So what did you think of the Stay Home Summer Camp idea from last Monday? I have to be honest, I don't think we ever called it "Stay Home Summer Camp" when my kids were growing up. It was usually "Adventure Days" done on a theme! I still followed the basic outline of planning and scheduling I shared on Monday, but the name was usually something like, "Summer of Crafting", or "Summer of Science" and so on!
As I look at the calendar, I realize we are in the LAST FULL WEEK OF JULY!!! But that doesn't short-change the idea of rounding up boredom and redirecting it into a themed week or day to round out the summer on a great note. I thought I would share a few of our favorites below, in case you were thirsty for some more detailed inspiration! (By the way: this totally qualifies as anti-boredom month busters!!)
Creativity Camp aka "Summer of Creativity"
Each week we planned a different kind of craft. Some activities:
- Finger-painting outside (perfect for hosing off when done!)
- Shirt painting
- Recycled Creations
- Egg Carton Creations
- Pop-up Card Making
- Paper Plate Crafts
Pinterest, books from the library, and a simple Internet search will turn out a multitude of great ideas... you will have more inspiration than you need with this topic!!
Exploration Camp aka "Summer of Exploration"
We were typically an active family in the summer, as discussed in the kick-off article to this series, "Stay-cationing All Summer Long". I've always assessed the summer for it's fullest adventure potential! We would hike and camp and beach and park and... you name it! But one summer, we had a field guide and a mission! Our Summer of Exploration was inspired by this book...
- a reflective scavenger hunt
- creating a mini-museum
- collecting bottle caps
- looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary
Adventure Camp aka "Summer of Adventure"
Each week I scheduled a specific hike or nature walk. I encouraged the kids to journal the adventures by giving them each a composition book and inviting them to draw, write, and/or tape their finds within. Adventure days were accompanied by backpacks filled with special snacks, water bottle, drawing tools and their journal as well as binoculars, whistles and trail guides (where applicable). Mine had the addition of a pictorial fold-out field guide to the wildlife and tracks of our area. We always wore sun hats and hiking shoes as well. These outings were reserved for the not-too-hot days so we could be sure to avoid heat stroke!
We walked at the pace of the slowest trailblazer and took time to pause and observe the flora and fauna... and tracks and bugs and birds... you get the idea! Don't feel like you have to be versed in any of the things you come across, all you need is a curious mindset. If your kids ask you about a particular find you aren't sure about, it is OK to say, "I don't know" and snap a picture to take home and cross reference later.
With our Summer of Adventure we would occasionally collect tidbits of leaves, feathers, flowers and so on. Some weeks we would take our finds and create a nature collage on a piece of thin cardboard. One time they even made a rock collage! Hot glue guns are a necessity for these!!
Not to be confused with "crafting"! One year I found a great How-to-Draw DVD at the book store. However, we never had time to fit it in during the school year. So, one summer was kicked off with an end-of-school year gift: sketch books, charcoals, and good drawing pencil kits. After explaining my idea to start each week by watching a video lesson and then looking to practice the new technique throughout the rest of the week, the kids were hooked and the Summer of Art began!. I did this one with older kiddos but it could easily be accomplished on a more elementary scale with youngers by making minor adjustments to meet their skill levels.
This one is probably the easiest of all if you have a good sized public library nearby. We always loved our library's reading program. Each week the kids could hear a story teller and do a craft along a theme the library had chosen for the summer. They would fill out reading charts which were then turned in for prizes.
One summer, before we were blessed with such wonderful programs, we created our own Summer Reading Program and Book Club. It was great for summer literacy and getting the kids excited about the books they were reading. Some fun literacy activities:
- Draw pictures as I read chapter books out loud
- Create puppets of story characters and put on a puppet show
- Make post-cards of far away places we were reading about
- Cook recipes shared in some stories
- Write letters to family members telling them about books and characters we liked
- Create masks of animals from our books
- Watch movies which had been created from the stories (after the book was completed)
- Build structures we had learned about out of clay or Popsicle sticks
- Participate in some activities our favorite characters had enjoyed (like picnics, carnivals, and such)
I could go on-and-on with literacy projects (they were probably my favorites!). The Internet is full of fabulous ideas that don't feel like "schoolwork" to kiddos.
Get unplugged and dust off the indoor/outdoor games everyone has forgotten about in this digital age! Play a board game, a card game, a lawn game, an old-fashioned kick-the-can kind of game... or make one up! Don't wait for family night, do it right-smack-dab in the middle of a Wednesday or first thing in the morning on a Friday. Maybe even make it a rainy-day "camp" if you live somewhere that enjoys summer rain!
We had this amazing book on our shelf as my kids grew up:
It is chocked-full of ideas for building any kid of structure you can think of with mostly every-day items you have lying around the house! It would have been pretty exciting to spend a summer (or even a week of the summer) sparking the engineering side of my kiddos minds with some building activities!
What sort of summer activities do you have with your family? I would love to hear! If you haven't had any yet, don't fear, it isn't too late to start!
I pray you have a most blessed rest of the summer! Next time, let's talk Farmer's Markets!
By the way.....
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