The summer of 2020 is unlike any other. While the country has partially reopened, there’s still no cure for coronavirus, so going outside and interacting with other people are risky activities. As a result, your children are stuck at home instead of enjoying weeks of fun activities at summer camp, and you have a front seat on their boredom.
Of course, no one wants to see their kids dejected because they couldn’t do anything fun for the summer. But if you’re up for a little DIY work, you can turn your kids’ summer around by creating an at-home summer camp. Here’s how:
Plan with your kids
Since your kids are the ones who will be participating, it would be nice if you could set up a theme and activities that they’re interested in. Find out what they would have been excited about if this had been an actual summer camp—bunkmates? Tie-dyed shirts? Handicrafts?—and set their expectations about which of these you can do. Then, create a schedule of activities, especially if you’re going to make it a weekend-long event. You can create a schedule that’s completely structured, but you can also just create a general plan and play the specifics by ear.
Gather the supplies
Based on the activities you’ll be doing, list down the supplies you’ll need and order them online. Setting up a tent from scratch? You should buy a bundle of paracord. Doing a nighttime treasure hunt? Stock up on batteries. Planning a bonfire? Don’t forget the mallows and chocolate and graham crackers for s’mores! Of course, if you can substitute items, you need to buy with those already available at home, that’s better. Your old home office supplies, for example, will be perfect for arts and crafts activities.
Set up camp
Wake up bright and early on the day of camp and set everything up. Give each planned activity a designated area, be it out on your yard or indoors. Make sure that every structure is safe and secure, like ladders and tents, so kids are not in danger when they use them.
Lay down the rules
The structure is essential if you want to pull off this at-home summer camp successfully. So while you can be lenient on some things, set non-negotiable ground rules to keep the peace. For example, “Put sunscreen on every two hours” or “Clean up after yourself.” Write these rules down and post them somewhere your kids can easily see so that they’re always reminded of them.
Enjoy the day
With everything set up, all you and your kids have to do is to enjoy the camp. Remember that this is a project to let your kids blow off steam and alleviate their boredom. So while you have activities scheduled, if they’re clearly enjoying doing something else, let them. Giving them this break will not be good for them only but for your sanity, too. Also, don’t forget to do an activity that lets you bond, such as stargazing or sharing campfire stories.
The year has been tough on everyone, including your kids. By creating a summer camp for them, you’re offering a fun reprieve from what would otherwise be a monotonous summer.