Does your camp have theme weeks or theme days? In this series of posts, I give you 5 ideas for different themes. Check the comments for more ideas and to add your own.
Below are my five suggestions. What’s yours?
AREAS OF ADVENTURE
Create unique adventures in different areas of camp. Take a lesson from Disneyland. Each area has a different theme; Main Street, Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Critter Country, Galaxy’s Edge, Fantasyland, Toontown and Tomorrowland.
Here are some examples for summer camp areas and decoration ideas.
- Tarzan’s Ropes and Teambuilding Area
- wooden cutouts of Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah
- swinging ropes hanging randomly
- jungle sounds
- a hut
- a treehouse
- Neptune’s Beach and Aqua World (waterfront)
- a trident nailed to the canoe building
- wooden fish hung all around
- jars of sea glass
- Rudy’s Sports Complex (field and basketball court)
- wooden cutouts of athletes that are to scale
- wooden cutouts of fictional athletes like Goofy in football gear or Charlie Brown trying to kick a football
- Olympic rings with camp colors
- The King’s Dining and Special Events Hall
- coats of arms
- mounted dragon head
- Shutter’s Photography and Videography Studio
- collection of cameras through the ages
- Polaroid pictures hanging on the wall
- movie posters
- studio lights
- green screen
- Bullseye’s Fun Zone (Archery, Riflery, Slingshots, etc.)
- cutouts of Robin Hood, David and Goliath, etc.
- fun targets
- moving targets
- targets that make a sound
- The Plunge (swimming pool)
- cutouts of fish, palm trees, tikis and torches
- luau music
- The Cosmic Craft Shack
- walls painted with cosmic scenes
- paper mache rocket
- Wild Bill’s Horse Corral
Hikes or long walks are often done in silence or the campers talk amongst themselves. Sometimes the leader will lead a song or a word game that can be done while walking like, “I’ll say the name of a celebrity and then the next person has to use the initial of the last name of that celebrity for the initial of the first name of a new celebrity, and we go on until everyone has had a chance to play.”
Instead, here are 5 different ways to turn your boring hike into an Adventure Hike.
- Set-up wooden cutouts of animals along the path for the campers to look for. Make them challenging to find.
- Toss out plastic animals along the path and lead an Animal Hunt.
- Stop and do different activities along the way like telling an exciting story, building fairy houses, doing some nature art, etc. and then end the hike at a pre-built destination like Pooh’s Corner, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party or an open space with a guest magician.
- Go on your own Scooby-Doo-ish mystery and follow the tracks of a creature that stole brownies from camp. See if you can find it’s lair. The creature will turn out to be a staff member in a costume who loves brownies. You solved the case. Now eat the rest of the brownies.
- Collect rocks and acorns to be used at a hidden rock-throwing range.
Hold a camp adventure race. An adventure race is where teams race together on foot, mountain bikes, canoes, etc. They hike, climb, paddle, run and ride.
Some adventure races also include:
- Team Challenges
- human pyramid
- fire building
- Wild Woozy low ropes challenge
- water balloon toss
- Skill Presentations
- basketball free throw shots
- Hula Hoop
Your adventure race can include whatever you want and have available.
Or you can hold an Amazing Race.
Put together a treasure hunt.
Like a scavenger hunt, treasure hunts can take place pretty much anywhere. However, while you can lay out items in a relatively small area for a scavenger hunt, you’ll usually want a bigger area for a treasure hunt like your whole camp property, the area around your camp, the local town, etc.
A typical treasure hunt will have clues that will lead groups to other clues until they find the treasure. Clues (and the treasure) can be placed out in the open, locked in a box or buried in the sand. In other words, they can be anywhere. Where you place each of your clues will depend on the playing area, level of difficulty, type of clue, and the theme if you have one.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
You can have as many participants as you want, but it’s best if you keep your teams small. Teams of 2-6 are ideal. I wouldn’t go above 10. The more campers you have on a team the less each of them can contribute to the hunt.
You’ll need to make sure that teams actually solve each clue and don’t just follow one another. Here are a few things you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen…
- Start teams in intervals and keep track of their time. The downside here is that teams could catch up with one another and then you’re back to the possibility of teams following each other.
- Give different starting clues to each team so that they all start at a different spot.
- Have a staff person at each clue to ensure that teams solve the clues and don’t just follow one another. Once a team solves a clue they go to the staff person, who confirms that they have solved it, before continuing on.
This is a treasure hunt so it makes sense to have treasure, or a prize, at the end. Here are some ideas…
- A treasure chest with snacks for all participants of the hunt and maybe a few little prizes for the winning team
- The hunt could end at the dining hall where a pizza party awaits.
- A bag of snacks for each team that completes the hunt
- A piñata that gets to be busted open by the winning team
- A campfire with s’more ingredients ready to be consumed
In each case, all participants (not just the winners) get to share in the “prize”. You may decide to give the winning team a separate prize or you may feel bragging rights is enough. The winners of my hunts get a special “Hunters” bead for their nametag necklace as a bonus prize.
ADVENTURE (FIELD) TRIPS
There are plenty of trips you can take that would be considered adventurous. Of course, ages play a factor here.
- Whitewater Rafting
- Paintball Field
- Laser tag
- Off-site Ropes Course
- Canoe or Kayak Trip
- Trampoline Dodgeball Arena
- Community Service Project