Welcome to our first week of DIY Summer Camp -- this week's theme is Around the World!
Summer is a great time to explore a new topic or dive deep into a favorite theme with kids -- the days are longer and the schedules are lighter :)
Finding a summer camp near me that's also related to something my kids really enjoy can be a challenge at times (like the year my son was infatuated with the Giant Squid!) so doing an at-home summer camp is a great solution!
At home summer camp's do not have to be complicated or expensive!
You know me -- I do easy ;)
Each week, we'll share some fun & inexpensive ideas around a popular theme or topic along with some free printables & a simple 'formula' that will help you to quickly pull together some fun activites that your kids will LOVE too!
DIY Summer Camp: Around the World Theme
Our first summer camp topic will take your kids across the globe to explore their favorite countries and learn a little about various cultures and how others live.
The first thing you'll need is a list for your virtual trip!
There are a few ways you can approach an Around the World camp when it comes to choosing which countries to visit.
Planning a Virtual Camp Around the World
For this camp, I would suggest starting with 5 countries or locations so you can visit one each day. If your kids enjoy this, add on more countries thoughtout the summer months.
To decide on where you'll travel with this camp, do one of the following:
- Ask your kids which 5 countries they'd like to visit! Sometimes they've heard the name of a place but don't really know where it is in the world so that's intriguing to them.
- Choose countries based on your family's heritage -- for example, our family members immigranted from Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Wales and
- Close your eyes and point to 5 places on the map (seriously, this can be a lot of fun!)
- Think about where family members have lived or visited and choose those countries. This can be really interesting if you have family that can send postcards to your kids or if you have family members who collected any souveniers during their visits.
Supplies for an Around the World Camp
Now that you know where you'll visit, you can pull together what you'll need for each day.
Remember, it's Summertime! Don't go overboard and plan out 3 hours of projects ;)
I've found that kids respond best to having one activity in the morning and one later in the day (or just one a day is fine too!)
I'll provide more details below about how to schedule a day but first, here's a few items you'll find helpful as you plan your camp. We're including affiliate links to items we've used and loved that are related to this week's theme too.
1. A Map or Globe
One of the few MUST HAVE items for this camp is a map or globe -- and really, it's something your kids will refer to for years to come so also just a great thing to have in the house.
There are a variety of maps & globes that we've used and recommend:
The Rand McNally World Wall Map is perfect for a playroom or family room wall and clearly labels all the countries & geographic highlights of the world.
If your preference is a globe, the Illuminated World Globe for Kids is a great option and the fact that it's backlit makes it 'come to life' in the evenings too!
If you don't have a lot of wall space, try this World Map Placemat!
You can also use an Atlas (a book of maps) -- see our favorites at 8 Awesome Atlases for Kids
Be sure to introduce (or review) things like lines of latitude & longitude, the map's key, the equator and prime meridan if your kids aren't familiar with a map or globe.
2. A book about each Country
See our lists below for choosing great books!
3. Around the World printable
Grab a copy of the FREE Explore the World printable worksheet to keep track of things you learn!
4. Any additional supplies based on the activities you choose below
You can also print a FREE Invitation to Summer Camp for your kids! I leave it on the breakfast table on the first day we start camp :)
Daily Plan for Around the World Camp
I have a simple formula for choosing activities & planning out an at-home camp --
READ --- VISIT --- WATCH --- DO
We include the following in our camp week:
READ: Choose a book about each country
VISIT: Find a local place to visit or an online field trip to take
WATCH: Integrate movies or apps related to the them
DO: This could making a craft or recipe, playing a game, etc.
Each day, we read a book in the morning about the country we will visit & then add in either an activity, movie, app or place to visit later in the day. We also talk about fun things we learn about each country and write those on the printable worksheet.
I usually like to do our 'visit' or field trip mid-week but for this camp, you may want to save it until Friday if the place you'll visit highlights more than one of the countries you choose.
Here's a list of resources to help as you plan your Around the World camp!
READ: Books about Countries around the Globe
Browse this list of 30 Books about Countries around the World for pictures books that show what life's like for kids in many places.
Tip if you have Older Kids: They actually ENJOY picture books! During the year, they read so many chapter books that they will probably balk if you ask them to do a ton more reading each day -- shorter books like these that introduce a lot of fun facts are the perfect option for all ages :)
If your kids enjoy following the same book character around the world, then I suggest this list of Children's Books series that Take Kids Across the Globe!
VISIT: Around the World Camp Near Me
I know what you're thinking -- how can we 'visit' some of these places??
Here are a number of ideas for ways to have a 'virtual' visit:
- Walk through local Art Museum -- visit galleries with artwork from various countries or find a piece of artwork from each country you've chosen for your camp (museum staff can quickly help you identify these!)
- Eat out at an ethnic resturant with food from the country you're 'visiting'
- Visit a cultural museum or attraction -- many cities have heritage museums or gardens. For example, if you choose Japan, your town may have a Japanese garden nearby. Many places have local heritage museums based on the first settlers to their area.
- Spend an afternoon at the Zoo and find an animal that is native to each coutry you chose for your camp!
DO: Games & Activities from Around the World
Integrate some of these fun activities into your camp!
Many can be done with any country you choose.
- Musical Game: Songs from Around the World -- includes a free printable!
- Map Your Reading -- use removable sticky arrows to mark the places you read about on a map or globe
- Make a Recipe or Eat a Food Item -- based on a popular food from that country! I love the book Kids Around the World Cook! for this activity.
- Have a Scavenger Hunt -- search your house for an item from each country in your camp.
- School around the World -- learn what a school day looks like in different countries + includes a FREE printable activity sheet!
- Play a Favorite Game -- try these 10 Kids Games from Around the World or these Outdoor Activities from Different Countr
I also like to set up an 'Invitation to Explore' on the first day of our camp -- it's basically a display of the various books, maps and items we might use during the week. I let the kids go through and browse items and add to it during the week.
Some of our favorite 'Around the World' items to include in the layout have been:
- stamps from various countries
- coins or paper money from different places
- puzzles - like this eboo Kids World Map puzzle or this Melissa & Doug Children of the World floor puzzle
- a sticker book or paper dolls from around the world
- the Safari Ltd World Landmarks TOOB
- fun dress up items -- things like hats from different places
- flags from various countries
WATCH: Movies & TV about Life Across the Globe
This is why technology is such a wonderful thing! I LOVE educational shows & apps -- there's so many things kids can experience with them.
If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can watch these show on prime this month!
If you're not a member, try Amazon Prime for FREE this month too! Also visit your local library and check for these titles too.
If your kids like the PBS show Franny's Feet, they have an online game to play too: Grandpa's Globe.
Be sure to join us next week for Summer Camp!