Ways to Make Your Kid Feel Like They're at Summer Camp

Turn your backyard into a kids' retreat.

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June 09, 2020

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DIY Your Own Camp

This summer may look different with social distancing and many camps cancelled, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Think of your place as Camp Backyard, where fun camp activities can happen right outside of your home. Arts and crafts, water games and even late-night activities are waiting for you with a few supplies and a little creativity!

Arts and Crafts – Jewelry Making

What’s more fun than coming home from camp with an armful of bracelets and lanyards? You can set up stations to make bead bracelets with fun messages, string friendship bracelets or rainbow looms. Lanyards are great for keychains and other crafts as well. If you don’t know where to start, YouTube and Pinterest both have great project ideas.

Arts and Crafts – Tie-Dye

Tie-dye was trending before stay at home, but it’s become a phenomenon since we’ve had more time to be around. It’s also easy and fun to do. Find a tie-dye kit, make some space in your yard and create endless projects from t-shirts or tanks to tote bags and towels.

Water Olympics

No swimming pool? No problem. There are many fun water activities you can do without a pool. Water balloons, like these brightly colored Crazy ZURU Bunch O Balloons, fill in less than a minute with no fumbling to tie them. You can use them for balloon toss games, hanging from a string like a piñata and more. A water slide or sprinkler provides endless fun for races, freeze dance and more. You can also break out the Super Soakers for water blaster tag.

Color War

It may not be a giant color war, but competition can still get fierce with your family. Pick a color and divide by teams–go all out with outfits, face paint, even hair dye–and plan activities like races with an egg on a spoon, writing their own song and tug of war. End the day with an epic obstacle course you can build in your yard.

Movie Night Under the Stars

Movie theaters may be closed but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. The Cinemood is a small projector you can connect to Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services and project outside. Set up chairs or get creative and have the kids build their own drive-in cars. Don’t forget the candy and popcorn, of course!

Explore Nature

Your yard is likely full of natural treasures, so why not do a scavenger hunt to find cool flowers, creepy crawlers and funky shaped rocks? Or venture out with your family to different hiking trails. All Trails is a great way to look up places to hike, fish, camp or picnic. You can pick a different nature activity each week.

Make S’mores

What’s camp without S’mores? If you have a firepit, grab a stick and make them the old-fashioned way. If you don’t, broil the marshmallows in the oven for a similar effect or grab one of these S’mores makers.

Talent Show

Whether it’s singing and dancing, juggling or joke telling, we are certain that there is some strain of talent in your family. Why not host a talent show? Depending on social distancing rules in your area, other kids from the neighborhood could participate, too, either live or virtually. Record the show as a keepsake for years to come.

Get Sporty

What’s camp without a few friendly games of competition. Use what you have around the house to set up sports stations, whether it be a baseball bat and mitt or a basketball hoop. You could also try using a soccer ball, hula hoops, a bike or setting up running races. Each day can be a new adventure!

Make it Musical

Camp is nights spent singing songs around the fire with your friends. That doesn’t have to stop. Spend part of the day making your own instruments. Put together an epic playlist you can dance and sing to all summer long and, if you are lucky enough to own a firepit, get ready to belt out those tunes. You can even set up an outdoor karaoke night.

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