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Last year, we had summer camp at home. This year, we get to return to traditional summer camp.
Last year was different.
So, I made it my mission to find summer camp at home ideas that worked for my girls, even though they are different ages).
I’m sharing 12 summer camp at home ideas you can use for your own kids in your own backyard this year. It saves you money + from having to run kids all over town this summer.
How To Start A Summer Camp At Home
Before we launch right into the summer camp at home ideas, let’s first talk logistics.
Don’t worry, it’s not hard to plan a home summer camp or come up with activities for summer camp at home.
Simply take a little time to make a plan for each month, then each week + then each day.
- Create a monthly theme. Start by choosing a theme for each of the summer months: June, July, August. For example, if you’re planning a STEAM summer theme, then maybe June is a focus on Science, while July is Math + August is technology + engineering.
- Set a weekly theme. Then, break your themes down by the week. Since June is science month, maybe week 1 focuses on the states of matter: solids, liquids + gases.
- Plan the daily activities for summer camp at home. Once you break your theme down by the week, you then have to plan activities for each day of summer camp.
- Set a daily schedule. My kids are at the age where they typically go for half-day camps so our activities for summer camp at home are going to run 9:30-12:30 or 10-1. Set a time for each of your activities.
- Buy supplies + materials. Once you have your plans in place, buy or order any of the supplies you don’t already have but need for your summer camp activities at home.
- Have fun. You don’t have to be rigid (unless your kids are like my kids + need structure). Just have fun with the activities that you have set for the day.
Summer Camp At Home Ideas
Check out 12 ideas to run your own summer camp at home.
1. Summer Camp In A Box
Consider turning to one of the subscription box companies. Several different companies are offering summer camp in a box options.
The great part about using a subscription box specifically created for summer camp at home is that all of the activities are planned for you. All of the supplies are usually included, too.
All you have to do is open box + insert fun.
2. All About Nature
Birds, bugs, trees, plants + flowers are probably things you have in your own backyard. If not, you can head out to a local park, check out books from the library or search the Internet for videos, nature shows + more.
3. All About Art
My girls are all about art. When we sign them up for camp, it is usually an art camp. Painting, drawing, creating masterpieces out of objects you can find around the house puts my girls in their sweet spot.
Some of our favorite art programs hosted virtual online art camps last summer. That’s certainly one way to go.
You may even be able to pick up an art “toolkit” from a local art store or order one online that includes art project instructions + all of the supplies you need to create the art pieces.
YouTube is full of instructional videos that your kiddos can follow along with, too, as another option (if you are not art inclined, like me 🙂 ).
4. Cooking Co-Pilot
My girls love to cook + bake with me. I have invested in various cooking-related subscription boxes + toyed with the idea of sending them to cooking camp.
Not only does a cooking camp teach them to well…cook, it also touches on math + science.
You can use kids’ cookbooks. You can use videos on YouTube. You can tackle a cooking camp in all sorts of ways that are fun + easy!
5. Water Games
Back yards or front yards are perfect for water games. If you have your own pool — even better.
Otherwise, you can set up splash pads, inflatable pools, sprinklers + even an obstacle course to cool off during the hot days of summer.
Top it off with an ice cream or ice cream sundae social + really let the games begin.
Similar to an art camp (but not quite) is crafts.
Call me a terrible mother but I don’t like messy crafts. That’s what I send my kids to school for.
I’m talking about the non-messy types of crafts. I’m talking origami, making jewelry (think friendship bracelets), making potholders, crocheting, sewing + other handicrafts like this.
To stay with a summer theme, you can even have your kiddos make art out of shells.
- Make jewelry
- Glue shells to artwork or drawings
- Create magnets
- Make picture frames
Bring out the yard games.
Bring out the board games.
Bring out the table games.
Just bring out the games.
Turn what might be a family game night into a day at camp. If you have enough games, you can stretch this type of camp out for the entire summer, too.
As in go camping in your backyard. Set up a tent. Roll out the sleeping bags. Set up a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Sing campfire songs + tell “scary” stories.
You can even turn it into a summer “sleep away” camp by adding hiking trips, lake (or pool) swimming, arts + crafts + all the other fun that sleep away camp provides.
My girls LOVE dinosaurs. We have a huge book all about dinosaurs. We watch programs about dinosaurs. They know the names of dinosaurs.
A camp all about dinosaurs would be heaven to them.
Not only can you learn about dinosaurs in books, by watching videos + watching documentaries but you can do activities like DIG FOR FOSSILS or make dinosaur terrariums or make huge plaster molds of dinosaur feet!
Space — the final frontier. Exploration of space is another fave in our house. Kids can make a solar system, watch past shuttle launches (We watched Elon Musk launch a rocket recently on TV) + so much more.
You can even turn those Amazon Fresh silver bags into an astronaut suit or turn a box into a rocket ship (that you decorate — what, what?).
Under the sea is another fun camp that also relates to summer and those trips to the beach. Kids can learn about sea animals, ocean waves, tides + more.
They can make tons of crafts related to the ocean, start an aquarium, play in an ocean sensory bin, watch documentaries about undersea voyages + the list goes on + on.
Kiddos that like music have endless possibilities with a music-themed camp.
Besides the obvious dancing + singing, they can make music notes, make musical instruments to play + even create their own musicals.
Pull out the karaoke machine + let them belt out the tunes.
Host a recital at the end of camp so they can show off their musical talents or dance moves.
Summer camp at home can be fun + exciting. You can use these summer camp at-home activities to create weekly or monthly themes or create the theme for the entire summer.
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