Summer camp is fun, but it feels like it goes by so fast. There is a general fun arc to camp because it starts out with huge excitement, and funnels along fast like a train with some great stops along the way. Somewhere in the middle, things can get a little sluggish before picking up steam and coming to an emotional end for most. It is that sluggish point in the middle of camp that I call the mid-summer camp blues.
For me, it was always the realization that we are halfway through, and although things were fun, there was still some time to go and we were all tired. Teachers often feel this way too at times in the year. So, how do you bust the mid-summer camp blues? Here are 5 activity ideas. You may need permission to do one or two of them.
Water, Water, Everywhere
As a physical education teacher, I am in charge of doing a field day every year. One of the most fun events I organize that the students and staff love is the water events. What child does not like having fun with some water? Things like water balloon tosses, dunk tanks, sprinklers to run through, a slip and slide, or the like are sure to be real winners amongst the campers and counselors, and it will create memories for all involved. For more water activity ideas, view my blog on Water Activities for Kids on Hot Summer Days.
This is a more philosophical type of game or event. It involves not fighting the sluggish feeling, but acknowledging it, and discussing it with your campers. It is important for your campers to learn to recognize that when things feel hard or tough, that they cannot just phone it in. This is a teachable experience. Lean into the experience by starting a brief discussion, then come up with a list of ideas to help things feel a little less sloth like. Let them know that this is temporary, as many of our life emotions are. You can even toss around a ball to spark conversations, whether it is about their feelings, or simple questions they can answer.
Get Silly With It
Camp is about fun, right? So, mix it up and do something so silly that it will give campers a little bump to keep moving through the quicksand of mid-summer camp life. Have a stand-up comedy show, a talent show, introduce a new and exciting activity for use in one moment, or come to camp dressed up as a character. Perhaps you can have a Dress Like a Superhero Day with plenty of props and activities. It does not matter what you choose, just remember to get silly with it. You may want to try teaching students how to make slime. It is popular these days. I take away many homemade slime blobs weekly.
Break Out the Board Games
Sometimes children just need a break from the norm. That is the essence of what this blog post is about, and what better way than to break out some board games! Not your normal board games either. These are old and have been played many times. I am talking about board games like these from Camp in a Box set. This has large cards, fishing games, hit the trail games, and different games that will be fun and create unique memories. If you are looking to get kids active, check out my blog called 5 Classic Fitness Games for Kids.
Pop Bubbles & Draw
One of the coolest things I have seen in my 15 plus years of teaching was a bubble party. The teachers in Kindergarten, all six of them, bought tiny bubble bottles for their students. They used them outside with some sidewalk chalk too, and it was a bubble popping frenzy. This was out of the norm from what you would see in the school system, but it made the children’s day and got them excited.
So, there you have it! Five ways to help turn the frown of mid-summer blues upside down and make the children smile again and enjoy the rest of their summer. Have any ideas you think would do the same? Share them below!
Charles Silberman has worked as a counselor and camp PE teacher for over 25 years and is currently a PE teacher at an Elementary School. He has become a leader and advocate for incoming physical educators by running workshops on teaching in limited space at staff in-services and conferences, assisting with new teacher orientations, and other initiatives. Also visit his new website which has some great resources for first year physical education teachers: http://newphysicaleducator.com
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