Social Distance Summer? Weekly Theme Ideas for Summer at Home


So back in January, I planned our summer – those weeks felt crazy when we had to register for the Seacoast summer camps. Ours was going to be the perfect mix of camps, downtime, babysitting hours (so I can work) and some family trips. We were all looking forward to it. And then came the COVID-19. We’re still not sure if our incredible summer camps will go on as scheduled or if we’ll be spending our summer at home. Regardless, those few weeks in June are going to be weird — after school is out and (hopefully), when summer camps begin.

These new trends have me feeling freaked out when thinking about what comes after  June 5th, when remote learning ends for us. It’s all spinning around in my head:
– Will my boys go to camp?
– Will I get back to “real” work?
– Are our beaches and public pools going to open?
– How am I going to entertain these kids?
– To my husband: What about a lake house rental? Can we buy a pool? How about a boat? A puppy

I know that need to make a plan, so I feel in control when we transition from remote learning to remote summer. Currently I am sketching out what those first few weeks will look like for my own children. I’m harking back to my days of working in preschools – when we had weekly themes to focus our curriculum. Trying it out at home will give my children some rhythm and intention, and hopefully help to keep me sane.

Weekly Theme Ideas for Summer at Home


  • Make props – pirate hats, eye patches, and bandannas. Save paper towel rolls for periscopes and binoculars. Hold onto any giant cardboard boxes in the approaching weeks, to and paint a ship. Make a family flag and create a name for the crew. Learn to talk like a pirate, and select some unique names. Practice “walking the plank”, and don’t get eaten by an old croc!
  • Maps – draw treasure maps of the backyard, “hide” treasure in the neighborhood and engage some friends in the hunt too.  It would be fun to team up with another family nearby doing the same theme, and have a friendly competition. 
  • Printables – in my practice I often use free on-line printables to add to a theme – crossword puzzle, crack-the-code, craft ideas, spelling words, etc. These are always good to have for a rainy day!PIRATE SHIP - Mini Mad Things - weekly theme ideas for summer camp at home


  • Pack the backpacks with all the essentials – a compass, binoculars, trail map, some homemade trail mix, water bottle. Maybe throw in a bird/flower/animal track ID card too. 
  • Campfire – practice cooking over a fire, make s’mores, hot dogs on a stick, cinnamon rolls. If there’s no fire, make a pretend one and get out some flashlights, tell stories together!
  • Pitch a tent – or make your own “shelter” with sticks, a tarp, old sheets or whatever’s around!
  • Take a hike (or a nature walk). Add flashlights for a night-time walk
  • Make a fairy jar with glow-in-the-dark paint!
  • Go fishing – gather sticks and make your own poles. Here’s a do-it-yourself fishing game if you’re indoors. Indoor Camping Party - Tips and Activitites for Cooped up Kids ...


  • Make your own moon dough(or kinetic sand) as a base for activities
  • Create a sandcastle competition, incorporate seashells, rocks, sea glass and all of the beach toys 
  • Play yard games with a giant beach ball
  • Research sea life and go tide pooling 
  • Wear some sunglasses and roll our your favorite beach towel for a picnic
  • Make some blue jello and add Swedish fish for a treat.  Dr Seuss Class Party Snack. Blue jello with Swedish fish. Weekly theme ideas for summer camp at home


  • Select a handful of sports that your kids might be interested in. Research the rules together. Use chalk to draw a field/court on the driveway. Add in some classic touches – maybe learning “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” or having Cracker Jacks for snack.  Think about some life-long recreation options too – Frisbee, tennis, badminton, golf or croquet. Capitalize on the sports-theme printables to add in academics that might need some refreshing. Create team uniforms and have some friendly competition. 

Around the World 

  • Pick countries that interest you and research some traditional customs and celebrations. Create art projects around decorations (Chinese Lanterns or fans, Indian Henna, African jewelry or masks). Explore traditional recipes, research travel plans or create your own passport. Make a themed dinner!

Come up with your own! The sky is the limit with weekly themes for your family, take cues and interests from your children. Plus, you can be sure if summer camps are restructured or canceled, that our local organizations will have tons of ideas and even offer remote options. What can you come up with to plan your own summer at home?

30+ Summer Camp Themes - The Best Summer Themes for Kids - Natural ...Hopefully, we won’t all be spending the summer at home. Hopefully, camps will be open and our community will be healthy! Stay tuned to our summer camp directory for news and info about offerings!