Design Camp at Home


While we will miss having your incredible kids in the museum this summer, we can’t wait to bring virtual Design Camp to you—free of charge! We are excited to continue our virtual Design Camp at Home program with brand new themes, collaborations and guest designers. Our 2021 summer sessions are listed below.


At Cooper Hewitt Design Camp at Home, we equip students with the tools necessary to tackle age-appropriate challenges, work collaboratively, and think creatively. Campers master a four-step design process—defining problems, generating ideas, prototyping/making, and testing/evaluating—through a series of fun exercises and design challenges. Each project is carefully crafted to introduce children to design vocabulary, techniques, and processes that will help them in school and in life.

Virtual Summer Design Camp at Home

Registration opens:
  • Monday, April 26 at 10 a.m. for community organizations
  • Monday, May 3 at 10 a.m. for Cooper Hewitt members
  • Monday, May 10 at 10 a.m. for the general public

Important Information Regarding Registration for Community Organizations

Registration opens on Monday, April 26 for community organizations. Community organizations include foundations, nonprofits, libraries, and mutual aid organizations that serve elementary age students. Through these efforts, Cooper Hewitt is committed to serving low-income households that would benefit from a free camp program. Community organizations are responsible for sharing event details with parents/caregivers, as we require each family to register individually through our registration system.

Our Design Camp at Home program is not available as a virtual field trip. We are unable to accommodate large groups. If you have additional questions, please contact our Design Camp team.

DIY: Zine-Making for Young Designers

July 12–16
Graphic poster with blocks of text and three individuals in sapphire, ruby, and emerald outfits

AGES: 11–13
TIMES: 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST
DATES: Monday, July 12, Wednesday, July 14 and Friday, July 16

How are stories told in a digital world? Discover the power of self-expression through zines—a self-published work made up of collage, text, and/or images. Through a range of free mobile editing platforms, including PicsArt Image Editor, Adobe Capture and Adobe Draw, campers will build foundational knowledge to take their ideas from paper to the computer. Young designers will unpack the ins-and-outs of digital zine design to create their own zine pitch deck.

Campers will need two devices to participate in this one-week session—a laptop/desktop and a handheld device—smartphone (Android or iPhone) or iPad. Campers should have the ability to access the Google Play Store or App Store on their device to download all three apps listed above.

Please note that this one-week session features a special workshop and conversation with experts from Adobe on Thursday, July 15 from 10 a.m.–11:00 a.m. EST.


TEAM (@theteammag) is a creative studio and digital platform created for young artists by young artists. Through producing, directing, and commissioning original content and programming, they are committed to connecting young artists with the community and tools needed to take their ideas to the next level. Their mission is to create a network of young artists across all disciplines with the intention to encourage collaboration, education, and service. TEAM aims to uplift the visions of their community members and assist them through their creative process by making their project ideas a reality and offering them a platform to publish their work.

Information shared with the Smithsonian is used according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Privacy Statement

Tropical Ecosystems: A Young Scientist’s Field Guide to Panama

July 19–23
Print with dense green tropical foliage and flowers

AGES: 9–11
TIMES: 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST
DATES: Monday, July 19, Wednesday, July 21 and Friday, July 23

Is your child curious about the natural world? From tropical forests to marine ecosystems and biodiversity, take a virtual trip across Panama to explore, discover, and investigate what makes the tropics so important. Along the way, campers will make virtual stops at field stations and research facilities in the Caribbean, Barro Colorado Island Trails, and the Pacific to help scientists tackle fun, design challenges inspired by the unique ecosystems in each location. Using the scientific method and the design process, campers will work on their own and in teams to brainstorm and prototype design solutions.


The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama is the world’s premier tropical biology research institute, dedicated to increasing the understanding of the past, present, and future of tropical biodiversity and its relevance to human welfare.

STRI has research facilities and field stations across the Republic of Panama. Most of STRI’s facilities are located along the Panama Canal and provide easy access to the highly contrasting ecosystems separated by the narrow Isthmus of Panama.

Information shared with the Smithsonian is used according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Privacy Statement

On the Road: Design Across America

July 26-30
Grid of six colorful images with the text The 31st Annual West Coast Show 1996 in the center

AGES: 9–11
TIMES: 1:00–3:00 p.m. EST
DATES: Monday, July 26, Wednesday, July 28 and Friday, July 30

Take a summer “road trip” through history! Come along on a journey that explores America’s past, present, and future. Through adventures and misadventures, campers will navigate a series of design challenges inspired by the people, places, and events that have shaped our nation. Every challenge completed gets your camper closer to their final destination. Buckle up and join our “road trip” to watch history come alive!


Through incomparable collections, rigorous research, and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History seeks to empower people to create a more just and compassionate future by examining, preserving, and sharing the complexity of our past.

Information shared with the Smithsonian is used according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Privacy Statement

Mission to Mars

August 2-6
Illustration of space ships on a light gray background

AGES: 7-9
TIMES: 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST
DATES: Monday, August 2, Wednesday, August 4 and Friday, August 6

Ready, set, blast off! From Mariner’s first pictures of Mars in 1964 to Perseverance’s anticipated landing in March 2021, humans have been on a mission to learn more about the red planet. In this week-long mission to Mars, campers will tackle design challenges that put their engineering and critical thinking skills to the test while investigating the tools astronauts and scientists use in space. Prepare for liftoff, as this is one mission your child won’t want to miss!


Launch into the history of flight by surrounding yourself with icons of air and space travel. The National Air and Space Museum’s flagship building on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and its Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, exhibit aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and other flight-related artifacts and tell stories of inspiring pilots, astronauts, and explorers. Discover additional programming opportunities and resources at

Information shared with the Smithsonian is used according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Privacy Statement

Indigenous Innovations

August 9-13
Artist builds a wooden kayak

AGES: 7-9
TIMES: 1:00–3:00 p.m. EST
DATES: Monday, August 9, Wednesday, August 11 and Friday, August 13

Get ready to make a splash as we take this one-week session to the open water! Did you know that the kayak is a Native design invented at least 4,000 years ago? Native people of the Americas have impacted the world through countless scientific discoveries and innovations—including the kayak! Campers will explore the origins of the kayak and traditional building practices to prototype their own kayak design and put them to the test.


In partnership with Native peoples and their allies, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) fosters a richer shared human experience through a more informed understanding of Native peoples. The museum strives toward equity and social justice for the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere through education, inspiration and empowerment. The NMAI cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native objects, photographs, and media, covering the entire Western Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.

Information shared with the Smithsonian is used according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Privacy Statement


Live instruction will be facilitated via Zoom by a Cooper Hewitt educator on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each one-week session. Registration and participation commitment is for all three days. Self-guided projects are available on Tuesday and Thursday.

There is no cost to participate. One week prior to your first day of camp, you’ll receive additional instructions including a Zoom link, schedule, policies and resources.

If your plans change and your child(ren) are unable to attend a session, please contact the Design Camp Director to cancel your registration at least three days prior to the first day of camp.


For general Design Camp at Home questions, please visit our Design Camp FAQ page or connect with a Design Camp team member. For questions about your registration, or to make changes to your completed registration form please contact our Visitor Experience team.


Design Camp at Home is made possible with major support from Siegel Family Endowment. Generous support is also provided by The Hirsch Family Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Great Circle Foundation and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.