Staycation and DIY Summer Camp Ideas
Sending your child to summer camp can be expensive and may cut into his or her summer schedule. Find the right balance with the summer learning pyramid and gather ideas from the list below to create your own “staycation” and at-home summer camp experiences, which can be shaped around your family’s agenda.
Summer Camp Activities at Home
It’s summer! Take advantage of the weather and get active with outdoor games and activities, like water balloon tosses, tug-of-war competitions, and scavenger hunts. You can also encourage your child to find a sport he or she likes and practice with you in the backyard. Set up a volleyball net, grab a soccer ball, or throw a baseball back and forth.
Get creative with movie nights by hosting a backyard theater. Set up a “drive-in” movie by situating your car to face the garage and projecting a movie on the garage door or on a white sheet on the side of your house. Host a sleepover with your child and his or her friends and have them select a movie. Provide snack ideas, such as “ants on a log” or caramel popcorn, or have each child create his or her own trail mix snack bags.
Keep learning alive this summer with learning activities your child can have fun with. Create a tree guide or an animal guide and take your child to the park so he or she can observe nature. You can also sign the family up for a community service activity to teach your child compassion, or do something as simple as taking turns with your child to read out loud at night.
Send your child to a day camp or weekly lesson, such as a tennis camp or dance class. This is a great alternative to summer camp because your child still gets the opportunity to interact with other children while enjoying a well-rounded summer of learning.
Take a Staycation in Your Own City
Visit your local children’s museum, or search for kid-friendly summer programs at your nearby science or art museum. You may be surprised by what you find! Some museums offer weekly story time for children, as well as drawing classes, free festivals, and more.
Take local history onto the road and look for family field trip ideas right in your own backyard. Across the nation, small towns and big cities alike brim with opportunities to delve into textbook history and pop culture.
Check out the local park service in your area for hiking trails and educational nature classes for kids. Many parks offer free classes for children, so take advantage of the weather and the park system near you. Classes or walks could include birdwatching hikes, kayak tours, mini-camps, and more.
Plan a day of beach activities! Yes, it’s simple, but your child will have fun in the sand and you’ll get to relax in the sun. Create beach art with collected shells, bring tools for your child to build sandcastles, use beach towels for games and activities, make a sand tic-tac-toe board, or have a crab-walk race.
Make your backyard into a campground for a few nights, or reserve a campground spot near your home. Make this a family event, or invite your child’s friends to stay. Set up a tent in the backyard, build a fire pit or set up your grill, turn off the phones and televisions, and get out the camp grilling recipes.
Look for Workshops for Kids
Athletic workshops may be offered at a local dance center, soccer club, or city tennis court. Check with your city’s Parks and Recreation Department and research nearby athletic centers.
Look for nature workshops through the National Junior Rangers program or your local park system.
Programs may be offered throughout the summer at your local library. Call or look up your library’s calendar of events and classes for opportunities beyond just checking out the books on your child’s summer reading list.
What other summer activities or staycation ideas for kids do you have? Let us know in the comments section below!