Summer camps around the country may be shuttered this year, but that doesn’t mean that your kids can’t still experience the joys of summer camp at home!
Activities for Summer Camp at Home
Here you will find some great ideas to give your kids a summer camp experience even if they don’t have to pack their bags this year!
More summer fun:
Ice Cream Social
Many summer camps have an ice cream social with the parents as part of the opening or closing ceremonies, or as part of a parent’s day at camp. So why not set up an ice cream social of your own at home? All you need are your family’s favorite ice cream flavors, some whipped cream, and your favorite toppings. Topping ideas might include chocolate chips, crushed cookies, sprinkles, gummy bears, and caramel, chocolate, or strawberry syrup.
Backyard Water Games
Summer camp isn’t summer camp without some water games to cool off with, but you can fix that easily with water games in the backyard. Water balloons, slip and slides, kiddie pools, water guns, and sprinklers can offer some fun activities to help everyone cool off. Use your water hose to play limbo with, or wet sponges to play dodge ball with. Is there ever a time when a water balloon fight isn’t fun?
Camp wouldn’t be the same without a little time spent doing arts and crafts each day. Think back to your favorite summer camp crafts and recreate them with your kids at home. Some examples might be friendship bracelets, popsicle stick picture frames, weaving loom potholders, and homemade wind chimes. You can find everything you need for these crafts at the local craft store or online if you don’t already have them at home.
Homemade Trail Mix
You can’t have summer camp without a good serving of trail mix. Gather your favorite trail mix ingredients and let your kids make their own camp trail mix. Muffin tins work great to put the ingredients out and keep them separated so that your kids can mix and match their own trail mix creation Some ingredients that you might want to include for them to choose from are dried fruit, peanuts, yogurt covered raisins, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, pecans, animal crackers, cereal, M&M’s, pretzels, peanut butter chips, and more.
Go on a Nature Walk
Now that you have your trail mix ready, head on outside for a nature walk. You can go to a local park or walking trail, or even just the backyard to see what you can find. Look for interesting rocks, leaves, or pretty flowers. There is always something interesting to be found outdoors. If you would like you can even make it a nature scavenger hunt, and see who finds the items the fastest.
Make a Bird Feeder
While you are out on your nature walk, have the kids see if they can find some pine cones to make a DIY bird feeder. If you aren’t in an area that has pine cones, you can use an empty cardboard tube such as a toilet paper or paper towel roll. Spread peanut butter on the pine cone or cardboard tube and roll it in birdseed. Hang your feeders outside and watch the birds enjoy!
Field Day Games
Part of the fun of camp is all of the fun games that they play together. Why not set up a field day in the backyard for your kids? Tug of war, relay races with an egg on a spoon, 3 legged races, and potato sack (or pillowcase) races, are all excellent choices for field day activities at home.
You can’t have summer camp, even one at home, without having a campfire to cook on. Of course, if you don’t have a place where you can have a campfire, just break out the grill. Grab some long sticks and let the kids make hot dogs and Smore’s around the campfire. They will have a great time, a tasty treat, and you won’t have to cook dinner that night!
Camp Under the Stars
It may not be quite the same as sleep-away camp, but you can still get in the great outdoors of your backyard and sleep in a tent for the night. Tell ghost stories, play games, and make some Smore’s and memories together. If you can’t camp in the backyard because of the weather, or you just don’t have one, have a sleepover in the living room. Watch movies, play board games, and pop up some popcorn, everyone will still have a blast, and there are no mosquitoes!
Just because the kids won’t be going to camp this year, doesn’t mean that they can’t still experience all of the fun at summer camp right at home. Ask your kids what their favorite part of summer camp is, and see if you can find a way to recreate those experiences right at home! It may not be the same as summer camp, but you will definitely have laughs and memories to share forever.