Summer Day Camp at Home
By: Mackenzee McWilliams
Summer means approximately 600 extra hours to occupy the small humans in your life; but don’t let this feel like a daunting task. Let’s be real: some of this summer break will consist of too much Netflix, too many snacks, and sending your hooligans out in the yard until they stop arguing. That’s just life! It can’t all be planned and Pinterest-y, no matter what it looks like on the Internet.
If you do want better control of the time with the kids, creating your own Summer Day Camp schedule will give you the perfect structure to facilitate the fun! Grab a few of your closest friends and include their kids, too. By planning together, you’ll have more resources and less stress. If you’re planning a 5-day Summer Day Camp at home, here are some ideas to spark some summer time fun!
Day 1: Acts of Random Kindness
It’s been such a fun thing to explain to the kids and pay forward whenever a stranger covers something like a coffee or a treat in the drive-thru line. This theme can be something planned out or spontaneous!
- Buy a bouquet of flowers at the supermarket and have the kids hand them out in the parking lot as you leave.
- Leave an ice cold water bottle in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
- Paint and hide a batch of Kindness Rocks around town
Day 2: Theater Style Movie Night
Mama promised – mama delivered. Netflix IS on the list!
- Gather pillows, blankets, and giant stuffed animals and make the most comfy nest on your living room floor.
- Serve theater-style popcorn and a variety of candies!
- Choose movies that bring smiles to all ages. Current winners in our house are Trolls, Kung Fu Panda and the Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.
Day 3: But What if it Rains?
It would be irresponsible to not plan a ‘rainy day’ – is it even summer without a good solid day of downpour?
- Check your library for their calendar of activities!
- Using household items, create an obstacle course for your kids to run, climb and crawl through. Use the stopwatch on your cell phone and challenge them to beat their own time!
- Play a few rousing rounds of Freeze Dance and don’t forget to join in on the fun.
Day 4: Arts and Crafts
We aren’t all blessed with the artsy gene. Summer is the time to let loose. Roll up the rug, shut your eyes and hose off the kids outside afterwards!
- Keep a stash of dollar-store bubbles and sidewalk chalk. This way it won’t feel like a waste when the 2-year-old dumps the container of bubbles on the ground and the 5-year-old leaves the chalk on the sidewalk during a rainstorm!
- One word: Slime. You can keep the ingredients in your pantry for easy access!
- Think simple. Fruit loop necklaces, cotton ball painting or making cootie catchers.
Day 5: The Great Outdoors
Some of my greatest memories include playing with the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on. Nowadays, we have to supervise our kids more when they’re outdoors, but we encourage outdoor play as much as possible!
- Scavenger Hunts! Check out your yard or get ambitious and explore local parks.
- Go full-on Survivor. Build a campsite and plan challenges for each team. Bonus points for a food challenge eating gummy worms and other silly treats.
- Have a water play day. Sprinkler, water balloons, Slip ‘n’ Slide, sponge tossing and popsicles!
Finding a rhythm for your family in the summer can be a challenge, but try to remember that it’s not a competition. Different walks of life call for different levels of summer fun. The most important thing is to modify your activities and expectations to fit your family’s needs, so you can enjoy the extra hours you’ve been given with your kids – as stress-free as possible!
Mackenzee McWilliams is a freelancer, insta-blogger and snack servant to her two kids. She is ready to have the best summer camp ever, right here in her own backyard!