Educational and Fun Mini Camps and Book Recommendations for K-12 Kids

By Sylvan Learning


This summer you CAN “send” your child to virtual camp with our FREE, prerecorded online mini camps for kids in grades K-12! All our mini camps are led by Sylvan tutors, and they’re all educational AND fun!

The mini camps are so fun that our friends at Random House Children’s Books put together a list of book recommendations that complement the camp themes! So, your child can continue exploring and learning about topics he or she is interested in. (Yes!)

Sign in to Sylvan Nation to find the camps, then check out the book recommendations below. Happy “camping” and reading!

Psst … Sylvan Nation is FREE to join! (Seriously, no fees, ever.) Sign in to your account, or sign up, and gain access to tons of educational tips and resources.


Loved the Elementary School Math Camps? Check out these book recommendations!

  • THE TIMES MACHINE (Ages 7-10): Learn at home with help from The Wonder Years/Hallmark actress, math whiz and New York Times bestselling author Danica McKellar, using her acclaimed McKellar Math books! A revolutionary and FUN way for 2nd to 5th graders to memorize multiplication facts outside of the classroom is finally here!
  • A GRAIN OF RICE (Ages 8-12): This mathematical folktale tells the story of a clever farmer who outwits the Emperor of China and becomes the wealthiest man in the world–all starting with one grain of rice.
  • HOW MANY SEEDS IN A PUMPKIN (Ages 3-7): Kids, parents, teachers and booksellers LOVE pumpkins, and books about pumpkins are often bestsellers. In this playful, humorous and child-friendly classroom story, the students discover a new science fact about pumpkins, practice simple math facts and also learn that appearances are not always what they seem.


Can’t get enough of the Elementary School Writing Camps? Try these book recommendations!

  • POEM MOBILES (Ages 4-8): This paperback picture book features fresh, quirky poems by two picture-book poetry veterans which explore practically every kid’s favorite topic: CARS!
  • DRAGONS IN A BAG (Ages 8-12): The dragon’s out of the bag in this diverse, young urban fantasy from an award-winning author!
  • 16 WORDS (Ages 4-8): This simple nonfiction picture book about the beloved American poet, William Carlos Williams, is also about how being mindful can result in the creation of a great poem like “The Red Wheelbarrow,” which is only sixteen words long.
  • THE LAST 5TH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY (Ages 8-12): Fifth grade poets stand up to save their school


Want more Elementary School Reading Camps? Dig into these fun book recommendations!

  • CAN I BE YOUR DOG? (Ages 3-7): A heart-tugging dog adoption story told through letters–deeply sincere and almost desperate pleas for a forever home–from the dog, himself!
  • THE CAT IN THE HAT (Ages 3-7): Have a ball with Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat in this classic picture book … but don’t forget to clean up your mess!
  • THE BOY WHO LOVED WORDS (Ages 4-8): Here is a picture book sure to delight parents, teachers and librarians every bit as much as the children they are reading it to. In Selig (a.k.a. Wordsworth) Roni Schotter has created an outsider of a character who is in love with language. The adventure he embarks on, to find his place in the world, is richly, beautifully described and complemented by Giselle Potter’s wonderfully offbeat illustrations.


Ready for more Elementary School Educational Activities? Check out these book recommendations!

  • BREATHE LIKE A BEAR (Ages 4-8): A collection of 30 mindfulness meditations and exercises to help kids feel calm, focused and energized wherever they are.
  •  HAPPY (Ages 3-7): A perfect bedtime read, this picture book gently encourages children to explore the senses and discover their path to mindfulness.


Ready for more Middle School Camps? These book recommendations are sure to please!

  • FIND YOUR RAINBOW (Ages 8-12): This calming and reassuring guided journal is the perfect antidote to rising anxiety and worry during these challenging times, while encouraging self-discovery, resilience, and creative expression.
  • OUTBREAK! PLAGUES THAT CHANGED HISTORY (Ages 8-12): A fascinating look at the hidden world of microbes–and how this world shapes human destiny every day–filled with maps, charts, a glossary, and detailed full-color art.
  • THE GREAT TROUBLE (Ages 10+): “A delightful combination of race-against-the-clock medical mystery and outwit-the-bad-guys adventure.” (Publishers Weekly, starred.)
  • VERY, VERY, VERY DREADFUL (Ages 12+): From National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin comes a fascinating look at the history and science of the deadly 1918 flu pandemic–and its chilling and timely resemblance to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
  • THE IMAGINARIES (Ages 8-12): Best-selling author/illustrator of The Wonderful Things You Will Be, Emily Winfield Martin, shares her “Imaginaries:” paintings from over the last 10 years, captioned with one enigmatic sentence, designed to inspire.


Looking for more High School Camps? Check out these book recommendations!

  • BECOMING ME: A WORK IN PROGRESS (Ages 12+): From the creator of the empowering coloring book for all ages I Love My Hair, comes a beautifully illustrated interactive journal that encourages self-discovery and nurtures creative expression.
  • WHEN THE STARS WROTE BACK (Ages 14+): In the vein of poetry collections like Milk and Honey and Light Filters In, this compilation of short, powerful poems from Instagram sensation Trista Mateer shines beauty and insight into relationships, love, growing up and learning to cope.