Are you trying to figure out how to make a summer camp at home? Searching for ways to make summer at-home fun for your kids without going to traditional camps?
It can feel overwhelming to start a DIY summer camp but don’t worry I’ve got you covered with an easy plan.
You’ll learn how to start your summer camp, fun summer camp ideas, camp activities & games, weekly themes, field trip ideas, how much it costs, and educational resources for summer.
The best part is you’ll be creating unforgettable family memories and bonding time with your kids this summer.
It certainly has been some of the best times our family has had together. I cherish the summers with my kids and I am sure you will too. So stop stressing about what to do with the kids all summer and get planning.
DIY Summer Camp at Home Ideas & Activities
How to Start a Summer Camp at Home
It does take a little planning to start your DIY summer camp but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. If you plan it out before you start the summer will run smoothly and be fun for everyone.
Let’s go over a few steps to get you started on your planning.
How Long Is Your Camp?
Decide how many weeks you want your summer camp to run. Then figure out how many hours of the day you need to fill. It does not need to be all back-to-back activities each day. You’ll want some downtime too so don’t feel you need to fill an entire day.
Create a Schedule
Once you know how long you want your camp each day you can create a schedule. It can be a detailed hour-by-hour schedule or a general daily schedule.
Here are two different types of schedules you can print out for free. One is a Daily Schedule for Kids and the other is a Summer Rules for Screen Time Checklist Just click on the schedule below to get the free printable.
Want to customize your daily routine for your family? Grab our Editable Summer Schedules and easily make them your own.
Pick a Weekly Camp Theme
Make each week exciting by having a different theme each week. The activities, crafts, field trips, and more can all be centered around this theme.
Plus I find it easier to plan when you’re more focused than just thinking of broad activity ideas each week. You’ll learn more about planning theme weeks out below.
Plan Activities Each Week
To make the week less stressful don’t try to come up with activities in the moment. Plan them out the week before or even the night before so you are ready for the day. It’s the best way to help your day run smoother.
Don’t worry I have you covered below with the best summer camp activities.
Even though you planned out the day remember you’re with kids so be flexible. If they’re having a great time doing an activity keep doing it don’t stop due to your schedule. Find an activity they enjoy more do that activity every day or once a week.
See what’s working and adjust. You want it to be fun and stress-free so go with the flow.
What Can You Do at Summer Camp
I have found that it’s easier for me to plan if I have a camp theme each week. It gives you a focus while figuring out your activities. There are tons of great summer camp theme ideas to choose from to fit all your different age kids’ personalities.
Here are some theme ideas to choose from in your planning. You can easily adjust each of these themes to fit campers of all ages.
Summer Camp Theme Ideas
- Super Hero Theme
- Space Week
- Nature Week
- Under the Sea Theme
- Cooking Week
- Construction Week
- STEM Week
- Mermaid Camp
- Star Wars Camp
- LEGO Camp
- Pirate Theme
- Animal Theme
- Scavenger Hunt Week
- Shark Week
- Olympics Week
- 4th of July
- Bugs & Butterflies
- Camping Week
- Princess Week
- Gardening Week
Don’t have time to plan each week? Grab my Summer Camp at Home Planner. In there, you’ll find 8 Weeks of Pre-Planned Printable Camp Themes with indoor & outdoor activities, crafts & educational ideas for each week.
Plus a blank weekly theme printable to plan your own activities.
What Are Fun Camp Activities & Ideas
Really your imagination is the only limit to all the fun things you can do with your kids this summer. There are so many creative activities, crafts, and educational resources to keep your kids busy all summer long.
I would plan 3-5 activities you want to do with your kids each day. Add in a mix of indoor and outdoor activities and crafts or art each day. They do not need to be all big activites it could simply be playing with your legos or drawing a picture.
You can find a month’s worth of activity ideas in my free printable 31 Day Activity Calendar for Kids. Just print it out and get inspired.
Summer Camp Activity Ideas
Here are some easy and fun activities to try with your kids this summer. Use this list of summer camp activities and camp games to help plan out the best summer camp experience for your kids at home.
It’s a great opportunity to try new things and learn new skills with your kids. Pick out a few fun ideas you’d like to try and use them to get your own DIY summer camp started.
You can also grab this free printable Summer Bucket List and check off the fun things you do with your kids all summer long. Plus it’s great for inspiration when you’re stuck on what to do.
Indoor Activity Ideas
Hallway Laser Maze – Use streamers to turn your hallway into a challenging laser maze. It’s a fun way to stay active and get their energy out inside.
Balloon Games – Play cheap & fun balloon games like balloon tennis, relay race, volleyball, keep it up, & more games kids of all ages will enjoy. There are even some fun water balloons to try outdoors.
Minute to Win It Challenge – Quick one-minute games that are hilarious to play with friendly competition.
Escape Room Games – Add some excitement to your day with thrilling escape room games. There are tons of printable options for every age group you can play at home.
Treasure Hunts – Use our free printable indoor Treasure Hunt clues or create 100s of customizable scavenger hunts & treasure hunts for your kids to use indoors & outdoors all summer long with printable riddle clues from the awesome program Riddle ME.
Cardboard Box Games – Reuse those amazon cardboard boxes to make a fort, marble run, nerf target, mini-golf & more.
Painter’s Tape Games– Create fun indoor games to get the energy out with painters tape like hopscotch & long jump
Rainy Days Activities – Great way to spend a day stuck indoors.
Zoom Games – Play with Grandparents or friends that live far away with fun Zoom Games for kids.
I’m Bored Jar – Create your own I’m Bored Jar with free printable indoor & outdoor activities to fill up your jar. Kids can find their own activities to do by just pulling ideas out of the jar.
Talent Show – Have your kids create a talent show. They can work on their Act during the day and present it to the family at night. Your kids could even recruit some neighborhood kids to join the show. It’s fun to see what cool talents they can come up with.
Friendship Bracelets – When you’re stuck inside on hot summer days let the kids create friendship bracelets with beads and string for new friends and old friends.
Outdoor Activity Ideas
Sidewalk Chalk Games – Break out the chalk for these fun sidewalk chalk game ideas.
Outdoor Games with Dollar Tree Items – Cheap backyard games like obstacle courses and relay races you can make with Dollar Tree items.
Nature Scavenger Hunts – Free Printable Outdoor Scavenger Hunt for Nature, Neighborhoods, and Tween Selfie Scavenger Hunts. Take the printable hunts to your local nature trails or around your own neighborhood.
Backyard Scavenger Hunt – Send the kids to your backyard on a fun scavenger hunt.
Photo Scavenger Hunt – Race your family & friends on an exciting Photo Scavenger hunt taking pictures of all the items you can find with this free printable photos scavenger hunt checklist.
Tug of War Rope – Ask some neighborhood kids to come over for an epic Tug of War game. When they’re done let the kid do a big water balloon fight to keep the fun going.
Lightning Bug Hunt – At night send the kids outside wearing glow sticks to find lightning bugs.
Backyard Camping – Go camping in your own backyard so the kids can get an idea of what overnight camps would be like. Look at the stars, have a campfire, roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories without leaving home.
Affordable Kids’ Activity Ideas: 60 Fun & Free Things to Do with Kids Screen-Free
An at-home summer camp needs some fun hand-made stuff for the kids to use their creative side. Add these easy art projects to your summer activities list.
Coffee Filter Butterflies – Use a coffee filter, markers & pipe cleaners to make pretty butterflies.
Painting with Bubbles – Use bubbles to create unique art projects
Shadow Art with Chalk – Make shadow art by tracing shadows with chalk or markers.
Cardboard Butterflies – Make stained glass butterflies with reused cardboard boxes & tissue paper.
Try these fun science experiments at home to add some STEM topics during the kid’s summer vacation.
Make a Volcano – 3 Easy steps to make an erupting volcano at home. Kids will want to do it over & over again. All you need is baking soda, dish soap, food dye, vinegar, and a jar.
Marble Run – Reuse a cardboard box to make a cool Marble Run.
Rain Clouds in a Jar – Use water, shaving cream, and food coloring to learn about rain. It looks really cool!
Frozen Dinosaur Eggs – Kids try different ways to melt the frozen eggs to find dinosaurs.
I like to add in an educational activity or two each day. This has really helped with the dreaded summer slide when the kids go back to school in the fall.
Here are some fun ways to raise your kid’s skill levels over the summer.
Head to your local library once a week to pick out books. I find the kids are more willing to read when they pick books out themselves. Plus it’s a free activity out of your house.
Look into joining your library’s summer reading club to give your kids an incentive to read more.
You can get a printable summer reading log in Summer Camp at Home Planner.
I usually buy a workbook for the kids each summer and have them do a few pages each day. We use the Summer Bridges Books which have a 15-minute-a-day plan for kids. It’s quick and has really helped my kids keep up over the summer.
Educational Websites & Apps
Another option is to take advantage of all the educational apps and websites for kids. You’ll find there are tons of different sites for every subject.
Check out my list of 25 Best School Apps & Educational Websites for Kids to get you started.
Free Printable Activities
Save money on activities with these fun & free printables for kids.
Free Bingo Card Games for Kids – Free bingo cards & calling cards with fun themes.
96 Free Dot to Dot Printable Worksheets – Great for practicing fine motor skills.
Cute Dinosaur Coloring Pages & Worksheets – A mix of coloring & skills for school
Alphabet Coloring Pages for Kids – Practice letter recognition, tracing, and coloring.
Camp Field Trip Ideas
Plan to get out of the house each week on a fun field trip. Your kids will love exploring your local community with you.
I suggest making a field trip bucket list to come up with all the places you want to visit this summer. Ask the kids where they want to go and add it to the bucket list. They’ll love being able to help plan with you.
Find new places to visit by following local mom Facebook groups or kids’ activity groups. You can also Google local museums and find ones to visit in your area you may never have heard of. The fun part is finding new places you all enjoy trying out.
Field Trip Ideas:
- Visit a New Playground
- Go, Bowling
- Visit a local Museum
- Go to the Zoo
- Play Miniature Golf
- Go to a Water Park
- Local Summer Events in Your Town
- Go on a Picnic
- Go Hiking in a local state park or forest preserve
- Visit a Botanical Gardens
- Visit a local Nature Center
- Head to a new Swimming Pool
- Visit an Aquarium
- Go to an Amusement Park
- Visit a Library
- Go to an Indoor Trampoline Park
Find even more field trip ideas in 40 Awesome Staycation Ideas for Families. Tons of fun things to do in your own community with kids.
How Much Does it Cost?
The best thing about a DIY Summer Camp is it’s so much cheaper than sending your kids to a traditional day camp. You can adjust the camp you create to the budget that works for you.
To save money I buy tons of my crafts and activity supplies at Dollar Tree. We also eat at the house a lot rather than out at restaurants.
Where you can get into higher costs is the field trips you choose. For instance, some museums, and waterparks can cost a lot to buy tickets. So decided what you want to splurge on when making your field trip bucket list.
I suggest you make a budget of what you want to spend and then keep track as you go so that you don’t go over that amount.
You can find a camp budget tacker in the Summer Camp at Home Planner.
Are you feeling excited about planning a summer camp at home with your kids? I have found that my favorite summers are the ones I don’t send my kids to camp and we get to have fun together all summer. You make great family memories to cherish as your kids grow up.
Now it’s time to put together your Summer Plan. To make it easier use my Summer Camp at Home Planner. It has printables for all the planning stages of your camp to make it a stress-free task.
You won’t need to search all over the internet to plan your themes or get the checklists you need. Just print it out and you’re ready!
Hopefully, you’re inspired now to use these summer camp-at-home ideas to plan your own Mom Camp. Take advantage of all the fun activity ideas to help you create a stress-free and super fun summer with your kids It’s the perfect way to spend quality time together and create great memories.
If you have questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I love hearing from my readers. If you have some different activities your kids love share them in the comments so we can all try them out.
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