Games & Activities For Summer Day Camp
This past summer was one of the best summer jobs I could have ever asked for. I was a summer day camp couselor! It was a summer day camp, run out of a church in a small town in Pennsylvania. There were 3 counselors and a max of 24 kids per week in grades K-6. They need to have completed Kindergraten or just finished 6th grade (we don't have a middle school). It got pretty crazy at times, but we had a whole lot of fun! Every week was something new, including a new group of kids. They all got papers in school and it was a first come, first serve basis as far as what weeks they were entitled to. We took 24 kids per week, some weeks however, weren't full. Here's what we did!
*Note* Faces have been blacked out in pictures to protect the kids.
Each week was a themed week and we also went on a different field trip one of the days in the week; usually Wednesday. Since we are located in Central Pennsylavania, there are many options for us to choose from, however, each one is about an hours drive away. Here's a list of where we went:
- Knoebel's Grove in Elysburg, PA
- Indian Echo Caverns & Chocolate World in Hershey, PA
- Sight & Sound Theaters in Lancaster, PA
- Camel Beach at Camelback Ski Resort in The Poconos, PA (2 times)
- Cherry Crest Farm & Corn Maze in Lancaster, PA
- The Reading Phillies on Kids Day, Reading, PA
- Dutch Apple Theater in Lancaster, PA
- Lake Tobias in Halifax, PA & Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach in Mt. Gretna, PA
- The PA Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA
The kids loved going somewhere new each week! We would always ask for parent chaperones to assist us and we usually had volunteers. If not, we each had a group of 8 kids, which sounds crazy, but the kids are good and they understand they need to stay with us because there are so many of them.
We also had different themed weeks every week. Here's an example of the weeks we had:
- Back in the day.. - Kids dressed up each day for a different era; Monday-'50s, Tuesday-'60s, etc.
- 4th of July Week - We played 4th of July picnic games each day. We even had a hot dog eating contest! Out winner was a 6th grade girl who ate 7 hot dogs!
- Sports Week - The kids dressed up as their favorite athletes all week, and we played different sports games.
- Christmas in July - We had the Bible Lesson on the Birth of Jesus and did Christmas Holiday related things.
Throughout the summer we had different activities each day for the kids to do. Each day they also participated in a Bible Lesson. We had a new story each week for the students to learn about. They were also given a memory verse at the start of the week. If they said the memory verse on Friday, they were treated to an ice cream sundae! It was an incentive for them to learn it, and every week each kid said it to us!
Some of the activities we did were these:
- Hot Dog Eating Contest - The person who eats the most hot dogs in 10 minutes was the winner!
- Slip & Slide - a slip and slide was donated to us the previous year. It was actually an old pool liner. The family needed theirs replaced, so when it was out they brought it to the church and it serves as an awesome slip and slide!
- Find the Worm in the Pudding - The kids were split up into 2 teams and were each given one huge bowl of pudding with their teams amount of worms in it. The first team to have all of their worms out, won!
- Water Transfer - Each team is given a small cup and a bucket full of water. There is an empty bucket at the other end. Their job is to use the small cup and fill the bucket at the other end with the water on their end. First team to fill their empty bucket up to the line wins!
- "Racketball" - The kids would bring in tennis rackets and tennis balls and we would play racketball. It's the same rules as wiffle ball, except you use the racket as the bat and the tennis ball for the ball.
- Hawaiian Week Games - During this week, we played lots of traditional Hawaiian games. We had a hula dance, Limbo, and Tropical Dance Off. The kids loved it! We bought leis, coconut bra's, grass skirts, and more and they put them on and had a great time!
- Capture the Flag - Each team would hide their flags somewhere around the church. We made a base and a jail, but the first team to go across the boundary and grab the flag, and make it back without being tug won!
- Scavenger Hunt - Drawing a puzzle on one side and putting the clues in the pieces, the kids were led inside, out, up, and down to find the next clue. Once all of the clues were found, they had to put the puzzle together. They had to use teamwork for this one and this was their favorite!
- Hide & Go Seek
- Fort Build Off - The kids were always using the chairs, tables, and their pool towels to make forts, so we would have fort build off's to see who could come up with the best fort.
- Family Feud DVD Game
- Singing Bee - The songs were written on a piece of posterboard with some of the words missing. It was their job to fill them in!
- Wheelbarrow Races - Kids were put on teams of 2. One kid held the other's feet while the other kid had to run on their hands to the finish line!
- Easter Egg Hunt - During Easter in July, we had an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. We put prizes on the 2 big eggs, the person with the most, and the team with the most.
- Mummies - The kids had to lay down on the floor without moving. If you moved, you were out because Mummies don't move! The last 5 or so laying won!
- The Name Game - To get to know each other, we had the 2 teams that were picked sit facing away from each other on the floor. Each team had a captain who assigned someone to stand up on the counselor's "GO!" One person from each team stood up at the same time and the first person to yell out the name of the person on the other team won. The person who lost then goes over and sits on the other teams side. When there's just one person left on a team, the team with all of the players wins!
- Park Games - Every now and then we would walk to the park for the kids to play down there. It was a stone's throw away from the pool so we would eat an early lunch and go there first before the pool. The kids were able to play outside on fun equipment that wasn't at the church.
- Three Legged Races - We broke the kids up into teams of 2 and had them stand next to each other; side to side. We tied their inside leg together to form one, and then they each had their outside leg, making 3 legs. They had to run from the start to the finish line tied together, without coming apart. First team to get there wins!
Another thing that the kids were priviledged to each day was going to the Community Pool. It was a short walking distance away, so every day at 12:45 we would line up and take the back road to the pool. There, the kids were able to swim and play until 3:10. We then rounded them up and made the walk back to the church. Once there, the kids got a snack and a drink. By the time they were finished eating, their parents were there to pick them up, and another day was in. At the end of the year, we had a pool party for the kids where we went out and bought a bunch of pizza's and rented out the pool for 2 hours for any kid who came to day camp.
At the end of the year, the kids put on a church program in the church that we used. The kids practiced songs throughout the summer and signed up to help in the program. They talked about what they did, what they liked, and what they learned. It was our way of saying "thank you" to the church, and showing them what we accomplished with the kids.
The discipline system we used was simple. At the very start of each week we put all their names on a slip of paper and threw them into a hat. We picked teams this way. Once the teams were picked, they all got together and came up with a name. The names went on a dry erase board and that's when the game began. We used a point system throughout the week. If you do something good (sweep, wipe tables, etc) you get a point. If you aren't listening or are being disrespectful, you lose a point. The team with the most points at the end of the week wins a big prize (candy bar, pack of gum, extra scoop of ice cream, etc.). We also played kickball and other games for points every now and then.
Overall, the kids had a great time during the summer, and because I see them everyday in school (I teach at their school) they remind me that they had fun and ask if i'm going to come back next year! It's a great way to have fun with kids and provide them with something to do over the summer.