Summer Fun Ideas: Mom Camp Schedule for Kids

Pool time!
Pool time!

Dad Camp

  • This camp can also be called Dad Camp, Grandma Camp, Family Camp or any other name that fits the title of the caregiver who will serve as the leader.

Mom Camp

Moms, don’t get too excited by the title – this is a camp led by moms, not for moms! One summer, when my kids were super bored, I came up with a structured week packed with activities and named it Mom Camp. There is something about a set schedule that some kids find very appealing, especially if it is full of fun events to break summer boredom. The idea is to cram in a lot of events, much like a summer camp. This one week activity craze is created for a change in pace, so don’t be afraid of overscheduling. It will be a blast, and you will all be exhausted at the end of each day!

If you have a child who likes to cross things off a list, he will really like his own schedule of activities. This plan works especially well for children who like to know the order of events and can predict what is next, including children with anxiety or who have autism spectrum traits. My son fits into that category and carried his list around with him every day, with a smile. He is begging me now to do Mom Camp again as I write this article!

Arts and Crafts Projects

This is a good afternoon activity when it is too hot to play outside. These are some summer theme craft ideas for kids:

  • make a seashell picture frame
  • sand art (layer colored sand in small bottles)
  • beach scene collage with crumpled colored tissue paper squares

Making Your Schedule

Plan your entire week in advance, but distribute schedules only on a daily basis. You do not want to overload the kids with plans, and if something needs to change midweek, you can edit the schedule as you go. Include meal and snack times, as well.

When selecting activities, try to make a good balance between at-home activities and field trips. I try to have one outing per day to break up the routine. You will want to consider nap time if you have younger children. I have included a reading/nap time block on my daily schedule samples.

Camp Schedule Samples and Template

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Click thumbnail to view full-size
Feeding lorikeets at the zooState ParkNeighborhood nature trailPlayground
Feeding lorikeets at the zoo
Feeding lorikeets at the zoo
State Park
State Park
Neighborhood nature trail
Neighborhood nature trail

Adventures or Field Trips for Kids

I plan the big daily outing for the morning time slot to avoid the hottest temperatures of the day and to beat the crowd. If you have a membership to a zoo, aquarium, or museum, that is an easy pick for the Mom Camp schedule. If not, you can check admission prices and see if it fits your budget. Some places have free or discounted days, so be sure to check their website. These are some ideas for possible outings:

  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • State or county park
  • Public playground
  • Movies (some theaters have free summer movies)
  • Museum
  • Pet store
  • Fishing or crabbing

Outside Hour Activities

By late afternoon, the kids are going to want to run around outside a bit more. Try to set up interesting play areas that the kids may not be used to. You will want to join in the fun, as well. Some examples are:

  • Set up an obstacle course, then let the kids have a turn setting one up.
  • Play croquet, bocce ball, or horseshoes.
  • Have a bike or scooter parade around the neighborhood.
  • Have a hula hoop contest to music.
  • Make a beach mural with sidewalk chalk.

KP Duty at Mom Camp
KP Duty at Mom Camp

Planning Meals and KP Duty

Camps are famous for having kid friendly meals. For breakfast and lunch, I usually stick to food we eat in a typical week, but for dinner, I will go the route of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, and tacos. You can also make these healthy substitutions: fish tacos, black bean burgers, and pasta salad instead of chips or fries.

KP Duty stands for Kitchen Patrol Duty, which is a military term, but is sometimes found as a camp activity related to preparing for a meal. KP duty may involve setting and clearing the table, putting out condiments, and preparing the food, though not actually cooking the food. Leave that part to Mom or Dad. The kids will enjoy running this part of camp.

One duty is to collect and report the "ort," which is a word for leftover scraps of food. Camps often teach campers to only put on their plate what they will eat, and not to waste food. At the end of the meal, all ort is collected and sometimes weighed in order to make an "ort report." Kids will enjoy making a low or zero ort report, and it is a good teaching point.

Evening Activity

After supper, it is time for family fun without television, computers, or other electronics. Sometimes we get caught up in all the technology, and Mom Camp is an opportunity to take a break. These are some suggestions for fun activities after supper:

  • Board games: Pick 2 or 3 that everyone can play.
  • Charades: Play the classic version or as my children like to do, make up your own rules and categories.
  • Card games: Learn a new one like Crazy Eights, Hearts, Spades, or Rummy.
  • Set up a tent in the backyard: Enjoy star-gazing and story-telling.
  • Movie night: This is my one exception to the no electronic rule! Popcorn is a must, candy optional.

Mom Camp Any Time

Mom Camp is not just for summer, but can be tailored to fit a long weekend, and winter or spring break. The draw of the fun is the fast pace and the different experiences. The reward is family bonding and precious memories. You may want to take lots of pictures and make a scrapbook at the end. My kids love to reminisce about our Mom Camp adventures, and yours will too!

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Comments 7 comments

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

What a terrific idea for both mom and kids. Like you mention, I tend to think many kids respond well to a plan and enjoy having some event or outing to look forward to. What a fun and creative camp!

ChaplinSpeaks profile image

ChaplinSpeaks 4 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina Author

Thanks, ktrapp! It takes just a little planning the week before and can be as detailed as you want to make it.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

What a great idea and so appropriate for this time of year. I love your evening extension of the camp. Voted up and shared with other moms.

ChaplinSpeaks profile image

ChaplinSpeaks 4 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina Author

Thanks, teaches12345. Yes, I guess it is more like an overnight camp instead of a day camp. It also can be very inexpensive if you stick to home activities and free/public outings. Thanks for sharing, too.

Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

My kids are grown and gone but this is the sort of thing I would have done with them when they were much younger. I believe in a balance of keeping kids busy but with enough down time for them to veg out and relax. Great idea!

ChaplinSpeaks profile image

ChaplinSpeaks 4 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina Author

Thanks, Danette! I agree - kids need a good balance. Our summers are pretty slow here, so the Mom Camp gives us a change in pace.

Meisjunk profile image

Meisjunk 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

This is a great idea! Looks like your little ones enjoyed it. =) Thanks for sharing!

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