6 At-home Summer Camp Ideas for Kids

Summer is traditionally the time when parents can send their children off to summer camp and enjoy some much-needed space while the kids learn, grow, and have some fun. Sadly, this summer Coronavirus has crashed the party. But all hope is not lost! While it may not be what you or they envisioned, an at-home summer camp can still provide opportunities for creative play, independent thought, life skills learning – even new friendships.

Here are six ideas to make Camp Quarantine the place to be this summer!

Create an at-home summer camp sleepaway experience. Just because you can’t leave home doesn’t mean you can’t camp out. Pitch a tent in your backyard or family room, stargaze, sing and tell stories by a real or fake fire, and don’t forget the s’mores! Kids will love the novelty of camping at home and you’ll create some special family memories.

Set a challenge. It’s always good to have something to work towards over the course of a day or week. Encourage resourcefulness and creativity. For example, you could challenge them to make something from cardboard boxes and crafts supplies, learn a song on the piano (or another instrument), make a fort, or create a ‘movie trailer’ or stop motion animation. Another fun idea is to set up an ingredient challenge, as seen on the TV show, ‘Chopped’. You may just inspire a culinary masterpiece!

Get outside. Spending time outdoors is one of the best parts of camp and it should definitely play a big role in your at-home summer camp too. Make the most of the space you have in your backyard or neighborhood (or head to the beach or park). Set up an obstacle course, trampoline or sprinkler, depending on the location. Play yard games like cornhole, croquet, smash ball, or tetherball. Or simply use the opportunity to do some gardening together. If possible, venture further afield for hikes and bike rides. Local COVID-19 restrictions permitting, of course!

Write letters. Curling up in your bunk at night to write a letter home is part of the whole camp experience. So why not incorporate this old-fashioned pleasure into your at-home summer camp too? Kids can write letters to their school friends, family members, even kids in the same neighborhood. It’s a good way to help them build friendships and relationships beyond Zoom and other virtual hang-outs.

Create a scavenger hunt. Everybody loves a good scavenger hunt! Set one up in your house or backyard and include tasks that will keep the kids busy as they solve clues. And, of course, be sure to have prizes at the end.

Attend a virtual day camp. During the Coronavirus crisis, many regular camps and other organizations have created online camps, activities, and classes. These are available at a range of price points, including some free options. Some also offer kids the opportunity to meet new friends, albeit virtually.

Whatever you choose to do at your at-home summer camp, it’s certain to be a summer they’ll never forget!