I recently shared an article about our annual Cousin Camp. I also shared about how difficult it is to choose a camp theme. There are SO many great choices! The sisters-in-law and I peruse the internet every year and are always overwhelmed at the options. It’s so much fun!
In an effort to help you narrow down the options, I’ve compiled a list of the best camp theme ideas we’ve come up with so far.
(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through those links at no additional cost to you. Thanks in advance!)
Acting Camp: Kids can write their own skits or act out some pre-made ones, make costumes and props, design and make their own backdrops. These would be fun to perform for extended family on the last day. And you’d definitely want to video the performances for posterity’s sake.
Art Camp: Almost all kids love art–paint, pottery, a family project… Anything goes!
Adventure Camp: This is a wide open theme–whatever your family considers adventure would work.
Animals Camp: Focus on one animal for the whole week, a different animal each day, or different animal groups each day. Take a trip to the zoo on the last day.
Around the World (in a week) Camp: Pretend to be travelers. Make passports and “stamp” them each day for a different country.
Bible Camp: The possibilities are endless.
Board Games Camp: Chess has recently caught on (& taken off) in our area, so I could see that being a week-long camp. I could see Checkers, Monopoly, Sorry, Life, and others working well too. Watch the movie Clue for silly fun. Maybe after playing a few games, the kids may want to design their own game.
Black Beard Camp: Pirates anyone?
Beach Life Camp: Learn about beaches, beach safety, and creatures that may be found on the beach. Visit an aquarium, estuarium, or beach. If you don’t live near a beach, look for a lake (state park?) with a sandy beach and swim area.
Cooking Camp: This would make for a fun way to teach an invaluable life skill. Have all the cousins decorate their own aprons. Spend the first day teaching kitchen safety and nutrition. Allow the cousins to plan, shop for, prep, and serve an entire meal on the last day.
Carnival Camp: Step right up to TONS of fun! Build your week around different carnival games.
Circus Camp: Similar to Carnival Camp, but with acrobats!
Dinosaur Camp: T-rex, triceratops, brontosaurus… Include all the kids favorites.
Desert Camp: Learn about this biome and the plants and animals that live there. Read Roxaboxen for inspiration and let the kids create their own desert town…
Dessert Camp: Similar to cooking camp, but with a focus on desserts. YUM!
Decade Themed Camp: Don’t you miss the 90s? Do your kids thing the 80s were 100 years ago? Build your camp theme around a past decade.
Disney Camp: Movies, books, dress up. And Disney encompasses so much more than princesses and fairy tales. There are a million directions you could take this theme.
Dr. Seuss Camp: Choose one story or several, dress up or not, watch movies. Visit my Pinterest board for more Suess themed ideas.
Explorer Camp: You could explore a state park, a bird sanctuary, or a concrete jungle. This is another theme that lends itself to limitless possibilities.
Farm Life Camp: Learn about farm life and take a field trip to a local farm. Bonus points if you all wear overalls!
Fairy Tales: I guess boys may like this one okay, but my little girls would LOVE it!!
Fiesta Camp: Learn about Mexican culture and be inspired. Eat Mexican food or visit a Mexican restaurant. Learn a few Spanish words or phrases. Build a piñata and have a fiesta. By the end of the week, you’ll be ready for a siesta.
Gardening Camp: Decorate flower pots, make stepping stones for a garden, plant seeds–veggies, flowers, or both. Your kids will be reaping the rewards of this camp for weeks to come.
Game Show Camp: I’m thinking “Old School” like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Win, Lose, or Draw. But you could replicate whichever games your family would enjoy.
Hawaiian Camp: Volcanoes, waterfalls, surfing, beaches, luaus, pineapples… So many fun possibilities for this theme!
Inventor Camp: Do you have budding scientists in your family? Inspire them with an Inventor kit and then let them come up with their own inventions. Be sure to have lots of recyclable materials for them to use.
Island Camp: Similar to the Hawaiian theme, but you could “explore” several different islands. Make passports and pretend to travel. What will you find on Galapagos? the Hawaiian islands? Prince Edward Island? Fiji?
Jungle Camp: Reptiles and wildlife, bugs and rivers, native peoples and plant life. There’s so much to explore in the jungle.
Kids’ Choice Camp: Each day, the kids are given 2 choices and they decide which plan to follow for the day. Camp Directors (parents) can give as little or as much information as they choose.
Learn to __________ Camp: Whatever skill you’d like to teach would work for this theme.
Life Skills Camp: Learn to sew on a button, do basic first aid, boil an egg, whatever you consider important.
Lego Camp: All of the cousins in our family love Legos. Cousins could have competitions and cooperatives to build pre-designed or original creations. Enjoy the Lego movies: Lego Movie, Lego Batman, and Lego Friends (series on Netflix).
Medieval Camp: Knights, dragons, jousting?!
Mountain Climbing/Trekking/Exploring/Biking Camp: Learn bike safety and basic bike repairs, then head off together to explore a new trail or an old favorite.
Music Camp: I have no talent in this area, but maybe you do… This could be a fun camp for a musically inclined family.
Nature Camp: Spend some time in the great outdoors. Explore a local state park or your own backyard.
Ninja Camp: dress in costume, practice a few moves, watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Olympics: Set up your own backyard Olympics games and have a ball!
Ocean Life: Dolphins, whales, sharks, coral reefs, and seaweed… Whatever lurks in the deep that might peak your group’s interest.
Outer Space: Learn about the planets, rocket ships, astronauts, and constellations. Make your own cardboard rocket ship or this cool soda bottle rocket like Sarah at Frugal Fun for Boys & Girls.
Outdoor Games: Any outdoor games will do… Volleyball, badminton, basketball, relay races, obstacle courses would all be fun.
Outback Camp: Make passports and “travel” to Australia. Kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, the Great Barrier Reefs, and Australia Zoo, home of Bindi Irwin. You could serve vegemite sandwiches for lunch!
Pirate Camp: Argh, Matey! Make a pirate’s flag, a ship out of cardboard, and go searching for buried treasure. Don’t forget the map and ‘X’ marks the spot!
Pioneer Camp: Watch Little House on the Prairie for inspiration for this theme. Make a wagon train, cook a meal outside over an open fire, build a cabin out of popsicle sticks, make corn husk dolls, play games pioneer kids would have played.
Queen for a Day Camp: This would work well if you had all girls, and they could take turns. Even better, the moms could take turn being Queen and the kids could be your servants! 😉
Quilting Camp: Find someone with sewing skills and enough patience to teach a group of kids. I doubt a week would be enough time to complete a full quilt, but maybe everyone could make a quilted pot holder.
Rainforest Camp: Similar to Jungle Camp, but you could add conservation lessons to the week’s activities.
Red, White, & Blue Camp: Be patriotic!
Service Camp: Spend the entire week serving others. This could include baking cookies for a neighbor, weeding someone’s flower beds, visiting the nursing home. There are plenty of needs right around us if we’ll just take the time to look.
Spy Camp: Learn to speak or write in code, send secret messages.
Stars & Stripes Camp: Be patriotic! Maybe schedule this one during 4th of July week!
Super Hero Camp: Pick one or all. Let the kids dress as their favorite hero. Make capes and super hero cuffs. Include activities that use super hero powers like zip lining (flying), racing (super speed), laser tag.
Survival Skills Camp: Learn to make a fire without matches, read a map and a compass, find north by the direction of the sun…
Science Camp: Sarah at Little Bins for Little Hands already has a full week mapped out on her blog.
Safari Camp: Hide plastic safari animals in your backyard, make toilet paper tube binoculars, and go on a search for them. The animal track stamps would be fun to make too. Global Wildlife Center isn’t far from us and would make a great field trip to add to the week. Perhaps you have something similar near you… At the very least, you could take a trip to the nearest zoo.
Swamp Camp: Learn about this biome that is home to many interesting plants and creatures–mosquitos, alligators, snakes, heron, cypress trees, and lily pads. Bonus points if your’e near enough to take a tour of one!
Time Travelers: Pretend to go back in time. Each day could be a different time period. Dress in period costumes. Eat what would have been customary of the time period. Play games that children would have played during that time. Watch Mr. Peabody & Sherman or Bill & Ted.
Treasure Hunters: This could be similar to the Pirates theme above. The treasure could be anything, and you could take all week to find it. I’m imagining a lot of games and a week-long scavenger hunt with each day’s treasure leading you to tomorrow’s hunt until the last day when you actually find the treasure…
Under the Sea: Ocean life or mermaids… whatever suits your fancy.
Viking Camp: More seafaring, more exploring… Make a shield and this cool bracelet. Girls can braid their hair, and the boys can make those cool horned helmets. Watch Brave or How to Train Your Dragon.
Wild West Camp: Every cousin will need a pool noodle pony, and someone will have to be the sheriff. With a good sheriff, you’re gonna need a jail to hold all the criminals he (or she) will be rounding up. Toss horseshoes, make a campfire, go panning for gold (spray painted rocks). Make a fun photo booth, and enjoy some grub together.
‘X’ Marks the Spot: Learn to read maps, draw maps, and follow maps.
Camp Yum-Yum: Share something delicious every day!
Zoology Camp: Choose one animal or many to learn about during the week.
I hope this list has given you some theme ideas and inspiration to host your own Cousin Camp. Have you used one of these themes? Or maybe you’ll try one this summer… Let me know in the comments.