As nights get cooler and days get shorter, families make the transition from summer freedom to school routines. And even though summer camp season is over, it's impact doesn’t have to be.
Some camp traditions involve chores that many kids do at home (yes, chores!). Think making their bed or picking up after mealtime—but with a twist. Ask your camper to think back on their time at camp, and start making those daily to-do's a whole lot more fun.
1. Make a Cabin Contract together
At the start of each session, campers and counselors set expectations together much like you do in your own home. The list always includes things like safety, respect, and kindness—and gets silly from there. It might include saying a goofy word after you sneeze, or doing five jumping jacks if you forget to replace the toilet paper (please don't).
Transform your family chore list into a cabin contract of your own. The process empowers campers to shape their experience and understand why expectations exist. Something you create and agree on together (this is where we let signatures work their magic!) is a wonderful tool to practice accountability at home.
2. Say hello to the Clean Cabin Fairy
You've heard of the Tooth Fairy. Ever heard of her friend, the Clean Cabin Fairy? While campers are out fishing and zip-lining the fairy does their daily rounds, inspecting each cabin for tidiness. The cleanest cabin receives the honor of sitting with the fairy at mealtime. And take note: Bribes (cookies, anyone?) or letters reflecting a job well done are usually well received!
If you have little ones, leverage this tradition with a cleaning fairy of your own (a decorated mop or disguised stuffed animal will do the trick).
3. Give out the Golden Plunger
This is a slightly different take on the Clean Cabin Fairy approach. Each day the Golden Plunger is awarded to the neatest cabin (think actual plunger turned trophy)—and the competition is tight!
The trophy is quick, easy, and inexpensive to make (we know because we use one in the SeriousFun office). We recommend a brand new plunger and gold spray paint. Try this at home on a weekly or monthly basis to recognize the cleanest bedroom, speediest cleaner, or biggest effort.
4. Mix up your mealtime routine
Traditions vary widely by camp, but as food is often served family style there are a few different roles involving preparation and cleanup. At The Painted Turtle in California, the counselor chosen as the “Hopper” dramatically dances or acts their way across the dining hall to pick-up a tray of food for the table. At North Star Reach in Michigan, campers separate dishes, silverware, and glasses at the call of a cleanup song. They also divide their food waste into three categories: ort, compost, and trash.
Ask your camper how their camp mealtime worked and what they enjoyed most; get creative from there!
5. Dance like no one's watching
What better way to end a meal, than with a dance party extraordinaire? It’s a tried and true SeriousFun camp tradition. Once the cleanup is done, turn up the tunes and get ready to move! These camp favorites are a great place to start (we bet your camper will know some of the words already).
If you're hoping to wind down the energy, but still get your bodies moving, we've got a few fun ways for kids to relax and recharge after mealtime.
Sarah loves all things s'mores (there are a lot of varieties out there) and helps tell the story of SeriousFun through digital marketing. She leads the charge of content creation at the Support Center.