This article originally appeared on fivefortheroad.com/camp-mom-summer-schedule.
Every year I create themed summer camp ideas at home that we use to add structure and family time to our summer calendar. I put together this list of over 100 theme ideas to help you plan your at home summer camp this year.
The goal of our camp mom summer schedule it to help us make the most of the summer, connect more, and do everything on our summer bucket list. I like to plan our summer activities to keep us active and busy.
I have been doing camp mom summer for the last 6 years and it has evolved as my kids have grown. This year is a different challenge because 2020 is a different year.
As I sit and write this I do not really know what our summer will look like. We may be home more than we expect and will have to get creative with how we spend our days.
I do know that my goal of summer has not changed. I always want to have the best summer ever. To me that means creating awesome memories, exploring new things together as a family, and relaxing at home.
101 Themed Summer Camp Ideas
“Camp Mom Summer” is the way we pack it all in for the summer. We do everything we can and break out of our routine. Setting up my camp mom summer schedule helps us enjoy time together and be a local tourist.
I like to plan a “theme” a week to structure our weeks around. Sometimes the theme is as simple as water or nature, and other times it is more specific like Dr. Seuss week or Harry Potter.
If you are interested in printing this list out you can sign up for my email list to have access to the list and my summer schedule planning sheets. I also include vacation and road trip itinerary planning sheets. Sign Up Here!
Planning camp mom summer is not as intense as it sounds. It’s really a flexible schedule I use to plan our weeks for the summer.
I’m all about spontaneous fun and we do have unscheduled activities. Our themed summer camp keeps us going and helps me plan our weeks. It also reminds me to explore all the fun activities we have locally. Summer moves so fast and I like to see and do as much as I can. Planning our summer weeks helps me do this!
Start Your Own at Home Summer Camp
Before you start planning you need to consider a few things to start.
What at Home Summer Camp is NOT?
At home summer camp should not be is stressful. Don’t feel you have to scour the internet for ideas. You don’t. Do what makes you happy and keep it flexible.
If your family loves playing in your pool most days during the summer that is what you should do. The goal is to make summer fun and easy. You do not have to spend your days on Pinterest finding the perfect summer craft, unless you want to!! If you do please share your ideas because I love being inspired by other families.
At home summer camp is all about taking those moments. The moments where your days do not have to be filled with school and obligations of running from one activity to the next. The moments your kids will remember and cherish. I want to be an active part in those memories. I want to explore and have adventures with my kids.
The summer schedule is about me. It is about me wanting to soak up every moment I get to spend with my kids. It is being unplugged and removed from the day-to-day to enjoy summer. It is what summer is all about for me.
Be Realistic in Your Planning
Everyone is going to have a different plan for summer and that is okay. It is okay to plan one activity a week and it is okay to plan 5 activities a day. The most important thing is that you enjoy it.
You may have to work from home and are trying to balance having the kids home too. If that is the case make it fit within your schedule. Your goal should be to create fun family time together.
Be Open to Change
You may start off strong only to find the schedule doesn’t work for you. That is okay and part of the process. I have changed and tweaked things as my kids have gotten older and their interests have changed.
We have had summers that we do consecutive weeks of themes or every other week. Don’t be afraid to make changes as you go.
DIY Summer Camp at Home
Where to Start
I start planning our summer schedule with these three easy steps:
- Make A Bucket List
- Pick Some Themes
- Lay Out A Weekly Schedule
Make a Summer Bucket List
We only have a few months of summer weather and I plan to enjoy everything that Western New York offers. From visiting new playgrounds to beaches and baseball games. We try to do it all! (In 2020 this may not be possible, please do what is best for your family and your community.)
At times we don’t get it all in but we always try!! We also add in a few visits to grandparents houses and weekend day trips. Summer is busy for us, but I love the time we get to spend together as a family. Start your summer bucket list by being a tourist in your own town. Write down places you’ve wanted to visit but haven’t had time.
Often there are so many wonderful places to visit in your own backyard. I always get the kids involved to help with the planning. What do they want to do this summer?
It might be as simple as a visit to their favorite playground or have a picnic in the park. All ideas get put on the list. There may be ones that are not doable, but you should try to have at least one idea from each family member on the list.
Look through your local community center for events. Check the local library or book store. Museums often have weekly summer events and activities. Look at your local parent website for family friendly activities. I like to use Kids Out & About or Visit Rochester for local fun.
Local Rochester, NY Summer Things to Do with Kids
- 101 Things to Do in Rochester, NY with Kids
- Rochester Scavenger Hunt: 9 Outside Places to Explore
- 11 Weekend Getaways from Rochester, NY
- Day Trips from Rochester, NY for Families
- Fun Things to Do in Syracuse, New York
Plan It All Out
If you are not a planner this part may be a challenge but I promise once you set it up you will not have to do much again. Give yourself an hour to look at your calendar and plan out what the next 8 weeks of summer will look like.
This is a very flexible plan. I have a notebook that I have been using since 2014 to lay out what our summer plans will look like. You can use a calendar, planner, or a piece of paper to write out the weeks.
The first thing I do is write in any camps or summer activities the kids are signed up for. Every year looks a little different. This year we have nothing on the calendar.
Each week gets assigned a theme and then I work our summer activities and bucket list into the themes. If we have swim lessons we may have a water theme where we talk about aquariums and lakes. I try to find movies to watch that go along with our theme. Disney+ has many movie options for kids that the entire family will enjoy!
If your kids are a little older they may want to plan a week. Last year my kids each picked a theme and I will have them do the same this year. I will go through and add a few activities but they do a great job and have a lot of fun. (Bonus: They work together!!)
Our Summer at Home Schedule
- 7:00-9:00 Kids have breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth. Mom works.
- Work on summer bridge book.
- Daily Activity-use theme to decide what that will be. We may visit a new park or stay home for a craft.
- 11:00-12:00 Morning Chores and free time.
- 12:00-1:00 Lunch and free time.
- 1:00-2:00 Finish morning activity or play outside.
- 2:00-2:30 Reading Time
- 2:30-4:30 Free Electronic Time
- Free Time
- Family Walk
- Family Time
As my kids have gotten older the theme days have changed a bit but I still find value in creating a flexible summer schedule.I use the schedule below to give our weeks some structure. This is more generic and flexible plan for the week. Ours looks something like this:
- Monday-Library (Pick out book that go with the theme)
- Tuesday-Field Trip Day (Visit a museum or park. Pick Something from our summer bucket list.)
- Wednesday-Home Day
- Thursday-Field Trip Day (Visit a local farmer’s market, etc.)
- Friday-Home Day (chores, laundry, home activity)
The kids have come to really love camp mom. They love to help plan family activities but I think they love the unplugged time together. We spend time together that is uninterrupted by electronics and we are enjoying the summer. It is making these memories that makes summer the best.
Have a Family Fun Summer!
Leah Caraher is the owner of Five for the Road, a family travel blog. You can visit her blog at fivefortheroad.com or follow her on Instagram @fivefortheroadblog.