Backyard Summer Camp Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms

If you are trying to be a parent on a budget, then you know that summer camps may sound great, but they can really be expensive. That’s why so many stay-at-home moms are trying to turn their own backyards into a summer camp experience.

This way, you can keep the kids occupied, engage them physically and mentally in worthwhile activities, and you don’t have to break your bank.

Here are some ideas on how you can turn your home into a backyard summer camp:

The first things you are going to want to do is get organized and collect supplies.

When it comes to organization, just remember three key areas that the average summer camp takes care of: physical activities, arts and crafts, and evening/social activities. Try to schedule activities around these three areas. Also, be sure to stock up on cheap art supplies. (The Dollar Store is a good place to pick these up.)

  • Morning Activities—I find it easier to split the activities up by time of day. The morning is usually best for athletic and physical activities because of the heat. You don’t really want to spend the hottest part of the day outside and sweating, so schedule them for the morning. I also like to have about five main activities that I can rotate around so that they don’t do them each and every day.

    You might want to include time at the local pool (always a favorite), archery (a perennial summer camp favorite that you can enjoy at a local range), golfing (or at least hitting a few buckets on the driving range), bowling, or just going for a walk in the park or around the neighborhood. If you have a lot of kids in your neighborhood, consider organizing a softball or kickball game.

  • Afternoon Activities—The afternoon should be about arts and crafts and more mentally engaging activities. These don’t have to be very expensive, but again, variety helps. You can load up on cheap art supplies to do everything from painting to coloring to origami. But you can also include mentally engaging activities, like writing an original story, reading, and completing jigsaw puzzles. You can also use this time to help your child learn a new skill like photography or cooking.
  • Evening Activities—If you really want to go for the camp experience, then consider getting a camping tent and setting it up in the backyard with a sleeping bag. This is when you should just sit around and talk with your kids. Have them tell you stories and tell them some from your childhood as well. Older kids may balk, but they still like to hear stories, especially if you tell them around a campfire. And don’t forget to make some S’mores on that fire.

This year, you don’t have to send your kids off to an expensive summer camp or even a local day camp. You can work to create the same experience in your own backyard.


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