50+ Summer Camp-Inspired Activities for Kids

I am a summer camp fanatic. I love summer camp!

As a child, I went to camp every summer after age 6. As soon as I was old enough, I worked as a counselor and taught waterskiing, sailing and whatever would keep me on the waterfront.

That is one of the reasons why Kids Activities Blog is so excited to be working with Vista Camps. Vista Camps includes Rio Vista for boys and Sierra Vista for girls. They have 1, 2, and 4-week terms for ages 6-16.

Because summer can’t come soon enough, we thought it would be fun to do a little camp-dreaming by finding some games, activities, crafts, art projects and food inspired by camp!

The pictures of camp fun on Vista Camp’s FB page made me a little camp-sick {as in homesick for camp}. So many activities, so many kids with huge smiles on their faces!

Camp Games

Nearly everything is a game at camp! My cabin had a tape four square and hop scotch in the middle of the floor inviting games at all hours of the day or night. The lazy-susan on the dining table was used for a target launching game that would hopefully deliver food to the proper camper with just a spin.

Chalk Twister – This version of the popular indoor game can be scaled as large as your surface and created with sidewalk chalk.

Pool Noodle Javelin – This pool noodle creation from Parents is simply one of the best non-pool uses for a noodle!

Huge Board Game – Make a HUGE board game outside for hours of camp fun.

Crate Tug-o-War – Even just two can play at tug of war when crates are used to up the coordination ante!

Bicycle Games – If your camp has bicycles, then you might want to check out these fun ideas to introduce a little friendly competition.

Field Day at Camp – Host a field day with potato sack races, water balloon tosses and three-legged races.

Vista Camps has a ton of options for camp games! They offer team sports like football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball and lacrosse as well as individual sports like aerobics, tumbling, martial arts, frisbee golf, challenge course, conditioning, tennis, golf and wrestling.

Camp Crafts

My suitcase home from camp was full of created treasures that would remind me of my camp time all year long. One camp I attended had a ceramics studio and I still have one very lopsided vase painted in various shades of blue that has survived the years.

Friendship Bracelet – One of the passages of camplife is to signify new and old bonds with a visible symbol like the friendship bracelet!

Safety Pin Bracelet – I remember making these as a kid — so fun!

Pet Rocks & People – The Coffee Cups and Crayons kids created pet rocks and people then upcycled boxes for camp cabins.

Tree People – This craft by Red Ted Art starts with an outdoor scavenger hunt for people parts…it really makes more sense when you see it.

Make a Compass – If you are venturing off the trail, you might need one of these! Or at least know how they work!

DIY Camping Cushions – Sitting on those camp benches can be hard. This camp craft from Coffee Cups and Crayons solves that with a homemade sit upon!

Stick Men – These super cute people are the original stick people…from Red Ted Art.

Leaf Crown – Create this lovely crown of leaves from Red Ted Art.

Firefly Jars – Decorate Mason jars into pretty firefly jars just waiting for an evening catch from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

Nature Hike Bracelet – I adore this project from Kid World Citizen which takes found objects on a hike and creates a bracelet that changes as the trail goes on.

Create a bird-feeder – This is a simple and fun way to create a bird feeder for wild birds from daisysnu.

Stick Construction Set – Make a set of building blocks from sticks. This is such a fun idea from Picklebums.

At Vista Camps every camper gets to choose 8 or 9 activities depending on the term that make up their personalized schedule. This allows each camper to focus on the activities and skills he/she is most interested in developing.

Camp Art

Camp was one of the first places where I took an art class. I remember sitting out near the lake trying to copy it onto my paper with charcoal. I think you just feel more artistic when close to nature!

Crayon Rubbing Art – Nature is full of textures that can be turned into colorful art without disturbing the object.

Land Art – Sun Hats and Wellie Boots has one of my favorite art projects of all time. I just adore this massive land art.

Andy Goldsworthy-inspired project – This art project from the Red Ted Art kids is a wonderful way to combine art and nature!

Sun Prints – Rainy Day Mum has a lovely project that lets the sun turn objects into art.

Stick Art – So, I suspect no two sticks are alike {just like snowflakes} and that is certainly true after they are the canvas for this art project from Buggy and Buddy.

Giant Fence Art – Art goes BIG with this fun sidewalk chalk art project from J Daniel 4’s Mom.

Mandala Art – Creating Mandalas outdoors is a project without size limits! It can be fun to build them together like these from Playful Learning.

Art Structures – Make art functional with these found object art sculptures that double as a shelter.

The creative arts are well represented at Vista Camps! They offer dance, cheer, arts and crafts, co-ed dance, animal care, drama, journalism, scrap booking and guitar for campers to choose!

Camp Activities

My favorite activities centered around the water, but riding horses for the first time or sitting by the campfire was a close second. There just always seemed like there was so much to do and the time would go so quickly!

Hike an Unnatural Trail – This is a fun activity for not only the scavenger hunt of it all, but the learning behind it about conservation.

Make a bird-watching book – This free printable to create a bird book is perfect for your backyard, a hike, a vacation, or a trip to camp. It is from Buggy and Buddy.

Host a “Drive-In Movie” – I love this idea! Create an outdoor drive-in for all sorts of vehicles to hold watching participants.

Make a Tree Guide – Chart the trees around you with this simple DIY book from Kid World Citizen.

Team-building Activities – No matter what the team might be – a family, a cabin of campers, or a sports team these team activities can help kids {and adults} work together.

Finding symmetry in nature – This simple activity from Buggy and Buddy takes observation along a nature hike to a whole new level.

Bubble Bar – Being outside just inspires bubbles! This activity from Nate and Rachel brings out the creativity in bubbles – with so many choices, how would you blow one?

How Tall is a Tree? – This creative math assignment from Science Sparks is something I need to run out to my backyard and test right now!

Egg Carton Fire Starters – You can make fire starters for the most amazing campfire from things you already have at home and around you. This smart idea comes from Allternative Learning.

Alphabet Camp Activities – Small Types has the cutest idea to come up with different activities each day based on a letter of the day. That is 26 days of camp fun! Be inspired by one of their camp schedules.

Eye Spy Nature Hunt – This free printable from The Joys of Boys will get your nature hike off to a competitive start!

Archery Practice – This bow and arrow is safe for even indoor target practice because it is miniature! What a fun project from I Can Teach My Child.

Use the Sun – This melting project from Mama Smiles uses sun power to transform.

Camouflage Science – Get kids seeking for more than they can see with this fun outdoor activity from Mama Smiles.

Camp Beach – Every camp needs a “beach” and your backyard can have one too with this amazing sand project from Better Together with the Wray Sist3rs.

Map the Trail – Creating a map from a trail or backyard. It can become a secret treasure map! What a fun project from Kid World Citizen.

Host a Backyard Camp Sleepover – This cute girls night campout from Caution Twins at Play has some fun ideas for backyard camping including making traditional s’mores.

Do It Yourself Camp Ideas – This inspired list from Imagination Soup will get your thinking up your own themed camp to entertain kids while hosting camp at home.

Vista Camps are packed with activities on the water: water skiing, knee boarding, wakeboarding, swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. There are also a bunch of traditional camp outdoor activities like riflery, archery, horseback riding, fishing, trap shooting, outdoor skills and a hunter safety course.

Camp Food

There just seems to be something about camp food. I am sure it was not the most gourmet food I ever had, but there is something about eating with friends when you are worn out and starving that elevates camp food! We thought it would be fun to highlight some outdoor treats you can do in your backyard.

Campfire Cones – This is one of our very favorite foods of all time!

Watermelon Ice – Ahhh…there isn’t anything more refreshing at camp than a fresh slice of watermelon unless you count this Watermelon Ice from Pleasantest Thing!

Watermelon Pops – Here is a way to elevate the simple act of watermelon eating from Paging Fun Mums.

Fruit Kabobs – These tasty snacks are the perfect in-between meal treat.

Trail Mix – The quintessential pocket food!

Candy Popsicles – These are just plain cool on so many levels!

Homemade Granola Bars – These are a special treat at home or can be sent with kids to camp.

Summershine Cupcakes – These sunny treats will be a hit no matter if it rains or shines on your camp day.

Homemade Fruit Leather – This is another thing that can be made ahead and sent with kids to camp for a taste of home.

Vista Camps meals are served family style in their spacious dining hall. Food is plentiful and tasty with favorites like spaghetti, fajitas, fried chicken with homemade bread and desserts…yum!

Vista Camps for Kids

Vista Camps is a private, family owned camp that has been owned and operated by the Hawkins family for 3 generations. Rio Vista was established in 1921, making it the oldest private children's camp in the Southwest.

Vista Camps include two separate camps, Rio Vista for boys and Sierra Vista for girls. They are run side by side, but not co-ed. Once a week they have something together like a carnival/dance/picnic.

It is a smaller camp. Girls camp holds 104 campers and boys camp holds 150. Because the size is small, they are able to get to know each family. Most of their campers come year after year! The counselor to camper ratio is 4 campers to 1 counselor or better.

Vista Camps is located along the beautiful Guadalupe River in the heart of Texas Hill Country. It is about 70 miles north/northwest of San Antonio and approximately 100 miles west of Austin. The camp facilities are gorgeous with a beautiful view in every direction. Check out their Instagram for more camp pictures.

Camps fill fast this time of year, for more information on Vista Camps, please give them a call at 830-367-5353 or go to the website www.vistacamps.com. Tell them you learned about them from Kids Activities Blog and receive $100 off your tuition!

So! You are sending your kid(s) to camp this summer…you may need this last fun idea we found:

10 Crazy Things to Mail your Kid at Camp – I adore this list from The House of Hendrix! One of the highlights of camp is mail from home, and this can make you the coolest mom in the entire cabin.

Thanks so much to Vista Camps for supporting Kids Activities Blog and bringing back all these fun camp memories!