One of the best ways to celebrate lazy summer days is to host a summer camp for your kids. Yes, your own kids!:) It’s a great way to spend time with them and make your own family fun for little-to-no cost. Pick a theme for each day or week and with a little preparation and creativity you’ll create summer memories that you’ll never forget. You’ll be their fave “camp counselor” before long. Here are 10 summer camp theme ideas to help get you started:
1. Ninja Warrior Training Camp
For the last couple of summers my kids can’t seem to get enough of the show American Ninja Warriors. So, I thought this was a great theme to “run” with. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about fitness and nutrition. Have the kids help you set up a backyard obstacle course, go to a yoga class, visit a local park that has a rock wall etc. Take a nutrition class or have the kids make their own healthy snacks to learn what fuel their bodies need for exercise and to be healthy.
2. Des Moines’ Got Talent
Another of my kiddos favorite summer shows, America’s Got Talent (maybe we need to rethink our screen time?) makes for a great summer camp theme. You can showcase the many talents and abilities of your family or find out whose most like Simon, if you decide to have judges. Each “act” can practice singing (or lip syncing), playing an instrument, their comedy routine, dancing, magic tricks, puppet show, etc. Create a stage to perform on at the end of the day or week and maybe even host a “dinner theater” and serve a special meal or dessert before or after the show.
3. Kindness Camp
Perform a few random acts of kindness for friends, neighbors and even people that you don’t know. Create a calendar and come with some ideas for a few random acts of kindness that everyone in the family, even the youngest child, can do to show friendliness, gratitude, consideration and generosity. Acts of Kindness could be things like washing the neighbor’s car, hosting a lemonade stand and donating all proceeds to an animal shelter or visiting a local nursing home. This is a great way to inspire and empower kids to make a positive impact in their communities.
4. Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill can be scary. Why not offer your kids the chance to try something new in a welcoming environment? Have everybody list something that they’d like to learn this summer and then give it a go as a family. It can be something like geocaching, paddle boarding, fishing, cooking, go cart racing, painting, tap dancing, the possibilities are endless. You’ll have fun and learn together as a family.
5. Water Works
Nothing says “summer” quite like and old-fashioned hose and water, so make a day dedicated to all things wet and wonderful. Make your own homemade slip n’ slide; have a water balloon fight; create a water balloon piñata, by tying water filled balloons together; turn on the sprinklers and let the kids run through them. The water ideas are endless and can be repeated all summer long.
6. Film School
Have kids write, shoot, direct and edit their own films. They can either work collaboratively and create one film or work on their own to come up with their own blockbuster. Whether kids decide to collaborate or not, they will need the assistance of family members to be actors or even help with costumes or props. Top off the day or week of movie making with a premiere or film fest complete with a red carpet and popcorn.
7. Science Institute
Children and adults cannot deny their love for science and explosions. Let the kids research science projects online that they want to attempt. Or try some classics like mixing baking soda and vinegar or make a potato powered clock. Get out a magnifying glass and look at bugs up close or make homemade slime. You’ll be surprised at how many household items can be used to create some amazing science experiments.
8. Family Game Night
Part of the joy of summer is being able to stay outside long after the dishes are done. For parents that work during the day and want to be included in some of the summer camp fun, set aside some time each evening for a few family games. It’s a great opportunity to unplug and connect with each other while engaging in some healthy competition. Some of our favorite outdoor games are croquet, badminton, and bocce ball. But, old school games like tag and capture the flag are also fun options.
9. Taking Care of Business
If you have a tween or teen at home, it may be time for them to start earning some money on their own. A regular babysitting, dog walking, or lawn mowing gig can earn your tween or teen both money and job skills. To get them started you can help them create a business plan or marketing plan, introduce the concept of money management and work on customer service and communication skills.
10. Commune with Mother Nature
Summer is the perfect time to head outdoors. Send kids out on a scavenger hunt, decorate pine cones, paint rocks, go on a creek walk, climb trees, swim in a lake or just listen to the birds or trickling water. Playing outside helps kids to improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing + it’s fun!!!
How do you keep your kids entertained over the summer? Would you host Mom (or Dad) Camp? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!