22 summer camp activities to do at home

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Virtual summer camps are having a moment, but they’re not the only option for families.This year, I’m treating my kids to retro summer camp activities — inspired by my own time at sleepaway camp in the ’90s.The family-bonding and socially distant activities on this list are good for the mind, body, and soul — no matter what age.Read more: the best outdoor toys for kids and toddlersI went to sleepaway camp every summer from 1993 to 1999. Incidentally, those are also years in which the only screens in our house were a TV in the den, a countertop one in the kitchen so my mom could watch her stories, and, of course, the family computer.Now it is — gulp — 20 years later, and I am working on my laptop while my daughter watches a movie projected onto the wall. The baby is napping, but I can check on him via the app we have installed on our iPad. That is one-third of the devices in our home.Summer camp and screen time may not have coexisted during my ’90s childhood, but they certainly do now. And while some parents may be considering virtual summer camp options, I’m taking this summer to reflect on my days in the sun, grass, and water, and help my kids take away some of the same things I did at camp as a kid: the importance of personal connections, how to be a team player, and the magic of the outdoors.Amanda Kilton, a high school educator and former New London County 4-H Camp Director, said that now more than ever, kids need the chance to be kids. “Getting a little messy playing with your kids this summer can give them the benefits of camp while creating amazing memories and connections with you,” she said. “As camp counselors across America and the world know, kids will take the lead from you (or maybe you should take the lead from them!) and experience all the joy of being in the moment.”Here are 22 summer camp ideas for kids, including bunk time, campfire, outdoor, arts and crafts, and mess hall activities:

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