Start planning in advance: Just because you are planning to keep everyone at home this summer doesn’t mean that you should wait until the last minute to select activities to do. Some activities can require advance notice and contain steps that need to be done beforehand.
Invite friends, family, and neighbors: A big part of summer is spending time with friends, neighbors, and family members. Your children won’t be the only ones who will be spending their summer at home. Ask around the neighborhood if other kids in your child’s age group would be interested in joining some of the activities.
Divide and conquer: Once you have a small group of kids (don’t take on more than you can handle), coordinate with the other families to see who may be able to host on certain days or contribute to different tasks depending on their availability. Even if they do not have the space necessary to host the gathering, parents can help by overseeing snacks, chaperoning an outing, or carpooling.
Find local resources: Libraries, nature centers, local museums, etc. may all have summer activates and programs your children will love. Don’t hesitate to ask around, and maybe ask for group rates if you want to take your little ones on a discounted day trip.
Stock up on the essentials: Whether it is snacks or art supplies, make sure you have enough on hand to satisfy everyone. Make sure to confirm how many children will be attending each activity ahead of time.
Make it magical! Finding magic when you are in a familiar setting can be difficult for children and parents alike. It’s easy to fall into a rut. Make sure that camp is still special by selecting a mascot, inventing special camp songs and learning to let go of the stress of your daily obligations.
Ideas for at-home summer camp
Establish a daily routine: Even though you’re on vacation you should still maintain a regular routine! Just like a summer camp, make sure your children are held accountable for certain tasks and behaviors that they will hopefully continue during the school year. Activities can include 20 minutes of reading per day (you can create a reading nook with fun bookcases and a cozy seating area), completing a chore, perfecting or acquiring a skill like playing an instrument, playing outside and exercising, etc.
Themed weeks will help keep summer camp at home fun for everyone, and provide a base for your weekly activities. Remember to adapt these ideas to interest the children in attendance. They can work together as a team or individually at their own pace.
- STEM camp: There’s tons of STEM activities for kids available on the internet that are the epitome of learning by play. Pick some your kids will be interested in, challenge them by either organizing a competition or a group project that will build collaborative skills, and don’t hesitate to get messy!
- Theater camp: From writing a play to putting it together, creating costumes and presenting it at the end of camp, there is a lot do to during theater camp. Also, attend some children’s plays as a field trip.
- Adventure camp: If kayaking, rock climbing, and camping in the woods sounds like your ideal summer plan some outdoor activities for your family. Take them for a walk in the woods and teach them essential survival skills, or how to identify animals and plants. If the weather does not permit it or if your kids are too young to spend the night outdoors, go camping indoors instead! Grab a tent that’s perfect for your living room, or playroom, and let the fun begin.
- History camp: How did people live before? How did they dress? What did they eat? What did children play with? After a trip to the library, take your little campers to a history museum or a historic home to show them all these things and maybe ignite a passion that will last a lifetime.