Camp Mom: DIY

Do It Yourself Summer Camp Ideas

March 21, 2021

Let's face it. Not everyone has the ability to nor may even want to send their children to any type of camp (although after we survived 2020 🤷🏻‍♀️). Whatever you're thinking, we created some CAMP MOM ideas to help you get through the summer! Gather some neighborhood kids each week or simply do this with your own family during the summer! Perhaps one day a week throughout the summer works for you and your group, or maybe you want to dedicate ONE FULL WEEK to neighborhood summer camp. Any way you slice it, use these ideas below to make it super fun and simply organized! 

Here are some ideas for Daily Themes:

Make It Monday! 
Let this be a building day! Use any sort of prop that gets your little engineer creating, building and inventing! Legos, duplo bricks, puzzles, wood scraps, pool noodles, kin-ex and more!  All will surely turn into something great-- A MEMORY!

Trip Time Tuesday!
Let your children determine where you'll roam today! Give them a list to choose from and plan your day with them! Better yet, print out a map and directions and recruit them to navigate. Museums, movies, the Aviary, a park, a tour, a bike ride, a community service project are all great ideas! Have an older kid who is tec savvy? Have them map out something fun to say and go on a street sign scavenger hunt. Don't forget to check CertifiKid to see if they have any local deals before heading out!

Get Wet Wednesday! 
Whether you venture to the pool, stay in your backyard, head to the nearest spray park or splash pad, this is one day that's gonna be COOL! Experiment with water balloons, ice and more. Hook up the hose or have some fun with SPONGES and buckets! Finish it all off with a popsicle! 

Think It Out Thursday!
Great minds start somewhere! Have your children think of a topic that they want to explore or find the answer to. How are crayons made? Where DOES all of our garbage go? TODAY is the day to think of a topic and then explore, observe and educate to find the answers! 

Fun Friday, FREE Friday, Friend Friday!
All are great options for ending the week on a fantastic note! Bring a friend over to watch a movie. Have a dance party in the kitchen. Bake a new recipe TOGETHER for dinner! Make an obstacle course on the driveway!  Whatever you decide, let the kids get involved and in on the FUN! Need some inspiration? Check the MacKid Calendar for events that might be going on. 

If you choose to work with other Moms and create a neighborhood camp of your own, here are some basic guidelines to help you get started.  Feel free to tweak these any way you see fit!

1.  Have your summer camp take place only one day a week.

2.  Each week, one mom from the group is responsible for the theme of the summer camp that week.

3.  Stay organized!  Send an email out the week before with activity details, supply requirements, snack needs and directions to any locations if applicable. 

4.  HAVE FUN! Don't be too serious. It IS summer after all!

Additional Ideas:

Camp Anything Goes!
Drama, sports, arts/ crafts, music, outdoor activities, swimming and even CAMPFIRE time!  Who doesn't like smores?!  

Camp Sports Rock!
Back away from all the typical sports your children are familiar with.  Try a NEW sport.  Go to the driving range and hit a bucket of balls.  Try a PAR 3.  Check out a martial arts school or deck hockey! Volleyball or field hockey?  Tennis anyone?  Test out some rock climbing, ultimate Frisbee, geocaching, indoor ice skating or BMX biking!  If it interests your kiddo, TRY IT!

Crafty Campers Camp!
All that's required for this camp are a some materials and some creativity!  Bedazzle anything you can imagine, make some t-shirts, tutus, hats or bird house.  There are TONS of ideas on Pinterest for everyday crafts. If you want to go the more artsy route. Introduce a new art "medium" each day. Clay, watercolors, pastels etc.  Anything that's a new experience is a learning opportunity!

Camp Actors Are Awesome
Drama is the name of the game!  Write and produce a simple skit together. Try some improv.  Host a neighborhood talent show or play around with some graphic programs that help create comic books or mini films.  Pick your child's favorite book and allow them to bring it to life!

Camp Cooks R Us
This is a great opportunity to show kids around the kitchen.  Not only to hone up on those math skills but to try some NEW foods! Make a new recipe, explore international foods, check out the local grocery store for fresh ingredients, write a cookbook for the neighborhood.  

Camp Nature Lover
Get a map. Locate local state parks, nature preserves or hiking trails.  Make scavenger hunts of animals and nature items to look for.  Fall in love with NATURE that's right around you!

Community Helpers Camp
Give back!  We ALWAYS love to encourage this option.  Plan a way to help your local community. Clean up a local playground. Plant flowers. Clean up litter in your neighborhood. Read at the library. It's your chance to show your children how to plan and carry out a community giving project!

Museum Adventure Camp
Pittsburgh has amazing museums!  Take advantage of it one week. Visit one museum per day and make a scavenger hunt list to help make it interesting! Look for unusual museums in our area. The Trolley museum is one that comes to mind! 

Family Camp
Get together with a few other families and compete in your own family camp!  Plan activities for all age groups that involve partnering with parents! Hula-hoop, dizzy bat, Marco-mom (blindfolded and call out your mom's name to find you!)

Choreograph a neighborhood dance and put on a show. During COVID Summer 2020 our kids choreographed socially distanced performances from The Greatest Show and the kids talked about it all year! You can see one of their numbers below :)

Make a family flag. Present the flags to music
Family T-Shirt making!
End the day with a pool visit and BBQ dinner. 

Noodle obstacle course!
Hula-Hoop contest!
Water balloon Toss

Create a firefighters Challenge Obstacle Course like we did here!

Any way you spin it, DIY is one way to make a great memory with your kiddos in the South Hills of Pittsburgh this summer! Tag us using #macaronikidsouthhills on social media with your camp ideas for a chance to be featured on our site! 

*This article was originally published by Debby Perry- Macaroni Kid of Pittsburgh LLC in 2017 but has been revised by Emily Papa for 2021*