Picking up the kids from summer camp can be a bittersweet experience. You’re glad to be reunited and see all the amazing things your child got to experience, but at the same it’s tough to tear them away from their own little utopia.

And it’s no wonder kids enjoy it so much. Camp has been proven to have more benefits than just giving parents a break. Research shows that overnight camps for kids can:

  • Help them build better social skills
  • Build a greater appreciation for nature
  • Gain confidence
  • Make lifelong memories

Where else can they enjoy education, independence, and one-of-a-kind connections like they do at camp?

This year, you can both enjoy the rush of summer camp even after summer ends when you bring enriching summer camp activities home.

Try out some of these exciting games and DIY crafts and watch your child experience the joy and enrichment of summer camp, year-round!

Go on a Camp-In

Chilly nights don’t have to stop your kids from enjoying the fun of camping!

Encourage your child to invite a friend over for a weather-friendly camping day that you can adjust depending on the temperature. Too cold for a camp out? Make the living room a fun destination!

If the weather is nice enough during the day, enjoy a hike or nature walk. To make it even more engaging, accompany the walk with a fall scavenger hunt and save a prize at the end for the winner.

When it starts to get dark, head home to pitch a tent or make a fort. Once the kids have made their cozy space for the night, it’s dinner time.

Dinner is a perfect opportunity to teach them how to make foil pocket meals. Foil pocket meals are easy recipes that can be cooked in the oven or on a campfire. Whichever method you choose, the kids will learn a handy trick for their next outdoor camping trip.

For a foil meal the kids will love, try foil pocket nachos. It’s as easy as you think – have the kids place chips and their favorite nacho toppings on a sheet of foil, fold it into a “pocket” around the ingredients, and heat until the cheese is melted and any meat is thoroughly cooked.

You can even finish off with S’mores! If you can’t do them outside, you can get an indoor S’mores maker, sticks and all, for under $30.

When their bellies are full, it’s time to kick back and relax. Turn on a star lamp and see what constellations you can find. Then, make sure they have plenty of fun non-screen activities to enjoy independently – notebooks and pens, board games, flashlights, etc.

Turn the Next Snow Day into a Field Day

Colorado winter is expected to be a bit more mild than usual this year, which means even more opportunities for fun outdoor days no matter what the weather is.

Prepare some activities to have in your pocket the next time cabin fever kicks in during a snow day. Add fun twists on traditional snow days like:

  • Snowman Showdown: Split into 2 teams. Have each team build a wall big enough to hide behind, with 3-5 small snowmen on each side. Whichever team knocks over the others’ snowmen first wins.
  • Snow Track Hide-n-Seek: In this winter-friendly version of Hide-n-Seek, the hider creates a maze with their tracks, and the seeker does their best to find them using only their footprints as clues.
  • Treasure Hunt: Hide prizes outside and send the kids off to dig for treasure.
  • Tic-Tac-Snow: Draw a Tic-Tac-Toe board in the snow, and have the kids mark their spots with sticks or winter garments.
  • Winter Olympics: Create piles, ramps, and obstacles from snow that kids can jump over, roll down, or crawl through. See who can create the biggest snowball or throw theirs the farthest.
  • Snow Painting: Load up empty spray bottles with 2 tablespoons of corn starch, 2 cups of water, and a few drops of food coloring. Then, set them free to decorate the yard.

Once you try out a few activities, chances are your child will come up with some ideas of their own. And you can help bring their idea to life!

Host a Rockin’ Talent Show

Everyone knows the best part of summer camp is the talent show at the end. There’s nothing like watching friends show off their skills to the sounds of an encouraging audience.

Bring the joy of a talent show home by hosting a talent show with friends and family. If you really want to spice it up, make it a full-blown concert.

Willie Mae Rock Camp has their own rockin’ version of a talent show. Begin by forming groups of 1-4. Pull a word out of a hat filled with a mixture of nouns and adjectives. As each team draws words, use them to form the lyrics to a song.

Once the lyrics have been decided, kids can either create or use instruments to add a tune. Once they’re ready to perform, it’s concert time!

Try Out Gymnastics Challenges

Part of the enrichment of camp is the opportunity for kids to challenge themselves both mentally and physically. That’s where gymnastics come in handy.

Gymnastics provide many of the same mental and physical benefits for children as a day of activities at summer camp. Participating in movement activities like gymnastics and dance is shown to improve flexibility, focus, and confidence.

Keep kids active and engaged by trying out fun gymnastics challenges. Make it a tradition so they can see all the progress they’ve made over time. You can join in too!

Try these fun gymnastics challenges with your kids >