Every summer I spend one structured DIY at Home Summer Camp week with my kids and the participation is absolutely awesome! Once the word got out, each summer the neighbor kids now inquire as to start dates until ultimately invited. It is great fun and I know your kids will love it too!
So, let’s get into how I put together my DIY At Home Summer Camp and give you a outline of how you can put this together yourself. Now, once the chalkboard comes out the kids go crazy and start spreading the word at first chance. My advice is to post your intentions the Friday before your start date. Starting camp on Monday gives you an easy start and end date; start days can easily be modified. Before we dive in please note: this does not have to be a huge time/energy drain. I put this together with the intention to engage my kids and have fun, understanding I only have a minimum amount of time to commit to it and it should incorporate daily activities like chores so you have time to get your stuff done too.
At Home Summer Camp
1) Announce Your Camp
This could look like a chalk board, a poster board or just a plain old piece of paper made into an invitation.
The days are generally scheduled in a nine to five fashion; if you have a two-hour window, just work with that that. Trust me, done is better than perfect and your kids will be appreciative for 30 minutes! Are we balls out playing those eight hours? No way! I have found the best way to maintain structure is to fold in life’s responsibilities into the fun. I have a Fun Kids Chore Jar that I incorporate into the schedule, which are shown just below the chalkboard.
Planning this toward the end of the summer to ease the kids back into a “normal” school regimen works well!
2) Showcase Your Schedule
For example, if you are going to have a morning science activity and afternoon screen time when will they happen and for how long? One and two can be done together as shown in the picture above.
3) Plan One Major Activity Daily
During camp I will plan and execute one craft, science experiment or activity during the day. This can be as long or as short as you like. I try to keep mine around an hour or so and schedule time for cleanup, which is usually met with resistance (let’s just keep it real shall we). This time can be a trip to museum. The point is: this event/time in part requires the largest part of your time or supervision.
Awesome At Home Summer Camp activities we’ve enjoyed:
Rainbow Spaghetti – so much fun (and includes free all natural food coloring recipes)!
Dinosaur Exhibition – kids favorite and most requested (also probably items you have around the house already)!
Not Your Mother’s Lemonade Stand– lesson is inventory turn, startup and much more (and my favorite)!
Bored Jar – items you probably already have at home! Look at the pic above to see all the jars LOL.
4) Incorporate Daily Responsibilities (e.g., chores)
Fold in your “normal” activities. This would look like the Fun Kids Chore Jar mentioned above, reading and writing, etc. It’s also a prefect time to get help with what you need, like empty the bathroom trashcans and so on.
5) Implement the Schedule
Be as consistent as possible during this week, because kids will rise to your expectation and support your efforts in the future camps. My kids give me a lot of creative leeway and now ask when I’m bringing out the project. You can determine other activities during this time or use a Bored Jar full of activities of your choosing!
All that is needed to have your own DIY at Home Summer Camp entails sketching out an announcement with a schedule, pick some activity that can be completed in the time you have available. Do not forget to do yourself a favor and incorporate all the things that have to keep being done everyday, like laundry. When they are doing chores, so are you. And finally, be consistent! The kids will reward you in the years to come. As mentioned, you can hold camp just before school goes back into session, getting everyone back into routine or whatever time you.
Most importantly: Good luck and have fun. If you aren’t having fun they won’t either. Yes, I’m saying it, because you can get lost trying to get it “done”. Do not let this take you over… no one will want to do it again!
Please let me know if you try it. I would love to hear from you! And if you need more ways to motivate your kids in school and beyond, check out this post!