How To Have Summer Camp At Home

by | May 5, 2017 | 0 comments

Now, I am partially writing this article for myself because it’s almost that time of year again! School is almost out for summer, which means it’s time for summer camps. And I ultimately had to know how to have summer camp at home. Let me tell you why…

Summer camp is EXPENSIVE and I have three daughters. Therefore if I want to send all three of them to summer camp full-time, I would have to spend thousands of dollars during the 10-week summer break.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am always super excited for summer to come. No more packing lunches, no more homework, no more rushing to the bus in the morning. (Wait, who am I kidding – we miss the bus more often than we make the bus!) But over summer break we don’t have to worry about things like that.

We do enjoy summer.

For about 3 days … then everyone is bored. And we may or may not be driving each other crazy. LOL

So we have to get creative. I will send my daughters to a few one-week long camps. We’ll take a vacation. But that leaves us like seven weeks still to fill with activities.

We all want our kids to have a memorable summer without breaking the bank.

But don’t worry! Without the use of too much screen time, and without anyone losing their minds, I have great ideas on how to have summer camp at home in order to keep your kids entertained!

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Here are my 11 tips for how to have summer camp at home!

Tip #1: Have Themed Weeks

First, pick a theme for each week. Depending on the ages of your kids, the themes could be different. For example: science, animals, art, music, etc. Have your kids help you with the theme. They will be much more engaged if they have a say.

Second, use that theme to guide your week. If the theme is “animals,” you could visit a petting zoo. Many farms offer free visits. And you could find simple arts and crafts ideas to make something for each specific theme, as well as visit the library and have your children pick age appropriate books that are relevant to the theme.

This will give you simple activities that will keep your kids busy for short periods of time.

Next, fill a jar with ideas on pieces of paper.

Finally, once a week pick from the jar in the morning and that will be your surprise outing for the day. Some ideas could be to take a hike, go to the park, have a picnic, visit a family member, etc.

Have fun with these! And remember, they don’t have to cost money to be fun.

Tip #2: Attend Story Time

One of my favorite ways on how to have summer camp at home is reading! And what better way than to have stories read aloud to you (hopefully in fun speaking voices for the different characters!).

Find out when and where there are story time. These could be at a community center or your local county library. And they are usually free!

Tip #3: Chores

Yes, your kids can (and should!) do chores over the summer. When they have daily responsibilities they are less likely to get bored and lazy.

Therefore, you should keep to a schedule.  Of course, we want to enjoy sleeping in and taking our time in the summer. But it’s also important to somewhat keep to a schedule.

Summer camps have schedules, and if you are planning on running camp at home, you will have to plan on having some kind of schedule in place.

Tip #4: Dollar Movies

Many theaters promote dollar movies during the summer. These showings aren’t during normal busy hours, and they usually aren’t new releases. However, heading to the movie theater is a change in scenery and a great way to beat the heat!

Summer Camp is where kids can truly be themselves - kids! Click To Tweet

Tip #5: Projects

Another great way on how to have summer camp at home is to find some summer projects to create!

I am a huge fan of DIY projects and crafts. So therefore I turn to online tips and tricks (Pinterest is my go-to).

I’ve found some great ideas on how to make sprinklers with pvc pipes, and obstacle courses right in your own backyard.

Tip #6: Fundraisers

Have a few fundraiser days during your at-home Summer Camp. You could have your kids set up a neighborhood car wash, yard sale, and/or lemonade stand.

Then, they could use that money for a day trip to a museum or even donate the money!  (For instance, if your theme is “animals” for the week, donate the money to your local animal shelter!)  It’s fun, productive, and educational.

Tip #7: Day Trips

Day trips can be inexpensive, and even free! Take a day trip to a lake or a beach. Pack a cooler. Your kids would be taking similar field trips during summer camp anyways, and this way you can take a mini vacation with them.

Tip #8: Vacation Bible School

Find some local Vacation Bible Schools. These are fun and free events where you kids can socialize and learn.

choosing a summer camp kids around a bonfire making s'mores tents and string lights behind them

If you end up wanting to send your kids to summer camp, you’ll need to know a few things first. Click here to find out what those are.

Tip #9: Buy A Pool

Another activity that your child would be doing at summer camp would likely be swimming. There are some really inexpensive, but large pools available now. Even if it’s only 3-feet deep, it can keep your kids cool, entertained, and active for hours.

In fact, be sure to check your local yard sale sites for even more inexpensive options.

Tip #10: Plant A Garden

This would likely have to be started early spring, but your kids can help you take care of the garden all summer long. You could even have a “cooking” themed week and have them make meals from the produce from your garden. Educational, healthy, and money saving!

Tip #11: Volunteer

Volunteer your time with your kids. There are plenty of places that need help, especially during the summer while many people are on vacation. Check out local nursing homes, libraries, and community centers.

Your kids can learn important life lessons that aren’t necessarily taught at school by simply volunteering a few hours a week over the summer.

mother father with two children daughter and son having summer camp at home in a tent with dad cooking food

Enjoy this time

As much as I might be counting down the days until the first day of school starts again in August, still I am so grateful that I can be home with my kids.

I love being able to make memories with my children.

And as you’ve read, having summer camp at home can be affordable and fun!

Do you do this as well? Let us know!

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Bridgette Petrino

Bridgette is a wife and mom of 3 daughters. She is a recovering perfectionist who used to worry chronically, keep up with the Jones' and feel guilty for taking time for herself. Eventually, the pressure of being perfect caused her to crack. She ended up having a breakdown, which led her to realize the importance of self-care, specifically for moms. Now, she helps women just like her, to stop feeling guilty and to take their lives back. In turn, marriages, relationships and families are being healed. Bridgette is a former accountant who is now an advocate for mind, body, soul, and self.
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