Right now, millions of parents are starting to grapple with the fact that the majority of summer camps, the backbone of child care during school break, have been canceled, postponed, or are drastically limited in capacity this year. Camps being closed doesn’t stop kids from needing to be engaged and nurtured during that time. It’s quite a dilemma for working parents who are running out of steam balancing work and kids at home.

How families decide to approach child care during this time is an incredibly personal decision that each family needs to discuss openly. That said, child care providers are essential and ready to support working families who need the extra help once virtual school ends.

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This summer, hosting a DIY summer camp may be an option for families looking for support. Here are some ideas to spark creativity around planning a DIY Summer Camp. As always it’s best to follow CDC recommendations as well as updates from your local officials.

Here’s an example DIY summer camp schedule that can be built around activities that don’t require kids to be grouped closely together and can take place outdoors.

Day 1: Soccer Camp

a woman practices tricks with a soccer ball

Nothing expels energy more than running openly on a field.

Day 2: Nature

gif of bilbo baggins in the hobbit saying that he's going on an adventure

The great outdoors can provide lots of lessons.

  • Research local hiking paths, most areas have forest preserves or parks within driving distance. Hire a sitter to lead the charge.
  • Although many camping sites are still closed, you can always pitch a tent in your backyard and take the camp day into the night.
  • Roast s’mores and or hot dogs for dinner!

Day 3: Ninja/Gymnastics

a young girl uses a zipline in her back yard

Get inspired by American Ninja Warrior and get scrappy dreaming up your own courses.

  • Think about what items you can use to create a course. Set up the course and let the kids at it, under the supervisor of a sitter.
  • Challenge them to dream up new courses and obstacles with the materials you have.

Day 4: Biking Camp

a man happily rides a bicycle

Keep them moving by exploring new bike paths in your area

  • Whether it’s going in circles in a nearby parking lot or finding a long bike path to ride on, biking is a great way to get kids outdoors to burn some energy.
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Day 5: Photography Camp

a woman uses a camera to take a picture

  • Pull together a list of photography prompts or search for some on the internet.
  • Have a sitter chaperone a walk around the neighborhood or park while the amateur photographers get to work.

Day 6: Gardening Camp

edward scissorhands trims a bush to look like a dinosaur

There’s so much to explore with gardening – flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Find a patch, make a gardening plan and let them get their hands dirty.

Day 7: Water Camp

a dog happily plays with a sprinkler

  • If you have a pool, great! If not use the sprinklers or a kiddie pool and let the kids get water crazy for a few hours.

This summer is going to be different but there are still ways for families to find summer fun with a little creativity and planning. We’re all adapting as we go and are figuring out our kids’ summer camp activities together.

Cheers and happy summer!

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