Summer camp is just not going to work out this year for my family. The timing is wrong, the prices too high, and besides my daughter simply does not like spending extended time away from home. We can incorporate all the fun of summer camp without the expense, time, or tears.
Consider these clever DIY camp activities that will keep your child's mind engaged as they have fun this summer.
Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho - Take your child on a hike. Pack water and snacks and hit the trail. Even if "the trail" is simply the sidewalk from your house to the playground, being outside is a big part of the camp experience. While walking, stop to collect items from nature. Bring a nap sack to cart home treasures like pine cones, leaves, acorns, and twigs.
Stargazing, city style - Unfortunately, the light pollution in my neighborhood almost completely erases the beauty of the night sky. In order to really gaze at the stars, we need to take a little road trip. You can either head out to the country at night, or take a trip to your local planetarium. Pick up a constellation guide book or download an app to help locate the different sites in the sky.
Some more S'mores please - Build a little campfire in your backyard fire pit, or simply roast marshmallows over the stove top. If all else fails, use a microwave. Enjoying the gooey goodness of a graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow sandwich is simply the best summer camp fare.
Create campy crafts - Pick up a craft kit or order a few from Oriental Trading Company. Let your kids and their friends make leather wallets or decorate visors just like the kids who are going away to camp will be doing this summer. With the money you are saving on keeping your child home, you could buy a boatload of simple craft kits to keep your kids busy all summer long instead of just one week! Alternately, use the nature items picked up on your hike to make pressed flower bookmarks or nature collages.
Camp out - Recreate the experience of summer camp by hosting a backyard, or living room, camp out. Set up a tent, or let your child build a fort with sheets and pillows. Invite friends or just have a family camp out complete with storytelling and flashlight fun!
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