Day Camp on Television

June 14, 2021


Watch new episodes of Camp TV weekdays, beginning national broadcasts and on-demand viewing Monday, June 21. Stream episodes and learn more at camptv.org. (Broadcasts start July 5 at 11 a.m. on NJ PBS and July 6 at noon on THIRTEEN).

The school year ends in June, but learning takes center stage all summer long, thanks to Camp TV, public media’s series for kids ages 5-10 that brings the magic, learning, and fun of the day camp experience to living rooms or wherever you stream children’s programs! Season 2 premieres June 21 and episodes of Season 1 can be streamed now on CampTV.org.

The summer adventure series debuted in Summer 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down summer camps across the country. Providing fun activities and learning adventures for kids, Camp TV is hosted by a head counselor played by exuberant Broadway performer Zachary Noah Piser (Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked), who guides campers as they learn through play.

A man with short dark hair sits on floor between round coffee table and couch. He holds a white sign that says name Zach, made from brightly colored pipe cleaner craft materials.

Camp TV host Zachary Noah Piser.

Head counselor Zach kicks off each episode with a welcome song and announces the day’s theme, which in Season 2 will include Summer Celebration Day, Snow Day, Patterns Day, Inside Out Day, Independence Day, Celebrate Your Name Day, Sports Day, Royalty Day, Travel Day, Mismatched Shoe Day, Favorite Animal Day, Ocean Day, and more. Zach guides campers through activities, exploring nature, math, science, the arts, movement, storytelling, writing, and more.

Two young black men sit on stools in a room and both wear colorful West African shirts. A curtain and DJ set up is visible in background

Educators from Carnegie Hall Musical Explorers on Camp TV.

Each episode includes a storytelling segment featuring a book of the day and special appearances by artists and teachers from leading cultural and educational institutions across the New York metropolitan area and the country, including San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, South Dakota Children’s Museum, the Exploratorium, and the Utah-based One Voice Children’s Choir. The series will also spotlight content from PBS stations across the United States.

Camp TV Reviews

The New York Times “Kids” column praised the series debut in July 2020, calling it a refreshing, much-needed “cultural fix” as many arts institutions remained closed. “This television series has not only public broadcasting’s bona fides, but also a mission to help prepare campers ages 5-10 for school,” the column noted.

Common Sense Media gave Camp TV a rave review and an A+ in the “Educational Value” category, noting, “This series offers unique learning opportunities from presenters with different kinds of teaching styles and subject matter. Kids (and even some parents) will learn a lot from this well-rounded series.”

Camp TV as Public Media Mission

Camp TV and our other popular instructional learning series Let’s Learn NYC! are absolutely core to our mission,” says Sandra Sheppard, Director and Executive Producer, Kids’ and Media Education at The WNET Group. “We recognize that there are many kids who may not have access to the Internet, day camps, or adequate technology. As a public media provider, we know that our most important mission is to fill that gap and reach children and their families with dynamic educational content.”

Camp TV was created to fill a very specific gap, according to Sheppard. “Unfortunately, there’s a significant learning slide during the summer, and there are lots of kids who don’t go to day camp. It’s an economic and equity issue,” she explains. “We responded with significant partnerships – from Carnegie Hall and The New Victory Theater to Liberty Science Center, the zoos, museums, and libraries – to provide broadcast content that is free to all and reaches 99% of the public.”

Sheppard and her team see a bright future for the series beyond the pandemic.

An enthusiastic summer camper throughout her formative years, Melinda Toporoff, writer and producer of Camp TV (and series producer of Cyberchase, an animated children’s production of The WNET Group), knows what the magic of organized summer activities feels like and what it means to be a happy camper.

Camp TV strives to capture the joy a summer camp experience can bring,” she says. “By guiding viewers through new activities and skills and exposing them to wow factor content, Camp TV is informal education at its best.”

A panda bear sits and holds a bamboo stick

A panda bear seen in Favorite Animal Day on Camp TV.