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Ideas for Summer Camp at Home + Summer Reading

Ideas for Summer Camp at Home + Summer Reading

Keeping the kids home this summer doesn't mean you have to skip summer camp. Here are some fun ideas for summer camp at home, including a suggested reading for your middle grader.

Today’s ideas for summer camp at home are sponsored by Disney Book Group.

Keeping the kids home this summer doesn’t mean you have to skip summer camp. Here are some fun ideas for summer camp at home, including my suggested reading for your middle grader – The Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan. You can prevent summer slide while the kids are having fun. It’s a win, win!

Like many parents, I made the decision to skip summer camp this year. Our usual summer camp allowed a limited number of campers this year, due to the pandemic. Since I work from home and am at-risk it made perfect sense to keep T home with me this summer for a do-it-yourself summer camp.

We are about half way though our summer break. Right about now we are all probably all in need of some inspiration for summer fun boredom busters. Nothing makes more sense than an at-home summer camp that incorporates summer reading.

Keeping the kids home this summer doesn't mean you have to skip summer camp. Here are some fun ideas for summer camp at home, including a suggested reading for your middle grader.

Ideas for Summer Camp at Home

1. Do a summer reading challenge.

All kids love a good challenge. Let kids earn rewards for each book completed this summer. Ice Cream is a popular summer reading reward at my house.

This summer, return to Camp Half-Blood with The Trials of Apollo series! When it comes to books, it is no secret that we are huge Rick Riordan fans at my house. If you are familiar with Rick Riordan’s other series like Percy Jackson and the Olympians, you know all about Camp Half Blood which I think is perfect to incorporate into a your summer camp plans, especially for your older children.

The fifth and final installment of The Trials of Apollo series is due out in October, so now is the time to get caught up on the middle-grade series. If you need to get up to speed, here is the series reading order:

The Hidden Oracle
The Dark Prophecy
The Burning Maze
The Tyrant’s Tomb
The Tower of Nero: final release coming October 6, 2020!

This is a super fun series geared for readers ages 10 and up. If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, you’re going to love these books too. An Olympian comes to earth, when Apollo himself is cast out of Mount Olympus. And, there is a catch. While on earth, Apollo takes on the form of an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. The series follows Lester aka Apollo as he attempts to regain his place on Mount Olympus by restoring five Oracles that have gone dark. Without his godly powers to help him, Lester recruits some help… including help from a certain demigod named Percy Jackson who leads him to Camp Half Blood for some much needed training.

Some of your favorite Camp Half Blood characters are back for The Trials of Apollo series. I love how Rick Riordan books include such a diverse group of characters from all backgrounds. This series is fun for all ages. Whenever I can, I read along with T or we listen together on Audible.

Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post for a chance to win the 4 books in The Trials of Apollo series, plus Camp Half-Blood swag including a drawstring backpack, t-shirt, hat, and decal!

2. Build an outdoor reading nook.

Simply fill a kiddy pool with comfy blankets and pillows to create a fun place to read outdoors.

There's nothing more dreamy than spending the summer outdoors with a good book. This DIY outdoor reading nook comes together easily with a kiddie pool, some blankets and pillows.

3. Go on a scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are so much fun, whether you do them indoors or outside. I have several scavenger hunts you can download and print for free. Check them out below:

Indoor Scavenger Hunt Printable
Spring Scavenger Hunt Printable
Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt Printable
Printable Camp Scavenger Hunt Bags
What’s in My Bedroom? Scavenger Hunt Printable

scavenger hunt

4. Make s’mores in the oven.

When’s the last time you built a campfire? Not so recently? You’re going to love this! You can still enjoy s’mores without creating a fire. You can make them right in the oven and it is so simple. Here’s how:

Set the oven to a low broil. On a cookie sheet, place a square of chocolate on top of a square of graham cracker. Top with a large marshmallow. Place in the oven and allow to broil 1 – 2 minutes. Watch closely and pull them out just as the marshmallows begin to get brown and toasty on top.

making s'mores in the oven

Once removed from the oven, top each with another graham cracker square and gently press down to squish it all together.

Eat while still warm and gooey. This is the perfect snack to take into the backyard for some outdoor reading.

reading outdoors

5. Do some indoor activities and crafts.

Indoor activities and crafts are perfect for the hottest summer days. Here are some of my favorite kid crafts and activities for summer camp at home:

Crepe Paper Campfire Craft
How to Make Oven Baked Clay Beads
Tissue Paper Stained Glass Art
Make Your Own Kite

flying a kite

See Also

Make Homemade Finger Paints
DIY Lava Lamp STEM Experiment
Make Upcycled Bird Feeders

make upcycled bird feeders

6. Go on a geocaching adventure.

Does your family go geocaching? It is so much fun! If you’re not familiar with geocaching just think of it as a treasure hunt, only instead of using a map you use GPS coordinates to find the hidden treasure aka geocache. There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world. Chances are there are some near you. This geocaching guide will help you get started.

How to Go Geocaching with Your Smartphone

7. Start a backyard garden.

Gardening is a great thing to get kids involved with. It is a great way to increase their awareness of where food comes from and the importance of the environment in everyday life. Here is a simple seed starting project for kids and some cute garden markers the kids can make.

starting a garden

The Trials of Apollo Series by Rick Riordan

I hope this has given you some inspiration for the rest of summer. After some trial and error, I think I finally got summer right. I was really worried about whether or not I’d survive the combination of summer break and social distancing. Summer camp at home and some great books for summer reading is totally the way to go. Learn more about The Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan and get caught up on your reading ahead of the October 6th release of the final book in the series.

Here’s what’s coming in Book #5 The Tower of Nero:

At last, the breathtaking, action-packed finale of the #1 bestselling Trials of Apollo series is here! Will the Greek god Apollo, cast down to earth in the pathetic moral form of a teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, finally regain his place on Mount Olympus? Lester’s demigod friends at Camp Jupiter just helped him survive attacks from bloodthirsty ghouls, an evil Roman king and his army of the undead, and the lethal emperors Caligula and Commodus. Now the former god and his demigod master Meg must follow a prophecy uncovered by Ella the harpy. Lester’s final challenge will be at the Tower of Nero, back in New York. Will Meg have a last showdown with her father? Will this helpless form of Apollo have to face his arch nemesis, Python? Who will be on hand at Camp Half-Blood to assist? These questions and more will be answered in this book that all demigods are eagerly awaiting.

The Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan

The Trials of Apollo Camp Half-Blood Prize Pack Giveaway

Enter for a chance to receive the 4 books in The Trials of Apollo series, plus Camp Half-Blood swag including a drawstring backpack, t-shirt, hat, and decal. Giveaway is open to residents in the United States and ends on July 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST.

There are two ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment sharing how your family has been enjoying summer break.
  2. Retweet this tweet.

One random winner will be chosen from comments and retweets. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your summer break!

View Comments (6)
  • We have been spending summer break playing some video games, watching movies, and getting a jump on school by taking some Kahn Academy classes.

  • Enjoying? After 4 months of staying at home on lock down we’ve given up on doing things together. Now it’s each person for themselves.

  • We have been playing in the back yard and hanging out in our sunroom, where we have been working on our second jigsaw puzzle of the summer. We did diamond paintings in the spring!

  • I have been hanging out with my mom, sons, & grandson Kobe who is 3 now. We watch movies & eat snacks/dinner together.
    Thank you.

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