If you’re a mom like me, you tend to wait to the last minute to plan fun summer activities for your kids. The summer camps are all booked up (and too expensive), the kids clubs and vacation bible schools are all booked, and your kiddos are already murmuring “I’m bored.” I have a solution for you. Dollar Store Day Camp.
Last year, I had 2 school aged kids at home with me, and a small baby to watch over during the summer. Before I could feel sorry for myself, I decided to create a plan. Each week of the summer, we’d create our own day camp, and we’d use the dollar store to inspire us. Every Sunday, I ventured to our local dollar store and searched for themes. From bubbles week, science week, art appreciation week, and even amphibians and reptiles week, we had the best experiences all summer. Each day of the week had special assignments and activities that matched the theme. It was simple, but so much fun. This year, we want to share our experience with you and inspire you to create your own Dollar Store Day Camp. Here’s how we created our own camp on less than $25 a week.
Write Your Timeline
Summer feels like it goes on forever because we don’t sit down and count the weeks. Once we think summer is over, there’s always 2 or 3 more weeks creeping up on us. Sit down and figure out how many weeks your Dollar Store Day Camp with need to cover. Is it 8 week? 10 weeks? Look at your calendar and write down how many weeks summer truly is, and how many themes you’ll need.
Pick Your Favorite Store
This was key for us. While we have quite a few dollar stores in our area, there were only 2 that had a plethora of items to choose from. You need a store that will have large inventory, so it will be easy for you to create your camp activities. Bonus: you can get dollar store items online! If you know your themes ahead of time, you can always order items online, and have them delivered for the next week’s fun. Thank goodness for the internet.
Keep Themes Simple
Kids are fans of complex, especially in the summer. Heck, I can guess that YOU aren’t a fan of complex in the summer. Choose themes that are simple but fun. I mentioned that we had a bubbles theme one week. Bubbles sound so easy, and possibly boring, but because it’s simple you can take it to new heights. We created a game that had to do with blowing bubbles, we learned how bubbles were made, and we created DIY bubble wands. It was great!
Set Days For Activities
Each day of the week should have one main activity. Yes, only one. Listen, kids don’t need to be entertained all day in the summer. Yup, I said it. One main activity for the day will let them know that you’re all going to focus on making that summertime task as fun as it can be. Plus, if it’s a good one, your kids are going to want to repeat it ALL DAY. During reptiles week, we played a trivia game with a hopping frogs board game from the dollar store. The kids didn’t want to stop to eat lunch. This 1 hour game ended up lasting all day. Set one activity and let them soar with it.
Stick To Your Budget
For Dollar Store Day Camp, we challenged ourselves to entertain our 2 oldest kids with only $25 per week. That $25 needed to cover everything we purchased at the dollar store, any activities that were outside of the home (like movie day or a trip to the aquarium). Your budget can be larger if you have more children, or a bigger summer nest egg, but you NEED a budget. Set a weekly amount, and don’t go over it. While you may be using the dollar store to create your own day camp, you don’t need to spend 3 figures each week.
Join Us For The Fun!
Over the next 8 weeks, we’re going document each week of our Dollar Store Day Camp on 4 Hats and Frugal. We’ll share our themes, the items we purchase (with links to those items if they are available online), the activities for each day, and a full timeline for you to view and use for your own children. Let’s create a memorable (and inexpensive) summer for our kids, and ourselves. Be sure to come back every Monday for our weekly theme, and catch us on Periscope for live broadcasts of our activities!