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18 Ways to create your own summer camp at home

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Host summer camp at home with these fun activities for kids

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.

Host summer camp at home with these fun activities for kids

Photo credit: Blend Images - Mike Kemp/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

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).

Summer is for fun, but keeping your kids school-ready this summer is easy >> 

Host summer camp at home with these fun activities for kids

Photo credit: Gallo Images - LKIS/Getty Images

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).

Still sending your kids to summer camp? Get tips on how to handle summer camp anxiety >>

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

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