There are many summer camp activities that people from different age groups can try. Did you know you can enjoy summer camp activities at home? Read on to find out.
Summer is an ideal time for children to go camping since school break falls around this time. If you have children you may have difficulties choosing the best activities to keep them occupied. One of the best ways to keep kids active and away from their mobile gadgets is through summer camp activities.
Summer camps allow children to meet and make new friends, participate in new challenges, and learn skills. Further, children are introduced to interactive, fun, and educational activities away from the school setup.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hearing more and more of the parents contacting our camp thinking and saying the same thing.
Oh no, not another summer like last year, where your child sat inside all day complaining that there was nothing to do, while you fought as hard as you could just to get them off of their iPad.
Nope, not this year. We are going to give you a list of summer camp activities so engaging that your child will be bounding out of bed every morning, eagerly awaiting to hear what is on for the day. Well, that’s the hope at least…
Here are some of the best summer camp activities that your child should try this summer.
· Outdoor Word Game for Children
This is a perfect educational and fun activity for kids. To set it up you need some type of scrabble game with big, easy to move letters. These will help kids get better at spelling specific words. This game is perfect for teenagers since it gives them a chance to learn new words.
· Outdoor Twister game
This is a perfect game for both children and the youth. All you need is to cut the bottom part of a cardboard box into a circle. With this as your base, use different colored spray paint to draw circles outside.
One person will be tasked with controlling the game. They’ll shout colors and the participants will be tasked with identifying and stepping on the same color. This is an exciting and fun summer camp activity that develops hand-eye coordination.
· Spray Painting
Spray painting activities are great for helping children exercise their creativity. An easy and cheap way of doing it would be through painting T-shirts. The children only need white plain t-shirts and different cans of colored spray paint. At the end of this activity, you’ll be surprised at what your children are capable of doing. This will not only keep them busy but it gives them a chance to practice and boost their reasoning skills.
· The Minute to Win It Game
There are different “the minute to win-it-games” for you to choose from. These games are designed to help children learn time management skills. Here, children are tasked with completing a task within one minute. The child who manages to complete their activities within that time becomes the winner.
Some of these tasks include: stacking 25 or more plastic cups and unstacking them, stacking coins, or the ping pong toss (where players have a minute to throw ping pong balls inside a container on a table.) The person who manages to secure the most balls in their container becomes the winner.
· The Hallway Maze Game
Here, a maze is created from various materials such as strings of pepper. The participant is then tasked with finding their way through the maze within a specific time. During this time they shouldn’t touch the paper. Up to 5 individuals can participate in competition before a winner is announced. This is one of the best summer camp activities for children and adults.
· Art and Craft
Art and craft summer camp activities are a good way to keep children occupied. They can exercise their creativity by painting, making cards, designing pencil holders, or practicing tie and dye. Apart from enhancing creativity, art, and craft activities can be a great brain memory booster for kids. These activities will help bring out hidden skills in your children.
· Mini Olympics for Kids
Planning a mini Olympics for the children on a summer camp is a great way of keeping them active and occupied. These games may include cycling, running, or relay races. These are some of the summer camp activities you can use to keep children healthy. What’s more, they could help them discover some of their hidden talents.
· Hats made From Paper Plates
Both young and older children can exercise their creativity by creating hats from paper plates while on camp. They can even paint them with their favorite colors.
· Chalk Twister
Apart from the chalk twister game, there are various other chalk games. These include chalk maze, sidewalk twister, and alphabet hop. Chalk twister is among the best summer camp activities that your children will enjoy.
This game is similar to the outdoor twister game we discussed before. Both boys and girls will have lots of fun playing this game. You’ll need to create a surface or board on the ground using chalk dust. The rest of the game involves hopping, skipping, and jumping.
· Parachute Games for Kids
There’s a wide range of parachute games for kids. This particular one is fun and interesting, and ideal for young children and teenagers. A massive parachute is held up by a group of around 5 or 6 children. The children then balance balls on the parachute. This is one of the best summer camp activities that encourages and develops the ability to work in a team.
· Pool Noodle Javelin
This is one of the safest and popular summer camp activities. Children love engaging in this activity too. Here a participant throws a long material that’s similar to a balloon through a ring made of the same material. This is a cheap easy to play this game that kids can play during summer camp or at home on the weekends.
· Field Day
Nearly all summer camps will have a field day for the campers. Here, children can participate in various activities such as field trips, hiking, or going for nature hunts. If your child loves adventure this will be their best summer camp activity.
· Tug Of War for Children
This game is different from its intense counterpart that’s usually played by adults, especially men. Unlike in the adult tug of war where a thick rope is used, the kid’s tug of war involves the use of a thin rope made of child-friendly and safe material.
Children enjoy playing this game while others use it as a fun physical activity. Supervisors should ensure that children maintain a safe distance between each other for safety reasons. Children engaging in this game will be tested for their strategy and strength.
· Leaf Crown
This fun and interesting summer camp activity involve creating crowns from leaves. This is a great idea that helps children become innovative.
· Nature Hike Project
This summer camp activity is similar to a scavenger field program. The children look for materials they can use to make various items such as interactive bracelets. The materials should be naturally occurring items such as tree barks, leaves, and shells.
· Making a Compass
This is one of the easy summer camp activities that children can engage in. children can make them using readily available materials which the camp organizers often provide. Children can also bring them from home. These include a sewing needle or pin, a bowl of water, a magnet, and a small piece of paper, cork, or craft foam. Children enjoy making compasses and the activity is innovative and brain-boosting.
· Bike Riding (with the family):
I know this one sounds obvious, and maybe you’ve tried it before but how about trying to tie something more relaxing into the activity to give it more appeal. For example, instead of saying let’s go for a family bike ride, how about burying the biking aspect in with
“How about we go on a family picnic where I make your favorite lunch dish, and we go for a swim in the cool lake?” When asked how you’ll get there, then you slide in the, Well, by bikes of course.
It’s been known that children and teens of this day don’t get nearly enough exercise during the summer. Because not every child has the option for summer sports activities during the summer months, you’ll have to get creative ways to get children off of the couch at home, and out into the glorious summer sunshine. What better way to do this than by good old fashioned bike power.
· Rock climbing wall at the local gym
Many gyms these days have a climbing wall right inside the gym. How about taking your child to the local gym? You’ll first need to call them to find out if they have a climbing wall, but I bet you’ll be surprised that they do.
Then the outing could be down to the local gym, where they often give you a free pass to check out and try the climbing wall. This is a great activity, and you may surprise yourself by finding your child has a knack for climbing that they never knew about. This happened to my son’s friend last summer, and now he’s hooked.
Many of the rock walls have a free session for children where the children can train with a trained coach or expert, and they’ll lend you the shoes, harness and the ropes are already there. Just make sure to bring your socks!
· Friendship bracelets
Friendship bracelets are really easy and fun to make. All you will need is some yarn, or colored floss to weave together, some tape, and some fun doodads to hang off the bracelets.
I’ve seen children use beads, and other trinkets to make them more fun or personal. Some use beads with letters, so they could put their friend’s name on the bracelet.
· Homemade Ice Cream
Now, what other thing reminds us more of summer than ice cream? And making your ice cream, or even better, having your child or teen make ice cream is an age-old summer activity that will be sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
You would be surprised at how easy it is to make, and even with only a few common household ingredients that you likely already have on hand.
- 2 -3 cups (16oz/450ml ) heavy whipping cream, cold
- 14 ounces (1 Can/ 400ml) sweetened condensed milk (fat-free or regular), cold
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional)
For additional flavors, you can go as crazy as you want. Think mango puree, strawberries, salted caramel, kiwi, the list goes on and on, and who can forget about the chocolate sauce.
- Place sweetened condensed milk in the fridge to keep cold.
- Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold cream on medium/high speed until soft peaks form.
- Pour the cold condensed milk into the whipped cream.
- Whisk until the mixture is thick and stiff peaks form. Then mix in your vanilla or other flavors that you like. How about some fresh blueberries that you might have picked from a nature hike that morning?
In case you didn’t know, this is what stiff peaks look like. I was always confused by this term myself until I tried making ice cream and later a tiramisu. You’ll need to whip your ice cream mix until it reaches the consistency of the below.
Then, just stick in the freezer, wait a few hours and enjoy!
· Ring Toss
A few years ago, we went on a family vacation to Jamaica with a few other families. There was a simple game that was a ring, tied to an old piece of fishing line that you had to stand a few meters away from and swing it onto a spike stuck in a tree.
Believe it or not, this simple game provided hours of entertainment for children and adults alike. The adults turned the activity into more of a frat party drinking game but it was still fun.
Be creative and tie in some tricks or prizes into the mix, and you’ll have an instant and nearly free activity that can entertain children for a few hours the rest of the summer.
· Giant Bubbles
OK, this might be for the younger ones, but I’ve even seen the street performers standing at the stoplights trying to earn a few dollars with this one. It’s pretty fun to watch. The recipe is you’ll need is 6 cups water, 1 cup corn syrup, and 2 cups regular strength dish soap. The corn syrup as you might have guessed is the key to allowing the bubbles to get big.
Stir mixture into a shallow tub. Dip blower into solution, lift out, and blow. Or even run with the soapy mixture into the breeze and let a huge bubble fly. You can get some sticks and some string to make the area for the mixture to cling to. Then just add the breeze by running, and let those giant bubbles fly.
· A Makeshift Puppet Show
This activity is as easy as it sounds. Grab some old socks, paint some faces on them, and let your creativity run wild. You can even cut out some yarn and glue on a wig, or get as crazy as you want for the puppets themselves.
Just do like you see in the movies and have your child hide behind a box or table that is turned on its side and reenact Shakespeare or be their silly selves. It may sound corny, but this one has brought our family and friend to tears as the children make up funny stories and enjoying bringing out the hidden thespian.
· A Family Visit to A nearby Historical Site or Museum
Oh, the horror, a museum, and learning in the summer? But wait, it’s not as bad as it sounds. There are plenty of museums or historical sites that are a lot of fun to visit in the summer. Many museums these days have fun science experiments or educational how-tos to illustrate fun activities and lessons to children and teens.
· Your Own Ropes Labyrinth Adventure Park
You or your child/teen can make a labyrinth park. What’s a labyrinth park you ask?
Well, it’s like a maze but labyrinths are designed so that you can’t take a wrong turn to get out. You walk through the labyrinth, and of course, making it is the most fun part. The even better part is that this is likely a multi-day project and one that you can turn into a garden centerpiece if you want.
The first step is to draw out your design. To give you an idea, here is what a labyrinth could look like. Once you have a design you like, you’ll need to buy some rope and steel to construct the labyrinth.
I told you this was a multi-day project, but it doesn’t mean you need to construct in consecutive days, it could be done throughout the summer if you wanted. Once you have the rope and stakes, measure it out according to your diagram and hammer the stakes into the ground to attach the ropes. A more detailed explanation with all of the steps can be found on this excellent labyrinth making post.
· Neighbourhood Football/Soccer Match or Capture the Flag
When we were growing up, we used to put together football/soccer matches all the time at the local school ground, or park that could accommodate the size needed. I’ve been doing this nearly my whole life.
Even during beach vacations. We would just grab anything that could make a goal post (a shoe, a coconut, a stick stuck into the ground) whatever we could find. And voila, you have an instant impromptu football pitch.
Now, start inviting the neighbors or your friends to come and play. You can make it more organized and create flyers, even game shirts for teams and with Moms bringing over a different snack for the children to have during the match.
The other really fun thing to do for all ages is capture the flag. With capture the flag you don’t even need a field its better without a field. You can designate a loose area in the local forest or wooded section near your house. Organize into two teams, separate by age differences, boys, girls, and create the boundary and general rules.
In case you don’t know the rules, they are quite simple. There is a flag that usually a person or persons stand near to guard. This is usually away from the front neutral area towards the front of the game area.
Then there will be some offensive aspect of the team that will try and sneak into the other team’s area to try and capture the flag without being tagged. To get out or caught, you just need to be tagged by a member of the opposite team, while you are in “enemy territory”.
If a member of the opposite team tags you while trying to get the flag, you are put into “prison”. Usually, a team of the defense then needs to guard the prisoners, because if a member of the offensive team tags a prisoner, all prisoners are released.
We have found both football/soccer matches and capture the flag to be equally as fun with adults and children of all ages playing together.
· A nature treasure hunt
A lot of children and teens likely have done treasure hunts, but a natural treasure hunt is done with a natural twist. Examples of hints or clues are below, but you can make it more natural by having the hunt is articles of nature. Examples could be pine cones, moss from trees, types of rocks, or different types of leaves.
Likely, your teen will be rolling their eyes at this one, but you can make it more fun by having a prize that you know they will enjoy.
A family hike
Being from the Swiss Alps, this is a hugely important family activity. It helps when you have some of the most stunning alpine and mountainous scenery in the world, but hikes are a great way to get outside and enjoy any type of environment.
No matter where you live. There are many apps in the Apple app store or Google play store that will give you great information on where the best hiking areas are in your area. The app will tell you based on your physical fitness ability what is most appropriate, the length of the hike, what features you may want to visit (fishing, swim in a lake, reach a mountain peak).
Plus, tell you where to park to find the trailhead. You don’t need to live in Switzerland to enjoy a family hike, so go out and do some hiking or walking today.
· Talent show
Talent shows are great fun for the family. They can be as elaborate as you want them to be, by inviting your friends to take part, and even other families to put on competitions. Children and teens love the opportunity to show off their hidden talents, be they in singing, telling stories, playing instruments, or acting out a play that they wrote.
Maybe you have a comedian in your family, and this will give them a chance to shine. Jim Carrey used to put on stand-up every day after school; you’ll never know what you may find out about your child’s talents until you let them show them off.
· Make tapas
Tapas, in case you’re not familiar with them, are small, sometimes even bite-sized snacks with origins from Spain. In the Basque country, the area around the border of Spain and France, tapas are a way of life, and nearly all local restaurants serve them from lunch through to dinner. The idea of having several small dishes with a wide variety of choices has become so popular, tapas restaurants are opening up around the globe. Chances are you have even had them yourself while never having visited Spain.
At our camp, we make tapas and the campers love the idea of having many options to choose to eat.
Here is a list of some of our favorites. And the good news is that most of them are quite easy to make.
· Spanish Omelet
This is an egg dish with potatoes, olive oil, and other spices. If you want the exact recipe to make this one, you can check out this comprehensive tapas recipe.
Any way you cut it, people love calamari or fried squid. It may be a bit difficult to get if you’re located in a landlocked area but the idea is some type of chewy white meat, cooked in light tempura or batter, then complement with some lemon zest. Be careful to make enough of this one, because it’s very popular.
· A mix of local cheeses and hams
No matter where you live, you likely have access to cheese, try and go to the local butcher or gourmet shop to get some good ones. Traditionally, the cheeses that are used for this are Manchego or Mahon but you can make it with some different types that you like.
Stiltons, goat cheese, strong cheddar cheese compliment with some good bread, and some ham’s (Iberian cured ham is great if you can find it). Add some walnuts and some grapes, and you’ll have a real tapas dish.
That’s right, just plain olives and I usually find the ones that still have the pits inside them have the best flavor. If you take the pit out, for some reason some of the strong salty flavor is lost. Usually, it’s best to have a mix of olives, black and green, and with different sizes.
· Patatas Bravas
These are just potatoes baked with a bit of paprika and spice sprinkled on before you place in the oven. To make it traditionally the Basque way, use some aioli sauce, which is made from mostly garlic and olive oil. Who doesn’t love those?
Well, these are just a few ideas that we think might be enough to motivate your child or teen up off of the couch, off of their iPad, and out into the bright beautiful summer sun. We hope that you’ll find some inspiration from these ideas.
In case you are wondering where these ideas came from, many of them are what we recommend for our campers. We are an international summer camp located in the heart of the Swiss Alps.
It attracts children and communities from around the world. We have been entertaining children for more than 30 years. So we know a thing or two about how to keep children busy. Our camp runs from December through August too.
If you’d like to learn more about what we do, or more about the ideas we wrote about, just hit the button below to get more information. We’d love to chat with you about these ideas, or even to hear some of your own.Register today and be the first to know about summer camp offers.