How to DIY a Summer Camp Collab

I never went to “summer camp” as a child. I remember this: swimming, playing tennis, eating snacks, repeat. The only expense my parents incurred was the pool fees, some half hour tennis lessons and…the snacks. We’d be expected home by 6pm for dinner, watch an hour of TV together over ice cream, then fall into bed exhausted and happy. We literally played our hearts out.

As a dual income family, camp isn’t a privilege, it’s a necessity to keep my kids happy and engaged as my husband and I keep some semblance of work hours before we hit a family vacation.  We also want to nurture our children’s interests with our investment so this summer’s list includes: sports camps (soccer, baseball, basketball, swimming, tennis, skateboarding) nature + art camp, theater camp and even opera lessons!  And I still need two more weeks of coverage!

What to do with the rest of vacation??? DIY Summer Camp Collab!! I had this idea last year when the kids weren’t occupied (they’d say bored, but I hate that word) the last week before school started. Recruit your friends with unique talents: an artist, a scientist, an athlete, a chef. This is a creative group project, as much fun for the adults as for the kids to plan. Here’s how we did it:

  • Send out a group email to friends to see who is free for a week or two when you want to do DIY Camp. Decide whether you want to do half day 9-12 or a fuller day like 10–3.  Each family will host a day.
  • Interview your kids to see what they might want to do and submit a list to the organizer. So far my kids want music, video games (no surprise), dancing, hiking, cooking, sewing…
  • Once families commit to join for the week, have a conference call to discuss the kids’ lists and what skill the hosting parents might share that could address or incorporate an element of the kids’ interests. Once divvied up, the parent will submit a concept for their DAY.

Wilton and pal Vincent, devoted baseball players admit they like tennis.

For example, one of my personal skills is tennis playing.  My son’s interests include music and video games.  So I’ll host “Tennis Video & Disco Day”.  When we are on the court, I will video the kids hitting forehands on my iPhone.  At lunchtime, at our house, I’ll playback the video on the TV so we can discuss form plus the kids LOVE to watch themselves on screen!! Wilton will get his “screen time” and I will get in my teachable moment. I’ll also have each of the kids pick 3 favorite songs and I’ll quickly build a Spotify playlist that we can hit/play to on the court. This powerpacks our time with win-win fun.

Jana and Wilton get on the court.

Some ideas to incorporate for your hosting day, find one age appropriate:

  • Nature arts & crafts
  • Hiking & journaling
  • Colorful cooking, include mermaid toast!
  • No cook baking & hand shaking ice cream making
  • Outdoor science experiments
  • Robot design & prototyping
  • Puppet theater
  • Sewing or knitting projects
  • Video day: script writing, video shooting and editing in teams
  • SLIME making
  • Lego architecture

How about making some Mermaid Toast with a friend who is a great cook?

Find more inspo on my Pinterest Board >>

Just share your forte with enthusiasm and the kids will be energized.  Take water play breaks to cool down and don’t forget the main, crowd-pleasing, ingredient for sustained fun…snacks!