Theme Weeks for Summer Camps

Connexeo - 05/21/2018

First in a series on summer camp themes and trends for 2018.

Planning for summer camp season is well under way, and the enrollment period already begun. While specialty camps have likely set their curriculums, general day camps run by municipal parks departments and community centers may still be looking for some weekly themes to keep the youngsters engaged, active and entertained.

More than 5,600 day camps existed in the United States last year, according to the American Camping Association, along with 8,400 overnight camps. Some 49% have some sort of relationship with schools or school curricula.

And camps have become more popular, with 82% of camps reporting stable or increased enrollment over the past two years and half of all camps reporting occupancy of more than 90%.

Camps offer kids a chance to feel like they belong,” Dr. Michael Ungar, scientific director of CYCC Network said in an blog. “All those goofy chants and team songs, the sense of common purpose and attachment to the identity that camps promote go a long way to offering children a sense of being rooted.”

Some theme ideas for summer day camps:

  • Jedi Training: Many young campers will likely have seen “Solo: A Star Wars Story” over Memorial Day weekend, so they could be in a “Star Wars” frame of mind. They begin the week as padawans and move up the ranks as they successfully complete daily Star Wars-related projects. These projects can teach team work and include scientific endeavors and decision-making games. At the end of the week, crowned Jedi masters they are.

  • Game Show Week (or Days): Prizes will be awarded as campers prepare their own game shows based on the popular quizzes on TV. The children research and prepare questions, build sets and then perform to crown the champions. Break things up with regular “Minute to Win It” challenges. The games can take the shape of shows such as “Family Feud,” “The Price is Right,” “Password,” “The $100,000 Pyramid,” et. al.

  • Fun with Food: A week in which campers get to play with their food. They do arts and crafts projects with various foodstuffs, play games such as spaghetti tag, learn about how food is made…maybe even take a tour of a farm and/or a restaurant kitchen. On Friday of Food Week, the campers dress up as their favorite food, and each family is responsible for bringing a dish to share in a community lunch.

  • Those Who Serve: This is a week full of field-trips and guest speakers in which campers learn about First Responders and the people who keep the community safe. Trips to police and fire stations will provide first-hand views of operations and equipment, while doctors and nurses can visit to discuss staying safe through good health. Campers will come away with respect for public defenders.

  • Go for the Gold: An Olympic-themed week full of teamwork, friendly competition and lots of physical activity. Divide the camp into teams and conduct a series of events throughout the week – from relay races, to softball toss, to free-throw shooting and a host of others, depending on what facilities are accessible. Award gold, silver and bronze medals, and end the week with a “closing ceremony” honoring everyone’s accomplishments.

  • Around the World: Campers tour the globe by playing games and sports popular in various countries, learning about international cultures and eating lunches based on cuisines from different nations. (Those don’t need to be that different from a regular lunch menu: Spaghetti, tacos, story-fry take care of three right there.) Arts and crafts items can feature internationally known landmarks.

  • Spy Kids: There’s a double-agent in the midst, and the campers need to find out who it is. Learning deductive reasoning techniques, the youngsters follow the clues, study suspects and team up to see who is trying to steal the camp charter. They may even have to disguise themselves in order to catch the culprit (who usually turns out to be the camp director of head counselor and celebrates capture with a pizza party).  

The benefits of camp are well-known: They keep children’s minds and bodies active during the summer, allow them to explore avenues of learning outside the bounds of school and lets them meet new people.

Connexeo will continue to watch and report on trends in this growing child enrichment industry.


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