More than 20 million kids attend summer camp in the United States, according to the American Camp Association. This year, due to COVID-19 shutdowns, many summer camp organizations have severely limited or cancelled their programs.
Each weekly activity will center on a life skill children develop while at summer camp—confidence, independence, stewardship, communication, creativity, exploration, teamwork and sportsmanship. These activities will be added weekly on Wednesdays.
Planned activities for week one will focus on building communication skills. The beginning of camp is often the hardest, as parents take off and kid-jitters take over, so camp ice breakers help children overcome their initial shyness, and it helps build communication skills. Even if your home campers think they know each other pretty well, these ice breaker activities will strengthen family bonds and sibling relationships. During this first week, also help your camper make their home camp just as memorable by showing them how to communicate what their camp is all about in the form of creating a camp name and camp logo.
Planned activities for week two will focus on building creativity skills. Kids might not be able to splash around at home like they do at camp, but with some creativity and a wild imagination, they can recreate the experience. Your campers can make your own lake experience and underwater creatures by using art to create an underwater scene.
Planned activities for the third week will focus on building exploration skills. Kids might not have access to camp nature trails or an unencumbered night sky in your neighborhood, but they can still explore things from home. Try recreating these experiences by having your camper look for leaves, colors, bugs or follow sounds. Test it out during the day, then try it at night using flashlights to light the way.
The fourth week will focus on building teamwork skills as your campers share ghost stories and create new camp songs with you, while week five will focus on building independence skills as campers make their own camp-themed treats like backyard s’mores.
Planned activities for week six will focus on building stewardship skills. Many camps promote environmental stewardship by inspiring kids to protect the planet as they fall in love with nature. Help your camper share their enthusiasm about wildlife by having them create animal footprint trails in different places throughout the neighborhood for others to find and follow to a fun fact.
The seventh week will focus on building confidence skills as kids rely on themselves to setup their own backyard camping, or as they lead their parents in a flashlight nighttime “hike” around the neighborhood.
The eighth and final week will focus on building sportsmanship skills as the end-of-camp summer games lets campers show off their skills and talents!
Check out National Geographic Kids for more activities for kids and families, focused on educational and entertaining content so kids can stay connected to nature and science while at home.