10+ Fun Home Summer Camp Ideas : The Backyard Summer Camp
|July 6, 2012||Posted by thecheapskatemom under diy, entertainment, fun, kidsandpets, summer|
by Hannah Walton aka The Cheapskate Mom
Ah, Summer …. The kids are home, the weather is hot, the wallet is …. well, the wallet is empty. What's a cheapskate mom to do? Consider getting together with trusted friends, neighbors church members and family to start your own home summer camp. Use social media like facebook and email to spread the word among people you trust.
Make the camp last as long as you want : consider a two week every day run or even a once a week all summer long camp : whatever your schedules allow. Everyone hosts a day or week at their house and make it b.y.o.l (bring your own lunch). It's easy enough, fun – and totally cheapskate. Pick awesome themes and have the kids help you plan some of the activities! Love it…
I've come up with a list of ten awesome and cheap go-to activity ideas for your home summer camp group !
1. Make A Movie or Put on A Play
Have the kids get creative by doing all of the -building – lighting – writing – directing – designing – costuming – make-up art – prop master – actors – marketing and providing concessions for a play. Theatre is a wonderful experience in which the practical world of business and technical skills meets the imaginary world somewhere in the middle – what could be better for your home summer camp? If you want to get fancy you could even film the play and let the kids have fun editing it later – and even throw a premiere party later with grape "wine" and cheese for fun!
2. Plan a Theme Around A Field Trip
Plan a fun field trip to a local attraction – be it a historical monument or if you're lucky – The Kennedy Space Center. Plan a home theme day before the trip to revolve around the trip's theme : for example – if you are going to the Space Center – learn about space !! Make space diagrams, homemade telescopes, serve green "alien" juice and flying saucer pita sandwiches!
Science doesn't have to be all note-taking, math calculators and listening to some boring teacher drone on and on. Find some simple and very fun science projects to try out with the kids. Don't over emphasize the details – they'll eventually learn them – just let them have fun with the bigger picture. I wish I'd had more fun science experiences in my life! This site has a ton of really fun and really simple science experiments to give a whirl.
4. Summer Reading
Encourage reading this summer by visiting the library regularly and having fun with it. If a local author is having a book signing or giving a talk- make sure to get the kids down there for a fun meet and greet. Ask the librarians if they ever give tours of the library – and if you want to throw a curve ball in – take a trip to a huge city library to really show the kids just how big the literary world is. Encourage kids to write poems and "books" of their own and make sure everyone goes at the their own pace, having lots of fun. The Florida Department of Education has an excellent and Free summer reading activities kit available for download here!
5. Pen Pals
Learn about the USPS and make new friends – go old-school with pen pals. I suggest having the moms think of friends with kids who live out of state and get together a list of kids within your known social circle that your kids can write. Talk about where their new pen pals live and learn about the state – talk about how the pen pal has different life experiences and how that can good for the world – and learn about the postal system too. Use the great kids activity resources at the National Postal Museaum to kick start your learning !
6. Talent Show
Everyone has a talent… yes – really – everyone has a talent. Magic, singing, acting, baton twirling , poetry, computer programming, video gaming , building, telling jokes, running – everyone is talented in LOTS of ways. Celebrate difference and talent this summer by hosting a talent show at your summer camp. Instead of having one or two winners – make everyone a winner and have a unique gift/award package for everyone!
7. Cooking Day
Learn about cooking something simple – and really have fun with it …. Make cool food like mini deep dish pizzas or a spaghetti nest - or give kids a bunch of cut veggies and ranch dip – and tell them to make their plates ultra-creative in how they arrange them!
8. Start a Business
Take a couple days to plan out a business like a car wash or lemonade stand – and then do it! Learn about basic business law, customer service and the value of a dollar while having a total blast. Scroll down to read this very informative article about starting a lemonade stand with kids!
9. Take an Official Camp Photo
Take an official camp photo! Have the kids make a sign and wear similar color shirts or wacky hats or whatever – and get everyone together for a fun camp photo!
10. Make and Record a Summer Camp Song
Learn about jingles by listening to popular ones – and then using everyone's skills – make up different versions of a camp theme song. Use a smart phone to record it – and then email it to everyone for posterity's sake! A fun and education way to spend the day!
11. Make a Camp Yearbook
Print all the photos everyone has taken all summer and take the last few days of camp for the kids to design their own yearbooks. Take their work to a place like FedEx Kinko's or Staples and diy your own photo copies – then put them together into books. Here's a good basic diy yearbook tutorial to help you!
12. Host a Field Day
Celebrate the end of your at home summer camp with a good, old-fashioned field day! Find a large park, bring some fun picnic foods, and have each mom be in charge of the prizes and equipment for one or two games. Check out this awesome list of 20 field day activities to get your creative juices flowing.
Have you ever done anything like this? What worked or didn't? Do you have any awesome ideas to add to this list? Thanks!