Regrouping For Youth

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean the fun has to end.

A Lego building competition can spark new interest in day camp or afterschool activities.

Freshen up your day camp or after-school program with these new ideas:

Lego Battles

Legos are making a huge comeback with themes such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars, and even dolls like Belville. Investing in Lego sets and tables is hardly a minor move–and one that’s not in the budget–so get the kids involved. Ask each child to bring his or her Lego sets to create a Lego battle.

Separate campers into teams, such as boys against girls or the older against the younger, or mix everyone up for learning to work in groups. A simple table for each group is all that is needed.

Once the teams are set, let them construct their masterpieces in a set amount of time. Then score each project according to creativity, teamwork, and engineering. You can even divide each category into separate “winners” so each team wins a title.

Aside from helping children to read directions, work together, troubleshoot, and create, playing with Legos is also one of the few activities a group of boys will voluntarily sit down for!

Get Outside

While the weather is still warm, take advantage of outdoor activities. If possible, select themes that every child can relate to:

Skate Day. Invite campers to bring Rollerblades, skateboards, scooters, etc., to ride around outside, even in a parking area. Be sure to review safety requirements for the area or the camp with parents so they know what items to send. However, keep it simple, and let parents decide how much safety gear their child requires.

Bike Ride. Map out a route that includes an outdoor picnic. Ask participants to bring backpacks for riding and–of course–all of their safety equipment. Go over bike safety in advance, and make sure parents are on board with the idea. Make the bike ride long enough to get exercise, but short enough that it doesn’t tire out the younger campers. At the picnic location, allow the children time to ride their bikes, have lunch, relax, and then head back. This is a great half-day activity.

Nature Walk. This activity never goes out of style. Pick a location with plenty of interesting trees, leaves, insects, and other nature items, and have the children choose five things they really like. Those staff members with computers available on-site can ask campers to research what they found or ask them to do research at home. Those who do research get a special treat, like candy or even bike-leader priority.

Swimming. Most local recreation centers will allow a group to swim for free or a nominal fee. This fee can usually be incorporated into the registration fee. Avoid lakes and ponds as the wildlife may be a hazard.

Indoor Fun

Finding indoor fun has become much easier with local businesses looking to tap into the summer-camp market. Try some of these ideas:

Movies. While most local theaters have an inexpensive matinee, some even have a free morning movie for kids. The venue aims to make money from concessions, so be sure to advise parents to send money. Most places sell hot dogs and chips, which parents are sometimes willing to allow as the day’s lunch.

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