Do It Yourself Summer Camp Ideas

An at home, do-it-yourself DIY summer camp can be an inexpensive and fun way to help your children grow intellectually, artistically, socially and spiritually over the summer.

DIY Summer CampThink of the goals you have for your children this summer.

This summer, I want my children to _________________  . (Fill in the blank.)

Would a summer camp at home help meet your goals?

DIY Summer Camp

Now consider your children’s interest, ages and if you want to invite other friends. Then, look over my brief list of summer camp ideas and see if one is right for your family this summer.

DIY Summer Camp

A Little-Bit-of-Everything Camp

Traditional camps often provide options in sports, arts and crafts, drama, swimming, and campfire time. An at home summer camp can be scheduled to replicate the daily schedule of a sleep away camp. This would be a good one to do with other families so you don’t have to plan and prep everything by yourself.

DIY Summer Camp

Try-a-New-Sport Camp

Introduce new, lesser known sports like frisbee golf, BMX, track and field, rock climbing, or fencing. Every day you try something new.

DIY Summer Camp

Arts and Crafts Camp

Bring out your glue guns and have some fun. This summer craft camp lets kids make their own camp t-shirts, paint pictures, bead necklaces, design clay pots, braid key chains, build  bird houses, or make dream catchers.

DIY Summer Camp

Drama Camp

Write skits to perform, hold a puppet show, host a talent show, or develop film making skills in a DIY Drama Camp.

DIY Summer Camp

Cooking Camp

In this DIY summer camp, try different international foods, learn to make new recipes, write a kids’ cookbook, learn about the new nutrition food plate.

DIY Summer Camp

Nature Camp

Visit a nature preserve, make leaf collection books, learn about animal tracks, become a bird watcher, learn to read a compass and map and go for nature hikes.

DIY Summer Camp

Community Camp

Find a project to do in your community like read to young children, plant flowers, clean-up litter or help an elderly neighbor.

DIY Summer Camp

Museum Camp

Visit a different museum every day, especially museums you’ve never been to before. We want to go to the Doll Museum, for example.

DIY Summer Camp

Olympics Camp

Get together with a few other families and compete in your own DIY family Olympics camp.

Every year, Denver mom Stephanie Klein plans a Family Olympics. She plans activities for all different age groups of kids, events like relay races and egg tosses. The parents’ events include the popular daddy hula hoop contest and the blindfolded “mom call” where each mom must find her own child who is calling out, “MOM.”

“All the families have family t-shirts and decorate a family flag. We do a presentation of flags with Olympic music,” Klein says. She adds that everyone wins ribbons and trophies but only one family is the year’s winner. The day ends in a pool party and dinner. “Our kids live for it!” Klein says.

DIY Summer Camp

Neighborhood Camp

My new friend, Karen Bantuveris, runs a fantastic blog called VolunteerSpot where you can read a free eBook on Neighborhood Camps with many more camp themes and logistic details. Also, you might be interested in Terri Mauro’s Camp Mom guide she developed for her 14 year old son and his special education classmates. Plus, the Reading Corner shares more camp themes.

. . .

Writing this post made me want to have a summer camp every week. Tomorrow I’m going to talk about how my kids and I will decide together — our family goal setting and planning.

Also, coming up this week: Virtual Summer Camps for Kids, Motivate Kids with a Summer Reading Program, Wacky Books for Reluctant Readers


  1. says

    Great ideas! I’m doing something similar with my kids, but it’s geared around them creating their own online media content (mine are over 10 years old, but they started playing with video when they were 6 and 8). It’s great that it only goes for a day at a time – kids have no stickability.

  2. says

    I love these ideas and how you organized them. I’d like to do something like this in a few summers (when my little ones are a bit older). Thanks for sharing at the summertime fun party.

  3. Jenn says

    Great ideas, Melissa! It’s fun to see your girls. Wyat’s here with me and he said “we could do an origami camp, Mom”. We also want to try to make our own sushi and we have a housemate this year from China who could give us some Mandarin lessons. I think we might have the makings for an Asian-inspired theme camp! Thanks for sparking the ideas!!!

  4. says

    Great ideas! I asked my son to list all the things he wanted to learn and do this summer. Each day or few day camp is centered around those things! He has so much to learn, might as well teach him the subjects he wants to know about. New subjects will pop up! Eventually, we might even get to the ones I want him to know.

  5. says

    Great ideas! You are right that we don’t have to sign up our kids for expensive specialized camps to do these things. I have a few weeks of unscheduled time and I am going to try these ideas for those.

    Thank you for your post! It was really helpful!


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