How to Plan Summer Camp at Home: DIY Fun for Kids

Girl playing with dolls in front of dollhouse

If your kids won’t be going to camp this summer, create a DIY camp at home that they’ll be sure to remember! This fun adventure provides a unique opportunity to blend learning and fun without leaving the house and enables you to enjoy more quality family time together!

Tailoring activities for your at-home summer camp is cost-effective and adds a personal touch that commercial camps can’t offer. Follow our suggestions below to plan out your summer camp and look forward to a delightful summer filled with growth, discovery, and family bonding.

Setting the Scene: Creating Your DIY Camp Environment

Transforming your home into a DIY summer camp environment starts with imaginative decor and fun themes. Garlands, handmade signs, and themed areas reflecting different activities build up excitement and will give your home more of a camp-style look and feel.

A welcoming, vibrant atmosphere invites kids into a summer of adventure right in your living room or backyard.

Crafting Camp Activities: Engaging Adventures for Every Interest

When coming up with ideas for your at-home camp, there are a wealth of DIY summer camp activities that cater to every child’s personality and interests. From exciting hands-on science experiments that fizz and bubble to art projects that nurture their imagination to backyard scavenger hunts, and so much more, the options are endless.

Keep puzzles and brain games on deck for those craving a challenge, ensuring each day is dripping with fun yet educational content. For the little athletes, obstacle courses in the backyard will burn energy and build teamwork skills. And for those budding artists, stock up on a variety of art supplies, as well as smocks (or old clothes they can get dirty) and easels.

Keep in mind that selecting and adapting activities to suit various ages ensures everyone, from toddlers to tweens, enjoys an engaging, enriching experience.

Planning Daily Schedules: Structuring Your Camp Days

When planning your DIY summer camp at home, you’ll want to balance your days with a mix of dynamic activities and quieter moments. Schedule in snack breaks for nutrition and to keep energy levels high, as well as independent quiet time where each child can choose from a list of silent activities to do on their own (or with you, depending on their age). This list can include activities like reading, writing, drawing, doing yoga, taking a nap, or listening to music or an audiobook.

Structuring each day with activities that require different levels of energy, as well as nutrition and mental breaks, ensures happiness and engagement throughout the day and fosters an environment where learning and fun coexist seamlessly.

Connecting with Nature: Outdoor Adventures in Your Own Backyard

Speaking of daily schedules, be sure to incorporate outdoor time into your day, weather permitting. A few simple ways to get your kids connecting with nature and enjoying the outdoors right in your backyard include:

Backyard Picnics

You can schedule backyard picnics weekly or even daily. Weekly picnics can be more planned out and have a menu like a traditional picnic would, while you can add in impromptu “picnics” on any given day by just taking your regular meals or snacks outside.

Picnics are an easy way to get the whole family to spend more time outside. Get one or two kids’ picnic tables and your kids will love having their own special place to eat whenever you picnic in your backyard!


Sandboxes are a classic space for kids to play, develop fine motor skills, and foster creativity and teamwork. Fill them with toys that inspire castle-building and treasure hunting.

Swing Sets

Having a swing set is like having a mini adventure park in your backyard. Kids can spend hours jumping, swinging, and letting their imaginations run wild. Of course, always monitor play closely and regularly inspect equipment for safety.

Campfire Stories and Songs: Evening Entertainment for All

End the day relaxing around a campfire in your yard. Gathering around a blaze provides the perfect cozy spot for you to roast marshmallows, take turns telling campfire stories, and sing fun campfire songs. You can also grab a favorite picture or chapter book off your bookshelf and read aloud by the light of the campfire or have kids help with flashlights.

Get Planning!

Now that you’ve got some suggestions for creating a memorable DIY summer camp at home filled with customized activities each family member will enjoy, put your plan together and start stocking up on the supplies you’ll need.

Explore KidKraft's collection for the perfect outdoor play equipment to make your DIY camp dreams a reality