How To: Do It Yourself Summer School and Summer Camp Activities

Fishing at Summer School Or Summer Camp

Students sitting around the lake fishing.
Students sitting around the lake fishing. | Source

Summer School or Camp Activities

A few years ago, I started a summer school program. Although I have been teaching for many years, starting something like this is difficult. I had to come with a curriculum that would keep students interested enough to forget that they were supposed to be on summer vacation. I also had to make sure they kept up their skills so they could be successful in the coming school year. This was a difficult task!

I succeeded by presenting learning in the form of games. Every week we had a theme and a game or games that went along with the theme. Some weeks it was difficult to find a game that went with the theme, so we made one up as we went along. Here are some of the games and activities that we did that summer – and every summer since.

A few years ago, I started a summer school program. Although I have been teaching for many years, starting something like this is difficult. I had to come with a curriculum that would keep students interested enough to forget that they were supposed to be on summer vacation. I also had to make sure they kept up their skills so they could be successful in the coming school year. This was a difficult task!

I succeeded by presenting learning in the form of games. Every week we had a theme and a game or games that went along with the theme. Some weeks it was difficult to find a game that went with the theme, so we made one up as we went along. Here are some of the games and activities that we did that summer – and every summer since.

Closer Look At The Fish

These fish have letters and sounds on them.
These fish have letters and sounds on them. | Source

Fishing for Words

I used foam pieces and drew simple fish on them and then cut them out. There were many different sizes of fish. I then wrote sight words on some of the smaller ones, and letters and sounds on some of the larger ones. I then put one staple on each fish. Then I cut some blue butcher’s paper into the shape of a lake. I bought a cheap toy fishing pole with a magnet on the end of the string. I put chairs around the “lake” and had students take turns with the fishing pole. When they caught a “fish” they had to read the word, sound or letter. If they read it right, they got to keep it. The one with the most fish at the end of the game won.

Alternate ideas: We played this during the school year and one of my students said that the bigger fish – the ones with letters and sounds – were “sharks” and the smaller ones were fish. If they caught a “shark” they still had to read the sound or letter, but they then had to throw all of the fish they had caught back because the “shark” had eaten them.

Fishing for Numbers – same idea but use math facts or numbers instead of words.

Hunting for Words

Print “wild” animals with sight words on them. Tape them around the halls, hiding them slightly from view. Students then walk quietly in the halls – they don’t want to scare the animals – and “hunt” the words. If they find an animal, they must read the words. If they read it incorrectly, the animal stays where it was found. If they get it right, they get to keep it. The student with the most words, wins.

Alternate ideas: Do the same thing with numbers, math problems, letters or sounds.

For a little added fun, purchase some cheap “hunter” hats and magnifying glasses so they can search.

Make a sort of memory game with the animals – students must find two words or animals that match before they get to keep them.

Campfire Words

I made logs from brown construction paper and flames from red, yellow and orange paper. The flames had words printed on them and paper clips on the edges. I made a fire poker from a dowel rod with a magnet on the end. Students used the poker to get the flames and read the words they pick up. Students must read the words correctly or put them back in the fire. Student with the most words won the game.

Alternate ideas: Use math facts, letters or sounds on the flames.

Snowball Fight

I printed sight words on regular plain white paper. I then crushed them into little balls. Students were put into two teams with a barrier between them (we used classroom tables.) Each team is given the same number of “snowballs” and the fight began. If a snowball hit you, you had to stop and move to the side to read your word. If you got the word correct, you got to crush it back up and throw it again. If you got it wrong, it went to the recycle box.

Alternate ideas: As always, you can use math facts, sounds or letters instead of words.

You can also have students dress the part – they can wear their winter coats, scarves and/or mittens to have the snowball fight.

Summer School or Summer Camp Activities

Which one of these activities do you want to try in your program?

  • Fishing For Words
  • Balloon Pop
  • Snowball Fight
  • Campfire Words
  • Hunting for Words
  • More than one of these ideas!
See results without voting

Balloon Pop

Fill balloons with sight words. Throw them throughout the room. Students come into the room and sit on balloons to pop them. They then must read the words from the balloons.

Alternate ideas: Take this activity outside. Laminate the words and then put them in the balloons. Fill balloons with shaving cream or water or some other liquid.

Enjoy These Summer School and Summer Camp Activities

These are just a few of the ideas that I had. You can combine some of these for a fun theme filled day or stretch them out to fill a week or a summer session. My students had so much fun doing these activities. You and your students can have just as much fun!

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Comments 10 comments

CarlySullens profile image

CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

I love these ideas. I want to use them with my kids. Although the balloon pop will not work with my daughter. She is very sensitive to sound and hates balloons. Every time we go to the grocery store she turns down the free balloon.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great ideas. I love the fishing for words activity. So very clever you are.


marga21 profile image

marga21 3 years ago from legazpi city,phil.

wow! i can use those ideas when i started teaching. awesome!


justateacher profile image

justateacher 3 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... Author

Marge...I'm glad you liked my ideas!


ReneeDC1979 profile image

ReneeDC1979 3 years ago from Gaithersburg, Maryland

Very creative ideas I love it! May I try some of these. I'll give you credit of course! ;-)


justateacher profile image

justateacher 3 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... Author

Renee...Glad enjoyed them! And of course you can use them! Please share!


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

Lovely and creative ideas. The fishing for words incorporate numerous skills from mental to physical. Children will really love this. I can't wait to try it with my daughter.


justateacher profile image

justateacher 3 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... Author

jpcmc- My students absolutely love the fishing game! They ask to play it every day! It is a great incentive to get their other work accomplished. Thanks for reading!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

justateacher,

thanks for this hub. these are some really nice activities that you

have included here in your hub that are beneficial to all types of

children. thanks again. Voted up


justateacher profile image

justateacher 3 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... Author

torrilynn - thanks for reading! I tried to include something for everyone! Glad you thought I accomplished that!

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