Popular Summer Camp Activities

Kids using maps for a summer camp activity

What would camp be without a few outstanding summer camp activities for kids to write home about? After all, isn't that why kids go to summer camp?

Types of Summer Camp Activities for Kids

Summer camp activities for kids fall into many categories, depending on what type of camp your child is attending. Some of what is done at a boys' summer camp may be quite different than a camp for girls.. Day camps will have shorter activities compared to their residential counterparts. But they all have a few common goals:

  • Bring all the campers together
  • Teach teamwork and listening skills
  • Keep the campers from being bored
  • Build a new sense of confidence
  • Make new friends

Here is a partial list of summer camp activities for kids. If your child's summer camp doesn't have a long list of activities to partake in, contact the camp administration or send your child to another camp. Most camps will have more than enough activities to fill your son or daughter's day and evening (if applicable).

Fitness Activities

Physical fitness positively affects one's self-esteem. These activities teach teamwork, but the emphasis is usually put on small- and large-group, non-competitive fun. Fitness activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Aerobics
  • Biking
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Dancing

Outdoor Education

Weather permitting, being outdoors is really what summer camp is all about. Outdoor education activities focus on nature and the environment. They allow campers to explore the natural world around them and learn how to interact and observe plant and animal life. Outdoor education activities include:

  • Hiking
  • Mapping skills
  • Climbing
  • Canoeing
  • Geocaching
  • Sail training
  • Wayfinding

Group Activities

Working together with a group of campers who are virtually strangers can be quite the learning experience. Group activities help improve problem-solving skills, develop leadership skills and enhance teamwork. Some group summer camp activities for kids are:

  • Campfires
  • Meal preparation
  • Team scavenger hunts
  • Obstacle courses
  • Talent show
  • Housekeeping (laundry, cleaning cabins, etc.)

Rainy Day Activities

If your child is lucky, he or she will only have one or two days where it will be raining at camp. A good camp will already have a long list of summer camp activities for kids to do in mildly inclement weather. Some of those rainy day activities include:

  • Outdoor
    • Measure the rainfall
    • Learn to build a fire in the rain
    • Dam building
  • Indoor
    • Dancing
    • Woodshop
    • Drama class
    • Candle making

Getting Involved

For kids who aren't very socially active, parents may want to ask camp administrators or counselors ahead of time what can be done to ensure their child gets and stays involved in various summer camp activities. Those ideas can include:
  • Make sure the camp reflects your child's personality -- If your child is a nature buff, a computer camp and its activities may not be the best fit.
  • Don't force your child to attend camp --If your child really doesn't like camping or attending summer camp, reconsider sending him or her there. Nothing is worse than a camper who doesn't want to be at camp.
  • Keep your child involved in the planning -- Make sure they know where they are going, how long they will be gone and how they can get in touch with you.
  • Don't show your anxiety -- A child will sense if you are nervous about him or her leaving for camp. Try to remain calm for your child's sake.
  • Bring along a friend -- For younger campers, tell them they can bring along a favorite stuffed animal or family picture to keep close-by and give the feeling of reassurance that everything will be fine.
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