It’s summertime, and that means it’s summer camp season! Whether you’re planning an official summer camp or you’re a parent trying to plan a fun summer camp at home, you have to check out the activities below for inspiration. From making slime to tie-dyeing shirts with water guns to outdoor scavenger hunts, you’ll find so many creative summer camp activities to keep the kids entertained. They’ll be learning while having fun, and isn’t that the whole point?
Creative Summer Camp Activities
We’ll kick things off with some of our favorite summer camp ideas that we’ve done right here at Natural Beach Living. The ice activities will help kids cool off on a hot summer day, while the slime-making and experiments help kids work on their science skills.
Let’s dive in!
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Creative Summer Camp Activities from Natural Beach Living
Our ice cube painting activity is so much fun for summertime. It’s a neat way for kids to paint to produce pretty watercolor-style designs. Use watercolor paper for best results, but if you don’t have any, white cardstock works fine, too.
Kids can really put their thinking caps on to figure out how to free the toy dinosaurs from the frozen eggs. They can hold them between their hands, chisel at them tools, put them in the sun, use warm water, or whatever they can think of to speed up the process!
Cool off on a hot day with these super soaker sponge balls you can reuse again and again during summer camp. Although they may look tricky, they’re super easy to make with inexpensive Dollar Store sponges and string.
Experiment with sound by making a colorful water xylophone. You’ll need glasses that are around the same shape, size, and thickness, as well as water and food coloring if you want to add color. You’ll also need something to tap against the glasses, like a spoon, fork, or metal chopstick. Add water to varying levels, arranging them from most to least-filled, and see if you can ring out a little tune.
Learn about ocean creatures with this fun activity with sea animal toys frozen in ice. Like the dino activity above, let kids experiment with a different way to melt the ice to see who can get theirs out first.
Summer Slime Recipes
Make a big batch of patriotic red, white, and blue slime for the kids at summer camp to play with and take home. They’ll love the slime-making process, combining each ingredient to get a stretchy, slimy mixture that’s super fun to play with. Glitter glue adds sparkle to this slime recipe.
Reach for the stars with some stretchy galaxy slime. This is perfect for an outer space-themed summer camp!
Going with an underwater theme? This sand slime recipe is a neat way to explore the textures of both sand and slime. Make sure you use craft sand for this activity, as natural sand you find outdoors may have bacteria and other organisms that you don’t want in your slime mixture.
If you’re doing an under-the-sea summer camp, this ocean slime is a must. It really looks like the beautiful blue waters of the ocean, but you can still see through it, too. Add seashells as you stretch and pull on them for a fun sensory experience.
Learn about all the colors of the rainbow using our rainbow slime idea! You’ll make a batch of each color and then combine them to make a rainbow. The kids will really enjoy watching the colors mix as they twist, stretch, and play with the slime.
This sand playdough will give you total beach vibes! You’ll love that it’s a no-cook playdough recipe, taking only minutes to make. It has an interesting gritty texture that kids will love exploring.
Summer Nature Activities for Kids
Recycling and gardening are always valuable skills for kids to learn at summer camp. While we used construction paper to make our seed bombs, you can certainly recycle old newspapers, magazines, or scrap paper to make yours. Kids can take their seed bombs home to plant in their own gardens or in a plant pot.
Turn a simple mason jar into a bird feeder with some twine, a wooden dowel, and birdseed. It’s important to take care of our feathered friends, and making bird feeders provides kids with opportunities to birdwatch.
Let the kids work in pairs or teams to complete a fun nature scavenger hunt. The goal is to collect or observe each item on the list. This one is best for young children who need the visual representation of each item, but you can make a longer one for older children.
This activity is twice the fun. First, you get to scoop out all that yummy watermelon to enjoy. Second, kids always love fizzy science experiments, and this one is sure to be a hit. It’s your basic vinegar and baking soda reaction, but the colorful vinegar makes the bright fizzing action more fun.
Add blue or red vinegar to white baking soda stars and let the fizzy fun begin!
Love tie-dye but hate the mess? There’s an easier way to do it! Let the kids color a design on the shirts in Sharpies instead. Rubbing alcohol helps spread the colors a bit so that they run together.
Let the kids design their own bubble wands and make a big batch of homemade bubbles for them to play with afterward. For the wands, you’ll need wire, beads, and pliers. To make the bubbles, grab some glycerin, dish soap, and water.
More Fun Summer Camp Ideas
Rainbow Pop and Mentos Experiment from livinglifeandlearning.com: You’ve probably heard about the Coke and Mentos science experiment, but using a rainbow of colors is way more fun! Grab some red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple soda to conduct this fizzy experiment.
Solar Oven from littlebinsforlittlehands.com: Turn S’mores making into a science experiment by building a solar oven with a recycled pizza box, plastic wrap, black construction paper, and aluminum foil. In just 60 minutes (on a bright, sunny day) your chocolate and marshmallows will meld together, making the perfect S’more.
Ideas for Summer Camp Activities
Summer Would You Rather Questions from confessionsofparenting.com: Would you rather swim in the ocean or swim in a pool? Would you rather get stung by a bee or get bitten by a mosquito? You’ll find these questions and more in this fun and easy printable game for kids of all ages.
Summer Escape Room from teachingideas.ca: Escape rooms are super popular, and this is a fun summer-themed version that’s perfect for kids. There are six clues that the kids will work together to solve to “escape.”
Glow in the Dark Bowling from craftsbyamanda.com: A few rounds of glow-in-the-dark bowling will have the kids pumped! Add glow sticks to empty water bottles, refill them with water, and get a glow-in-the-dark ball to get things rolling. This is a terrific activity for any age from toddler to teen!
Slushie Sorbet Science from littlebinsforlittlehands.com: Try an edible science activity! Using apple juice, salt, ice, water, and food coloring, you can make yummy edible sorbet in just a few minutes by shaking the bag!
Puffy Sidewalk Paint from thebestideasforkids.com: Decorating the sidewalks is even more fun with this puffy sidewalk paint recipe! Put the paint in condiment bottles to make it easy to get neat lines and write words.
Summer Camp Ideas at Home or in a Group
Nature Tic Tac Toe from messylittlemonster.com: Make a tic tac toe game out of items from nature. A wood slice is a perfect base, but you don’t need one. Use sticks to form the grid and chestnuts or rocks to serve as the game pieces, with X and O written in white paint.
Camping Bingo from artsyfartsymama.com: This fun and free printable camping bingo game are easy enough for preschoolers, but older kids will like it, too. The game board is full of fun camping-themed graphics that are easy for kids to identify.
Lemon Volcano from thebestideasforkids.com: It’s another classic acid-base reaction, but this time, instead of using vinegar, you’ll be using lemon juice to activate the baking soda.
Giant Chalk Keyboard from andnextcomesl.com: Musical kids will have such fun playing on the giant chalk keyboard. It’s a great way to learn the order of the keys.
Color Hunt from raisingdragons.com: Toddlers and preschoolers can practice their colors in a hands-on way with this nature-oriented color hunt. Grab leaves, flowers, sticks, etc. to match up with the appropriate colored clothespin.
Summer Camp Ideas
Cornhole from amber-oliver.com: Cornhole is a terrific game for summer camp because it’s incredibly simple for kids to learn to play. You get points if it lands on the board or goes into the hole.
Football Toss from cherishedbliss.com: Kids can work on their aim with this fun football toss idea!
Shape Hopscotch from creativefamilyfun.net: Help toddlers and preschoolers learn their shapes with a happy game of hopscotch! Draw shapes on the sidewalk, toss a rock to see which one it lands on and call out the shape before hopping to it.
Friendship Bracelets from kidsactivitiesblog.com: This is a classic summer camp activity! You don’t need a loom or special tools to make all sorts of different friendship bracelets. You can make your own square loom using simple materials like cardboard, embroidery thread, and a crayon.
Summer Activities for Kids
Balloon Experiments with Candy from learnplayimagine.com: Try different types of candy with soda to see which type can inflate a balloon the fastest. You may be surprised at the results!
Water Cup Races from allfortheboys.com: Hold a contest to see who can push a cup to the finish line the fastest using only a water gun to propel it forward!
Squirt Gun Targets from allfortheboys.com: Speaking of water guns, you’ll need some targets to work on your aim!
Tie Dye Shirts with Water Guns from Sixth Bloom: Or how about using those water pistols to tie dye shirts instead? This is way more fun than the traditional tie-dye method!
Squirt Painting from firefliesandmudpies.com: You can also use water guns to paint on canvas. You’ll have a colorful piece of art that’ll look great on your wall in no time.
Bug Scavenger Hunt from messylittlemonster.com: Go out and explore the local area to see what sorts of interesting bugs you can find. Look for snails, butterflies, ladybugs, beetles, spiders, and more!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of creative summer camp activities. Pin it to come back when you’re ready to plan a summer of fun!
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