wikiHow to Create a Summer Camp at Home

Two Parts:Organizing the CampHaving Fun Once the Campers Arrive

Summer camp is fun, and campers love the events and friendships they build at camp. Some summers, scheduling or budgeting might not leave summer camp as an option. Don’t worry, though. With some planning and coordinating, you can create a summer camp experience at home!

Part 1
Organizing the Camp

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    Talk to parents and children who might be interested. Before you can start a summer camp, you will need to gauge interest in the camp for both parents and other children in the neighborhood. Depending on the age and number of attendees, there should be at least one adult to supervise during each day of the camp.[1]
    • There should be one adult available to supervise for every ten 6- to 8-year-old attendees.[2]
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    Choose the right campers. You don’t want anyone to feel excluded, but if all camp attendees are relatively close to the same age, they’re much more likely to have fun over the camp session.[3] It’s also preferable that all of the attendees already know each other from school, as family friends, etc.
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    Decide on the length of the camp session. Once you have gauged interest in the camp, you can use that information to decide on a length for the camp. Say nine kids want to join, and five parents are each willing to host for one day. You can easily set up a five-day long camp session with one parent handling supervision duties each day.
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    Pick a theme. If all of the campers are into the same new superhero movie or if they’re all friends who share a similar interest, consider picking a theme for the camp.[4] This can help inspire ideas for activities, decorations, art projects, and lots of other camp-related items.
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    Find locations. Just because you have parents willing to host certain days of the camp, that doesn’t mean they’ll want it at their homes. Find out if each parent would prefer to create activities around their house or take the children on a field trip for their assigned days.
    • You can also use this time to gather activity ideas from all the parents to make a list of potential camp festivities.
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    Pick activities. With a theme and some great locations in mind, you’re ready to create a full list of potential activities for campers. Try to think of creative ways to incorporate your camp’s theme into the camp. Make sure you also pick activities appropriate to the age of the campers.
    • For a sports camp, consider minor league sporting events in your town; availability of baseball, softball, or basketball courts at local parks; drills related to practicing skills; sports trivia games; local sports museums or hall of fame sites; etc.
    • For a superhero or other theme camp, consider decorating locations to match the theme (or having campers create decorations with craft projects), screening related movies, having a themed scavenger hunt (such as clues the Riddler might leave for Batman or clues to a buried treasure for a pirate theme), drawing or coloring contests for the hero’s likeness, tag-based games where the campers are put in hero and villain teams, boardgames or Lego projects that relate to the theme, etc.
    • For an art camp, consider letting students sculpt with clay, design their own t-shirts with stencils or markers, learn about a specific artist or style, visit an art museum, etc.[5]
    • For camps with younger campers, focus on easier crafting projects and games, coloring activities, less structured events, and providing plenty of space to run around.
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    Make a schedule. Once you have a list of campers, parents to host, and a list of potential activities, you’re ready to finalize a schedule of events for the camp. Consult your list of ideas from other campers and parents and add a good variety. If you’re planning the camp far enough in advance, then consider taking a vote on the list to find out what will most interest the campers.
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    Gather supplies. With your schedule in place, you’ll know exactly what you need as far as supplies for the camp. Don’t forget food for all of the campers and decorations to match your theme.
    • A party supply store is a great spot to find inexpensive decorations to match any number of themes.[6]
    • If you come up with items that each camper will need to provide—such as a sleeping bag or enough cash for lunch during a field trip—then make sure to communicate this list to all of the parents as soon as you know. The more notice they have the better.
    • Always make sure a first aid kit is included in the general supplies just to be safe.
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    Set up. You can build a fort or set up tents in addition to putting up your decorations. This is something you can do in advance, but building a fort can also be a fun activity, so you might want to wait for the campers to arrive.

Part 2
Having Fun Once the Campers Arrive

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    Keep an attendance sheet. Especially if your camp is more than one day, not every camper may come each day. Make sure you keep a list of exactly who shows up for camp each day. This way the parent in charge knows how many kids to account for, feed, etc.
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    Have contact information available. In addition to knowing who will attend camp each day, the adult in charge should also keep a list of emergency contact numbers for each camper, as well as a list of any relevant allergies or dietary restrictions.
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    Provide plenty of snacks and water. Campers will work up big thirsts and appetites. Make sure to bring plenty of snacks and water, especially if any of the events are away from home, such as a nature walk.[7]
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    Keep games on hand. There is bound to be plenty of downtime between activities, while driving, while waiting for food, etc. Keep cards, boardgames, coloring books, and other toys on hand to keep the campers entertained while the adult host transitions between events.
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    Forget the schedule when the occasion calls for it. One of the great things about camp is also the spontaneity of some of the activities. Don’t worry about adhering to the schedule at the possible cost of other fun. Let the campers get creative and even improvise some of their own fun in the moment.
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    Establish traditions. Camp traditions are what set many different summer camps apart. Over the day (or several days) of camp, have the campers come up with a camp name, a song, a mascot, and any traditions they want to uphold. It will make the experience that much more fun.
    • One of your activities on the first day can even be to have campers make a sign for the camp on a poster or another creative surface.
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    Remind campers what they’ll need. If your camp will last several days, then make sure each camper goes home at night with a reminder list for what they will need to bring the next day.
    • You should also try to provide a general list reminding campers to bring sun screen, swimwear, towels, baseball gloves, or any other relevant necessities based on the theme of your camp.
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    Have fun! Most of all, pay attention to the campers. Try to keep everyone at camp involved, engaged, and having fun. If this means changing plans at the last minute in the name of fun, go for it. Ultimately the summer camp is for the campers, so get their feedback and don’t be afraid to try new things!


  • Keep a first aid kit on hand at all times.
  • Make sure all parents know about any significant changes to the camp schedule. Some parents will be frustrated if they think their child is at a museum and later find out that the kids went somewhere else.
  • Keep a log of all the people who you've invited, and who has replied. Include the people's allergies, favorite foods, whether they are vegetarians or not, and their medication if they need it.

Article Info

Categories: Summer Camp | Teen Holidays