The Best 6 Traditional Activities at All Summer Camps

Campfire at Summer Camp

The Traditional Camp Activities are Offered at All Summer Camps for Kids.  Some of My Most Emotionally Profound and Life-Changing Experiences Were Felt in these Activities.

As I sit here thinking about the traditional camp activities, they really were the ones that resonated within me the strongest.  There are memories there that can still create a flood of tears from a whole symphony of emotions.

Most of those memories are overwhelmingly positive, with a sprinkling of some negative ones as well.  No matter the experience; a resounding and firm smile always settles on my face after thinking about any of those life-changing memories.

They will be with me forever.  Firmly lodged in my Heart.

Boy I’m glad nobody can see me writing this right now.  I feel like a blubbering mess living in all of those memories again, if only for a moment.  Why do I have to listen to the Rudy soundtrack every time I write one of these posts.

Anyways, I hope that the memories your kids create at these truly special camp activities will have the same positive effects on them.  

What Are The Traditional Activities at Summer Camps at Kids?

The Traditional Camp Activities are the ones that occur in one form or another at most summer camps, regardless of location or values.  They include Campfire (or Skit Night), Cabin Rest Time, Chapel, the Camp Dance, and the Opening and Closing Camp Ceremonies.

They can also include the following activities: kayaking / canoeing, swimming, mountain biking, and archery.

These thrilling activities deserve their own blog post to fully encompass the safety considerations for parents.  You can learn more by clicking HERE.

Campfire or Skit Night

Campfire, or Skit Night, involves each cabin group performing a skit, song, or dance for all of their peers each night.  These are created, prepared, and rehearsed by the cabin group themselves.

The counselors are mainly there to facilitate and promote teamwork.  As well as to ensure everything is age and camp appropriate with their performances.

There is also a pre-prepared, open fire of some sort, and usually, a good chance for some s’mores too.  No awesome outdoor adventure for the kids is truly complete without an open fire and s’mores. 

This activity is crucial for empowering kids’ inner-confidence and spurring on their creative expression. It also teaches kids how to work and perform together as a team.

This activity can be especially rewarding for adults too. I’ve seen some of the shyest kids at camp find their confidence and burst with energy onto the stage. They suddenly become the loudest and most energetic of their cabin group.

It always melts the heart when it happens, and can be one of the most memorable aspects of camp for the adults.

This activity usually takes place in either the main meal hall or in an outdoor amphitheater. If its taking place in an outdoor setting, the kids will need to layer up for warmth as this activity takes place at night and will last an hour or two.

Cabin Rest Time

Cabin Rest Time at summer camps is an hour set aside each day (typically immediately following lunch) for kids to have some quiet time in their cabin for naps, quiet games, or reading.

Counselors are always in the cabins with the kids during this time to facilitate and ensure that the kids volume stays low enough to allow others the opportunity to sleep. 

This is NOT a time for counselors to sleep; they should remain engaged with their kids.  It really serves as a chance to recharge for the kids as their camp day has a long way to go yet.

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Chapel at Summer Camps for Kids

This kids summer camps activity is usually not religious; instead, it serves as a motivating way first thing in the morning to set the goals of the day for the campers.  The session directing team will also use it to teach life lessons to the kids. 

This is a camp-wide activity that occurs at the beginning of each day.  The life-lessons taught introduce universal development concepts.  Such as the negative effects of bullying, the positive impact of teamwork on everyone, and the importance of inner-confidence.  These lessons are always discussed and planned prior by the session directing team. 

This activity is important for setting the tone and direction of the day for the kids.  It also allows the session directing team to address any positive or negative developments, if deemed necessary, with the campers.  This is not a typical activity for some types of camps, although strong counselors will always have a mini-version with their cabin groups.

The Opening & Closing Camp Ceremonies at Kids Summer Camps

The official start and end of each camp session will be marked with a mix of orientation (rules and expectations) and personal empowerment messages.  Each camp will run these activities differently depending on their history and established traditions.

The Closing Ceremony will be a highly emotional and sensitive time for the campers.  As an adult, it can also be the one of the most memorable aspects of the entire camp experience.

When I think of my favorite cabin groups over the years, it is the memories of the last day that really stick out in my mind.  You have witnessed and fostered a remarkable individual and team development in your kids.  And you realize how much you have learned not only about your kids, but about yourself as well.  

It is an incredibly proud and empowering feeling; ones that I will remember with true joy for many decades.  The feelings will be mutual as your kids will also remember you in the same way for a very long time.

As I’m writing this, I’ve got a big grin on my face and my heart is very full just thinking about it.  Many counselors find that their cabin group will start imitating their habits by the last day.  This reflects a very successful job by the counselor.

The kids truly respect and look up to the adult at this point.  The old adage is true at Camp, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Keep in mind that, given this level of personal empowerment, kids will respond on the last day very differently.  Some will keep it inside and others will express it very strongly.

If it has been a successful camp session, there will be many heartfelt tears all over Camp from both adults and campers on this day.  

The Camp Dance

The Camp Dance is a camp-wide activity that involves all campers and most of the adults.  It usually takes place in the dining hall with set perimeters to discourage campers from wandering off.

Much has already been discussed about the Camp Dance activity in a previous blog post.  How the camps manage this highly sensitive activity is VERY important for your campers overall experience.

If you are wondering how to trust this activity and others at your kids summer camps, then this post will provide valuable insights for our wonderful camp parents.

Please keep in mind that if this activity takes place indoors, it can start to feel quite stuffy for the kids.  So the clothing should be light and comfortable.

There’s no need to pack any expensive or overly formal clothing for this event.  In fact, overly formal clothing should be discouraged as the kids will use this appeal to try to impress the other gender.  Which, as discussed before, ALWAYS leads to problems.  

This doesn’t mean they can’t dress silly, especially if they are keeping with the camp theme.  I’ve been many a camper and counselor rock a onesy on the dance floor.

Remember this is an activity designed to allow the kids to cut loose and just have fun.  It should NEVER have any intimate or relationship influences. This ALWAYS creates situations where kids get incredibly upset and heartbroken.

No Tug Of War Games at Kids Summer Camps!

Tug of War games is not an encouraged activity at kids summer camps.  They create a fair bit of anxiety for the camp directing staff, especially those that have seen it all go wrong.

It involves a tremendous movement of collected force, and freak accidents have been known to occur when playing standards are lax.

There is also no safety equipment or gear that can mitigate the occurrence of a freak accident.

This activity, under any circumstances, requires close supervision and an understanding by all staff/volunteers involved of the potential pitfalls.  Most camps decide it is simply not worth the risk.

What Happens If My Kid Is Separated As Soon As They Get Off The Bus On Pick-Up Day From Camp?

If any group of campers is immediately separated for a private discussion with staff upon the bus returning from camp, this is never an arbitrary occurrence.  And it will certainly never be over something as small as lost & found issues.

This indicates that a serious problem has occurred, that has just been realized, and needs to be resolved. 

This is actually more common than you’d think as the last day of camp is when some gossip that might have been circulating amongst the campers for much of the session will finally reach the adults. 

That’s A Wrap!

Hopefully, this post on the traditional camp activities at your kids summer camps is helpful, insightful, and enjoyable for you.  These activities have certainly created ripples for the better in my life, and I hope they do the same for your kids.

This post is a part of our KCE Camp Tidbit – My Kids Doing What At Camp.  Have a great time preparing your young camper for their unforgettable outdoor adventure!

“I went to camp expecting to make friends, but I ended up with family.”

– Former Camper and Counselor

For more of the best kids camp tips and insight, subscribe to our free and exclusive KCE Camp Tidbits emails.

*Please keep in mind that every experience at camp will differ from camper to camper.*

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