If you are just joining us, catch up on our Camp Quarantine Series here: DIY Summer Camp
Ok, let’s not beat around the . . . canoe: a lake is pretty great. It’s kind of hard to replicate camp water-sports at home. Swimming, diving, and canoeing are Summer Camp staples, and unless you are lucky enough to have a pool, lake access (hey, let’s be friends!), or the ability to travel to a lake, then those activities are probably off the table. But take heart! If you can’t get to the water, try bringing the water to you!
There are plenty of Summer-Camp-worthy recreation and nature activities you can do with your kids at or around your home, including water activities. My sisters and I spent hours upon hours every summer running through sprinklers—creating elaborate capture-the-flag-esque games along the way. One year we even made a truly epic (albeit janky) swimming pool out of stacked bricks and my dad’s giant black and white striped tractor tarp. It even had a garden hose waterfall feature. I bet your swimming pool doesn’t have a garden hose waterfall feature.
From sprinklers, to water balloons, to squirt guns, to Slip-N-Slides, there are plenty of ways you and your kids can have camp-inspired water fun in your backyard or at a park. Add to that some awesome “field games”, nature hikes/excursions, and creepy-crawling critter collections and you’re all set to REC IT & TREK IT for Camp Quarantine. Keep reading for my quick, at-a-glance REC IT & TREK IT idea lists for DIY camp-inspired summer recreation at home. But first . . . a quick introduction to the heart and soul of Summer Camp recreation:
SPORTS versus RECREATION
Athletics and I go a long way back. And not in a good way. It doesn’t so much matter whether I’m throwing, catching, hitting, or dodging the ball . . . the result is not pretty. Of course, I blame the ball.
Hopefully our kids will get some of my husband’s athleticism cause there won’t be any coming from my half of the genetics. The only “sports” I ever really enjoyed and was ever any good at were skiing and gymnastics. See? No ball involved . . . I told you it was the ball that was the problem. And then, there was camp recreation. Canoeing and kayaking, obviously . . . but there were field athletics as well: relay races, tug-of-war, mud pits . . . and I loved all of it. This kind of outdoor recreation can usually be enjoyed by all, including those (like me) who are lacking in the hand-eye (or foot-eye) coordination department.
So whether your child is athletic and enjoys organized sports or not, camp-inspired recreation is pretty readily enjoyed by kids of all ages and abilities. Traditional sports like basketball and baseball can certainly be included in your summer recreation, especially if your child loves a particular sport or two. But make sure you add some activities with funky-camp-flair-to-spare to your REC IT list.
Camp recreation usually features elaborate and bizarre game-play and the athletics involved are often infused with wacky humor and all kinds of outrageous rules and requirements such as:
eating a watermelon as fast as you can and then using the rind as a baton . . .
putting together a hundred-piece puzzle while wearing oven mitts . . .
carrying a raw egg in your hat as you slog through a mud pit . . .
whistling Dixie through a mouthful of Saltine crackers . . .
transferring a gumball by spoon across a human chain & ending with a giant bubble . . .
army-crawling across a Slip-N-Slide slathered in shaving cream . . .
To me, camp relay races resemble something of a Rube Goldberg Machine —where the campers are the dominoes, marbles, and parachuting army men. Remember, camp is supposed to be about out of the ordinary experiences, and recreation is no exception! Embrace the weird, the wacky, and the absurd.
~50 ways to REC IT & TREK IT this summer~
REC IT on the FIELD:
- The Giant Q-Tips (two poles with pillows or foam attached to each end, that two kid use to “spar” with one another and knock into a pool, or a mud pit, or onto a pile of pillows)
- Capture the Flag
- Relay Races
- Mud pits
- Scavenger Hunts
- Obstacle Courses
- Outdoor Olympics
- Ball Sports: Football, Baseball, Basketball, Tennis, Golf, Grass Hockey, Lawn Bowling
- Lawn Games: horseshoes, Corn Hole, Bocce Ball, Checkers/Chess, Jenga
- For more backyard fun, check out my previous post: Sand, Water, Bubbles, Chalk, and Mud
To any of the above ideas, add a water element:
- Water Balloons
- Squirt Guns
- Kiddy Pool
- Wet Sponges
- Ice Cubes
To any of the REC IT on the FIELD ideas, add an element of mess:
- Shaving Cream
- Whipped Cream
- Silly String
- Raw Eggs
TREK IT in NATURE:
If you are able to take destination day trips this summer, by all means go for it! If not, you can still embrace nature in your own backyard, or even in your living room if that’s your only option.
- Nature Walks/Hikes
- Camp Out
- Mountain biking
- Trip to the lake/beach
- Trip to the water park
- Trip to a theme park
- Trip to a State or National Park
- Digging for fossils
- Gold/Gem Panning
- Backyard “MORNING WATCH”
- Bug Hunting
- Bird Watching
- Flower Pressing
- Butterfly Netting
- Tadpole Catching
If you can’t get outside into nature, try bringing a bit of nature inside:
- Butterfly Garden (my son loves this kit!)
- Ant Farm
- Rock Polishing
- For more INSIDE nature ideas, check out my previous post: Sand, Water, Bubbles, Chalk, and Mud
~Our One-Way Cross-Country Trek~
It’s official. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to write this . . . we are city-dwellers no longer! My husband finished residency and accepted a position in a mountain town on the opposite side of the country. So, two weeks ago, we bubble-wrapped our essentials (along with plenty of non-essentials), said goodbye to the apartment where both our kids took their first steps, and hit the road, Jack. And in case traveling across the country and logging seven and half hours a day on the road with two small kids in tow wasn’t crazy enough . . . we tent camped along the way!
The trip was not without it’s challenges, I assure you—like the night we locked the keys in the truck, or the night our tent became an ark in the middle of a flash-flood—but what could be a better way to ceremoniously depart from the cooped-up conveniences and comforts of city-life and embrace the raw and rugged challenges of a life spent in the elements?
We covered nearly 3000 miles, crossed through 11 states, and logged more than 45 hours in the car. But somehow we are more exhilarated than exhausted. It’s been five days since we arrived in our new home town, and it feels like we’ve been transported to another time. Life here is wild yet peaceful. The people are strong but kind. The weather is fierce but beautiful. And yet . . . here I am, in my favorite corner chair, with my cup of hot tea, looking out the window like normal . . . but with an altered worldview.
At long last . . .
We’ve traded in our city skyline for a sky framed by mountains and trees.
A sky that is thick with clouds but free of smog.
A sky that glows at sunset and sparkles at twilight.
A sky that breathes and sings.
A sky that wakes and wonders.
A sky that sleeps and dreams.
Thanks for reading!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~