This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on any of the links below, I may get a commission if you make a purchase at absolutely no additional charge to you. This helps offset the costs of running this blog & I appreciate your support. Please see my privacy & disclosure policy for more.
This post is sponsored by Quaker Chewy. All opinions are my own.
Summer camp ideas are a hot topic right now, and they should be. With many things closed this summer, and keeping in mind that our kids haven’t been able to go out and do all the exciting things they’d normally be able to do at camp, this list is right on time for a lot of families.
These 19 summer camp ideas can be done at home, so you can bring camp to your kids.
- Outdoor Summer Camp Ideas
- Indoor Summer Camp Ideas
- Summer Camp Ideas – “Classic Crafts“
Outdoor Summer Camp Ideas
Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or in a rural area, there’s something for everyone on this list of outdoor camp ideas.
Whether you go to a local park or simply pitch your tents in the backyard, camping is a time-honored camp tradition that you can do at home with your kids. Just set up the tents, and get ready for a night of telling ghost stories, and other camping-related fun.
Learning how to put together a tent is such a fun outdoor summer camp idea. We bought our tent from at the store and had a fun filled day putting it up.
We then put some blankets inside and spent the day hanging out there. If you have your own backyard space, you can even spend the night in the tent. Your kids will love this!
Make a nature-themed scavenger hunt for your kids. The simplest way is to print up a sheet with things they can easily find in nature. Various types of local animals, different tree leaves, bugs, and other flora and fauna are excellent choices.
If you live in a rural area or have access to a state park nearby, going for a hike is a great way to bring summer camp to the kids. Pack up some snacks (like Quaker Chewy bars) and hit the trails. Remember to bring lots of water and follow social distancing guidelines in your area!
Nothing is more summer camp than S’Mores. If you have a fire pit, simply get it going, roast your marshmallows, and make your S’Mores. If you don’t have access to outdoor flame, you can also make S’Mores in the microwave.
To switch things up, I like to use Quaker Chewy bars as the graham crackers. They’re made with 100% whole grains and other delicious ingredients so I can feel good about giving them to my kid.
Cook Hot Dogs
Nothing is more synonymous with summer camp than cooking hot dogs. If you have a fire pit, get the full camp experience by cooking your hot dogs over an open flame. If you don’t have one, simply fire up the grill and cook them.
Play Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a perfect summer camp activity to do with the kids. Most homes have plenty of nooks and crannies outdoors where the kids can hide. Just be sure to caution the kids to choose safe hiding spots.
If you’ve ever been to summer camp, you probably tie-dyed something at some point. While tie-dying can be done indoors, it’s better to do it outdoors. All you need are some white shirts, fabric dye, rubber bands, and plenty of rags on hand for cleanup.
Create a Backyard Volcano
This is much easier than it sounds. Simply take a water bottle and fill it halfway with a mix of baking soda and a little food coloring. Then cap the bottle and mound dirt around it until you get a “volcano”. Uncap the top and pour vinegar into the bottle. In no time, your kids’ DIY volcano will erupt.
Indoor Summer Camp Ideas
You can have a lot of summer camp fun indoors, as well. These summer camp ideas will keep the kids entertained and engaged and make for great family memories.
Family Game Day / Night
Board games are often a part of summer camps, so why not make family game night part of your at-home summer camp? Grab your favorite board games and lots of snacks and make a night of it.
While the kids may not be able to get back to nature in the same way they would be at camp, you can still bring nature to them. Find some exciting nature documentaries and join your kids on a virtual nature exploration.
If you feel your kids are a little too young to watch the life and death struggles that are in most nature documentaries, make a nature-themed movie night, instead.
Choose movies with a strong nature presence such as Fern Gully, Homeward Bound, and the like. These movies are appropriate for younger kids and still feature a lot of natural beauty.
Speaking of virtual nature exploration, many zoos now offer virtual tours of their facilities. You and the kids can fire up the computer and see all the wildlife at the zoo, making for a fun indoor way to explore the fauna of the outdoors.
If you want to add a little culture to your at-home summer camp, you can also take advantage of virtual tours offered by museums.
This simple craft is easy to do and lots of fun. All you need are several bottles of bubble solution mixed with different food colorings, bubble wands, and the paper of your choice. The kids use the wands to blow various colored bubbles onto the paper, making a multi-colored summer camp work of art.
Build A Fort
If you live in a city, camping becomes an indoor activity, but you can make that a lot of fun, as well. Grab blankets, chairs, and pillows and create an indoor fort to “camp” in. A flashlight pointed under your chin makes just the right lighting for scary ghost stories, and the kids can grab snacks at any time.
Summer Camp Ideas – “Classic Crafts“
These classic crafts are ones that you’ll almost always find at most summer camps. Most of these can be done both in and outdoors, and they really give your kids that summer camp experience.
Leaf painting couldn’t be easier. Have your kids collect various leaves from your yard – the more varied the better. Then, the kids simply sponge a light layer of craft paint onto the leaves and press the painted side down onto paper. Using different leaf shapes and colors, they’ll create their own nature-themed work of art.
Leaf stenciling is just as easy and fun as leaf painting. Simply have your kids hold various leaves flat onto a piece of paper and dab around the edges with a sponge dipped in paint. Kids can layer their leaves in different colors to create all kinds of inventive artworks.
Friendship bracelets are a classic summer camp activity. They can be as easy or as complex as your children wish. All they need are various colored threads or yarns and a pattern. There are so many varieties of friendship bracelets available, the kids will never run out of new ways to make them.
Painting birdhouses is on the list of summer camp ideas because it combines crafts, creativity, and nature all in one. Simply purchase (or build) plain wood birdhouses and let the kids paint them however they choose. Afterward, you can hang them up in various trees around the yard to invite new guests.
Colorful Yarn Craft
This classic craft is easy to make and a lot of fun for the kids. All you need for each one is four craft sticks and any kind of yarn you wish. Glue the sticks in a cross formation.
After that, the kids begin by wrapping their yarn where the two sticks meet, then rotate the cross 90 degrees and wrap again. They’ll continue this process, changing colors when they see fit until the stick are filled with yarn.
All that’s needed for this craft are smooth, oblong rocks, patio paint, and small paintbrushes. To do this craft, the kids will paint their entire rock with a base coat that is the color of the “shell” of the ladybug.
Then, they’ll take black paint to paint the “head” and put spots on the “shell”. Finally, they’ll use white and black paint to paint the eyes and pupils.
These Summer Camp Ideas Bring the Fun of Camp Right to Your Home
These summer camp ideas are fun and easy, and they give the kids that camp vibe that they’ve been missing all summer.
From camping in the backyard to virtual zoo tours, arts and crafts, and more, there are enough summer camp ideas here for you to help your kids forget all about missing their favorite camp over the summer break.
Parents can also find fun camp-themed ideas to help their families continue to enjoy their own Camp Chewy at home at NoCampNoProblem.com.