Thursday, May 26, 2011

DIY Summer Camp

Well, we are at 2 days and counting until summer vacation (I am still stunned by it all). Guess what, once again, other than Cub Scout Day camp, I have signed my kids up for ZERO, ZILTCH, NADA for the summer...although a half day baseball camp may also be in our future.

I remember growing up without summer camps and a strict schedule, sleeping in and staying in our PJ's on some days...and to me that is what summer is about (and as a MOM that sounds even better!). In fact last summer, I was sad to see it end...I had an amazing time with the kiddos.
One summer treat was to take swim lessons in an oceanside pool!
Sadly this pool is not open anymore.
I do know that the kids like to see their friends and heck, I like to see my friends too. A few years ago, I organized a DIY Summer Camp and it was so much fun...and we are doing it again! It is super simple, affordable (did I mention I hate paying $200 a week for a camp?) and FUN (and that is the most important part!)

Here is one thing you need to keep in mind as you read our list, we live by the ocean but it is cold. No one has pools in the back yards, and all plans are off if it is a sunny day - we go to the beach, heck we go to the beach if the temps breaks 60!

Here's how we planned our
DIY Summer Camp:
  • We had 8 moms/families participating - some have one kid, some two - that does not matter, but ages may. The last couple of years with Jules being little some of the activities were harder for me to participate in. Some moms take 2 weeks.
  • Our summer camp only took place one day a week.
  • We also had standing park dates 1-2 days a week. For example Tuesday and Thursday meet at 2:30 at the Park just to play.
  • Each Mom selected one week and one activity of her choosing. It was great because our moms all had diverse ideas and interests, so we got to experience a range of different activities.
  • For that week/activity, the mom was in charge of everything: sending out an email with activity details and any supplies, money required (if any), snack (sometimes), etc. you would need. She also needed to make arrangements if necessary with the location. (each family paid their own way if there was an entrance, fee, etc. involved)

Our activities included:
NOTE: I did this way before I blogged, so my photos are well, pretty much non-existent. Over the next few weeks I will elaborate on some of the activities and share the books/resources I used to pull this off. Feel free to email me with any questions.
  • An easy hike/nature walk in the forest (you could easily do this in a park). make it a scavenger hunt by using a paper bag with a list of items to find...make it easy - a dried, fallen leaf, a white rock, an acorn. (Make sure the kids know not to not pick anything or disturb plants)
  • A PJ Pancake breakfast: come in your PJ's and make your favorite pancakes!
  • Berry picking: We happen to live near a pick yourself berry farm
  • Picnic with Old Fashioned Games and Patriotic Crafts (three legged race, sack race, egg on a spoon, etc.): A BBQ and fun games.
  • Craft Day: We made goop, hacky-sack type balls, painted, etc.
  • Scavenger Hunt/Detective Day: Send the kids on a hunt for clues around the park or house and lead them to a prize at the end.
  • Make Your Own BBQ Pizza day: Pizza + BBQ = FUN!
  • Movie and popcorn night: Family Friendly Movie, popcorn and glow in the dark bracelets - just because it's fun! If you have the space and equipment (a projector), show the movie outside on a wall for an outdoor movie theater
  • Science Day: Get a science book from the library and pick 2-3 easy-peasy experiments for the kids to test.
  • “Campout” (campfire, BBQ, s'mores, set up tent in the front yard – everyone goes home for bed!)
  • We also end our summer with a beach bonfire - more s'mores of course!

What did you do for summer when you were a kid?
More details on these activities to come!



  1. I agree. I don't want to overschedule summer. Hanging out is the best part! That being said, having some things to do sure makes the "I'm Bored!" cries easier to handle. Thanks for the ideas!

  2. What great ideas Holly!!! I'm going to suggest this next summer with a few of my girlfriends. I especially love that you're only responsible for doing part of the work and the kids are getting instruction from other mom's as well.

  3. this is a great idea! i hate couching up the money, too. luckily, we have a county camp that runs for 7 weeks from 7:30 am-3 pm, and is $540 total at sawyer's school. you have to hurry to get in, but i did and thank goodness!

  4. I completely agree with you. I never went to camp and we had fun enjoying the days, riding our bikes, swimming and just playing. No structure. It goes by so quickly anyway.

    Your DIY camp sounds awesome. We've done those types of things, too. Now the kids are so much older and they don't really enjoy it anymore. Our daughter is graduating this year, she works and will be starting college in the fall. Time goes by too quickly.


  5. Sounds like you have the makings of a fun and memorable summer with the kids! This is my first summer with a kiddo in California. I imagine there will be lots of days spent at the pool and beach even though the weather is cool here. :)

  6. I am soooo with you! Summer should be a time for fun and to take a breather! Definitely going to try this!


Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! I sure hope you come back for more!