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.
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 planned 2 weeks.
1. Our summer camp only took place one day a week.
2. 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.
3. 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:
*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.
*We also happen to live very close to an organic farm, so lazy days in their gardens were also a "go."
*“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!
Just a few other notes:
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.
This list or organized activities was by no means the end of what we did...last minute trips to the beach were always welcomed.
Let you area guide your activities - many of our activities were free or the cost could be limited (by the parent). For example, at the farm we would let each kid get a cookie or siblings share a treat. Otherwise some of these outings could get costly (still cheaper than $200/week).
My kids look forward to this and trying new things and it is great to see what other moms have hiding in their bag of summer time tricks!
Finalist in the
Are We There Yet? Challenge