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7 Camp Activities To Try at Home

Campers enjoy a game of GaGa at Tall Pines Day Camp.

Campers enjoy a game of GaGa at Tall Pines Day Camp.

You can capture the camp spirit at home with these seven popular activities. They can boost self-confidence and teach important skills like cooperation and teamwork.

Some of the activities work best with a group of kids and parents. It’s a great way to get to know your children’s friends and families.

1. Going GaGa

In GaGa, also known as Israeli dodgeball, players try to hit opponents below the waist with a soft rubber ball while trying not to get hit.  “GaGa is an inclusive sport that boys and girls of all ages can play together,” says Larry Zeitz, director of Willow Grove (PA) Day Camp.

Arrange benches or furniture to simulate the octagonal “pit” in which the game is played. Or find pit-building instructions and GaGa rules on the right side of the home page at ctcampguys.com. “You don’t have to be athletic; everyone is good at GaGa!” says Andrew Yankowitz, director of Tall Pines Day Camp in Williamstown, NJ.

Delaware’s Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club has added its own GaGa tradition. “When there are two players remaining, they meet in the middle of the pit for a friendly handshake prior to starting the last round,” says volunteer coordinator Leslie McGowan.

2. Fishing, Boating and Hiking

Our region is flush with recreational areas where you can fish or rent a canoe. You can find hiking trails at parks throughout the area. At Localhikes.com, enter your zip code for more ambitious regional hiking sites.

3. Gimp

You can find gimp, the plastic lacing traditionally used at camps to make friendship bracelets and key chains, at crafts stores and at websites such as ACMoore.com. Find instructions for a friendship bracelet at How-to-make-jewelry.com.

Kids demonstrate recipes at Spatulatta.com4. Cooking

Cooking has become a popular camp elective. Turn the kitchen over to your kids and their friends and invite parents to sample their creations. Find kid-friendly recipes at Spatulatta.com.

5. Frolf (Frisbee Golf)

In this non-competitive cousin to disc golf, you attach numbers to anything in your yard or park. Players use a Frisbee to hit the numbers in order. Kids can make up their own rules. See Frolf.com for ideas.

6. Apache Relay

Generations of campers can remember passing a baton (or egg) through various stations. A player waiting at each station performs a designated activity, then passes the baton to a teammate at the next station. Activities can be silly or skill-based, from shooting three baskets to reciting the alphabet. Kids and adults can join together on a team. The team that completes the stations first wins.

7. Campfire, with Songs and S’mores

If there’s no nearby campfire pit, consider buying a fire pit at a home improvement store. After the kids collect sticks for toasting marshmallows, sit around the fire, sing favorite songs and tell spooky stories. Sandwich your melted marshmallows and chocolate between graham crackers, and create camp-like memories in your backyard. Find campfire songs and ghost stories at Backyardcampout.org.

Ellen Warren writes for the American Camp Association (ACA) Keystone regional office serving Pennsylvania and Delaware. Learn more at www.acacamps.org/keystone and Campparents.org.

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