and the online version will be capped at 16 per game, but we’ll run multiple sessions.