As I mentioned in the summer staycation park passports post, this summer has my family staying close to home. That doesn’t mean that we are missing out on making summer memories.
Today we’re teaming up with Banana Boat® – Follow the Signs for Summer Fun campaign. One of the ways we are celebrating summer is with our very own Family Camp.
Family Camp? You may be thinking that sounds really time intensive. I suppose it could be depending on how you run with it, however, part of the reason we are staying close to home this summer is that it’s a particular busy season of life without a lot time or energy for family outings.
So, I decided to do just two Family Camp days this summer one at the beginning of summer and one at the end. If we manage to do a day or two in between it will be icing on the cake but I am considering it a success at just two days. Even if all you have time for is one day or half a day I think you should go for it; I promise you won’t regret it!
How do you plan your own Family Camp
So how do you make your own Family Camp? I am so glad you asked 😉
Pick a Camp Name & Activities – The first order of business for my family was creating excitement and “buy in” from my two oldest kids. We had a naming contest. I asked my kids to come up with a name and a list of ideas they thought would make good camp activities. We were not going to be able to do some or even most of the things on their list (fishing and kayaking in the backyard, mmmm probably not) and that’s OK there were plenty of ideas that were doable such as paracord bracelets, target practice, scary stories, and water balloon piñatas.
Pick a Date – Once they had brainstormed their ideas we picked a date that would work for everyone to be home. I planned out the day in pretty good detail, from what we would eat to when and what we would do. This was great so that we had a plan to deviate from (and return to) but also to help the kids see what an exciting day we had planned. I wrote it all out on a dry erase board, hung it prominently and the excitement started to build!
Some tips to make your Family Camp a success
Start the day with a camp meeting – This was really just breakfast at the kitchen table and an opportunity to talk and be excited about the day but after eating breakfast we did some serious sunscreen application.
Make everything a game – My kids don’t always love getting slathered in sunscreen. However, I know that wearing sunscreen isn’t just about avoiding a sunburn today, it’s also important to protect against long term skin damage. Banana Boat® – Follow the Signs for Summer Fun campaign inspired me to make it fun so we did the Sunscreen Hokey Pokey…
You put your left arm in (mom or dad applies a line of sunscreen)
And you rub it all about (kids rub in sunscreen in silly exaggerated movements)
You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself about
That’s what it’s all about!
(A tip for faces when we got to put your head in I used the Banana Boat® Kids Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 – it really helps you get under their eyes without getting it IN their eyes)
Keep everyone engaged – Keep everyone in good spirits by alternating high energy activities with sit down, focused activities.
More Camp Ideas
Here are some ideas from our camp. Add your ideas in the comment section!
- Family Olympics each person takes turns trying to do the same activity and competes to see who can do it the longest, highest, farthest, or most times in a minute. The thing I love about this is how easy it is to include everyone, toddler to tween, and that there is no prep though you may want paper and pen or a dry erase board. We did things like stand on one leg, hold a plank position, hold your arms straight out in front of you (I won this one with 7 minutes and 12 seconds), jumping and hopping on one foot.
- Make a Family Camp banner out of an old sheet or other material.
- Water gun/balloon fights or target practice.
- Making bracelets whether they are paracord, friendship, or beads on pipe cleaner, it’s fun to have a memento from camp.
- Dance off- everyone chooses their favorite song to bust a move to.
- Water balloon piñatas.
- Painting peg people to look like the members of our family.
- Obstacle courses (this doesn’t have to be fancy: walk along a wall, crawl under the picnic table, pick up the jump rope and jump 5 times, etc.)
- Build something (sandcastles, fairy homes, a Rube Goldberg machine).
- Paint a rock to decorate your yard and remind you of family camp all year long.
- Pool Noodle light saber battles or javelin toss.
- Classic games like Chess, Checkers, Yahtzee or Jenga (if you have these in giant yard form all the better).
- Yard games such as Croquet, Bocce Ball, or Horseshoes.
- After a day full of activity slow things down by having a cookout or making foil meal packets (you can even make these in the oven) for dinner, telling “scary” stories over desert and watching the stars come out.
And don’t forget to take pictures!
What activities will you try with your family?
Lorien Van Ness is the mother of four children ranging in age from toddler to tween, as well as, a freelance writer and regular contributor at Creative with Kids and Hands On As We Grow. Having worked with children from birth through adolescence in a professional capacity for more than 10 years, she enjoys helping families create meaningful experiences that foster strong relationships. She grabs any free moment she can to write about life, parenting, and everything in between.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.