Summer is the time when your kids get a break from their homework, assignments, exams and other ‘school stuff’. Summer camps with different themes can be a great treat for kids, as for them, this time of the year means ‘All Play and No Work’!
Not all summer camps have to be pricey, and not all of them involve going away from home. You can come up with many innovative ideas to make the camp an inexpensive and interesting event. If you have your own backyard, then you can plan the camp for your children, with a unique theme for each day. A week full of fun and excitement is all that you need to make your kids’ holiday a special one.
It is easy to decide on a theme, if you know what your children are interested in. Here is a list of themes that you can consider keeping for the camp:
Art and Craft
Time to get your kids messy and creative with paint, chalk, sketch pens, crayons, colored paper, small pieces of wood, clay, glue, scissors (if they are child-safe), and anything else that you can think of.
One activity that is always a big hit with kids, especially toddlers, is making hand prints. For this, you would require some fabric paints, paintbrush, and a piece of cloth (oven gloves or dish towel are the best). First, help them coat their palms with paint, and make a print on a paper. Once they get a hang of it, allow them to do the painting on their own, and make the prints on the cloth. You can also advise them to use different colors for their fingers and their palms. Not to mention, they must also put their names and the date beside the print. Other great ideas include making thanksgiving cards, painting small pebbles, making action figures using clay, making paper boats or colorful airplanes, etc. Double the fun by inviting other kids in the neighborhood. More the merrier!
Arrange some water games with water-filled balloons, water sprinklers and hoses, and some buckets. Throw in some water pistols to make things more interesting. Here’s a game that kids and adults, will enjoy playing during the summer months. Divide the whole group into two. Then decide on a particular place (say, a sandcastle) as the winning spot. One group can be given some water pistols, and the other, some dry sponges. The task for the second group would be to carry the sponges to the castle, without getting them wet. The other team would be guarding the castle, and stopping their opponents from fulfilling their task, by shooting them with their pistols. If someone fails to keep his/her sponge from getting wet before reaching the castle, then the player is out of the game. The winning team gets to take the sponges home!
Bring out the superstar in your children. Give them a chance to sing out loud, and get lost in their own world. Let the participants be the judges, and decide who’s the best singer. Get a couple of boxes made of tin or wood, and some sticks for the orchestra. And if you know how to play the guitar, then don’t mind joining them. It would be fun to see your little stars bring the house down!
Walk the Ramp
Arrange a fashion show for the little ones. Kids can be big show-offs but in their own sweet little ways. But to walk the ramp, you need a ramp. So set the stage, and if you have a yard, then there’s nothing like it. Give the kids a range of fake jewelry, and clothing accessories to choose from. Do not forget refreshment (chilled non-alcoholic fruit punches would be a good idea to beat the heat), and some lively music to set the mood. And most important of all, invite parents and neighbors; after all what’s a stage without an audience.
Roleplaying is an important tool to shape the social life of kids. Activities that involve roleplaying help kids learn the importance of responsibility, individuality, being a part of a team, or visualize what the real world is like, to name a few. As kids love fairy tales, they would also love to be a part of one. For example, you can choose the story of Cinderella. Assign a girl the role of the princess, and a boy, the role of the prince. Some kids could become trees, birds, or other animals, while some may take the role of the tower where the princess is imprisoned. You can compose the script for the play, and guide each kid to cite his/her respective dialogs. Keep the dialogs short and simple though.
One good way to teach your children the values and teachings of God is by keeping a Bible theme for a day. You can narrate different stories from the Bible, and at the end of each session, you can discuss the moral lesson, and its importance. Most children love to listen to the story of Noah’s ark and the Flood. You can discuss the types of animals taken in the ark, the number of days Noah, his family, and the animals were in the ark, how did Noah come to know when the flood subsided, etc.
Setting up a tent in your backyard would be a good idea for the camp, if you are planning for a pajama party for the kids. Make a bonfire and dine with your campers sitting around it, but at a safe distance. This will be a different experience for the kids, as they are used to the kitchen and the dining table. And finally, what could be a better way to end the day than a campfire song, and a story before they go to sleep?
A summer camp is not only a great way for your children to spend their holidays, but also an important learning, and interactive experience for them. They get a chance to work in a team, know other people, build self-confidence, and learn to be tolerant. Summer camps give children an opportunity to get familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, and more importantly, know about themselves.