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5 Easy Ways to ‘Campify’ Your Home This Summer

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Ready or not, summer 2020 is here, folks!

In the most recent edition of Camp Kveller, we explored a topic parents were requesting across the board: How to “campify” your home. (And if that’s not actually a word, it is now!) What purchases might be made to make your home a little more camp-like this summer, and/or how can we make use of ourselves and random objects in our home to bring some much-needed levity and camp spirit to our homes?

We went looking for suggestions, and our guest lineup this week really brought it! On Thursday, June 18, Camp Kveller hosted Dara Podjarski Marcus, founder of Little Compass; Molly Wernick, community director at Habonim Dror Camp Galil; and Andrew Davies, founder and executive director of Jewish improv group The Bible Players. They each brought practical wisdom as well as positivity, creativity, and, to be honest, an all-around good time!

If you want to watch and participate in the activities and icebreakers — which are suitable for your family as well as colleagues! — click here.

Here are some key takeaways that we learned from our guests:

1. You do not and cannot recreate camp at home.

You are not an entire camp staff. You do not have kitchen staff, drama staff, sports staff, and so on. Summer 2020 need not be jam packed with activities and entertainment — balance is key here. Yes, you may want to provide some activities, guidance, and structure, but lack of structure is also good, healthy, and great for your sanity as well as your children’s. In this unprecedented moment, take advantage of the flexibility of not needing to rush to the next activity. In sum, go easy on yourself!

2. Empowerment is a camp value.

Self-empowerment is a key tenet of camp, and that’s one element of camp life you should incorporate in your home ASAP. Empowerment does not mean giving your kids free reign to do as they want — rather, empowerment is defined as individuals having access to resources in order to accomplish their goals and objectives. In other words, you do not need to hold your kids’ hands for every step of a project or activity. Depending on your children’s ages and the tasks at hand, you can help get them started — however, whatever they’re working on, be it a painting or cleaning the bathroom, will be more engaging and meaningful for your kids if they are the ones driving it and feel a sense of ownership over it.

3. Some framing is helpful.

Depending on your childrens’ ages and interests, you may want to consider building a calendar of daily or weekly themes for them to develop. Examples shared on the webinar included traveling around the world, Olympics, historical periods, and more. Children can think creatively of ways to develop activities related to the theme, such as making passports or planning international menus or creating medal ceremonies. A family brainstorming session or two may provide loads of independent activities throughout the summer.

4. Reuse, recycle…

Look, you have a lot going on. You do not have to come up with all of the ideas on your own. Firstly, lots of great ideas in the webinar. Secondly, Rabbi Google is your friend. Borrow ideas up the wazoo. Heck, steal them! No need to keep up with the Joneses and purchase a whole bunch of stuff your kids will use once and will then gather dust. Keep your eyes on the prize: sanity!

5. Have fun!

Another tenet of camp is being a dugma ishit, a role model. What this is really about is role modeling how to act. This happens to be the BEST way to transfer values you hold dear to the next generation — plus, your behavior and outlook toward the summer ahead will affect your children’s attitudes as well. With that in mind, we had a blast playing some games during this week’s webinar. While the world may be chaotic and downright scary, you can create a bubble and allow yourself to let loose. You’ve earned it.

While this week’s episode provided tools and resources for you to campify your home, we understand that it also takes a village! Next week’s episode we will be joined by Jane Shapiro, bubbe and educator extraordinaire, and Natalie Blitt, founder of the Facebook group 2020: The Summer We Had to Make Camp, to discuss how we can all pitch in to create Summer 2020. We’re all in this together, Camp Kveller!

Want Camp Kveller to cover a topic or question you have in the coming weeks? Join the conversation at the Kveller Moms Facebook group.

Header image via UnitoneVector/Getty Images

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