Create Your Own End of Summer Camp

Summer is coming to an end and the count down for our children’s’ return to school has begun. While summer camps have already ended, your kids' energy level surely hasn't. Parents don't fear--there is a really fun way to entertain the kids while also giving you, and your budget, a break. Enter parent run summer camps!

Summon the Summer Olympics in your Own Summer Camp Parent Relay

That sounds exhausting but it's actually a great way for you and your kids to get what you need out of these last days of summer. For parents who work at home and for those who work outside the home, teamwork is your best bet for getting your kids active (and outdoors for a bit).  Coordinating with other families to take turns running camp-for-the-day will get you to the homestretch to kids beginning school.  Sharing the load provides some time to get your kids and yourself ready for the transition back to school. And of course to give yourself a much needed break! You got them through the summer - now let's finish strong!

Begin with rallying all the parents you know because they are sure to be in the same boat. With most kids in Boston heading back to school on September 8, it would be ideal to coordinate with 3-4 other parents so one parent can cover each week day up until the big day. Instead of each parent having to plan a week of activities, there will be one parent per day with all the kids, giving each of you time and saving your kids from end of summer boredom. If you aren't able to volunteer to lead one of the days, try your best negotiation skills with the other parents. You could offer to run the carpool for a few kids during the week, or plan a day for some after school group activities.  Once each parent is assigned a day, you can start the planning.

Summer Camp Ideas

Since school is about to start, it’s an ideal time to get the kids back on a similar routine and add some studious activities along with physical activity and field trips. Don't stress yourself over a perfectly planned itinerary.  While some planning will make things run smoother, remember the idea is to get the kids active and learning. Kids are naturally great at this when they are brought together and it doesn't require much money or a specific location. Check out the fun, budget friendly activities below that you can do in your home and around the city. 

1.    Start the day bright and early. Have the kids meet in one family’s place and choose an activity. A writing project or drawing prompt will get the creative thinking flowing and provide a fun way to get that summer homework going.  

2.    Do a fun arts and craft project. Grab a few rocks and sea shells to create rock art. More the fashion-driven creatives, grab an old shirt and try these groovy tie-dye shirts.

3.    Time to get outside. Take the kids out on a treasure or scavenger hunt. You could go on a hike on one of the nearby hiking trails, explore a new park, or take a walk near home. Come up with 5 to 10 clues that lead to different objects and eventually to the "treasure box" or make a list of nature objects to find and collect along the hiking, walking or play trail. 

4.    Explore the city! Pack a lunch and head to one of the beautiful Boston-area parks. Enjoy the swan boats and frog pond at Boston Common for some water-activity fun. Beach days are numbered so take the kids to one of Boston's many beaches while you can. Fly kites, build sand castles, and search for sea shells for an art project later. For play lovers, make a last chance visit this week to Design Museum’s Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit at the BSA to learn about the history of play spaces around the world.

5.    Try something new. For a special treat, try indoor rock climbing or kayaking in the Charles River. Get the kids to create an obstacle course using whatever you have around or use the playground at the park. Or sign the kids up for a free summer obstacle class like the one offered by Reimagine Play.

Come home tired and happy and pass the baton on to the next parent. Enjoy the last days of summer!

About the Authors

Tessa Graham is a nutrition instructor and blogger, currently working as a substitute teacher for Boston Public Schools. Betty Francisco is the Founder and President of Reimagine Play, a Boston-based start-up bringing fun, play-inspired fitness and healthy-eating programs to school-age kids and teens.