September 6, 2022 kscope

Summer camps looking for unique programming ideas face a few challenges: hundreds of kids needing to be entertained, running a complicated schedule, and having to do it all on a budget!

After a decade of working with YMCAs, town Parks & Recs departments, public schools, and private daycares, we have our summer camp entertainment packages down to a science to make sure all of your campers are thrilled, parents are impressed, and you stay within your budget.

Programming Theme: Splash Day

Alternative Theme Ideas: Luau Party, Beach Day

Entertainment Package: We throw a foam party where campers dance to kids bop, take tons of silly photos, and get out all of their energy–all in our amazing foam pit!

Bonus Ideas for Your Staff:

  • Round it out to be a full splash day with more water activities
  • Water play for younger kids
  • Water balloon fights for older kids
  • Water sponge dodgeball
  • Pool time

Ages: 2 – Teen

Great For: Outdoor camps, camps without pool access

Don’t Recommend For: Camps with only indoor space; daycares that are only for infants and toddlers.


Programming Theme: Mermaids and Pirates

Alternative Theme Ideas: Adventure Day, Magic Day

Entertainment Package: We invite a mermaid or pirate of your choice for group shows and individual activities. Gather everyone around for mermaid story time or a pirate magic show, then bring by individual groups for mermaid glitter tattoos or pirate sword balloon twisting.

Bonus Ideas for Your Staff:

  • Have campers dress up as mermaids and pirates.
  • Hold a “talk like a pirate” contest all day–give each kid a sticker to start the day. If an adult catches them talking without a “pirate accent” they lose the sticker. Whoever can go the entire day talking like a pirate wins!
  • If your camp has occasional pool access, this is also perfect for a pool day to keep groups busy while they’re out of the pool.

Ages: Our mermaid story time is perfect for ages 2-6, and our pirate magic show is perfect for ages 4-9. Invite one or both of them for a mix-and-match day that fits your needs.

Great For: Camps with younger kids (for mermaids); camps looking to keep kids busy on pool days (both mermaids and pirates); camps who love dress-up days (both mermaids and pirates).

Don’t Recommend Mermaid Story Time For: Camps that are primarily elementary and middle school (mermaid story time is best for younger kids)

Don’t Recommend Pirate Magic Show For: Camps that are mostly toddlers or PreK (magic needs more attention span than that)


Programming Theme: Circus Camp

Alternative Theme Ideas: Magic Camp, Clown School

Entertainment Package: Kenny the Clown comes and entertains the whole group with a 30min magic show, then takes groups for a juggling lesson using easy-to-juggle clown scarves. Bonus: add a second clown for speedy face painting or simple balloon twisting.

Bonus Ideas for Your Staff:

  • Put on a talent show to create your own variety show as part of the camp circus!
  • If you have snack time, consider renting a popcorn or cotton candy machine.

Ages: 4-9 for the magic show, 7-teen for juggling class. Learn more here.

Great For: Camps with a stage; arts camps; camps that can program different activities for different ages.

Don’t Recommend For: Daycares that are only for infants and toddlers


Programming Theme: Balloon Class

Alternative Theme Ideas: Clown School, Circus Camp, “Balloons Over [Camp Name]”

Entertainment Package: One of our professional balloon twisters will come with enough supplies for groups of up to 15 kids to learn designs at once. Students will learn between 2-4 designs (depending on age and time alotted) and take home their creations.

Bonus Ideas for Your Staff:

  • Have staff come to the class to twist along (and have fun!), as well as keep things running smoothly
  • Include other balloon crafts like origami or paper mache hot air balloons
  • Consider balloon-themed sports like water balloon fights, balloon-popping relay races, or water balloon dodge ball!

Ages: 7-teen for balloon twisting class, but professional balloon twisting time can be added so younger kids aren’t excluded. Learn more here.

Great For: Small-group breakouts, library camps, arts or STEM camps

Don’t Recommend For: Daycares that are only for infants and toddlers


Programming Theme: Paint Party

Alternative Theme Ideas: Picasso Day, Day at the Museum

Entertainment Package: We throw a kid-friendly paint party where we go step-by-step with a real art teacher to create masterpieces we can take home.

Bonus Ideas for Your Staff:

  • Bust out all of your favorite craft activities like tie dye, weaving, or jewelry making for an amazing art day.
  • Have a “painting costume contest” and assign each group a famous painting (Starry Night, Mona Lisa, The Scream, Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans, The Persistence of Memory) and give out a Best Costume award in each group.
  • Make it a “museum” day and bring science, dinosaurs, or history into your programming with crafts or a movie screeening.

Ages: 8 – Teen

Great For: Camps that like to schedule seated activities; arts camps; camps with families who value multi-disciplinary activities.

Don’t Recommend For: Camps with limited space; camps that are nervous about kids potentially getting paint on clothing or floors; camps on a tight budget.