Wunderbolt: Make Stuff. Make Friends.




Wunderbolt is a new take on summer camp developed by the Lab for Social Machines in the MIT Media Lab that remotely connects children ages 8-12 with both trained volunteer coaches and other participating children over the summer. We expose children to fun, personalized enrichment activities and projects (both digital and physical) to foster curiosity and creativity in children during the pandemic. 

We aim to embody the feeling of summer camp—where kids are engaged, empowered, excited, and enthusiastic to play, be challenged, connect with peers, and learn through doing. At Wunderbolt, every activity and project is hand-picked and personalized for the individual child to spark creativity, fun, and wonder!

This program has been registered through MIT’s Protection of Minors program.




SESSION 2: August 4th-28th

We just completed a successful first session of Wunderbolt and are already underway preparing for a second session this summer. We have been inspired by the enthusiastic demand for the continuation of Wunderbolt and are excited to expand on our program by offering a second session for coaches and families. See Our Approach below for more details about the program.

At Wunderbolt, we embody the iterative, creative learning process by making each session a small, local pilot where we are excited to learn from you as we go and adapt the program to best meet the needs of our children, families, and coaches! Participation in this program is free of charge to all families.

Session 2 Schedule:

Prior to Session 2 Launch:

  • We match coaches and families by interest areas and relevant context. 
  • Coaches attend a virtual 2-hour training (tentative training dates are 7/30 or 8/3).
  • Families and coaches attend our virtual welcome event and get to meet each other for an introductory call (tentative date: evening of 8/4).
  • A physical package will be delivered with materials for 4 customized kits. Your child will be able to open the designated kit at the beginning of each week. These kits are aligned with the session 2 theme: Natural Wonders!

During Session 2 Program:

  • At the beginning of each week: 1) instructions for the week’s challenge kit will be delivered to each child; and 2) coaches send the child a curated list of supplemental activities and projects that align with the weekly challenge and the child’s interests, passions, and motivations. 
  • During each week: the coach and child will check-in, collaborate and play together both through text message and video call.
  • At the end of each week: all participating children and their coaches join a group video call facilitated by the Wunderbolt team during which they share, play, and complete weekly challenges.



Note: We recognize that mailed physical kits may have some risk of contact spread of the virus. Our team is aware of this risk and will take all necessary precautions to keep kits as clean and safe as possible.




For Children and Families:

The Wunderbolt team recognizes that with many summer camps and activities being delayed and even canceled this summer, kids are craving opportunities to connect with others and have fun! We also know that parents and caregivers are balancing the new roles they are playing for their children with all of their other obligations during this tumultuous time. That’s why our team created Wunderbolt which aims to fill these gaps during the summer months! 

By enrolling your child in Wunderbolt, they can look forward to: 

  • Personalized, independent, and most-importantly fun enrichment activities and projects.
  • Individualized support and regular connections with a trained coach.
  • Regular opportunities for social connections with other participating kids.

Wunderbolt aims to minimize the burden on children’s parents and caregivers by providing children with curated activities, projects, and challenges along with the materials and support they will need to complete them, whether physical or digital. We also provide parents and caregivers with visibility into all aspects of children’s interactions with coaches and each other. The Wunderbolt activities and projects will be both motivated by your child’s interests and will be directly supported by the coach.

For Coaches:

The Wunderbolt team is in awe of the amazing generosity and motivation we’ve seen in our communities in direct response to the pandemic. We know that there are many people out there looking to volunteer their time and resources to help others during this time of instability. Through coaching, we hope to provide volunteers with a new and different way to get involved that is low burden, yet high impact!

Commitment and Supports: We will host a 2-hour virtual training for coaches (dates of training options are 7/30 and 8/3) to prepare them for Session 2. The Wunderbolt team will closely support coaches throughout the four-week session. On average, coaches spend 3 hours per week coaching one child.


Wunderbolt was conceived of in the Lab for Social Machines (LSM) at the MIT Media Lab in spring 2020 when a group of graduate students, staff, and faculty came together to try to tackle some of the new educational challenges surfaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program builds on years of Social Machines research focused on creating connected learning opportunities and building systems to scaffold children’s playful, open-ended learning, including with the support of coaches.



If you have any questions or comments, please email