Do-it-yourself summer camp
Camp is really all about the experience—having fun, meeting new friends, playing games and enjoying creative activities. The fact that it’s usually away from home in a rural setting certainly does add to the excitement and adventure for kids, but location is just one factor in a list of many things that make camp awesome—and that make a summer camp-like experience doable just about anywhere!
How can you create some summer camp fun for your kids right in your own home or neighborhood?
- Have a sleepover in your backyard. Put up a tent, make a “campfire” by standing up a few flashlights in a bucket of sand and artfully covering them with pieces of orange and yellow tissue paper, make some sweet treats and tell ghost stories under the stars. You might want to have the kids come inside to sleep, or just make sure there is adult supervising if the kids spend the night outdoors.
- Get creative with arts and crafts. Plan a few simple art activities, perhaps one for each day, and have a morning or afternoon art camp for one week during the summer. You could make macramé bracelets using these free online patterns, fabulous and funny sock monsters, or browse through Art Projects for Kids for a little creative inspiration.
- Host a mini Olympics. Invite some participants (and enlist the help of their parents) and have a scaled-down version of the Olympic games in your own neighborhood. Hold events like the 50-yard dash, bowling, obstacle course, egg and spoon relay, and synchronized sprinkler dancing! Have kids draw their own team flags and make sure to have awards and consolation prizes ready for all the participants.
- Go on a field trip. Take your kids or grandkids on a nature walk, or visit a local museum, art gallery, heritage park, public garden or historical village so they can explore a new place and enjoy an experience they may have never had before.
- Take a dip! Swimming is often a big part of the camp experience, so visit a public pool for some splash time, or sign up for swimming lessons at your local community center if your child has never learned.
- Sing! Take the time to research and learn some traditional camp songs and teach them to your kids. Invite some of their friends over and have your kids teach the songs to them. If you do this before a sleepover, you’re sure to be serenaded to sleep by some happy little campers!
With just a little advanced planning and a bit of creative ingenuity, your stay-at-home campers will head back to school with summer memories that are every bit as fabulous and will be just as cherished as the ones made by kids who went away to camp.
409549 CAN/US (04/15)