Summer camp curriculum: Summer camp lesson plans | Templates, curriculum, and more
Summer camp lesson plans | Templates, curriculum, and more
Running a summer camp takes a lot of planning and organization. Keeping children engaged, active, and having fun for full day sessions, or even longer if it is a sleepaway camp, requires a lot of preparation.
If your camp focuses on a topic, like art, music, sports, or STEM, then your activities should be centered around that subject. However, if you are running a general enrichment camp, then you need to have activities that encompass a wide variety of topics.
No matter what you are covering, you will need a well thought out summer camp curriculum and lesson plans to ensure that your campers are having a fun experience and gaining valuable information. In this article, we’ll go over how to make an effective lesson plan for summer camp with some creative ideas for summer camp activities. Looking for more support to jumpstart your camp? Check out our ultimate guide to starting and running a kids camp.
- How to make a lesson plan for summer camp
- ~Lesson plan template for summer camp
- Creative ideas for summer camp
How to make a lesson plan for summer camp
Summer is a great time for children to relax, make new friends, and have fun. Even if you are running an academic camp it is important to make your summer camp lesson plans prioritize fun. Focus on hands-on activities and collaborative projects to keep your campers engaged and help them make new friends.
You can use our lesson plan template for summer camp activities to get started.
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Lesson plan template for summer camp
What are you hoping to accomplish with this lesson? Every activity that you do with your campers should have a goal, even if it is just to have fun.
An example of an objective for a STEM activity where you collect rocks and sort them would be, “Discover what rocks are on campus and how they are similar and different.” On the other hand, if you are having a water balloon fight with your campers, your lesson objective can be, “Have fun, work as a team, and cool down.”
What do you need for this lesson? Make sure you take into consideration any items children might need to bring from home or what they may need to wear. If you are collecting and sampling rocks, campers need bags to hold the rocks and vinegar to test the type of rock. If you are having a water balloon fight, you need water balloons, a hose, bathing suits, and good sandals so children are safe while having fun.
This is the main part of your summer camp lesson plan. Use this section to describe what you will actually be doing in the lesson to accomplish your goals. Even if it’s simple, include a step-by-step walkthrough so you stay on track and make your life easier when teaching.
If you are running a STEM camp, check out our guide with science lessons for kids that are fun and engaging. Likewise, if you are looking for guidance on teaching art to children or teaching kids to cook, we have plenty of articles to help.
You should plan a variety of activities for each lesson. Children learn more easily when they are engaged in interactive and unique experiences like playing games, which can enhance learning. You can also consider adding in some Montessori techniques so children can have more agency in the activities.
Include a time estimate for each activity in your lesson plan. This is important because it keeps you on track. Activities should not be too long because children grow bored easily. Make sure you have buffer time for each activity to allow for transitions.
If you are running an academic camp, you might want to have a way to assess your campers’ progress so that you know your lessons are at their ability level. However, we do not recommend tests or quizzes since camp is meant to be fun. Instead, observe your campers as they participate in activities and ask questions to make your assessments.
This section is for your own use to take notes about your students’ progress. You can also include space here for self-reflection and evaluate how you are doing as their teacher or counselor. Are your campers learning, having fun, being kind to one another, and enjoying themselves? How can you make improvements moving forward?
Hopefully this summer camp lesson plan format and template will help you prepare for your activities this summer. If you are looking for more support on how to write a lesson plan, see our full guide.
Creative ideas for summer camp
Now that you have an idea of how to plan your summer camp activities, you need to think about what you will actually be doing with your campers. To give you inspiration, we’ve compiled some of our favorite creative ideas for summer camp fun.
Make camp drop-off memorable
If you are running a day camp or a sleepaway camp, the point of separation for parent and child can be distressing. To combat this, make drop-off a party! Keep the mood light and let the parents meet their child’s counselors. Answer any questions the parents might have and let the child start exploring their cabin or have an activity ready to distract them. For more camp drop-off tips, see our guide.
Start off strong with icebreaker games
You know what they say, camp friends are the best friends. But, at the start of the summer, it is beneficial if you give campers built-in opportunities to form friendships. Get-to-know-you games are a great way for campers to learn about one another and quickly find connections. We’ve outlined some of our favorite icebreaker games and activities for the first day of summer camp in our guide.
Have a theme day
Children love opportunities to dress up and be silly, so try a camp-wide theme day. Our Sawyer providers have done Halloween in summer, superhero day, messy day, and Olympics, but you can choose whatever type of theme works for your camp and campers. Check out our guide on theme days for summer camp to give you inspiration.
Running a summer camp might feel like a daunting task, but seeing the smiles on the faces of your campers makes it all worth it. If you are looking for guidance on how to start a summer camp or the administrative side of running a camp, Sawyer is the best camp registration and management software for both in-person and online camps.
With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves camp owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo.
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Low-Prep Summer Camp Lesson Plans with a STEM Twist
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The first step in how to do summer camp at home is to get summer camp lesson plans! Because we are STEAMsational, we have tons of summer camp themes and ideas, but all our favorites have a STEM twist!
You’ll find some of our favorite summer camp lessons here that will make every kid remember this summer fondly (and they will learn something, too!
Easy STEM Summer Camp Lesson Plans
Scroll to get the summer camp lesson outlines but first, make sure you have everything you need to get started planning your summer camp!
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Our Favorite Summer Camp Lesson Plans (with science, STEM, and STEAM themes!)
Since I’m a STEM curriculum writer, I have a lot of lesson plans!
You’ll find my favorite lesson plans for summer camp below.
Complete Summer Camp Curriculum Lesson Plans
First up is our STEAM summer camp. This is a five-day camp with each day focusing on science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Ideas for activities, snacks, schedules and more!
The next summer camp lesson plan is our virtual STEM camp. Here you’ll find 10 once-a-week STEM activities using household supplies.
You can also do all the activities in just one or two weeks, if you prefer!
For younger kids, we have a color-themed summer camp curriculum that is tons of fun!
You’ll get ideas for crafts, snacks, songs, activities, and even worksheets to go along with each day’s lesson.
Mini Science Summer Camp Lesson Plans
Maybe you don’t want a big summer camp lesson plan but just need a supplement! Here are some science camp lesson plans that have a smaller number of activities.
In the rainbow lesson bundle, there are 4 complete rainbow-themed science experiments with lesson plans and worksheets.
The instant ice science lab includes three ice-themed science activities perfect for summer camp lesson plans.
What summer camp is complete without slime? And the slime science lab makes it educational and fun.
Slime lovers will also like oobleck! Mix science and messy play in these summer camp lesson guides.
Color mixing is a staple of camp life. The color mixing science lab makes it easy.
Can’t pick a theme? Why not choose general science? The summer science bundle has mini summer camp lesson outlines that work for a variety of locations.
These science lesson plans are quick, fast, and tons of fun!
If you feel like having opposite day at summer camp, these oil and water science experiments are the perfect lesson to try on that day!
And we can’t forget ocean science at summer camp! The ocean science bundle is filled with summer camp lesson plans with ocean themes.
Summer Camp Lesson Plan Themes
You’ll find even more STEM and science lesson plans and themes here!
These STEM Summer Camp Ideas give you an idea of how to add STEM to any theme.
You’ll find our favorite STEM Summer Camp Themes here.
These Summer Camp Science Activities require no electricity to do.
While not a complete curriculum or lesson plan, these colorful Summer Camp STEM Activities are too fun not to share!
More Summer Fun for Kids
Summer STEM Calendar
Summer Slime Recipes-Turn Your Blah Summer into a Yeah Summer!
Mind Blowing Summer Science Experiments You Must Try This Summer
Printable summer activities
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You have to conduct chemical and physical experiments in the guild of alchemists, learn oratory, write articles like a real journalist, get acquainted with the theory and practice of chess, solve logic puzzles and seriously think about environmental problems. During our shift, you will meet a lot of interesting people: travelers and masters of sports, physicists, businessmen and other people who have one thing in common – they are successful professionals who are truly passionate about their work.
Probably everyone knows what hand-made is. But have you already tried to do something with your own hands? We will make postcards for our beloved parents and friends, create beautiful pictures from plasticine, paint T-shirts and wooden utensils, sculpt from salt dough, fold origami and sew dolls.
Sports and fresh air
At our summer camp, every day starts with exercises. Stretch and aerobics for girls, gym for boys. During the day, outdoor sports events (spartakiads, sports competitions, championships, matches, fun starts), sports games (football, volleyball, basketball, table tennis), rope courses and visits to the aqua center (two pools, sauna, geysers, slide) .
During the shift, you will be active members of the tourist circle, where you will be taught how to make huts and put up a tent, navigate the terrain without a compass, make a fire, talk about inedible berries and mushrooms and teach you basic tourist skills. After that, you will have a great opportunity to test the theory in practice. The whole camp we will go on a one-day hike, where tea and food cooked on a fire, swimming and all kinds of games are waiting for you!
Night of legends
This is a good old tradition, proven over the years. Evening, we sit around the fire, counselors and children, and tell legends about the little lamplighter, about the wind and the flower, about friendship, happiness, love and much, much more, we reason, express our opinion. For us, the vision of each, his own view and attitude is important.
The program of our pioneer camp in the Moscow region is designed for the interests of each child and his individual age characteristics. We find out what hobbies the guys have and make adjustments to the already existing summer camp program. For teenagers and young children, the activities will be equally rich and interesting. By the end of the shift in the camp, the children become a real team!
Summer children’s camps “Commonwealth of Eaglets of Russia”
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