KimsKorner: Summer Fun plus Camping in your own backyard

By Kimberly Jenkins - [email protected]

Camping can be fun even if you do it with your kids in your own backyard.

Once again, I have some more great ideas from Unicef ( There are just so many great ideas on this site I had to share some more. The last section is about camping whether it be in your own backyard or true camping and I just loved some of those ideas, I hope you can use and enjoy them.

Write in shaving cream. This may get messy, but what a fun way to write! If you’re prepared for the mess, have your kids practice their ABCs. You can go outside in the sunshine!

Paint rocks. Are you one with rocks everywhere in your yard or nearby? Have fun painting faces or designs on rocks with your kids. You could use these as door stoppers or paperweights!

Balloon tennis. Using paper plates, paint stirrers, and air-blown balloons, you can easily make this fun summer kids’ activity for the outside. You could also play this inside since you are hitting a balloon!

Water balloon baseball. Sometimes, combining two summer activities can make for an exciting way to play outside. Just take a whiffle ball bat and fill up some water balloons. Now, you can play baseball with a splash!

Play hide and seek in the dark. Mix up plain old hide and seek with hide and seek in the dark! Blackout your windows and prep areas that may be hazardous. It certainly makes for great entertainment!

Make milk carton boats. Take an old milk carton and shape it in the fashion of a boat. You can even paint it and stick a toothpick in it with a taped flag! Test it out by putting it in water in the sink or bath. Does it float? If not, your kids can brainstorm on how to fix it.

Do a puzzle together. When searching for the right puzzle, look for the correct age group. There are specific difficulty levels out there! It can be a wonderful time to bond with your kids and work together to solve a puzzle.

Backyard camping. Your kids may be too small to go camping at a campsite or park, but why not start in the backyard?

The next set of ideas can be used either in your own backyard camp or if you take the kids camping (These ideas can also just be used in activities you may want to do outside anytime:

Nature Trail

A classic that never gets old; a good nature trail can really set the tone for a fantastic summer camp going forward. If you’re already familiar with the camp area, simply make a list of all the things you are likely to find within the local vicinity and give them to your kids to go and find. You can put down things like local flowers, certain types of insects, tree leaves as long as they are all safe to handle. This provides a brilliant method for getting kids engaged with the natural environment surrounding them, and also allows them to become familiar with the camp where they will be staying.

Don’t Catch!

A simple ball game but a great way to warm up the kids minds and keep them sharp. One person takes a ball into the middle of a circle that has been made up by the rest of the campers. The person with the ball then throws it at a person of their choosing, while shouting either “Catch!” or “Don’t Catch!”. If they shout “Catch!” and the intended recipient catches it, they stay in the game. If they shout “Don’t Catch!” but the recipient catches it anyway, they are eliminated. The key is to pay attention to what is being said as well as physical body language, which sometimes can be harder than you think!

Tree Measuring

An extremely valuable and fun method of integrating your campers closer to nature, as well as covertly teaching a complicated form of mathematics! That’s right. Simply instruct your kids to stand next to a tree and ask them to measure it. You may get some bemused looks and confused reactions; that’s normal! Ask them to bend backward to see the top of the tree. If they are unable to, they must keep walking backward until the pinnacle is visible. When the top of the tree is finally uncovered, you can tell them that they are as far away from the tree as it’s height. The method used for this neat trick is called trigonometry. That’s not something you learn at your average summer camp!

Dead Horse

Despite the name, this is not as nearly as morbid as you might think. First, you must nominate a kid to be the “Dead Horse”. Their job is to lay down in front of the rest of the group, close their eyes and keep still. The objective is for the other kids to make the dead horse laugh! The only rules are you cannot physically touch the horse. Once they have laughed, they have lost the game. Another kid must take their place. This is a fantastic way to foster and encourage good old-fashioned camp humor.

Eye Spy: Nature Edition

Eye Spy is of course a game as old as time that has been entertaining kids for generations. This version of the game comes with a nature twist that’s ideal for camping trips. All you have to do is come up with a list of animals, objects or things you might find within the camp. Give the kids a piece of paper with all the items listed. The first to see them all and tick the boxes, wins!

Fire Tender

An impressive game of quiet skill, Fire Tender challenges kids to stay quiet, be smart and careful. It’s also likely to cause a lot of giggles too! To play, you must first designate somebody the “fire tender”. They must sit by a pile of sticks blindfolded. The other kids must take it in turns to try and approach the pile of sticks and steal them. If at any point the tender detects movement and points in the direction of where it is coming from, they eliminate the person who was approaching them (if any). A tense but hilariously fun game for kids and adults alike.

One Minute Challenge

This activity is a superb calm down tool, designed specifically to reign in the young campers and get them to calm down before moving onto something else. This is ideal if you need them to reel it in after a particularly high tempo game. To start the challenge, tell the campers you are going to time exactly 1 minute on your watch. Challenge the kids to count along silently in their heads. Once they have finished, raise their hand. Whoever is closest to your actual watch wins the game! The game can be extended to longer periods of time if you need to, depending on how good the kids are or how long you need them to stay calm.

Earth Ball

A camp staple, this game requires you have a light ball on hand, or even a balloon. Beach Balls are ideal. The campers must stand around and hit the ball to keep it in the air. The overall goal of the game is to not let the ball hit the ground. It’s ideal to set a first time target for the amount of time the ball is kept in the air. If the kids beat it easily, extend it until it becomes more difficult. This is a fantastic game to teach cooperation techniques between the campers, and encourage camaraderie.

Rock Art

A great activity to truly inspire creativity in the camp. Get your kids to find a rock they like, it can be smooth, rough or a bit jagged, it all depends on their preference. Although it is easier if they find something smoother for the next stage! Once the rock has been sourced, instruct them to wash it. Now the fun begins! Encourage them to paint their rock and make it something fun and vibrant. They can construct faces or just decorate them in an art style of their choice. Once they’ve finished painting, mix up some flour and water to use as a sealer. Apply it to the rock as a finishing touch. Now they can use their rock as anything they’d like! Perhaps a paperweight, or maybe even a gift to another camper. You can encourage them to decorate lots of different rocks for various different reasons. They could even end up making a rock art collection! The only limit is their imagination and how far you can push them to achieve their goals.

Backyard stargazing. Put out a few blankets and lie down in your backyard, and gaze upon the stars. Show your kids how to locate Orion’s Belt and many other stars.

It is early yet and I want to give you and your kids some time to enjoy the summer that can mostly be found in your own backyard, so to say. Have fun and enjoy some of these too!

During the summer, it is my goal to possibly have things that will keep your kids from losing what they have learned through this year, whether it be virtual, in person, or a combination. With this school year being as unusual as it was, it was it will be important to keep your children’s brain thinking some of the time. Seriously, think about it, you’ve all become good teachers by now and I’ll just add some needed skills for different levels, so you don’t have to look up things, just have them do them some different times this summer. God Bless you all and have a good week.

Let me know any ideas you have or what you would like to see and I’ll get right on it for you. Email me at [email protected]

Remember to be kind and love each other and continue to set a good example for our children. See you next week with new ideas and ways to help your children or ideas that may help you as you raise your children in some way.

Camping can be fun even if you do it with your kids in your own backyard. can be fun even if you do it with your kids in your own backyard.

By Kimberly Jenkins

[email protected]

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights