With so many amazing opportunities for kids summer camp– sports camps, horseback riding camps, dance camps, circus camps, sailing lessons, computer code and Minecraft camps, not to mention town camp with arts & crafts and swimming lessons, and the “granddaddy of them all”- sleep away camp- it is hard not to sign up for everything! But over the years we've found that what works best for our family is to create our own DIY Summer Camp at home- which we call “Camp Rowley”!
We made the intentional decision a few years ago to “take summers off” and to not schedule our kids for camps, lessons, or activities as much as possible. And for our family- it has really worked out well- giving us downtime together as well as a chance to simply slow down and relax after a busy school year.
Here's why we are making the same choice to host our own kids summer camp at home again this summer:
We Need Time Off From a Set Schedule
During the school year, it seems as if we have a reason to get up and get someone (or everyone) ready and out of the house seven days a week. Monday-Friday it is school, and early morning band and orchestra practices in addition to getting to the bus stop on time. And on weekends it is sports practices and lessons, and birthday parties or sleepovers and school fundraisers. We rarely have a day off- let alone a morning for the entire family to sleep in and be lazy.
For us, summer means a break from that “get up and get out the door” lifestyle that we live the rest of the year. If I signed my kids up for town camp, we would still need to be up, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, apply sunscreen, and drive to the camp by 9 am. And to me, that feels almost like an extension of the schedule we kept during the school year.
Camps, Lessons, and Activities for 6 Kids Can Be Expensive!
Sure, town camp might only cost $250 for 6 weeks, but when you multiply that by 6 kids that is a lot of money. Now I am not saying it isn't a good value for 6 weeks of well planned and fun activities for my kids- but for me, it is a trade-off. If I don't spend $1500 on camps for the kids, then instead I can use that money to do some fun things together as an entire family.
As A Work-From-Home Mom, This is a Job Perk I Don't Want to Miss!
I feel that getting to spend the summers with my kids is a built-in bonus of living my life as a work from home Mom- one that I want to make sure that I take advantage of while I can. As the saying goes “the days are long but the years are short” and while there are days that “Camp Rowley” feels like a lot of work and added stress to my life- I know that these are the days I am going to miss the most when the kids are grown and out on their own!
Kids Summer Camp: It Doesn't Need to be “All or None!”
Now, this doesn't mean that none of my kids have the chance to sign up for an activity that they want to do. In fact, my son Spencer who is passionate about football has asked to attend a 4-day football camp this summer, and I think it would be a perfect fit for him. So we do what works for us as a family and for each individual family member.
What might work for your family is to try just a week or two off from scheduled activities and see how it goes for you.
Would You Like Some Specific Kids Summer Camp at Home Ideas?
Not having a set schedule doesn't mean we have no plans at all! (C'mon- you know me better than that!) In fact, I spend a good amount of time planning for fun things we can do together during the summer, activities to try, places to explore, recipes and crafts to make with the kids, and back up plans for rainy days, etc. Please check out my DIY Summer Camp page for lots of ideas on how to host your own kids summer camp at home!
Looking for some great ideas for your DIY Summer Camp?
- Why We Hold Our Own Kids Summer Camp at Home
- 10 Ideas to Make This Your Family's Best Summer EVER!
- Free Printable Family Summer Bucket List
- Free Printable Summer Schedule
- 10 Ideas to Celebrate the Last Day of School and the Start of Summer
- 12 Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden with Kids!
- 10 Awesome Backyard Games for Tweens!