Guide to Creating Your Own Summer Camp (At Home)- Schedule Included

happy camper mug on wood log

In my house, on a magnetic whiteboard, there is a countdown – a countdown to SUMMER. For some of you, the fear and panic is starting to set in and you may be wondering – “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY KIDS ALL SUMMER?” You may be checking out summer camps and buying coffee in bulk.

That is not me. Call me crazy but I love having my kids at home all summer! I am a stay-at-home mom and my husband is a school teacher which means- I get my WHOLE family to myself for 11 weeks! I soak it in! It’s like Christmas for me! It works for us because I’ve created a fun summer camp schedule to keep my kids busy and my sanity intact.

I’ve always been a planner! I live by schedules (with wiggle room). A few years ago I started a summer schedule that included some extra school work to prevent the summer slide. We didn’t have a family vacation planned so I added crafts, activities, and outings because I really wanted the family to enjoy the summer. The plans were similar to a summer camp and called it my “Home Summer Camp.” My plans were successful and I’ve been doing it ever since!

I try to stick to budget-friendly activities but occasionally include a fun splurge. Last year, I added chores and themed weeks to our schedule. My children are ages (almost) 10, 6, and 3. I am excited about this year’s summer schedule. This schedule seems to keep us on a semi-normal routine with chores, learning time, creative time, fun time, and family time.

I’m going to make your summer a little easier and share my summer plans with you so that you, too, can have your own Home Summer Camp! Here is what our daily schedule looks like (You can adjust the times to fit your lifestyle but this is what works for us):

Home Summer Camp Schedule

9 AM- Wake-up

9:30 AM- Breakfast

10 AM- Chores

11-12 PM- Learning/ Reading Time

12:30 PM- Lunch

1-4 PM- Fun/Creative/Reading Time

4:30-5 PM- Screen Time

5:30-6:30 PM- Dinner

7-10 PM- Family Time

10:30 PM- Get Ready for Bed

11 PM- Lights out

Learning Time- workbooks and online learning resources for math and language arts and required summer reading.

Fun/Creative/Reading Time- This time will be filled with our weekly themes

Family Time- Movie night, family game night, go somewhere together, or mom and dad date night

 

Weekly Themes:

Week 1- Health and Hygiene

This week is an introduction to our summer schedule. We will do activities and crafts to cover good hygiene, safety, and self-esteem. This includes the importance of chores and manners.

  • Weekly Movie- Inside Out or The Princess Diaries

Week 2- Beach and Ocean

Kids playing at the beachThis week requires a trip to the beach. We will do activities teaching about the ocean and the creatures that live there (including mermaids and pirates). We will do crafts using collected shells.

  • Weekly Movie- Moana or Finding Nemo

Week 3- Art and Music

This week we study great artists, music, and theater. We will create our own masterpieces, make pottery, and put on a performance. It would be a good idea to check out an art museum.

  • Weekly Movie- Sound of Music or Newsies

Week 4- Animals and Dinosaurs

This week requires a trip to the zoo. We will research caring for a pet, animals, and their habitats, and doing a backyard safari. The crafts will include a DIY bird feeder.

  • Weekly Movie- We Bought a Zoo or Jurassic Park

Week 5- Outer Space and Superheroes

This will require a night under the stars- stargazing. We will study our solar system, planets, and constellations. We will create our own superhero and make balloon rockets.

  • Weekly Movie- The Incredibles or Megamind

Week 6- America

This week should include the 4th of July. We will study the pioneers, the states, and the presidents. Our crafts and activities will include making 4th of July shirts, homemade butter, and learning to hand sew. We will also go to a baseball game.

  • Weekly Movie- Sandlot or Little Rascals

Week 7- Nature and Science

This week we will do science experiences and study nature. We will go on a nature walk, make flubber, paint rocks, and plant a flower.

  • Weekly Movie- The Lorax or Flubber

Week 8- VACATION

Week 9- Christmas in July

gingerbread cookies on a christmas plateWho said Christmas only comes once a year? This week is going to be all about being charitable and doing good deeds. We will send cards, decorate, make ornaments, and have a snowball fight.

  • Weekly Movie- Elf or The Grinch

Week 10- Around the World

This week we will learn about other countries, cultures, and cuisine. Each day we will travel to a different country (without ever leaving the house) doing crafts and trying new foods.

  • Weekly Movie- Beauty and the Beast or Book of Life

Week 11- Week of Fun

This is the last week of summer vacation. Make it as fun as possible! Have friends over and celebrate with fun games. I’ve got glow in the dark Hide and Seek, water gun war, chalk art photos, and a mystery dinner planned.

  • Weekly Movie- Diary of a Wimpy Kid or How to Eat Fried Worms

I also plan daily schedules but keeping in mind, I have to be flexible. My children don’t ALWAYS get their chores done on time (which affects the rest of the day). They can earn rewards and get more screen time or lose it as a punishment. We visit the library weekly and get a few books to fit our themes. We go to parks, playgrounds, and have playdates.

I hope this schedule helps you plan out your own home summer camp!

Kim McNeely
Kim grew up in a small town in northeast Alabama. She majored in journalism in college at Faulkner University. There she met baseball-playing Florida boy named David who swept her off her feet and then married her. David went right into a coaching career and Kim lost her desire to write. In 2008, they started a family and Kim fell in love with motherhood. She has been a stay at home mom for almost 12 years devoting her time to raising three children. Her kids have grown up on baseball fields and in ball parks. They moved to Lithia a few years ago and enjoy exploring Tampa and checking out the local baseball teams. Kim likes being creative and crafty. She is a list-maker, scheduler, and planner. She loves planning play dates, parties, and budget-friendly family activities. When Kim isn't at a baseball game, she spends her days convincing her 11 year old, Emerson, to put down the cell phone; helping her 8 year old, Everly, with math homework; and entertaining her playful 5 year old and only son, Easton. If she finds some free time, she writes her blog, catches up on her favorite TV shows, scrolls social media, and folds massive piles of laundry. Her desire to write returned when she realized that her children were an endless source of inspiration. She also realized she knew more about baseball than the average mom and wants to share her knowledge with others. You can follow Kim's blog and Instagram as she documents The Baseball Life.