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It’s that time of year when everyone starts getting excited for the wonderful days of the summer sun and of course outdoor physical fun. Summer camp is a time when both leaders and kids create lifelong memories, learn new skills, get exposed to new ideas, and have the opportunity to experience lots of time on interesting projects, games in the park, field trips, exploring outdoor nature activities and long hours of just hanging out and playing! Kids are excited about summer and will be looking forward to some fun, friendship and taking a vacation from the everyday pressure’s today's’ children face. Camp Leaders work hard to make it all happen.

Hours of planning and research goes into a summer camp program. As a camp planner for over 25 years, one of my biggest challenges was to ensure the activities I offered worked within the children’s and leaders interests and abilities. Summer camps offered many weeks that were filled with rafting, camping and river exploration. These were balanced with weeks of field trips, long lazy park days filled with games, hunts, art in the park and of course on site play days filled with interesting materials that encouraged creative play.

When planning camp activities, it is important to:

  • Offer a wide variety of choices and activities that meet the broad range of children’s interests.
  • Refer to child development. It’s important to remember that your 5-7 year old’s have different needs than your 8-12 year old’s. Offer some play activities that meet those interests.
  • Match activities to your program philosophy and policies
  • Review regulatory requirements to ensure you are meeting them.
  • Develop a risk management and supervision plan.
  • Break your larger group into smaller groups for easier group management, organization, and supervision.
  • Include group names, banners and group cheers in your weekly planning. These small details create friendship bonds and support relationships between leaders and their groups of children.
  • Check field trip locations before your trip so you know where the bathrooms are, the best place to set up your group, and to ensure the environment is safe and to create a team supervision, risk management plan.
  • Your enthusiasm and energy go a long way to ensuring activity success. Engage and play with the children

Theme Days

Some children may attend your summer camps for weeks at a time. Introducing a  variety of weekly themes, daily themes and special occasion days will keep the Leaders and children interested in camp, as well as provides a planning framework for leaders. For example, you could have weeks around themes such as:

  • Pirates: children come dressed in pirate gear or use the camps dress-up clothes: use large cardboard boxes and recycled materials to create a giant pirate ship, make pirate puppets, play treasure hunt games, create their own treasure maps, make individual pirate ships,
  • Jungle: children make or colour in animal masks to wear; use camouflage netting and other props to create a jungle den; play crossing crocodile-infested river game; competition to make a giraffe out of newspaper and sticky tape; use clay to make animal face fridge magnets etc.
  • Backyard beach: children come dressed in 'beach' clothes (bright t-shirts, shorts, flip flops, sunglasses, floppy hats ), decorate flip-flops, make frisbees,  play volleyball with large softball, water play with sprinkler balloons sponges etc., make, decorate and float paper boats in large container of water, ice cream factory with lots of toppings; experiment with making different smoothies etc.

Here are some other theme day suggestions:

  

Summer Fun Weekly  Theme Ideas

Summer Fun Daily Theme Ideas

Art in the Park

Outdoor Adventurers

Mission Impossible

Imagination Station

Minecraft Mania

Space

Mainly Music

Amazing Race

Mission to Mars

Circus

Medieval Times

Jumanji

Mighty Jungle

Harry Potter

Talent Show Week

Camping Trip

Mad Science

Extreme Adventures

Mardi Gras

Chefs Week

Travel  the World in 7 days

Games Galore and More

Nature Week

Treasure Hunter Times

Time Travelers

Water World 

Summer Olympics

Wind and Sea

Wheels Week

Willy Wonka  and the Chocolate Factory

Grease

Retro Week

Around the World in 7 Days

Wizards and Fairies

Crazy Hair Day

Crazy Socks Day

Fear Factor Day

Invention Day

Denim Day

Cartoon Character Day

Emergency Services Day

Celebrity Look-Alike Day

Magic Day

Try a Trade Day

Tournament Thursday

Pirate Day

Obstacle Course Challenge Day

Rockstar Day

Pop Culture Day

Storybook Day

Down Under Day

Throwback Thursdays

Wacky Wednesdays

Mission Mondays

Pajama Day

Water Day Wednesdays

Funky Friday

Invent your own Holiday

Endangered Species Day

Drive-In Movie Day

Wheels Day

Worlds Record Day

Game Show Day

Junk Yard Days

Ooppey Goopey Day

Super Hero Day

Wet and Wild Day

 

July Celebration Days

August Celebration Days

1. International Joke Day

1. Creative ice cream flavours day 

2. Build a Scarecrow Day

20. Moon Day

25. Grotto

27. Walking on Stilts Day

28. Fingerprints used as evidence Day

 

  1. Lama Day

5.   Disc Golf Day

11. Play in the sand day

13. International Left-Handers Day

18. Bad Poetry Day

19. Bow Day

27. Tug of war day

30. Toasted Marshmallow Day

External Specialists

Bringing in specialist activities from external providers is a great way to increase the variety of activities that you offer and will help to give focus to the week. Bringing in some of these external activities can become expensive, but you can balance them by:

  • Offering free activities .
  • Have your camp leaders’ do a personal skills inventory. What topics or activities are they subject experts on and how can you use that expertise within your camp’s theme weeks.
  • Look to your circle of friends, parents and community partners: does anyone have a special skill or interest that they would be prepared to come and demonstrate for an hour or two? 

Specialist activities that you might like to consider include:

 

Group Games:

Need Flags or a strip of cloth to be used as a tail.
Players have a tail inserted into his/her belt or pocket that is hanging at the back-side.
All players chase one another trying to collect tails, while protecting his/her own.
Players with the most tails collected in a specified time are the winners. (Game is good in the gym or outside)

PRISONER OF WAR

Children are divided into teams.
They each select one child from each team to be the prisoner of the other team and the two prisoners are placed in jail. This can be a designated area or a chalk box if playing outside.

The teams each line-up and the object of the game are to free the prisoner from the other team.
The teams must get to the prison by going to the other team’s side to free the prisoner.
If tagged, that child then becomes a prisoner too and must go to jail.
If a child makes it to jail, however, he or she is safe as long as he is inside the prison.
The rescuer can only rescue one person at a time and can choose the right time to “break for it.”

 CAPTURE THE FLAG

Need: Two flags (you can make flags with two sticks and bandanas) Divide the kids into two teams and decide on the teams’ territories. Be sure to specifically state the boundary lines of each team’s territory because once a player crosses that boundary line they are subject to being caught. Also, decide where each team’s jail will be located.

  • For the first few minutes of the game, each team decides where to place its flag. It must be visible and it cannot be moved by its team. A 10-20 foot circle around the flag is a safety zone that cannot be entered by its team unless the opposing team enters the circle first.
    Play:
  • The object of the game is to grab the other team’s flag and carry it safely back to your team’s territory.
  • Part of the team stays to guard their flag and part of the team goes on the capture mission in enemy territory.
  • If a player sees an opposing team member enters his territory, he can catch him by tagging him long enough to say “Caught!” three times.
  • When a player is caught, he must go to the jail area.
  • The player stays in jail until one of his teammates sneaks in and tags him.
  • Only one prisoner at a time can be freed.

COMMON ‘TABLE GAMES’ ARE MORE FUN OUTSIDE!

Tic-tac-toe can be scratched in the dirt and is more enticing than on paper–Hangman, too. (or use chalk for pavement)
Sketch a checker board on the sidewalk and fabricate markers out of stones and acorns.
Or just spread a blanket on the grass for Monopoly or Candyland played in a whole new venue…

BASELESS BASEBALL


Players aim at targets & award hits (singles, doubles, triples, and home runs) for striking each one.
You need a rubber or tennis ball & targets.

  • Players need to decide upon a throwing line & targets—-Rocks, boxes, toys, trees, piles of leaves, old sweatshirts, hula-hoops can be targets.
    When decided–for safety reasons– mark off the playing field
  • Make the scoring system equal to the task.
    Each target is worth a certain kind of hit. Easy targets are singles, harder ones are doubles and so on.
  • Players take turns throwing at the targets.
    If the target is hit, the player’s team gets the corresponding award (points).
    If the target is missed, the player’s team is given one out. When the thrower has 3 outs, the next thrower comes to “bat”.
  • Play as many innings as you like, keeping score.
    The player with the most hits (points) gets to pick the next targets.
    This can also be scored as a team effort.

BODY PART FREEZE TAG

Body part freeze tag is just like regular freeze tag except once tagged, you are not completely frozen.

  • Select one or two children to be “it.”
    These children run around tagging other children.
  • If a child is tagged on the arm, only the arm is frozen.
    If tagged on the leg, only the leg is frozen, so the child must hop on one leg.
    If both legs are tagged, the child can pull himself along the ground with arms (assuming they weren’t already tagged).
  • The object is to completely freeze as many as possible.
  • If you want, you can have other unfreeze body parts as well.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

(Can be played outside or inside gym area)
This game is for 5 or more players and should be played outside or in an open area.

  • To play, select four objects to be based and give each base a name:
    “Don’t like it,” “Love it,” “It’s OK,” “Never tried it.”
  • Make signs for each base to make it easy to remember which is which!
  • Pick someone to be “IT.” “IT” stands in the middle and the players stand on any base they want. “IT” calls out the name of a food.
  • Players then have to run to the base that describes how they feel about that food. “IT” tries to tag a player before he or she reaches the base. The player who is tagged then becomes the new “It “

 

Websites That are Helpful for Summer Camp Activities

 

https://kids4kids.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/100-Outstanding-Summer-Camp-Program-Ideas.pdf

http://ludocity.org/wiki/Category:Playable_games

https://www.playworks.org/game-library/

https://www.kidactivities.net/games-parachute/

https://icebreakerideas.com/best-relay-race-games/

http://www.ventureteambuilding.co.uk/team-building-activities-for-kids/

 

STEM Activities (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/simple-stem-activities-for-kids/

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/science-experiments-and-activities/

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/stem-activities

Crafting websites

https://craftsbyamanda.com/category/craft-tutorials/kids-crafts-2/nature-crafts-kids-crafts-2/

https://craftsbyamanda.com/category/craft-tutorials/kids-crafts-2/other-recycled-crafts/

https://www.artbarblog.com/58-summer-art-camp-ideas/

https://funfamilycrafts.com/category/age-group/school-age/

Make it with boxes

https://www.redtedart.com/cardboard-box-craft-ideas/

Messy Play websites

https://lemonlimeadventures.com/epic-outside-messy-play-ideas/

https://mountainkidslouisville.com/blog/fun-messy-summer-outdoor-activities-for-kids/

Club ideas

https://www.kidactivities.net/clubs-for-school-age-kids-page-1/

https://www.tts-group.co.uk/blog/2017/07/11/after-school-club-ideas.html

 

Pop Up Play and Loose Parts

https://popupadventureplaygrounds.wordpress.com/welcome/pop-up-adventure-playgrounds/

https://www.abcee.org/sites/default/files/Loose%20parts%20manual.pdf

https://www.backwoodsmama.com/2018/02/loose-parts-play.html

 

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Chants and songs

leader chants, campers repeat...

Everywhere we go! (Everywhere we go)
People always ask us (People always ask us)           
Who we are (who we are)
Where we come from (where we come from)
So we tell them (So we tell them)
We're from ...name your camp... (we're from...)
And if they cannot hear us (And if they cannot hear us)
We shout a little louder (we shout a little louder)
It is best to start out kind quiet so that you can increase the volume a few times... this is a good chant for when you are walking somewhere.

Orange Crush
Lemon Ice
Beat them once beet them twice
Beat them high 
Beat them low 
(team name) on the go!

Bazooka Bubblegum Song

My momma
She gave me a dollar
She told me to buy a collar
But I didn't buy no collar
Instead I bought some bubblegumccc3
BAZOOKA, ZOOKA bubble gum (x2)

My momma 
She gave me a quarter

She told me to tip the porter
But I didn't tip no porter 
Instead I bought some bubblegum
BAZOOKA, ZOOKA bubble gum (x2)

My momma 
She gave me a dime 
She told me to buy a lime
But I didn't buy no lime
Instead I bought some bubblegum 
BAZOOKA, ZOOKA bubble gum (x2)

My momma 
She gave me a nickel 
She tole me to buy a pickle 
But I didn't buy no pickle 
Instead i bought some bubblegum
BAZOOKA, ZOOKA bubble gum (x2)

My momma 
She gave me a penny 
She told me to buy some bubblegum
But I didn't buy no bubblegum 
Because I'm sick of bubblegum
BAZOOKA, ZOOKA bubble gum (x2)

Song and chant websites:

https://campsongs.wordpress.com/songs/repeat-after-me-song-list/

https://campsongs.wordpress.com/

https://campsongs.wordpress.com/songs/yellsrowdy-songs/

Transition and Back Pocket Activities

https://www.kidactivities.net/79-sponge-fillers-transition-and-line-up-for-kids/

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/5-minute-transitional-activities-busy-days/

https://www.summercamppro.com/transition-time-active-style/

https://www.songsforteaching.com/transitions.htm

 

 

Activities for on the bus

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/bus_trip_activities_what_groups_can_do_as_the_wheels_on_the_bus_go_round_an

https://www.bus.com/blog/group-games-to-play-on-long-bus-rides/

https://www.busbank.com/7-super-creative-field-trip-games-kids/

Have a fun and safe summer

www.creativechildcareconsulting.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

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