Tips on how to engage and entertain kids when you know you’ll be spending your summer at home. DIY summer camp at home ideas and inspiration.
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Looking for a fun way to keep the kids busy all summer? Creating your own DIY summer camp is a fun and affordable way to keep children entertained and engaged during the summer.
Planning a DIY summer camp doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, and you can customize it to your family’s interests and schedule. You can also pair up with other local families, taking turns hosting activities all summer long. We’ve really enjoyed doing this with some of our neighbors.
My children have also taken my DIY summer camp structure and used it to run mini camps for younger children. This does, of course, require parental supervision, but it also is fantastic for developing leadership skills.
Here’s a little DIY summer camp structure to get you started.
Step 1: Choose a Theme
What You'll Find on This Page
Themes aren’t absolutely required, but they can guide activities and offer a little automatic structure to your camp.
Sample DIY Camp Themes to Get You Started
Nature, art, sports, music, and science all make fun summer camp themes. So do detective school, magic school, and engineering club.
The most important thing is to tailor the themes to your family’s interests and passions. Try to involve your kids in this part of summer camp planning.
Step 2: Plan the Activities
Now it’s time to outline some possible activities that align with your chosen theme!
Activity Ideas to Get You Started
Activities that work well for at home summer camps include:
- Making crafts. Not a big crafter? Try making a simple maker space and see where your children’s creativity takes them!
- Hiking. Read these tips on how to have a great hiking experience with kids before you go.
- Completing science experiments. I have a fun list of at home chemistry experiments you can use to get started.
- Sports activities. My preschool game day post is perfect if you need inspiration for athletic activities for younger children.
As you plan, consider your children’s interests and abilities, as well as your own passions and tolerances for noise, mess, etc.
Daily or weekly schedules help a DIY summer camp stay structured and manageable.
I personally prefer to let the kids play on their own in the morning, and then we move into structured activities in the afternoon. I find that most children can entertain themselves when they first wake up; they need more structure as the day goes on.
Other parents prefer a structured morning and free time in the afternoon. Just do what works best for your family.
Step 3: Gather Supplies and Materials
Having any supplies you need collected in advance really helps an at home camp run well! If you are planning a craft heavy summer, consider getting materials well organized in advanced. We use this storage cart approach.
Use materials you already own whenever possible, and make your life easier by incorporating a cleaning time into the camp schedule where your children help you put everything away.
Step 4: Make It Fun and Memorable
Most of all, make sure this summer camp is fun! This is a fantastic opportunity to make some family memories. Take lots of photos, and plan something extra special to do the last day as your wrap up this summer experience.
Have you ever run a DIY summer camp at home? What are your top tips for a successful summer camp?
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