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Unique Summer Camp Ideas for Kids

It is that time of year again; the time for kids to explore, learn and grow without the structure and conformity of school. Summer is the perfect opportunity to really delve into what your child enjoys and foster that passion using uniquely designed programs. When people hear the word camp, most think of a tent, a fire and bugs, but camp can be so much more. Check out these unique summer camps:

Flying Camps

unique camp ideas for kids

Whether your kid are 5 and want to be a bird when they grow up or 15 and pursuing aviation as a college option, Hiller Aviation Camp encourages this passion through hands on activities and models, aircraft demonstration, behind the scenes museum gallery, and aviation themed games. Flying camps teach science and life skills in a fun way that allow children to enjoy their experiences, while also continuing their education.

Spy Camp


Sometimes you can just tell from a young age that your child is going to be a spy detective for the CIA. As unrealistic as that may sound, you really just never know. If your child enjoys spies, spy movies, or spying on his/her older siblings (or younger), develop that passion by giving him or her a summer filled with mystery, thrill and suspense. Spy Camps keep your child active with secret missions to accomplish each day. Whether you think your child will be a spy for the CIA or a detective for the police force, it is never too soon for you to encourage that pursuit.

Adventure Camp


According to the dictionary, a person with a compulsive desire for excitement and adventure is an adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline, however is not necessarily a bad thing. It prepares the body for stressful or physically demanding situations. You never know when you will need your adrenaline to kick and save your life or the life of another. Adventure camps develop a child’s sense of adventure through hiking, exploring and playing. Teaching positive ways of releasing energy helps children later in life know how to cope with the constant stresses of day-to-day life.

Fashion Camps

Your little fashionista probably isn’t going to be into the whole muddy, dirty experience of sleeping on the ground and exploring the wilderness that is offered at an average camp. However, the idea may be a little more appealing to him/her if there was some kind of fashion involved. Fashion may seem like a passion your child will grow out of, but it is important to develop this passion in a way that gives them life skills. It isn’t just putting on pretty clothes; it’s a lot of hard work. At fashion and sewing camps, your child will learn how to come up with an idea, sketch it out, and then create it with master cutting and sewing skills. Inspire their creativity and sense of style at fashion camps across the world.

Lego Camp


Legos may seem like just a toy, but they are in fact great teaching tools and used by some of the most well known professions. Engineering, construction, and developing all start with one simple design, and this design can be created using “toys” such as a Legos. They also help with spatial skills and math concepts that children may not realize they’re even learning. Lego robotics, spatial skills, engineering, and so much more are at the heart of a kid who plays with legos. So, if you have a Lego obsessed child, get them into a LEGO camp to support their passion and desire to learn.

Unique camps are a tremendous way to foster a child’s creativity and enhance their learning experience. It may not always be possible to send your child to a week long camp at $80 a day or more, so read part 2 for ways to transform an ordinary camp ground into a fashionista dream land or spy camp never spied before.

Look for summer camps near you…your kids will thank you for an unforgettable summer!


10 Fun Family Camping Activities

Headed off to the woods with a tent and some sleeping bags? Take along these creative ideas to make family camping extra fun.

By Ashley Winters

boys on family camping trip

Nature makes room for your child to explore, learn, and create. It’s easy to transform a regular campsite into the “summer camp” of a lifetime. Oftentimes family campgrounds have activities to keep kids busy, but in case yours is off the beaten path, I have compiled 10 unique and fun activities for family camping that will keep your kid’s imagination inspired. Whether you do something as simple as taking a walk through the woods or as extravagant as creating and overnight adventure, your kids will love outdoor activities like these … and they’ll love spending quality time with you.

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1. Assemble Spy Gear

Think about what a spy needs: paper, pencil, periscope, magnifying glass, rope, etc. To create the ultimate spy camp, start by making spy gear such as:

  • A periscope: Using 2 mirrors (2″ by 1″), a piece of cardboard carton (6.5″ by 8″), scissors, glue and paint, you can help your child to create a periscope. Use the periscope to peer over walls and around corners.
  • A book safe: Using a hardcover book, sharp craft knife, ruler, and pencil, you can help your child create a place to hide his or her secrets in plain view.
  • Fingerprint Powder: Using starch powder, a candle, two porcelain dishes and a knife, you can show kids how to lift fingerprints and track clues.

Next, give them some detective work. Maybe they have to sneak into another campsite to grab a clue from the fire pit (make sure you talk to other campers first) or swing through an obstacle course to capture the clue. A good old-fashioned game of Capture the Flag is another way to use their sneaky minds creatively. Use real-life activities that you think your child would enjoy to enhance their spy skills.

2. Bring Along Lego Bricks

The great thing about Lego toys is that they can be taken anywhere; even into the campgrounds. Have your child use trees, birds, flowers, and all the nature around them to get ideas for their creations.You could talk to other campers in the area and see if any other children would like to get involved in a Lego competition. Go hiking to find venues of creativity and have your child design them using Lego bricks. Nothing can bring out creativity quite like a campsite.

3. Create All-Natural Fashions


If your child is really into fashion, encourage them to use only their surroundings to create something stylish. Back before sewing machines, TV and Internet, creativity and style came from what was on hand. For instance, flowers and berries would add spice to a plain cowhide dress. Go back to the ways of the land and show your child how to create fashion from what is around such as:

  • Flower necklaces
  • Flower hair accessories
  • Leaf dresses or outfits
  • Necklaces woven from stems and wood pieces
  • Woven purses or baskets

Using the Earth and nature to create fashionable necklaces or adornments is a lot better for the environment, and there are so many different ways to do it. So, encourage your child to be creative and see the beauty not only on TV, but in the Earth as well.

4. Make Family Camping an Adventure

Okay, let’s face it: Camp in and of itself is an adventure. However, you can make it that much more of an adventure for your child just by using some of the following ideas:

  • Cross a shallow river or creek without a bridge. (Safety first, of course.)
  • Climb the tallest tree and take pictures together (using safety harnesses).
  • For older children, take them into the woods and have them use a compass and map to find their way back to camp. You can be their guide. (Be sure you know where you’re going first.)

5. Give Mother Nature a Makeover


In some cultures, people celebrate May Day by weaving a tree with vibrant ribbon. This is usually done at festivals and with music. Encourage your child to learn a new culture and engage in an activity such as weaving ribbons of color around a tree at your campsite. Attach ribbons to the top of the tree and let them hang down. It is important to have an even number. Each person who is participating can grab one strand of ribbon. Partners will face each other and move around the tree going over then under the next person. This dance creates a beautiful weaved display and also teaches children different cultural rituals and history.

6. Whittle Some Magic Wands

Sticks make great wands. Simply use a pocket knife to smooth the stick. Carve in magic symbols or use paint to decorate it. The Earth gives us everything we need to create, explore, and design.

7. Try Tic Tac Toe: The Mother Nature Edition


A game played through the years is always fun, whether drawn in the dirt or made with the nature around us. Gather sticks for your playing board and use acorns or rocks for your playing pieces. Remember: Three in a row wins it.

8. Build a Raft

This generation of kids has probably never made a homemade raft. Just find pieces of wood in the forest and tie them together using twine or vines (make sure they’re not poison ivy!). You could even make miniature rafts and race them on the river. See who can create the fastest raft using the materials they have. Maybe you want to add a flag made of a twig and leaves or a scrap of fabric. Be creative and have fun.

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9. Make a Compass

Bring your kids back to the days before GPS, and create a compass using a bowl of water, a magnet, a needle, and a foam circle. They will learn about magnetism, direction, and what to do if…God forbid…the internet ever crashes. Kids won’t realize they’re learning, and parents will enjoy teaching their children a valuable skill. Encourage your kids to figure out how to use the compass to make their way back to camp.

10. Craft Jewelry From Nature

Braid together vines or stems to make “rope” for a bracelet or necklace. To decorate the rope, gather flowers, leaves, or rocks with holes to use as beads. With nature at your doorstep, there is no telling the creativity that can be enjoyed.

Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

7 Unique Birthday Party Ideas

Your child is special so why shouldn’t his birthday be just as special? When celebrating with friends and family at your home, you can make it themed like a birthday party place. With a little creativity, coming up with unique birthday party ideas can be super easy and super cheap. Most of the party idea decorations can be found at local dollar stores. Not only can you do these super fun party ideas cheap, but your kids will be learning without even knowing it.

Hawaiian PartyDollarphotoclub_52698588.jpg

Most parents just can’t afford to have a birthday party in Hawaii, so instead of trying to go there, make Hawaii come to you. You can usually find Hawaiian skirts, coconut tops and lays at your local dollar store during summer months. Find some Hawaiian music and have a Hula dance competition. Complete your look with orange light bulbs for the sun, blue table cloths for the ocean and and a kid painted mural of a coconut tree. Play pin the coconut on the tree for a fun game. Watch Lilo and Stitch for a fun Hawaiian film.

Under the Sea

Have a deep sea adventure birthday party. With a little creativity, and some construction paper, you can fill your house with deep sea creatures. To give the effect of being under water, cover lamps with blue vinyl table cloths. Create rainbow fish by drawing a fish and pasting tin foil fins on it; make handprint octopuses and different kinds of fish (fine motor skills). Cut your fish out and hang them on the ceiling for a feel of swimming with the fishes. Play sharks and the minnow. Watch a sea movie like The Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo.

Camping Party

Camping is always a fun activity for birthdays, but some birthdays just don’t fall at the right time of the year. No worries, you can have an indoor campout. Have roasted marshmallows over the gas stove, put up a small tent or blanket tent and create a fire place with blocks or legos (spacial skills).

Indoor Obstacle Course

When the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor activities on birthdays, friends will enjoy a little indoor competition. It isn’t everyday that you let your kids run through the house, jump on pillows or scream and holler like their outdoors, so why not let their special day be really special with an indoor obstacle course. If you have stairs, a basement or an easily accessible attic, use it. Use every part of your house as a fun course to get through. Have friends and family line up to relay race through hula hoops, dive under blanket forts and hop from pillow to pillow. Create your obstacle course and give winners a handcrafted, gold olympics necklace.

Hula hoops, pillows and couches what more do you need?

Lava Party

Instead of having specific activities, invite your kids to use their imagination with a lava party. Cover your floors with orange and yellow table cloths, blankets or construction paper. Tell your party animals that the whole floor is lava and if they fall in they will burn up. Have a goal to get to the treasure as a group. Every time one of your team mates falls in, everyone must start over. Or, have them storm the castle surrounded by hot lava and save the captured princess. Have a volcano cake and make a volcanic eruption with a pop bottle by adding vinegar, dish soap, red food coloring and baking soda.

Bubble Party

Bubbles are fun for everyone no matter what the age. You can get some dish soap and glycerin from your local dollar store and have a bubble making party. Use pop bottles, water bottles or containers to shake up your bubble mixture and make a pool of foam. Have a bubble making contest for the biggest bubble. Do experiments to see how much soap and glycerin to use to make the best bubbles. Have an outdoor bubble bath to swim in or if you must bring the party indoors let kids swim in their suits in a bathtub filled with bubbles. And, of course, a container of bubble party favors are sure to make a big hit.

Homemade Pizza Party

Everyone loves pizza, so why not let your party kids make their own. There are two ways of doing this:

-Buy pre-made pizza crust: Most local grocery stores will sell individual pizza crusts.
-Make your own pizza crust: Self rising flour and greek yogurt mixed together is a great two ingredient pizza crust.

Get enough pizza sauce, pepperoni, veggies and cheese for a whole army of hungry kids. Once pizza is cooked and cooling, have a best pizza competition where they have to vote for someones pizza. Play pin the pepperoni on the pizza by using a poster board cut in the shape of a pizza and round, red construction paper (peperoni) to tape on. Enjoy pizza, cake and ice cream, good games and fun times.

Unique birthday parties don’t have to be expensive. They just take a little creativity and a lot of imagination. Let your mind wander and give your special kid a unique party every year.

Super Activities for Super Kids

5 Ways to Celebrate Dr. Seuss Week

With his birthday on March 2nd, celebrate this week — also dubbed ‘Read Across America‘ — with fun, wacky words and silly stories with these great ideas.

girl reading a book

With the groundhog seeing his shadow, winter seems to drone on, so why not add some Wacky fun to March with a little Dr. Seuss.

Make Green Eggs

Photo credit: Masshole Mommy

One of Dr. Seuss’ most famous books is “Green Eggs and Ham.” Along with pin the eggs on the ham activities, you can make your own “green eggs.” There are many recipes for green eggs, but many kids don’t really want to eat eggs. So, instead of using real eggs, you can use a little creativity and imagination with pudding, food coloring and vanilla wafers. Get instant vanilla pudding so your child can help. Show them how to use a measuring cup to pour milk/water into the pudding powder (great math concept). Allow them to stir until thick then add a couple drops of green food coloring. watch as the swirls of green turn into a bowl of green. Explaining how food coloring works or even mixing blue and yellow to make green makes a great science experiment! Once the pudding is complete plop a circular shape on a plate and put a vanilla wafer on top. Your pudding creation will look like green eggs with a yellow yolk. This also goes great for St. Patricks Day.

Inspire Younger Children with Academic Reading Camps & Classes >>

Make a Family Foot Book

“The Foot Book” is another Dr. Seuss Fav by many. Why not join his left foot, right foot, clean feet, dirty feet joy of opposites and create a family memento. Teach your kids opposites by showing them their feet are little and yours are big and left from right. All you need is a few sheets of construction paper, a stapler, paint and feet of course. Place feet in paint and print them on construction paper. Make your feet into your own “Foot Book.” To keep it nice, laminate each page before stapling the book together. This makes a great memento to look at during graduation open houses as your child realizes another Dr. Seuss lesson of “All the Places You’ll Go.”

Play One Fish Two Fish Game

Nothing gets the family having fun quite like a game of competition. Not only can you play this game but you can design it. With “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, there are so many many fish you can make. Create them with your hand prints, feet prints or even trace them from the book. Then place a piece of magnetic tape on them. Next, create your fishing poles using a string tied to a pencil or stick with a metal paper clip on the end. Throw your pole into the pile of magnetic fish and see who can catch the most. To make it a little more educational based, write words that rhyme on the fish and fish for rhyming fish. If they don’t rhyme throw them back and try again next time. There are endless possibilities with magnetic fish from alphabets to word families and spelling. Be creative and have fun.

Make a Cat in the Hat Clothes Pin Craft

Photo credit: Sarah Butler 

Of course, who can celebrate Dr. Seuss without the good old “Cat in the Hat?” All you need are some clothespins, bow tie pasta, rotini pasta, a hot glue gun, paint and a printed Cat in the Hat cat. Glue your rotini pasta onto the opening of the clothespin. Underneath your rotini, glue a cat face. Underneath your cat face, glue a bow tie pasta. Then paint your rotini pasta red and white like the cat hat and the bow tie pasta red. Pin the cat wherever you want.

Make a Lorax Cake

And, how can you celebrate any birthday without some birthday cake? There are tons of complicated ways to make a Lorax cake, but it can be super simple and your kids can help too. First, make a regular round cake from a cake box. Any flavor you like. Next, get some vanilla icing and turn it green either by using green food coloring or mixing yellow and blue to make it green (science). Spread it all over your round cake so it looks like grass. To make Lorax trees, make another cake box as directed on back of box. To make them into balls, (for the top of the trees) crumble two slices of cake into a bowl. Add one spoon of icing into the cake crumbles at a time until you can roll the cake into a ball. Put your balls in the freezer for 20 minutes. Have kids decorate the balls with icing and any other cake decorations. Place balls on straws and put in your green cake for a homemade Lorax cake.

Of course, all these activities are great ways to celebrate all Dr. Seuss has brought to our reading system, but reading his books with your kids is a great way to promote reading and celebrate his creativity in reading. Or perhaps your children might want to learn how to write their own Seuss like stories at creative writing camp? I hope you enjoy Dr. Seuss for a whole week with all his numerous, silly and adventurous books.

Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged

5 Messy Activities for Outdoor Fun

Since as early as they could walk, your little one has probably made a mess at some point or another, such as a beautiful permanent marker portrait on the wall or a flour creation all over your living room floor. Or, how about how they clean up the room by stuffing towels down the toilet? Although irritating to parents, messy kids actually know how to have fun with their curiosity and intellect. Instead of stifling that creativity, unleash their expression with these fun, messy outdoor activities:

Sheet Painting

Instead of disposing of your old sheets, let your kids get creative with them. Simply grab an old sheet, hang it on a fence or other surface and let your kids go to town with paint. Use various painting utensils including: balls, spray bottles, foam letters, sponges and hands. Finger and body painting is one of the greatest experiences for a toddler. Spray bottles let you spray all different streams of color onto your canvas and balls get all that cooped up energy out while putting a splash of color on your sheet. Display your kids’ brilliant creation on the wall, in the playroom or let them use the sheet as an expressive piece in their room.

Color Sliding

First, make sure your kids have on play clothes that can get messy. Put paint on a slide and let them slide down into a mess of color; have them write words or letters in the slide; have a colorful race using matchbox cars; or have a pool filled with paint at the bottom of a slippery slide. No matter what you decide, this messy masterpiece is sure to be a hit. This can even be done in the winter with a sled and some color. Instead of sliding into water filled color, sled down into snow filled color.

Word splashing

Outdoor time is a perfect opportunity to promote learning as well as interact with your child at a deeper level. Whether your kids are just learning letters or spelling advanced words, word splashing is a entertaining way to learn. Using chalk, write words or letters in a hopscotch pattern. Fill up a bucket of water and put several sponges in it. Now it is time for the fun to begin; throw sponges on the words or letters until they disappear. Once they have disappeared, try to spell the missing words or remember the missing letters. Whoever gets the most words or letters right at the end wins the game.

Mud Fun

Whether young or old, there is something about the mud that makes life a little more fun. Use a hose to make a muddy section in your yard. Have a mud fight, a muddy slip n’ slide or a muddy tug of war. You can even use mud as a learning canvas by having children create muddy words or letters. With mud there are endless possibilities including mud wrestling, mud fighting and mud jumping. The muddier you get, the more slippier fun you will have.


Color run

Another messy activity that is not only great for home, but hitting the streets as a great way to make money for a fundraiser, the color run is a vivid display of your energy. Start a race with your kids or kids in the neighborhood. Give your kids a scavenger hunt in which they have to go to different areas of the neighborhood to get doused in a different color of colored powder. Whoever makes it back to the house with all the splashed array of colors first, wins. Or, have fun throwing colored powder in the air and just getting messy. Turn on some music and get your body physically fit with some colorful dance moves.

The problem with today’s kids is the lack of getting together outside of school and being creative while having fun and getting messy. As Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus says, “It is time to take chances, make mistakes and get messy.” Enjoy time with your kids, let go and unleash your inner child with these fun messy, learning activities.

Parenting Resources

5 Unique Ways to Enjoy a Snow Day and Learn

Kids may love the idea of a snow day simply because there is no school, but just because school is out doesn’t mean kids can’t enjoy a fulfilling learning experience at home. The bottom line is, parents can do much more at home than teachers can at school, therefore, taking advantage of a snow day is beneficial to children. The following ventures will get your kids learning while you get to spend valuable time together.

Get Creative in the snow

That first snowfall of the year is a great time to let your kids’ creativity fly. The snow offers a perfect, white canvas for all sorts of creativity. Read a story to you child and have them make pictures to go with the story in the snow. Or, better yet, create your own story with pictures included on your white canvas. Sticks or fingers can be great drawing tool and writing utensils and a flat hand makes a great eraser. Use paint or food coloring to color in your pictures.

Practice Writing Skills in the snow

Instead of using a paper and pencil, get your kids out in the snow. Snow makes an ideal canvas for practicing spelling words, stories or other writing skills. Again, fingers and sticks make great writing utensils and your child will enjoy a unique way of learning. Give your child various spelling words, and have him or her write each one in the snow. Write a simple story or comic strip in the snow for others to see as they walk along the sidewalk. You can have your child learn comical idioms to write or have them come up with an inspirational quote to design in the yard. Using paint or food coloring can create a vivid display while bubble letters and different fonts add individual creativity.

Splash some color in the snow

Fabricate your yard into a canvas for artistic expression. Paint, powdered chalk dust and food coloring are several ways of getting color onto the snowy canvas. Using different utensils for these items such as spray bottles of watery paint or water and food coloring, or chalk reels for colored chalk create different designs and effects in the snow. Get creative and let any idea flow into a vivid work of art.

Practice math skills with snowballs

Math is ubiquitous, including right outside in the snow. For counting practice, make a race with your child to make a certain number of snowballs. If your child needs some multiplication practice, tell them you’re going to make 20 snowballs, and you want them to make 4 times that amount (story problem and multiplication). A great way to practice dividing skills, is to make a bunch of snowballs together, and have your child divide them out to each family member, equally, for a challenging snowball fight. After you’re finished creating, multiplying, dividing and adding your snowballs, be sure to have a record-breaking snowball fight!

Practice spacial skills

Due to lack of time, and high demand for results, spacial skills and engineering skills don’t come to the forefront of classroom instruction. And, lets face it, engineering and spatial skills can be fun, especially if you’re designing an igloo, fort or hide out in the snow! Research some intricate designs with your kids online. Find a fort, igloo or hideout that looks like something you could both make together and use your spatial and engineering skills to build it out of snow. Your child won’t even know he or she is learning, but this may be the start of a career in engineering if your child enjoys it.

Interesting and enjoyable learning is lacking in both school and society. A snow day is a quintessential way to reunite learning and fun as well as spend valuable, quality time with your child. Enjoy a day of learning in the snow, and don’t forget the essentials like building snowmen and making snow angels.