Blog / Education Insights / Top 10 Summer Camp Activities for Kids [2024]

Top 10 Summer Camp Activities for Kids [2024]

Summer camp is an iconic part of childhood. When school lets out each year, parents across the country ship their kids off for a summer of adventures, new friends, and nonstop fun. Choosing the right summer camp activities for kids is key to creating an unforgettable experience that keeps campers coming back year after year. In this blog post, WuKong Education will cover the top 10 summer camp activities for kids based on common themes from popular camps and programs.

Introduction to Planning Summer Camp Activities for Kids

Summer camp activities for kids set the stage for the memories campers will build and carry with them for a lifetime. As a camp director or counselor, choosing activities that are age-appropriate, tie into your camp’s culture and location, and provide a mix of individual and group challenges is key.

You’ll also want a balance of outdoor/indoor, physical/mental, and creative options in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. Having activities that encourage skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and independence helps campers gain confidence and feel a sense of achievement.

Most importantly, infuse fun into everything you plan! Summer camp should feel different than the normal school year – get silly, get messy, and make it an experience kids can’t wait to repeat next summer.

Field Days and Outdoor Team Challenges

Field day events and group challenges shine at summer camp. These summer outdoor activities encourage teamwork, friendly competition, and camp spirit. Give them a summer camp twist by incorporating your location, theme, or camp mascot into the events.

Top 10 Summer Camp Activities for Kids [2024]

Traditional Summer Camp Field Day Activities

Field day is a classic camping event, often held on the last day to end on an energetic note. Traditional field day activities include:

  • Relays like three-legged races and egg on a spoon
  • Sack races and wheelbarrow races
  • Tug of war battles
  • Obstacle courses with elements like sprinkler limbo or crawling through hula hoops
  • Water balloon tosses and water gun fights

Creative Twists on Field Day

Put a unique spin on field day with these creative variations:

  • Life-sized board games like checkers or tic-tac-toe with campers as the game pieces
  • Scavenger hunts around camp to explore the grounds
  • “Cup for Cup” challenges where teams have to pass water in cups down a line
  • Camper Olympics with familiar sports like soccer, relay races, high jump, and tug of war

Arts and Crafts Projects

Art and crafting activities allow campers to express their creativity through projects they’ll proudly take home as souvenirs of their camp experience. Store-bought kits take the guesswork out of planning and prepping crafts for groups.

Traditional Summer Camp Crafts

These classic arts and crafts projects make memorable keepsakes:

  • Friendship bracelets from embroidery floss or beads
  • Nature-inspired projects like leaf rubbings or flower pressing
  • Tie-dye t-shirts
  • Painted bird houses, flower pots, or wooden plaques
  • Popsicle stick picture frames
  • Make-your-own rain sticks or drums

Unique Arts and Crafts Ideas

Move beyond basic crafts with these creative camp projects:

  • Sculptures from natural items like pinecones, acorns, twigs, and rocks
  • Recycled art from bottles, cans, cardboard tubes, egg cartons, and paper
  • Shrinky dink pendants campers design themselves
  • Nature prints on paper by rubbing leaves and ferns
  • Woodburning designs into wood slices or leather cords
  • Melted crayon art paintings

Performance Arts

Performing builds confidence and gives campers an outlet to express themselves creatively. Theater, music, and showmanship activities help shy kids step outside their comfort zone.

Camp Talent Shows

Host a camp talent show so kids can show off skills like:

  • Singing or dancing
  • Magic tricks or juggling routines
  • Playing an instrument – guitar singalongs are perfect for campfires
  • Skits, comedy routines, or lip sync performances
  • Poetry reading or storytelling

Camp Plays and Campfire Performances

In addition to talent shows, weave performance opportunities into your schedule:

  • Act out stories or skits around a campfire
  • Add music by leading campfire songs with lyrics or instruments
  • Share talents like playing guitar or harmonica around the campfire
  • Play improv games or tell stories while everyone hangs out around the glowing coals

Building and Construction Activities

Hands-on building activities teach campers problem solving, tool skills, and teamwork. Letting their imaginations run wild with basic materials builds confidence.

Simple Kid-Friendly Building Projects

Younger kids can start with easy building projects like:

  • Assembling bird houses or bird feeders from kits
  • Making marble mazes from cardboard tubing and tape
  • Decorating frames made from popsicle sticks or cardboard
  • Creating mini hockey sticks or swords from sticks and twine

With supervision, simple hand tools like hammers work for elementary age kids.

Advanced Building Challenges

Let teen and pre-teen campers take on more complex construction challenges like:

  • Designing and building treehouses or forts
  • Creating catapults to launch water balloons or ping pong balls
  • Building solar ovens from pizza boxes and foil
  • Engineering a package to protect an egg from a high drop

Water Activities

What’s summer without some fun in the water? Swimming, boating, water fights, and water sports provide exercise, thrills, and cooling relief on hot days. Work with your aquatic staff to incorporate water fun throughout the week.

Pool and Lake Activities

If your camp has a pool or lake access, water activities can include:

  • Marco Polo or pool volleyball
  • Underwater treasure hunts or scavenger hunts
  • Basic swimming lessons and free swim time
  • Relay races like swim laps or paddle boarding
  • Canoeing, kayaking, sailing, or windsurfing

Water Balloons and Squirt Guns

Bring on the mayhem with these classic water games:

  • Water balloon toss competitions
  • Dodgeball variants using water balloons
  • Capture the flag with water balloons or sponges
  • Water gun or super soaker tag
  • Slip and slides on tarps or plastic sheets

End a hot summer day with a free-for-all water fight!

Gardening and Cooking Activities

Gardening and cooking build valuable life skills while allowing kids to watch the fruits of their labors sprout to life. Kids gain pride from harvesting produce they grew themselves.

Gardening Projects

A few ways to incorporate gardening include:

  • Planting flowers, vegetables, or herbs in garden boxes or pots
  • Making newspaper seed pots or custom seed tape
  • Weeding, watering, and tending the garden through the summer
  • Harvesting produce for camp meals or snacks
  • Pressing flowers from the garden to preserve in a memory book

Cooking Creations

After harvesting garden goodies, campers can prepare their own:

  • Pizza with homemade crust and garden veggie toppings
  • Quick no-bake cookies, snacks, or pizza dough
  • Foil pack meals cooked over a campfire
  • Salsa, pesto, or herb mixes using garden produce
  • Solar oven S’mores – if NASA says they’re fun, they must be!

Indoor Activities for Rainy Days

Even the most well-planned summer camp will encounter rainy days where outdoor options get washed out. Prepare a list of rainy day activities using materials easily accessible around camp.

Rainy Day Arts and Crafts

Move crafts under shelter with projects like:

  • Friendship bracelets from embroidery floss
  • Painting flower pots or bird houses for the garden
  • Tie-dyeing with coffee filters
  • Nature-inspired art prints from leaves and ferns

Indoor Physical Activities

Burn off energy with these active games:

  • Set up an indoor obstacle course
  • Hold relay races down hallways
  • Play balloon volleyball or badminton indoors
  • Create an indoor mini golf course through camp common spaces
  • Hide items around camp for an indoor scavenger hunt

Board game or movie marathons work as last resorts if the rain just won’t quit.

Educational STEM Activities

Make learning fun by incorporating hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math activities into the summer schedule.

Science Projects

Explore the natural world around your camp with:

  • Scavenger hunts to identify plants, animals, and insects
  • Leaf and bark rubbings to classify trees
  • Stream ecology observations of water quality and macroinvertebrates
  • Nature printing by pounding leaves and flowers to release pigments onto paper or fabric

Other science experiments like solar oven engineering, robotics, and rocket launches bring together several STEM disciplines at once.

Engineering Challenges

Engineering challenges let kids build problem solving and critical thinking skills by:

  • Designing egg drop containers to protect raw eggs from high drops
  • Constructing marble runs from materials like cardboard tubes and wood blocks
  • Building catapults, launchers, and ballistic devices to fling projectiles
  • Creating chain reactions or Rube Goldberg machines using simple machines

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Q: What are some classic summer camp activities for kids?

A: Arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, relay races, talent shows, and science activities like making volcanoes are great for younger kids at summer camp.

Q: What types of summer camp activities help older kids build skills?

A: Older kids can benefit from STEM activities like robotics or engineering challenges, learning gardening and cooking skills, and hands-on building projects like woodworking.

Q: How do summer camps incorporate water activities?

A: Camps with pool access offer swim lessons, Marco Polo, canoe races, underwater scavenger hunts. Outdoor camps often have water balloon battles, slip and slides, and lake swimming and boating.


The key for a successful summer camp activities for kids is offering a diverse mix of activities to engage a wide range of interests and abilities. Include classic camp events like camping and archery alongside creative options that tie into your staff’s skills and camp’s geography.

Discovering the maths whiz in every child,
that’s what we do.

Suitable for students worldwide, from grades 1 to 12.

Get started free!




WuKong Recommends