From activities that make a splash to ideas for crafts, discover tips on how to throw a DIY summer camp at home.
Create summer camp crafts
Even the most active kids need a break, so get kids to settle down for a bit and exercise their creativity. These ideas for summer camp crafts are not only fun, they make great mementos of your DIY summer camp.
- You can't go wrong with classic summer camp craft ideas like making bead-bottom t-shirts, braiding lanyards or painting birdhouses.
- Make your own twinkle lights in jars.
- Help younger "campers" create dream catchers by cutting out the center of a paper plate, lacing the hole with string, hanging beads and feathers from the bottom and decorating the plate with stickers and gems.
- Keep crafting cool with chilly summer ice cube crafts for kids.
- Craft your own camper uniforms by helping your kiddos tie-dye t-shirts.
- Make summer camp crafts that also double as summer camp decor like these easy-breezy DIY summer pinwheel crafts for kids.
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Set up a backyard water park
Keeping cool is your kids' number one priority during summer, so plan lots of water fun for your DIY summer camp. And, it doesn't need to include a trip to the pool or purchasing a lot of equipment either.
- Create a custom splash pad by drilling holes into lengths of PVC pipe, linking them together and attaching them to your hose.
- Skip the tedious water balloons and make your own urchin sponge balls.
- Make your own waterslide using a tarp, your hose and a small hill in your backyard.
- For those lucky families who have their own pool, make an even bigger splash with kids this summer by adding in pool activities like Ping-Pong ball toss into an inflatable ring or a floating game like Airhead Lob The Blob Game (Sport Chalet, $40).
- Weigh down hula hoops in the pool for affordable "swim through the hoop" fun.
- Don't have your own swimming hole? Kids can still keep cool in pint-sized waterslides and pools like the Intex Kid's Dinosaur Play Swim Center (Sport Chalet, $65).
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Encourage a little healthy competition
When planning a summer camp at home, camp-style games are a must to keep kids active and entertained. Whether you have two kids or two teams, these summer camp games will get those competitive juices flowing.
- Stack up two sets of plastic cups and see which team can knock their own cups down the quickest with squirt guns or water cannons.
- Take sides with classic summer games such as three-legged relays, egg tosses, slip-and-slide races or other outdoor games for family fun.
- Create your own campfire-side games like nighttime ring toss using glow sticks for posts and glow bracelets for the rings.
- Whip up a few homemade games like sponge scrabble or one of these family-friendly games for summer parties that make perfect summer camp activities, too.
- Set up your own rain gutter regatta using two rain gutters filled with water, homemade paper boats with sails and powered by your youngsters blowing through straws.
- Kick off your summer with sporty summer camp activities like a neighborhood soccer match with an Adidas Starlancer Soccer Ball (Sport Chalet, $16) and Franklin MLS Insta-Set Soccer Goal (Sport Chalet, $25).
You don't have to spend a bundle by sending your kids off to summer camp. With these ideas for summer camp activities and camp crafts, your DIY summer camp at home can be fun for everyone — including you.
More summer camp tips
Summer camp packing checklist
Camps for special needs and special interests
Care packages for kids at camp