Camp Fun All Winter Long (Yes, it IS Possible!)
In case you missed the horns and confetti, it’s now January. Camp ended 5 months ago, and camp will start again in 5 months. Do you know what that means? We’re half way to summer!
We live in Chicagoland. Large amounts of snow and brutal temps mean we may not want to leave the house. Believe it or not, a cozy day at home is the perfect opportunity to experience the fun of camp, while not going anywhere! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Dress Up Day
Campers love dressing up at camp, and there are so few opportunities to get dressed up silly at school. Hold your own dress up theme day for the whole family. After you’re dressed up, lay down some blankets to make a red carpet (it doesn’t matter if it’s not red, it could be the tie dye or blue fleece carpet) and hold your own fashion show. Want to get a little artsy? Grab some portable mirrors and do a self-portrait, including your costume.
Ice Cube Scavenger Hunt
This one takes a little bit of prep work, and is best when it’s not freezing cold outside, but cold enough so ice cubes won’t melt. Using an ice cube tray, make ice cubes while also adding a drop of food coloring to each section. Give it a little stir, and freeze. Once frozen, place cubes in a ziploc baggie, and make another batch or two. Once you have a good supply of colored ice cubes, hide them outside in safe places. Give your kids the parameters of where they can hunt and let them go. You can give points based on the number of colored ice cubes found, or if you really want to get creative, assign points to each color ice cube.
Create a song or dance
Why wait until the end of camp to perform? Each family member can choose to come up with a dance or song (think lip sync or karaoke). Take some time to work on your act, and get ready to perform. Add a little bit of costume: a hat, tutu, boa, sunglasses or fashion wristbands. Create a microphone out of aluminum foil and an empty paper towel tube to feel like a real rock star.
Camp Chef Dessert Competition
When we looked on our pantry last week, we noticed we had a handful of ingredients leftover from desserts – a handful of coconut, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs (yes – we made 7 Layer Bars, guilty as charged). While not enough to make another batch, you can repurpose similar ingredients to make a masterpiece to present in your own dessert competition. Choose a base (ice cream, sliced fruit, cake, muffins) and set out your ingredients. Give an award for the tastiest, best presentation, most creative, etc. The best part – the tasting! Here’s a fun twist – cut up apples, pears, peaches, or similar fruit, and sautee them with a little bit of butter, then decorate – yum!
Science At Home
Science is fun to learn about, but more fun to make hands on experiments. Under adult supervision, head on over to the University of Wisconsin Chemistry Department’s “Science Is Fun Home Experiments” and see what you can create using items you probably already have at home. If you don’t have an advanced degree in science, don’t sweat it – not only does this site provide instructions, it also provides the scientific explanation – phew!
Read All About It – A Mitzvah (good deed) Project
It’s time to go through your old books – for a good cause. Are there books you’ve outgrown? Do you have multiple copies of a few books? Organize your books into those you’re still using, and those that could make a child happy by getting a “new” book. Once you have determined which books you’d like to donate, head on over to Bernie’s Book Bank for the nearest drop-off location. Want to go bigger scale? Encourage other families to also go through their books, collect 500 books, and Bernie’s Book Bank will come pick up from you. You won’t believe how quickly you can get to 500 books. What a mitzvah (good deed)!
Winter Maccabi Games!
Start by choosing your team color, complete with a few cheers. Pull out those old board games, and put family members head to head in competition and tally up your points. Make other games and toys a competition – who can put together a puzzle the fastest? Who can build the tallest free standing Lego tower in 2 minutes? Here are 12 “Minute To Win It” style games. You probably have most of the supplies at home (or improvise on what you don’t have). Award points to the winner of each game – let everyone have a chance to play!
Just as much as our camp families love seeing photos of their camper during the summer, we’d love to see photos of your camper – and your entire family— during the year. Be sure to take some photos of your family participating in these activities and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to post photos on our Facebook or Instagram pages.
Lawrence J. LeVine is the Program Director at Elaine Frank Apachi Day Camp in Lake Zurich. Lawrence is also the Manager of Community and Family Engagement for JCC.