Covid-19 Response & Summer Updates


May 12

Tinkering School's General Summer Plan (more details coming soon)

  • In-person Camps

    • We are actively planning to run all currently scheduled in-person Overnight and Day Camps 

    • We will run these in-person camps ONLY if we are able to meet or exceed health regulations and guidelines from the following four main sources:

    • Health & Safety Camp Policies: like many other summer camps across the country, Tinkering School is waiting to review the soon-to be released camp operation guidelines from the CDC and American Camp Association. Their recommendations will play a central role in our efforts to update and finalize our health procedures and policies. Families will be able to review these plans for themselves to ensure they satisfy all requirements

    • Given how quickly new Covid-19 government responses and regulations are evolving, we unfortunately cannot guarantee that in-person camp will run any given week

    • In the event that an in-person camp session is canceled,

      • Prior to the first day: 

        • We will make every effort to notify families 2-4 weeks in advance on a rolling basis. (Please note that it’s possible that an in-person session might need to cancel suddenly within 2 weeks prior to camp should health authorities dictate)

        • We will quickly pivot to running an online camp instead for the same week. If you reserve a backup spot in one of our online camps, you will simply attend that camp

        • If you did not previously reserve an online backup option, and there are no available online spaces that week, you will have the option to apply your tuition toward a credit for next season, make a donation to our scholarship fund, or receive a full refund

      • During the camp session:

        • We will do everything in our power to transition to an online camp the following day and finish out the week together. In that scenario, your child would receive a tinkering materials kit upon pickup

        • If we’re unable to transition online for the remainder of the session, you will receive a prorated refund based on the session’s daily tuition average

    • Child pick-up: all parents with children attending our Overnight and/or Day Camps will be required to provide assurance that they can pick up their children within 3-4 hours notice at any time of day or night. We will have the appropriate isolation facilities and procedures in place if a Covid-19 exposure is suspected mid-week, but we will not have the resources to quarantine campers overnight. Sadly we understand this will likely make it impossible for children who fly independently to attend our in-person camps 

  • Online Camps

    • We are proud and excited to report that the online programs we have developed continue to represent our Tinkering School values that encourage children to dream and build big, embrace the value of iteration and making mistakes, and discover the joy of collaboration and teamwork. 

      • Timeline: registration will open by the end of May. Online camps will possibly start as early as June 15

      • Tuition: online camp tuition will be a little less than our in-person Day Camp rates. If transitioning from in-person camps, families will be given the option to assign the remainder as a credit for future programs, a donation to our scholarship fund, or a full refund. Online Tinkering kits are provided free of charge for campers transitioning from in-person camp. For other campers, kits are included in tuition

      • Ratios: like our in-person camps, all our online camps operate with staff-to-camper ratios no higher than 1:6, allowing us to create a supportive, individualized camp experience for each Tinkerer

      • Zoom: screen fatigue is real. Our online camps will operate similar to a day at summer camp, with lots of breaks, and a variety of activities to keep things fresh and provide enough movement for energetic campers 

      • No Prior Experience: our online camps provide multiple entry points for both beginners and experienced tinkerers to investigate their own interesting questions and designs

      • Programs: families will have the choice of selecting one of two (possibly three) online programs (below) as a backup option to in-person camp this summer. If there’s space after our initial selection period, families may be able to sign up for additional online camps later

        • Catalyst 2.0 (Ages 8 - 15)

          • Building on our popular online Catalyst kit after school programs, we are adding some exciting electrical components including LEDs, switches, and motors that will allow us to build even more complex and amazing creations. And just because we’re building at home doesn’t mean we can’t build big! We’ll also be providing large sheets of cardboard, duct-tape and other supplies to incorporate into our designs and scale up our projects big time! 

        • Playful Prototyping Online (Ages 10-15)

          • Much like our in-person Playful Prototyping day camp sessions, these online weeks will be dedicated to pushing the boundaries between science, art, technology and engineering. Campers will have an opportunity to combine large-scale cardboard projects with electronics, robotics, household materials, playful computer programming and a whimsical spirit. We’ll be providing micro:bit, LED’s, large cardboard sheets, and other materials in tTinkering kits 

        • Mars Mission (Program launch dates TBD) 

          • We are super excited about this collaborative, narrative based online program! Working together, campers from around the world will tackle tough Mars exploration challenges where they operate robots from their computers to create roads, habitats, and bridges in our 60 foot diameter mock-crater in California. According to our Consulting Planetary Scientist, this is the next best thing to actually being on Mars! 

          • This program is still in the early development phase, and we don't quite yet know when it will be launched, but if you would like to join the list of potential campers we might contact if there are opportunities for program testing, please note your preference in the survey

April 26

An update about summer camp:

Dear Tinkering Families,

Ensuring the safety of our campers and staff in all of our programs continues to be our top priority. We are actively monitoring safety recommendations from health agencies and the American Camp Association as we evaluate whether we can continue to safely offer in-person summer camps this year.

Thankfully, adaptation and thinking "outside the box" are embedded in Tinkering School's DNA, so you also may not be surprised to learn that we have been cooking up some super exciting programming options in preparation for if we need to shift some or all of our camps online.

We are nearing a decision point and will share with you all our updated summer plans by May 11th at the latest.

In the meantime, we fully understand if you need to cancel your summer reservations (we are providing full refunds for Covid-19 related cancelations), but we also ask for your patience, and to ideally wait till May 11th so that you can consider the full options of what we will be offering.

As always, please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach us at

Stay safe and Tinker on!

~The Tinkering School Staff


March 24 Update:


March 18 Update:

  • Our staff (like our Bay Area neighbors), are working and sheltering from home until April 7th unless otherwise notified by state and local agencies.

  • Our traditional Spring Break Camp has been canceled. A virtual Spring Break Camp is being considered. More details to come soon.

  • Spring After School Tinkering has been postponed and shortened to 5 weeks starting May 5th and 7th. 


March 18

A message from our Tinkering School family:

Our hearts go out to all those impacted by Covid-19, both here in the Bay Area, and around the world. We wish you and your family the best of health as we all navigate these challenging times.

Tinkering School continues to closely monitor and follow CDC and local Public Health Department requirements as we develop our evolving Covid-19 response. We are also staying updated on the latest policy recommendations from the American Camp Association as we re-examine our health response procedures to ensure we meet or exceed required Department of Health standards. 

In the midst of these uncertain times, we continue to find strength and inspiration from our resilient community as well as our guiding Tinkering School values. Just as we teach our campers, we are reminded that when we collaborate together to design and implement innovative solutions, we are capable of affecting positive change in our world, regardless of the circumstances.

In this spirit, we have been rapidly prototyping these past weeks and we are pleased to offer some exciting new Online Tinkering Programs and Tinkering at Home resources tailored for these unique times. We hope you join us in exploring this new online Tinkering sandbox! 

Be sure to signup for our newsletter to get the latest updates.

What about summer camp? 

Many families may understandably be wondering if Tinkering School’s Summer Camp will be impacted by Covid-19. While this is a dynamic, changing situation, at this time we are still planning to host our summer programs which begin at the end of June. We will notify families immediately if there are any updates to these plans.

Please note that in addition to our standard cancellation policy, we will provide a variety of options including a full tuition refund if Covid-19 causes reservation cancellations. You can refer to our full cancellation policy for more information.

We hope this provides some peace of mind and encouragement for families to still Sign up for Summer Camp – there's a couple spots left in most sessions!

Together we will Tinker on!

~ The Tinkering School Staff