Nothing says summer like blue skies, sunshine, warm weather and…tightrope walking! Wait, “tightrope walking?” Yes, you read that right! Gone are the days where summer camp meant sitting around a campfire while making s’mores and singing Kumbaya. Sure, we’re still all about the traditional camp experience and enjoying the outdoors, but why not a non-traditional approach to making the “great” outdoors even greater?

As we begin living a post-pandemic, “new normal,” we’re all craving to get outside and interact with others. Summer camps provide the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new friends and escape from the everyday world. After spending months in the classroom, children benefit from the interaction and physical activity that most camps offer. While your kids may have missed out on summer camps in 2020, it’s time for a sensational send off!

We’re about to share some of the most unique, out-of-the-box and under-the-water experiences available to children throughout the U.S.! Not located near one of these summer camps?? We’ve also shared tips for creating a similar experience in your own backyard. Put aside the pencils and notebooks, it’s time to break out the sunscreen and savor every moment of these summer camp experiences! 

Circus Camp

Your child doesn’t have to be the class clown to enjoy circus camp! Though we all know our homes can feel like a 3-ring circus at times, these camps provide lessons ranging from juggling, tightrope walking, magic tricks and even the trapeze! Click below to learn more about a circus camp near you. 

Circus Camps in Atlanta: Kids in Kindergarten through seventh grade learn all the basics of circus performance, from magic and clowning to juggling, aerial, hooping and tight wire. Your kids will be ready for the Big Tent when they’re finish this camp. Other circus camps include San Diego Circus Center and Shine on Circus Events in Sarasota, Fla.

Not near a circus camp? Try out some of these fun favorites you can do in the backyard.

  • Juggling with water balloons
  • Face painting
  • Swimming through hula hoops (“rings of fire”)

Bike Camp

Say goodbye to spinning your wheels at home with the kids all day. These biking camps are a great way to build your child’s confidence on the bike while teaching them coordination and improving their strength and balance.  Marin County Bike Adventures for Kids, in Marin County, Calif., teaches kids as young as age 5 mountain biking skills. Hannah Childress, a former racer and captain of the Drake High School Mountain Bike Team, founded the camp 14 years ago. All levels of riders are welcome. Kids on Bikes in Colorado Springs, Colo., aims to teach kids of all ages basic riding and mountain biking skills. Interested in becoming a professional mountain bike racer? Cutaway Bike Camp at the Miller School of Albemarle, in Charlottesville, Va., pairs kids with professional mountain bike racers to learn the latest skills and train. 

Learn new bike skills this summer.

Not near a bike camp? Try out some of these fun favorites you can do in the backyard.

  • Use chalk to create and ride through a town and road on the driveway
  • Use chalk to draw lines and zigzags then try to stay on course riding the bike
  • Decorate bicycles and host a neighborhood (or family) parade of bikes

Scuba Diving 

Dive into summer by sending your kids on an underwater adventure. These camps include an introduction to scuba diving in a safe and fun atmosphere. Your kids will navigate the water and improve their swim skills and water confidence. Here are a few high-rated scuba camps. Family Dive Adventures Kids Sea Camp in Columbia, S.C.; Underwater Phantaseas in Denver and The Dive Shop On McEver Swimming, Snorkeling & Scuba Camp in Gainesville, Ga. for ages 7-14.

Start your scuba divers with basic swimming fun!

Not near a scuba diving camp? Try out some of these fun favorites you can do in the backyard.

  • Use coins in the pool and swim underwater to capture them
  • Learn about water animals such as jellyfish, stingrays and starfish
  • Play tag in the backyard, selecting a landmark as the island, aka “safe zone”

Mountain Climbing

Is your child climbing all over the furniture? Up trees in the backyard? Fuel their adventurous side by signing them up for mountain climbing camp. Learn more about a mountain climbing camp near you. Denver Mountain Climbing, in Denver, Utah Mountain Adventures  in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Middlebury Mountaineer Green Mountain Adventure Camps in Middlebury, Vt. 

Lots of outdoor parks have rock climbing holds on the park equipment for your little climber to build his or her skills.

Not near a mountain climbing camp? Try out some of these fun favorites you can do in the backyard.

  • Create mini mountains using rocks and stones
  • Learn about the amazing mountain goat!
  • Complete an exercise set that includes mountain climbers (30 seconds of each: jumping jacks, squats, high knees, supermans, mountain climbers)

Golf Camps 

Get into the swing of summer with golf lessons, teaching your child a lifelong sport. Not only does this sport create excellent hand-eye coordination, but its slow pace teaches patience and endurance. Here are few golf camps near you. They include: Camp Takajo in Naples, Maine, Golf Club of Indiana in Lebanon, Ind. and Junior Golf Fairfax in Fairfax, Va.  

Not near a golf camp? Try out some of these fun favorites you can do in the backyard.

Not ready to invest in an expensive golf camp? Start your little ones at Mini Golf and see how they like it first.

  • Play mini golf with a baseball bat and Wiffle ball
  • Learn about famous golf players
  • Brainstorm and perform exercises that work the core rotator muscles (bicycle crunches are one!)

Sailing Camps 

Your child’s love for the water doesn’t need to be limited to the pool. Expand their experience with the water by enrolling them in a sailing camp. Sailing is a lifelong skills and they’ll learn sailing terminology, general rules of the water, how to determine wind direction and more! Click below to learn more about a sailing camp near you. Camp Lookout’s sailing camp in Frankfort., Mich., Grapevine Junior Sailing Program’s Summer Camp in Grapevine, Texas, and the South Carolina Maritime Museum Opti Sailing Camps in Georgetown, S.C.

Kids learning how to sail at Summer Camp for the Grapevine Junior Sailing Program in Grapevine, Texas.

Not near a sailing camp? Try out some of these fun favorites you can do in the backyard.

  • Create sailboats out of cardboard and paper
  • Draw a map and plan your sailing adventure
  • Learn how to tie the basic boating knots:
    • Bowline
    • Figure-8
    • Square or reef
    • Clove hitch
    • Cleat hitch

Ninja Warrior Camps 

Your child will gain the mental and physical strength needed to compete in obstacle courses similar to those seen on television. These camps encourage individual growth within a group setting that’s judgement free and offers encouragement. Learn more about a ninja warrior camp near you. They include Ultimate Ninjas in Chicago, Ninja Nation in Frisco, Texas, and Parkour/Ninja Warrior Summer Camp in Detroit. 

Not near a ninja warrior camp? Try out some of these fun favorites you can do in the backyard.

Start your Ninja training at the local park!

  • Use cones, hula hoops, bicycles, jump ropes and other equipment to create your own backyard course
  • Build strength by performing squats, lunges and push ups
  • Increase your speed by performing sprint exercises, racing against friends and family members

Regardless of where you live, there are countless ways to involve your child in activities that will engage their creativity and build their confidence. Children are born to explore the world and it is up to us, as parents, to provide the opportunity for them to grow! When it comes to the great outdoors, the possibilities are endless.

Megan is a Certified Personal Trainer and new mom to my rainbow baby, Clancy. Megan Meisner Fitness emphasizes activity, nutrition and restoration. In a world that overwhelms us with diet plans, new workout routines and the latest “stress-busting, abs-lusting” claims, my fitness community will help you silence the distractions and focus on mindfulness, self awareness and support to reach your goals. The emphasis is on progression, not perfection. Megan’s previous stories include How to Plan a Home Camp

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