At Home Summer Camp- Fun Ideas to Keep the Kids Busy This Summer (Free Printable)
Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Typically we chat all things interior design over here, but you know I'm obsessed with my boys and carving out time to spend with them this summer is going to be my main focus for the next few weeks! In fact, I've already slowed down quite a bit, taken some days off to take them to the pool or our local waterpark, and we just got back from a little weekend trip to New Braunfels! My oldest Phoenix is eight (almost nine) and Lincoln is four. They will never be this age again, we will never have this summer back, so I want to make the most of it!
A few weeks ago while I was in the midst of the One Room Challenge I came up with the idea for an at home summer camp. I planned out four days FULL of activities starting at 10am and ending at 3pm- a different activity every hour! I knew I had to share this with you because it sounded way too fun not to! Plus I know I'm not the only one who wants to spend quality time with my kids this summer (and yet rolling around on the floor playing endless hot wheels is kind of a nightmare). We're planning to start our at home summer camp week today and carry it on through Saturday, I'm hoping it goes amazingly well and this can become a summer tradition (at least while they are little), possibly learning from each year and making tweaks to improve things?
Here's the plan and the schedule I came up with, I turned it into a free printable for you if printing things out and hanging them on the wall is your jam, it's totally mine!
Click below to grab your own at home summer camp free printable!
Now let's get into the activities for each day!
10:00- Melted Crayon Art
You've all seen this right? You hot glue crayons onto a canvas and then go wild with a hairdryer to melt them! Phoenix and I have made these in the past, but a few weekends ago when we visited Kris' family my niece Harley made me one and Lincoln thought it was very cool, so I knew it was time to revisit this project!
11:00- Make Your Own Forky
Phoenix requested this one a few weeks ago and I'm sure he thinks I forgot. I can't wait to surprise him with all of the supplies to make a Forky. Surprisingly sporks were trickier to find than I imagined and I had to order them on Amazon. (Please tell me you've seen Toy Story Four!)
12:00- Lunchtime- Make Your Own Pizza
I just bought these pizza dough kits and I usually have tomato sauce, pepperonis, and cheese on hand. It's always fun to play with dough. We've done this activity before and it's 10/10!
1:00- Cookie Decorating
It was a lot harder to find a cookie decorating kit this time of year than I thought it would be, (I feel like they are everywhere at Christmastime), but I finally found this baby yoda kit on Ebay. If for any reason you can't find a kit then some plain sugar cookies, frosting, and food coloring in a bag with some sprinkles should do the trick!
2:00- Water Balloon Fight
This one is self explanatory. And please tell me you exclusively use these water balloons right?! I absolutely refuse to fill up water balloons any other way now! I think I will also set up our water table and splash pad too. This is our last activity for the day so I assume this one will definitely trickle on past 3pm which is A-OK with me!
**prep for Tuesday- While everyone's playing in the water grab one plastic bowl or tupperware dish per child, have each child fill the container with water and toys of their choosing (nothing too precious, you'll see why later) and then place them in the freezer overnight.
I bought two of these spin art kits so they can both do it at the same time, which was probably unnecessary, but the boys are at each other's throats lately so I hedged my bets. I'm guessing this will be an outdoor activity too, ha!
11:00- Ice Block Toy Smash
Here is where the containers in the freezer from yesterday come into play! A little warm water on the outside of the container should loosen the ice blocks enough to slide out and then I hand each child a toy hammer, chisel, or mallet to smash their ice with. We've done this multiple times and it's been a hit every time. My boys love smashing things and with toys frozen inside it becomes a little treasure hunt.
12:00- Lunchtime- Grilled Cheese in fun shapes
Nothing too crazy for lunch today, just some yummy grilled cheeses and I'll use my collection of cookie cutters to cut them out into some fun shapes. I'm hoping at least one of my boys wants a Mickey Mouse shaped grilled cheese!
1:00- Homemade Ice Cream
This is one of my favorite party tricks! I won this vintage ice cream maker many years ago at a white elephant party and we have gotten so much use out of it! I have brought it to the last three or four family July Fourth celebrations and I always have the kids help me make the ice cream. It takes about fifteen minutes to prep and then the machine runs for about an hour and a half before the ice cream is perfect. I promise it will be some of the best ice cream you've ever had. I use this Homemade Vanilla recipe and I've learned over the years to DOUBLE it so there's enough for everyone because the adults are going to want some too. I also buy a pack of Oreos to have on hand to crush up on top if anyone wants cookies and cream. I thought this would be a fun addition to the at home summer camp even though I know I'll be making it this weekend for July 4th too!
2:00- Obstacle Courses
I'm going to have the boys help me dream up ideas for a fun obstacle course and then we will compete to see who can complete them! I hate games that get too competitive so I'll make the focus be on more about wild construction techniques and creativity. I plan to have these materials on hand and just let the boys go at it!
- some lawn chairs
Maybe I'll bring out a spoon and some eggs if we need an extra challenge!
10:00- Squirt Gun Watercolor Painting
I found this idea here and thought it looked so cool! I bought this watercolor paper, these squirt guns, and this watercolor paint to pull it off! Now I just need to figure out where to set it all up because I know it's going to get messy!!
11:00- Shaving Cream and Water Beads
I love sensory activities and I thought this would be a cool one, plus there is a very good chance the boys will be messy from the watercoloring so let's just keep it going! I love this water bead set- so many fun colors!
12:00- Lunchtime- Rainbow Spaghetti and Meatballs
I will be following this recipe to make the rainbow spaghetti and plan to make extra so there is some to play with as well as eat!
1:00- Dirt Dessert
A classic kid favorite dessert! I'm using this recipe and going to have the kids help make it. And no dirt dessert is complete without gummy worms!
2:00- Cardboard Village
I've been saving cardboard boxes for this (which I absolutely hate doing, de-cluttering is my love language)! I'll also have duck tape (this set is so cool) and sharpies on hand.
10:00- Kindness Rocks
Phoenix's elementary school does something called kindness rocks and it's so cool! Kids paint rocks or write something on them and then hide them for other kids to find outside the school, when you find one it's now your job to re-hide the rock (usually after photographs are taken). Phoenix has found a few over the years, but he's never made any! So I grabbed this rock painting kit and we'll be sure to hide some at his school when we're finished.
11:00- DIY Slime Kit
Are your kids into slime like mine? I was pretty resistant at first (it's so messy), but I might be just as obsessed with slime as they are now! There are so many small business slime companies that we've found through Tik Tok that sell the cutest DIY slime kits. Here are a few of our favorites:
Several are also teen entrepreneurs, which I love supporting!! My tips for a pleasant slime experience with little ones is keep it in the kitchen on the countertops only, it doesn't leave this pre-determined zone, and it's not allowed to be played with unsupervised.
12:00- Lunchtime- Lunchables
I'm assuming I'll be tired at this point, it's day four, and I know if I throw my kids some lunchables they will be super excited and I have to do nothing!
1:00- Cotton Candy
2:00- Mega Train Village
This activity could be subbed out for whatever you have A LOT of. What's that one toy that your kid loves but it's kind of a pain to drag it all out? We have a few things like that and the train tracks are one of them. We have enough for a mega village and we rarely play with them, but today we will build to their heart's content!
That's the full plan- I'm so excited! Be sure to follow along in insta-stories this week and I'll keep you posted as to how it's going. I'm sure there will be a meltdown (or three), but I'll report back on how it goes and what improvements I would make in the future! And please let me know in the comments what your favorite things are to do with your kids to keep them busy in the summer!
Psst. Here's my at home summer camp printable and a blank version if you want to make your own!
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