DIY Summer Camp 101 at Home (with printable lesson plans!)

If you’re needing some structure during summer I’ve created a fun 5 day summer camp activity (badges included!) that will teach your kids some camping safety and how tos through activities and play!

Each day of the week will have a theme and multiple options to participate in it including crafts, worksheets, or actually doing the real thing!

This is chock full of educational camping activities since, as we all know, kids learn best through play!

Here’s what this DIY Summer Camp activity line up looks like –

  • Monday – Prep for camping
  • Tuesday – Campfire Saftey and building
  • Wednesday – Wilderness and hiking
  • Thursday – Survival and basic first aid
  • Friday – Leave no trace and getting involved!

This lesson plan and badge idea was an amazing idea by Sumer Sandel who is a program manager for the Cougar Club B.A.S.E. Program – thank you!

At the end of completing each days tasks, kids will earn a badge and certificate (a full page option is included for each badge in the packet!)


Monday – Prep for camp!

Today is all about getting camp ready! That means packing what kids will need and “setting up” camp.

If you have some sort of play tent (or even better, a real tent that fits in your home or backyard), now is a great time to use it! Even though we have a camper, it’s still fun to use a tent!

Here’s a basic guide to Monday “Prep Day”:

  1. Watch a short video on what to pack here–nz3tRvs
  2. Discuss: Ask the kids to give some examples of good and bad spots to pitch a tent (IE look for a flat spot with few rocks, low laying or small amounts of brush)
  3. Set up or create your own tent/fort in the house and stock it with some things you already have in your home such as a flashlight, sleeping bag, pretend bug spray, etc
  4. Optional: Packing List printable activity and the associated pieces and match (for younger kids) find (for toddlers +) or just play pretend getting everything needed by putting the pieces in a backpack and marking them off as they go!
  5. Optional: Backyard observation printable activity- This is great if you are actually able to camp in the backyard (or at least st

Additional activities – if you can’t set up a tent in your house or yard, do a tent craft! I love this one using popsicle sticks!


Tuesday – Campfire Day!

Tuesday is learning everything about campfires – how to be safe with them, how to build them and ofcourse… some fun campfire themed activities!

If you can, make a REAL campfire today to roast some hotdogs and s’mores – if not, you can sub one of the campfire pretend play ideas I’ll list below!

  1. Get the conversation going and the kids excited about the day with the Spongebob CAMPFIRE song! I included a printable of the song in this packet so that you can have the lyrics! Ask who has experience a campfire and what it was like! Here are some more fun campfire songs you can print and sing!
  2. Learn about campfire safety from Smokey the Bear! Go to this link and click through each section (how to pick a campfire spot, how to prepare a campfire pit, how to build a campfire, how to extinguish a campfire) to learn more.
  3. Learn about the TYPES of campfire building – This is a great simple video to teach your kids about the many types of campfire building!
  4. Complete the Campfire 101 Worksheet – Go over what types of materials needed to build a campfire and how to put it out when done!
  5. Optional: Campfire and S’mores Crafts! Do some of these ESPECIALLY if you aren’t going to actually make a campfire! I love this pretend campfire craft because you probably already have everything at home! For older kids, try playing this fun camp themed “Roll a S’more” game!
  6. Optional: Make a Campfire out of Food: There is also a printable to use along with the food activity that highlights elements of a safe campfire building!
how to build a campfire worksheet for kids
printable camping game for kids indoors during bad weather
This s’more game is a great way for kids around 3+ to practice turn taking and matching (while having fun!)

Wednesday – Wilderness Exploration!

Wednesday focuses on how to be safe when exploring the outdoors! We’ll go over hiking safety tips, animal encounter safety tips, and what a child should do if they become lost! I referenced this hiking safety article written by a SAR (Search and Resuce) dad in creating the printables for this section.

  1. What to pack – Ask kids what they think they should pack to be prepared on a hike – tell them to imagine the basics they would need to be able to survive a night in the woods!
  2. Print the kids hiking safety journal – This is a fun, easy way for kids to visualize what they need and what to do in the event of an emergency such as getting lost! Read through it with them and fill out the back when completed! (for instructions on how to fold the booklet, head to my camp themed one that has written and video instructions)
  3. Go on a nature walk/hike – Even if it”s just around the neighborhood, practice some hiking rules the kids learned about such as staying in sight and not going off the path! Here are some fun nature scavenger hunts to use for free!
hiking safety for kids printable booklet

Thursday – First Aid and Knowing What to Avoid!

Thursday we are going to go over some basic things to avoid and simple first aid for kids!

Every area of the country is different, so I’ve made a printable sheet for you as a family to fill in since each area has unique situations and things to avoid. Parents and caregivers, you can read up on some basic safety tips for kids on the outdoors here from NOLS!

  1. What do we know? – Ask kids about some things they should avoid in the outdoors to be safe.
  2. Go over precautions to take – This includes bug spray, sunscreen and proper fitting footwear to reduce the risk of falls.
  3. Edible vs. non edible – Try to find a resource for edible items in your area and emphasize needing to ask and adult first before consuming something found out in nature.
  4. Complete the “what to avoid” worksheet as a family/group – Brainstorm some things that are local with your kids that are best to avoid as well as some things that are OK to do/eat, but should double check with a parent first.
avoid prickly plant campground when camping with kids
Some prickly pants we ignore (that’s also invasive in Wyoming!) We made sure to include this one in the things to avoid area of the worksheet!

Friday – Leave No Trace and FUN!

It’s the last day of this education DIY summer camp, so now is the time to teach kids how to get involved with the outdoors and have some fun camping!

The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace are super important and many aspects can be taught to pretty young kids (though I’ve seen some adults that could use a refresher!)

I found this video below helpful in learning about each of the 7 principles!

  1. Go over what the No Trace Principles are: Watch the video with your kids and/or use the printable handout I created that summarizes each one!
  2. Talk about and fill in how they can implement each of the No Trace Principles: Some portions may be tougher to think of depending on the age of your kids, so it’s not big deal to help them think of ways too! Write them down in the blank chart that’s included with the packet!
  3. Print out LNT Activity Booklet– For kids 6+ , this article includes a written descsription of each principle as well as a cute booklet they can print out and relate the LNT rules they learned to their own life.
  4. Finally… Friday FUN! – Your kids have learned a ton about camping, now it’s time to have fun! I personally love these camp charades or this camp cootie catcher as a great group game to get the laughter flowing!
7 leave no trace principles printable for kids
The camp cootie catcher is always a fun and easy way to laugh together!

And for the kids who finish all the tasks… a certificate for the cool camper!

Kids love awards, so why not give them one for completing all the tasks and learning cool new stuff?

Check out the full 33 pg Camping 101 Binder for Kids in my store with everything you’ll need!

summer camp certificate

Here are some more fun camping activities to do with your kids!

P.S. check out my kids camping journal on Amazon to really get your kids psyched for the next camp trip!

kids camping activities
diy summer camp at home for kids

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