With the summer of COVID-19 around the corner, plenty of kids (and their parents) are wondering how to fill the large, parched void left by canceled summer camps.
While some states have eased stay-at-home measures, plenty of camps are still awaiting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. And even if most camps do open eventually, not all parents are ready to send their kids back out into the world quite yet.
The solution? Create a summer camp experience at home. Provided you have a yard, a lot of traditional summer camp highlights—the volleyball nets, the campfire, even waterslides—can be erected on your very own property.
So whether you’re desperate to keep your kids busy amid summer camp closings or merely want to entice your kids outside to play, check out these fun additions that’ll transform your property into the coolest “camp” ever.
1. A net for badminton, volleyball, and more
Game on! Volleyball, tennis, badminton—kids can take their pick with this adjustable net (Walmart, $95.99). Lightweight and portable, the net can be easily set up in any yard. (Balls, birdies, and racquets not included.)
2. Outdoor pingpong
Lack the space for a net sport? An outdoor pingpong table (Amazon.com, $499.99) will fit just about anywhere. And this one is designed to withstand the elements, and arrives mostly assembled for quick setup. When the season is over, this table easily folds into a compact storage position.
3. A backyard tent
Camping out under the stars is a summertime ritual no kid (or grown-up) wants to miss. This pop-up tent (Amazon.com, $43.99) allows you to sleep outdoors or just spend time in a shady spot during the day. Two mesh doors provide ample ventilation.
4. Moonlit movie night
Skip the drive-in, and enjoy a film right on your own lawn with this outdoor movie screen (Hammacher Schlemmer, $199.95). The 12-foot screen inflates in minutes. You may also want to get the DVD-playing projector (Hammacher Schlemmer, $249.95). All you need now is popcorn.
5. Laze in a hammock
Read a book, take a nap, or catch some rays. A hammock (Walmart, $32.95) offers multiple ways to enjoy a staycation. Find a pair of trees and hook it up. Or purchase a hammock stand and set it up anywhere you’d like.
6. Build a campfire
Few things create a camp vibe like a roaring fire. Whether you’re toasting marshmallows or telling ghost stories, having a fire pit (Amazon.com, $123.99) on hand provides your backyard with a great gathering space.
And since no campfire is complete without hot dogs or s’mores, you’ll need roasting sticks (Amazon.com, $18.99). This set features five sticks, each 30 inches in length, so you don’t have to worry about kids burning their hands.
7. Archery set
Kids can perfect their aim with an archery set (Amazon.com, $34.99), which has suction cups at the tip rather than points for safer shooting. The portable quiver makes it easy for kids to carry the dozen arrows that are included.
8. Create an artists colony
Budding Picassos will adore this inflatable indoor-outdoor easel (Walmart. com, $49.97). Young artists can paint with brushes or their fingers and then just hose down the washable canvas when they’re ready to bring their next creative vision to life. This easel comes with four paints (1 ounce each), four shaped sponges, and a paintbrush.
9. A backyard waterslide
No lake or pool to cool off in? Then your kids will have a blast with an inflatable waterslide (Amazon.com, $369.99). It inflates in under 3 minutes thanks to the included generator. Kids can keep cool and get plenty of exercise on the climbing wall and climbing rope.
10. Tie-dye T-shirt kit
This tie-dye kit (Amazon.com, $70.99) comes with everything you need to create the most colorful clothing collection kids could ever want. It includes 20 colors, as well as 10 pairs of plastic gloves so you don’t dye your hands in the process.
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