Summer is here! Depending on your school system, summer may have just started or you’ve been in it for a while. Have you run out of things to do yet? Are you kids tired of each other? Do you find yourself checking the calendar to see how much longer it is until school starts again? Have no fear! We are here with some awesome at home summer camp activities sure to keep your kids engaged and occupied. We’ve got dinosaurs, superheroes, STEM and more!
If you’ve ever looked into camps or enrolled in one, you know they can be pricey. As a mom, saving money is always welcome. Especially right now with the increasing cost of gas, food and pretty much everything (thanks inflation). Being at home may not be your first thought when you think “summer camp”, but let’s consider how to hold a DIY camp at home. Summer is all about the good vibes!
Times have changed some since I was a kid growing up the 90s, but summer camp and summer experiences are an integral part of growing up for any generation. These days, there are summer camps for nearly every interest and age level you could possibly hope to find. Theater Camp, STEM Camp, Exploration Camp, Dance Camp, etc.
Benefits to a DIY summer camp
The top 3 reasons to DIY your own summer camp are cost, flexibility and curation.
1. As I said above, everything is about cost right now. For that reason, maybe summer camp wasn’t on the table for your family this year. With the tuition for camp per child, it may have been even more out of reach. Planning your own camp at home will definitely cut down on costs. You’ll just have to budget in for materials as needed.
2. Summer camps are scheduled for certain weeks of the summer which can impact family scheduling. Planning your own camp at home makes for more flexibility. You’ll get to pick your week or weeks for when you hold camp, making more room for your family’s other commitments and for things that might come up along the way.
3. Lastly, having your own camp means that your activities and plans center around YOUR family. You get to be the camp curator, picking and choosing what you know will be fun, engaging and a perfect fit for your family!
Food for thought
During your planning phase, you’ll want to think about the logistics. Consider the small and big picture elements that will shape your home summer camp.
- How many kids will be included? Is this for your family exclusively or will you open space for children of friends, family or neighbors?
- Are the ages of the campers around the same age or will you cater to carying age levels?
- What theme are your kids most interested in? Will you select one specific theme with corresponding activities? Or will you mix it up and do different themes every day?
- Will your summer camp be educational with a specific learning goal? Or is the objective to occupy your kids for several hours a day?
- What is your planned commitment to the camp? Is it casual or more entrepreneurial?
- How many hours a day do you envision your camp running for? Or will you just go with the flow as you go?
- If including children other than your own, will you offer meals? Or will campers need to plan to bring their own food and snacks with them?
Brainstorm anything else you can think of before getting started! Certain things will come up as you go, but depending on your overall camp plan, you’ll want to have as many details ironed out ahead of time for things to run smoothly.
Summer camp resources
We don’t want you to have to put everything together yourselves, so let’ get you started on your home summer camp! We have created a variety of themed resources the will hep you get your activities planned out!
Superheros and Fairy tales
My daughter applies “super” to her first name play and flies around the house. If you have little superheroes and love fairy tales, try these resources:
- Design a superhero emblem
- Create your own superhero: Template 1, Template 2
- Superhero profile
- Writing prompt
- Who’s your hero?
- Create a fairy tale
- Write your own story
If the new Jurassic Park movie isn’t an indicator, it’s safe to say most everyone likes dinosaurs! These resources cover everything from math to ELA and more!
- Dino Bar Graph
- Brontosaurus Labeling
- Stegosaurus Labeling
- T-Rex Labeling
- Dinosaur Matching
- Memory Game
- Research Project
- Hatching Dino Eggs- Math
- Hatching Dino Eggs- Rhyming
Nature & STEM Themes
Make sure to plan plenty of outdoor time this summer. The following resources help guide you through some nature exploration with your family! In addition to exploring the outdoors, we are including several STEM activities for your families, too!
- 5 senses in summer
- Summer scavenger hunt
- Weather tracker
- Animal research project
- Nature walk tracker
- Friendship flower
- Three Little Pigs STEM challenge
- What is STEM?
- STEM challenge
More summer camp ideas
There really are so many things you can plan for your families this summer. Maybe you are a teacher and home with your kids, or as a stay at home parent or homeschooler, it is nice to have extra options of things to do. Consider this list beyond our activities above to mix into your at home summer camp.
What else can yo do
- Virtual platforms such as Outschool offer lots of fun learning opportunities for kids and families.
- Cooking/ Baking lovers may go for Baketivity which teaches kids how to make fun, healthy and delicious treats!
- Check out your National Park Services and Department of Natural Resources for your area. Maryland DNR offers links to how and where you can explore all parks, swimming areas and other outdoor recreation throughout the state. Make any day a water day!
- Cultural field trips! Art museums, a DC day, local landmarks and historical sites.
- BCPL Summer Reading Challenge– you can join anytime and win prizes and incentives for reading throughout the summer! Stop into any local branch. If you aren’t in MD, check out the public library in your area for summer programming.
- Lego day! Come up with a theme of what the build will be or use the Lego website to explore some options and even get instructions for old kits. I am 100% doing this one with my son. He is super creative with his unscripted builds. I anticipate him blowing me out of the water with this one.
- Book and movie lovers will enjoy this idea- read a book and watch the corresponding movie. Compare and contrast. Make it a learning activity with a writing activity or art project to follow up.
- My son and I are doing a snowball exploration project this summer. We will visit a different snowball stand and then rate and rank them, ultimately producing a winner.
Let us know in the comments what kind of creative summer camp ideas you and your family have come up with!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.