Summer camp is sometimes thought of as a rite of passage. It’s a time and place to make lifelong memories, have oodles of fun and develop independence, confidence and new skills. But don’t sweat if your kids aren’t attending this year – there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to create their very own summer camp experience at home.
Pick a Theme
Choosing a theme is a great way to get kids excited and it can join separate activities together into a cohesive camp experience – plus it just makes everything a lot more fun. Space camp, magicians, an enchanted forest, under the sea, a pirate ship, theatre camp or your very own Olympic games. Choose a theme your kids will be excited about.
Select Activities to Develop
Once you have a theme in place, pick some activities. Look to inspire fun, encourage play and expand their growth and development. This doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.
There are tons of online resources and tutorials that have easy instructions and printouts for activities that work on developing social, physical and behaviour skills. These are fun events that also secretly help kids practice things like hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and balance.
Choose Games to Grow
Host your own Olympics with games such as obstacle courses, hopscotch or throwing a ball to develop balance, coordination and body awareness. Train your child’s brain with a backyard laboratory for science experiments such as a sandbox volcano, water balloon parachutes or solar oven s’mores.
If your little ones are dealing with a learning disability, physical challenges or other health and well-being challenges, a health professional can assist with developing activities that are fun, accessible and engaging and developmentally appropriate.
Pitch a Tent
Set up a tent in your backyard or if you don’t own a tent, ask a neighbour if you can borrow one.
If possible, pick a tent with tall, wide doors so no one has to crawl or stoop to get in or out. Consider a raised cot or supportive, tall air mattress for sleeping so you aren’t resting your body on the hard ground.
Create the Right Environment
Set up some camping or patio chairs in a wide-open and accessible arrangement to enjoy socializing with family and friends.
Surround your campsite with solar lights or battery tealights in tin cans with homemade designs poked into them.
Play some age-appropriate activities like Simon Says, ladder golf, or read cards from your favourite trivia game.
Once night falls, turn off all the exterior lights, lay back on your sleeping bags and gaze up at the sky. Most of us can easily pick out the Big Dipper. Use that as a way finder to spot other constellations. There are apps that can help you navigate the nighttime sky.
Suppose you, or someone you know, has mobility issues that are preventing you from enjoying all the experiences you’d like to. In that case, an occupational therapist (OT) can help you figure out alternative options that will allow you to live your life to the fullest.