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With many summer camps shut down for 2020, parents are making the shift from school teacher to camp director. To make the transition easier, Hoda and Jenna talked with three guests to learn how to pull off a fun, interactive and educational camp from your living room or backyard.
Jeremy Strom, co-founder and fitness director at Hoplite Club, shared some fun games for kids who want to play outside. For fun indoors, lifestyle expert and blogger Jenn Falik discovered some arts and crafts for kids that are perfect for any age and any skill level.
And if mom and dad have to work, there are engaging options that require minimal effort. TODAY Social Contributor Donna Farizan shared an inside look at some of the fun virtual summer camps for the aspiring photographer, chef, soccer player and more.
Make the most of this summer by bringing the joy of camp straight to your own home with these fun crafts for kids and activities.
If your kids love hands-on projects, you can set them up with a few simple and unique crafts. Falik explains that you can find most of the supplies in your home, in nature or online.
She thinks these wind spinners are a great choice for a fun camp activity. It gives you a chance to up-cycle those old CDs you have lying around the house. It also allows the kids to create some vibrant outdoor decor for your home.
1. Blank CD
Who knew your old CDs could double as a wind spinner thanks to its smooth and reflective surface? If you don't have any lying around the house, you can pick up a pack of 50 on Amazon to keep the kids busy all summer long.
To decorate your wind spinner, Falik recommends using colorful rhinestones. "Anything that's sparky and that's going to catch light is great to put on top," she said. This variety pack comes with eye-catching gems and sequins the kids can stick on using washable school glue.
Finish off your new outdoor decor with some reflective glitter. This set includes 24 colorful bottles with shaker-style tops so you can easily control the amount of glitter on your project.
Once the wind spinner is dry, you can hang it using an elastic cord or string.
Outdoor Activities for Kids
Getting the kids outside and off the couch can be difficult — but a fun backyard game can change that. Strom shared a few fun games that will help them keep up with their physical fitness and get them outdoors.
If tennis is one of your family's favorite activities, Strom recommends looking into badminton as a fun and challenging alternative. This family set includes four rackets, two nylon birdies, stakes and ropes. Thanks to the compact carrying case, you can easily move it from your backyard to the beach.
Hacky sack is a great option for those who want an engaging game that's similar to juggling a soccer ball. While it may require some practice, this set of crocheted bags will get everyone up and moving.
Bracelet Making Kits
Falik's DIY bracelet bar is filled with plastic beads, stretchy cord and fabric string. This fun craft allows your child to express their creativity to the fullest.
Falik recommends taking the "odds and ends" of beads around your house and placing them on an accessible tray. But if you can't go on a scavenger hunt for missing beads, you can get this 3,000-piece set for under $15. You can also change up your bracelet style with some translucent beads.
This super stretchy string is excellent for making bracelets or necklaces, says Falik. "Have pre-cut elastic cord so if your kids want to do it on their own, you already have it sized." She also recommends using clear nail polish on top of the knotted cord to keep it secure.
Turn a craft day into a spelling lesson with these assorted alphabet beads. Filled with 288 pieces, this pack will allow the whole family to have personalized jewelry!
You don't have to worry about running out of letters thanks to this 2,000-piece set of alphabet beads. It comes with seven styles of letters, including transparent, classic white and black, neon and more.
5. Rainbow Loom
Creating a friendship bracelet doesn't have to be tedious, thanks to this easy-to-use loom. With instructions to craft thousands of patterns out of rubber bands, it can keep the kids busy for hours.
Worried about running out of rubber bands for those friendship bracelets? This pack includes charms, clips and 15,000 bands in bright and neutral colors.
Filled with 50 vibrant colors, this bundle of cross-stitch thread will give everyone something to do on a rainy day. Each thread is made with 100% cotton and designed to hold color without fading.
Need some inspiration? Check out this book filled with step-by-step instructions for a variety of bracelet patterns.
Painted Rock Kits
Rock painting is a classic summer camp activity that's simple, affordable and fun for kids of any age. Falik likes to take her girls on a nature walk to find the rocks, a task that might be more fun than the painting itself!
This kit includes everything you need for a relaxing afternoon of rock painting. It's stocked with paint tubs, glitter glues, stickers, gems and more. Though you can use rocks you find around your yard, it also comes with 10 white river rocks.
Using acrylic paint markers is a great way to add detail or words to your rocks. This multi-surface pack includes dual-tip markers that allow for coloring or fine line work.
If you'd rather go the painting route, this 24-pack of acrylic tubes will have you covered. All you'll need is a set of paintbrushes and a creative idea. After painting, Falik says that you should coat the rocks with a clear sealant to prevent the paint from washing off in the rain.
Does your child want to learn a new skill or try a unique project? You can sign them up for a virtual camp that can teach them something they'll remember far beyond the summer.
Coding with Kids offers individualized camps for ages 5 to 18. Your kids can learn anything from basic computer skills to animation or storytelling. Classes are offered Monday through Friday, which is great for working parents.
If your child spends a lot of time experimenting with the smartphone camera, it might be a good option to put those skills to good use with photography summer camp. They can join for one or two weeks, and each participant will leave with a copy of their photography.
Are things around the house a bit hectic? Teach the kids how to unwind and relax with virtual yoga classes. The classes are offered to preschool through fourth-grade students, and are centered around concentration, mindfulness, focus techniques and relaxation.
Help them brush up on their math skills with an online tech course. They'll have the opportunity to collaborate with peers and learn from tech experts from companies like Google and Tesla.
This hands-on option will teach them to be crafty from the comfort of their living room. While Farizan recommends the sewing class, The Neon Tea Party also offers classes for jewelry-making, tie-dyeing and more.
Whether you have a three-year-old or a 10-year-old, this camp will get your kids off the couch and on their feet. It's designed to teach them skills and discipline through guided Zoom sessions.
Jumping rope isn't exclusively for the playground at school. Now, your child can learn partner routines, single rope skills, long rope and double Dutch at home! The program is for kids seven through 14 and classes are open to any skill level.
Farizan joined some campers over video as they were taking a drama course at Camp Cloud. It's a theatrical camp excursion that concludes with a final production — and it's all done over video!
This summer, you can teach your child the basics of cooking thanks to Tiny Chefs. The virtual camps use video instruction to guide kids through recipes, ingredients and food goals. If you're lucky, you may even get a helping hand in the kitchen!
For more stories like this, check out:
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- Bring on the summer fun with these outdoor toys for kids
- 14 yard games to enjoy outside while social distancing