By Brooks Franciotti

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How to create fun summer camp activities that will keep kids entertained!

Summer Camp Activities for Kids of All Ages

Summer camp is an incredible opportunity for kids to engage in a variety of activities that promote fun, learning, and friendship. Whether it's running around under the sun, exploring nature, camping activities or getting creative with arts and crafts, summer camp offers a world of adventure. We'll explore a wide range of summer camp activities that will keep kids entertained, inspire their imagination, and create lasting memories.

Creating a unique experience at Summer Camps

Neighborhood kids at a kids summer camp looking out over a lake

At summer camps, it's essential to create a unique and unforgettable experience for campers. Camp organizers and counselors play a crucial role in designing a program that caters to different interests and age groups.

What activities do you do at summer camp?

When it comes to summer camp, the options for activities are endless. From thrilling outdoor games to engaging arts and crafts, summer camps offer a diverse range of experiences. Whether campers are into sports, nature, or the arts, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

What are some Summer Camp activities?

Kids in team colors lining up to take part in a climbing course as part of a Color War

Summer camp activities provide opportunities for kids to learn, grow, and have fun. Let's explore a variety of fun camp activities that will keep campers engaged and excited.

How to inspire friendly competition with a traditional Color War Game

Color War is a summer camp activity where campers are divided into teams, each assigned a specific color. They then engage in a series of challenges and games throughout their camp session, competing against each other in a friendly and spirited manner.

What is a Color War game?

During Color War, campers can participate in a variety of games, fun activities and challenges that test their skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Some of the common activities include relay races, tug-of-war, water balloon toss, and friendly sports matches like soccer, basketball, or volleyball.

The Color War is one of the best summer camp ideas to promote teamwork, camaraderie, and healthy competition.

Building Obstacle Courses

An obstacle course doesn't have to be as complex as something you'd see on a game show.

Sometimes all it takes are some old tires and maybe some monkey bars and you've got an obstacle course that kids will love to challenge themselves and their friends with!

Why an obstacle course?

Obstacle courses can be a thrilling and physically engaging activity for campers. They test their agility, strength, and problem-solving skills as they navigate through various obstacles.

Camp organizers can design courses with different levels of difficulty, allowing campers to challenge themselves and have a great time.

Running a Relay Race

Campers getting ready to compete in a race at summer camp

Nothing brings a team closer together at camp than running a relay race! Reinforce the importance of teamwork with this fun activity that lets kids engage in friendly competition with their fellow campmates.

A relay race is one of the most exciting camp activities for kids to promote teamwork and competition. Campers form teams and pass a baton as they race against each other.

A race to the finish!

The first person takes the baton and runs a certain segment of the track before passing it on to the next runner. The last person on each team takes the baton and sprints to the finish with their entire team cheering for them!

It's a high-energy activity that brings out all the kids' camp spirit and encourages collaboration among campers.

You could even reward the fastest campers with specially-made MPH wristbands!

Balloon Tennis

The best thing about this fun activity is that it can be played with only one person or with a group. It can also be played indoors or out in the sun!

Combine balloons and tennis rackets for a lively game of balloon tennis. The objective? Bounce your balloon without letting it hit the ground. See how many times you can make it bounce in a row or try to play a game of traditional tennis with friends!

Campers can enjoy a very fun game and energetic match keeping the balloon from touching the ground. It's a creative and entertaining twist on the classic game that adds a splash of fun.


Ah, tug-of-war. A mainstay of both field days and summer camp that kids love. Another strong team-building activity, tug-of-war can teach the fundamentals of teamwork, strength, and strategy.

Split campers into teams, and watch them give it their all as they try to pull the opposing side across the line. It's one of the best summer camp activities for kids to test their strength, teamwork, and determination, and never fails to bring excitement to summer camp.

What's a popular indoor game for hot summer days at camp?

Campers rehearsing for a play and having fun at summer camp

On particularly hot days when outdoor activities may not be feasible, it's essential to have engaging ideas for summer camp games that will keep campers entertained and cool indoors.

Fortunately, some of the best summer camp activities for kids don't have to take place outdoors!

Have an indoor scavenger hunt

One popular choice among campers is an indoor scavenger hunt! This fun summer camp activity never fails to spark the spirit of adventure and entertain kids.

Camp counselors can take the lead and craft a clever list of items for campers to search for within the camp premises, turning the indoor space into a treasure trove of hidden surprises. The hunt can be tailored to the camp's unique environment, incorporating both common and unconventional items to challenge the campers' observation skills.

This indoor activity encourages teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving as campers collaborate and strategize together.

Get theatrical by putting on a kids play

Let campers unleash their creativity by organizing a kids play!

They can work together to write scripts, design costumes, and perform in front of their fellow campers. It's a fantastic opportunity for self-expression and teamwork!

Hold a campwide talent show

A campwide talent show is a chance for campers to showcase their unique talents, from singing and dancing to magic tricks and comedy acts. It's a delightful event that celebrates the diverse skills and abilities of campers, while also promoting a supportive and encouraging environment.

Kids love to make their friends laugh and a talent show is a great fun way to watch kids grow in their confidence as they entertain their campmates!

Fun camp activities to beat the Summer heat

A camper grabbing a water balloon from a bucket

During a particularly hot day, it's crucial to have fun ideas for camp games that help campers stay cool while having fun.

Beating hot summer days the old fashioned way

Here's a fun summer camp activity that can offer a refreshing and exciting way to beat the heat!

Campers can engage in friendly water balloon fights or participate in water balloon toss games. It's a simple yet effective and fun way to keep everyone cool and create unforgettable memories.

Water balloons - one of our favorite summer camp activities!

Water balloons have been a classic summer pastime for generations. Campers can enjoy the thrill of filling and tossing water balloons, engaging younger kids in friendly competitions or group activities. It's a nostalgic and enjoyable way to embrace the summer spirit and have kids create laughter-filled moments.

Organize your campers into teams and have a water balloon battle! Or, play a unique version of tennis where players see how many times they can volley a water balloon back and forth before it bursts!

Water + Beach ball = the cure for a hot day

Embrace the true essence of summer camp and make a splash with exciting water activities that involve beach balls.

Take your pool or lake experience to the next level by incorporating beach balls into thrilling games like water polo or volleyball. You don't even need a net if you don't have one! The main objective is just to create a fun way to cool off and take a break while still reinforcing skills like teamwork, coordination, and socialization.

From chasing the ball across the water to diving for epic saves and spiking it over the net, these fun activities will bring laughter and create a refreshing break from the heat.

What summer camp activities can you do at night?

Summer camp doesn't slow down when the sun sets. In fact, there are plenty of fun activities that campers can enjoy during the nighttime.

Campers making s'mores around a campfire

Telling ghost stories

Gather around the campfire and share spooky tales!

Ghost stories have been a long-standing tradition at summer camps, creating an atmosphere of excitement and suspense. Campers can take turns sharing their favorite stories, or creating new ones with the power of their imagination.

Letting campers take the lead

One of the fun things about telling scary stories is that it can be an activity that doesn't require camp counselors to lead. It can be so much fun to watch your campers volunteer to take the lead and entertain their new friends!

Singing camp songs around the campfire

Camp songs bring everyone together, creating a lively and joyful ambiance. Whether it's traditional campfire songs, folk tunes, or silly sing-alongs, gathering around the fire and singing together is a cherished tradition at summer camp.

You can even make s'mores or roast hot dogs while you're there for an added bit of nighttime camp fun!

Fun outdoor games kids love

A camper making a bird feeder at summer camp

Outdoor games are a staple of summer camp, providing endless opportunities for fun and laughter. But they don't all have to be relay races or other sports!

Parachute Games

Campers playing a parachute game

Parachute games offer a dynamic and exciting experience for campers, fostering teamwork, coordination, and great fun. These games typically involve a large and vibrant brightly-colored silk parachute that captivates the imagination of young campers.

With each camper holding onto a section of the parachute's edge, they form a circle and embark on a series of interactive activities. Together, they can make the parachute billow and ripple, creating a colorful canopy overhead.

Types and benefits of a Parachute Game

They might engage in a thrilling game of "Popcorn," where they shake the parachute up and down, making a colorful beach ball bounce on its surface. Or they could try "Mushroom," where they lift the parachute up high and then quickly sit down, creating a mushroom-like tent around them.

The parachute becomes a canvas for creativity, with campers devising their own unique actions and games. These games not only bring excitement and laughter but also foster unity and camaraderie, leaving campers with lasting memories. Through coordinated actions, campers develop essential social and motor skills, while having a thrilling and engaging experience.

Bird Feeders

Encourage campers to connect with nature by making bird feeders. Using basic materials such as spare wood, popsicle sticks or even cardboard, campers can create a bird feeder that attracts a variety of birds to the campgrounds.

Using peanut butter as an adhesive, you can cover part of it with birdseed to attract certain types of birds. You can also create your own suet mix with nut butter and shortening to attract birds that typically feed on insects!

It's a wonderful way to foster an appreciation for wildlife and create a serene environment.

Creating a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Organize an outdoor scavenger hunt or a nature scavenger hunt to engage campers in exploring their natural surroundings. Provide them with a list of items to find, such as different types of leaves, rocks, or animal tracks.

It encourages observation skills and promotes an understanding of the natural world.

Best Summer Camp activities for rainy days

Campers working on art projects during a rainy day

Rainy days don't have to dampen all the kids' spirits at summer camp! There are plenty of indoor activities that campers can enjoy while staying dry and having so much fun together.

Arts & Crafts Summer Camp activities for kids

Arts and crafts offer a world of creativity and self-expression.

Engaging in various art projects, such as painting, drawing, or other crafts, can be a wonderful way to stimulate imagination and develop fine motor skills.

It can also offer a dash of variety to your summer camp ideas by giving kids ideas for summer camp activities that don't revolve around physical activities!

Creating tie dye shirts with food coloring

Tie dyeing shirts is an exciting and popular activity for summer camp that sparks creativity and encourages campers to unleash their artistic flair!

Using vibrant food coloring, campers can transform plain white shirts into personalized masterpieces bursting with unique and colorful patterns. This hands-on project engages campers of all ages, from younger kids to older kids, providing them with an opportunity to explore their creativity and express themselves through wearable art.

With each tie-dyed shirt being a one-of-a-kind creation, campers can proudly showcase their designs and take home cherished mementos of their summer camp experience.

Tie-dyed shirts can also be a fun and unique favor for your next family reunion!

Create stick art

Making popsicle stick art projects is a delightful and creative summer camp activity that allows campers to explore their imagination and create unique crafts.

Stick crafts for Kids

Campers can use popsicle sticks as a versatile and easy-to-work-with medium to construct a wide range of projects. From building structures like a bird feeder or a picture frame to crafting ornaments and mobiles, the possibilities are endless.

To add an extra touch of natural beauty, campers can also incorporate materials found in nature, such as sticks, leaves, and other treasures, to enhance their popsicle stick creations. This combination of popsicle sticks and natural elements adds a unique and organic flair to their artwork, making it truly special.

Friendship bracelets

Examples of a woven friendship bracelet

Friendship bracelets are a cherished symbol of summer camp friendships.

Campers can learn different bracelet-making techniques and create personalized bracelets for themselves and their friends. It's a fun project and a beautiful way to strengthen bonds and create lasting memories all summer long.

And, not to toot our own horn, but here at RapidWristbands, we can also help you and your campers create perfect silicone friendship bracelets.

Science for Summer Camps

Campers doing science experiments outdoors

Science experiments are not only educational but also incredibly fun. They can provide a welcome break from the summer heat while also inspiring the young minds of your campers!

Here are a few science activities that can be easily incorporated into any summer camp program.

Rocket Science with only a few ingredients

Campers can learn about chemical reactions by creating baking soda rockets.

How to build your rocket

Your rocket can be as simple as just a plastic bottle, but this fun activity can also be turned into something more substantial with a just a few basic art supplies! Use construction paper and cardboard to give your rockets fins and nosecones, or wrap your bottle in paper and draw designs for your rocket that are out of this world!

When you're finished, take the plastic cap off of your bottle and fill it partway with vinegar or lemon juice. Then, add a tablespoon of baking soda and quickly close it with either the cap or a cork. Make sure the capped end is pointing down and let the countdown begin!

With a few simple ingredients and a plastic bottle, campers can launch their own rockets high into the sky, experiencing the thrill of science in action!

Solar oven cooking

Teach campers about renewable energy by building solar ovens. Using basic materials like cardboard and aluminum foil, they can construct ovens that use the power of the sun to cook food.

Building a solar oven

Using a clean cardboard box, line the bottom with black construction paper. This will help your solar oven trap the sun's heat. Then, line the sides of the box with aluminum foil, making sure to keep it as un-wrinkled as possible.

Take the lid of the box and cut a square or circular hole in the top so that the sun's light can shine through it. Cover the hole with clear plastic wrap. then, line the bottom of the lid with aluminum foil so that it can reflect light.

Prop the lid open at a 45 degree angle with a ruler and align your oven with the overhead sun. Now you have a solar oven that can melt cheese or toast bread!

It's a hands-on science experiment that combines sustainability and delicious results!*

*Make sure that whatever you're cooking isn't raw and that anything eaten is well within safe food temperatures. You don't want to get sick at camp!

Is Summer Camp an extracurricular activity?

The answer may vary by institution or organization, but listing a summer camp as an extracurricular may have an impact on your application! Particularly if the summer camp attended was relevant in some way to the organization or college applied to.

Many parents wonder if summer camp can be considered an extracurricular activity for their children.

Many older kids may also wonder if summer camps qualify as an extracurricular when it comes to after-school organizations and even college applications.

Summer camp can build teamwork, coordination, socialization skills, and even leadership. These are all useful and desirable demonstrable skills when submitting an application or when participating in other school-related activities like Student Council. It might even be the last little push needed to turn your application from a "Maybe" to a "Yes"!

What if your kids can't go to overnight camps?

While overnight camps offer a unique experience, they may not be feasible for all families.

There are plenty of alternatives to these kinds of camps that provide similar benefits. Depending on location, some outdoor camps may offer a school-like schedule where campers are dropped off in the morning and return home at night after a fun day of camping activities!

These kinds of camps are also very common for things like Space Camp, Computer Camps, and other summer camps that aren't just focused on outdoor activities for kids.

Kids enjoying a virtual summer camp

Virtual Summer Camp activities

In the digital age, virtual summer camps have gained popularity.

They offer interactive and engaging experiences that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home, with subjects as varied as coding, improv, and theatre! Some of the best summer camp activities for kids can now be enjoyed from the comfort of home.

Give backyard camping a try

If going away to camp isn't an option, it's easy to create a camp-like experience right in your backyard! Set up tents, organize outdoor activities, and enjoy the simplicity of nature.

Backyard camping can be a memorable and enjoyable alternative for kids!

How to enhance your Summer Camp activities with custom wristbands

Custom wristbands add a touch of personalization and identity to summer camp activities. They can be used to divide campers into teams, track achievements, or simply serve as a memento of their summer camp experience together.

Have your campers create friendship bracelets to cement the summertime bonds they've created at camp!

Image of a silicone wristband made for a kids summer camp

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Giving kids summer memories they'll cherish forever

Summer camp is a time of adventure, growth, and lifelong memories.

With a wide range of activities, from fun outdoor games to arts and crafts, summer camps offer something for every child. Whether attending outdoor camps, virtual camps, or enjoying camp-like experiences at home, the joy and excitement of summer camp are unparalleled.

Embrace the spirit of summer and create unforgettable moments for your kids through engaging and fun-filled summer camp activities!

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