How to Create Your Own Charming Summer Camp at Home

camp counselor black tshirt hello from camp

Some of the best memories in life are grown in sunlight and fresh air. However, you don’t always have to travel into the woods or drive miles away to have that refreshing summer camp experience. Give your kids a chance to step away from civilization and reconnect with nature by making a memorable summer camp at home.

Organizing a Summer Camp for Kids

As all good scouts and campers know, it’s important to always be prepared. And the first step to preparing the right supplies is knowing your environment and knowing your campers. Make sure that you’ll have enough space for all of the summer camp activities you have in mind but also make sure your plan includes what your kids will enjoy most.

Tents and fire pits are amazing ways to transform your backyard into a forest, but they can quickly take up more space than you think. Measure the dimensions of your backyard or living room and make a small map so that you can manage your space effectively. Adding zones on your map can also be a fun way for your kids to visualize the backyard as the woods, the living room as a cabin or the bathroom as an outhouse.

The little details will also play a big role in making your space feel outdoorsy. Some great summer camp-themed supplies include canteens, compasses, binoculars and flannel blankets. Sleeping bags are also amazing but you’ll want to make sure that they have the right temperature and weather rating for your needs. You can also easily adjust the mood of your backyard or living room with the right lighting. Lanterns, tiki torches, fire pits and flashlights can add the perfect vibe and are a great way to change the hue of a large space.

You should also talk to your kids and ask what they love most about camping to make sure that they’re going to have fun. While you might think the best part of camping is sleeping outside in a tent, they might be a bigger fan of sleeping bags in the living room. Talking to them beforehand is a great way to brainstorm summer camp activities and also get them excited for an at-home summer camp at the same time.

First Day of Summer Camp

welcome to camp bunting white happy camper shirt acorns
Welcome your campers with a DIY sign printed on postcards and custom shirts using light t-shirt transfers

As the camp counselor, it’s important that you welcome your kids to summer camp in a memorable way with a bold and beautiful display. A welcome sign, decals and signs are charming ways to decorate your campground and will help them get into an adventurous mood.

Another way to get your kids to jump into the summer camp mindset is by having them craft a memento that they can hold with them throughout the rest of camp. Bead bracelets and lanyards are fantastic projects that are easy for kids to make and will always hold sentimental value. You could also use iron-on transfers to create t-shirts with custom logos for your family summer camp.

Fun Summer Camp Activities

summer camp schedule agenda welcome box board game
Protect the summer camp schedule from the elements with self-adhesive laminating sheets and create your own activities with colorful dots

Keep in mind that each day should hold an exciting summer camp idea or activity to keep your campers interested. Plan a weekly activity calendar that lists various fun summer camp ideas so that every day feels fresh.

Whether you need a starting point or a complete summer camp schedule, our template will help get your camp organized. For example, on “Make it Monday,” your kids can use supplies around your house to design a board game the whole family can play. On another day, create a scavenger hunt with a list of things your kids can spot as they walk around the neighborhood. You can also keep it indoors and hide a series of riddles and clues around your home for your kids to find. Either way, make sure to have a fun prize waiting for them at the end of their journey.

Some other great summer camp ideas include creating DIY crafts, crocheting and sending happy mail or care packages to friends or family. Summer camp is also the perfect time to teach useful survival skills such as tying knots, identifying stars and planets, reading a compass and maybe even starting a fire with flint and steel.

Also remember to give your kids time to create their own fun and explore. Rest assured moms, not every second of each day needs to adhere to a strict schedule and some of the best memories happen organically. Whether it’s watching a caterpillar crawl across a leaf or listening to the birds in your neighborhood, part of the fun of summer camp will be giving your kids the space to rediscover nature at their own cadence.

Last Day of Summer Camp

welcome to camp bonfire constellation search
Easily decorate your campground using removable Surface Safe® wall decals and add extra sparkle to games with foil star labels

Although it’s bittersweet, the last day of summer camp is a time to celebrate. If you can, try to end the day with everyone sitting around a campfire to roast hot dogs, sing songs and tell ghost stories. And although there’s something magical about the comforting warm glow of a campfire, you can also sing songs in your living room or make s’mores in the kitchen instead.

Also, take a moment to acknowledge everything your little campers have learned. Let them show off their skills with a final activity: a constellation search. If you or your kids need a little guidance, download a stargazing app like Star Walk to help you navigate the stars. Hopefully, your kids will walk away with a few new life skills, a closer connection to nature and some fun memories.

And as both a camp counselor and a good parent, it’s also your responsibility to let your kids know that you appreciate how much they have learned. Even a small token like a special set of beads for their bracelet or a homemade badge or patch is a charming way to recognize their effort.

Products used in this article:

4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ Postcards (8387)

8-1/2″ x 11″ T-Shirt Transfers for Light Fabrics (3271)

8-1/2″ x 11″ T-Shirt Transfers for Dark Fabrics (3279)

9″ x 12″ Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets (73603)

¾” Round Color-Coding Dots (5472)

7″ x 10″ Surface Safe Wall Decals (61516)

½” Foil Star Labels (6007)

1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ Square Labels (22805 / 94106)

1-1/2″ Round Labels (8293 / 94506)

At-Home Summer Camp Templates:

Summer Camp Schedule

Constellation Search Game (8387)

“Welcome to Camp” Postcard Sign (8387)

“Hello From Camp” Postcard (8387)

Bonfire Sign (61516)

Camp Sign (61516)

Canoeing Sign (61516)

Hiking Sign (61516)

“Happy Camper” Light T-Shirt Transfer (3271)

“Summer Camp 2020” Dark T-Shirt Transfer (3279)

“Camp Counselor” Dark T-Shirt Transfer (3279)

1.5″ Square Summer Camp Game Stickers (22805)
Green Bonfire Sticker

Orange Bonfire Sticker

Camp Sticker

Blue Canoeing Sticker

Tan Canoeing Sticker

Hiking Sticker

1.5″ Round Summer Camp Game Stickers (8293)
Green Bonfire Sticker

Orange Bonfire Sticker

Camp Sticker

Blue Canoeing Sticker

Tan Canoeing Sticker

Hiking Sticker