Posted: Jul 06, 2012 11:00 AM
Keeping kids out of trouble and out of your hair usually takes planning -- so why not throw a summer camp of your own? Whether you're arranging activities for your kids this summer or are treating the neighborhood kiddos to a mini summer camp in your own backyard, discover sizzling summer camp themes that will keep your children engaged and help you keep your sanity.

Go back in time with a 1980s summer camp theme

Despite your best efforts to ignore the fact that the '80s are back, there's no arguing, it makes for a great summer camp theme. In addition to spiking kids' hair and wearing fingerless gloves, activities to keep your summer camp rocking can include a round of Name that Tune to music from the 1980s. Or, pull out the cardboard and hold a break dancing competition to pay homage to the '80s while having tons of fun with your youngsters.

Spotlight a talent camp theme

Let youngsters showcase their best talents, from singing to juggling, with a summer camp theme based on their inner strengths while focusing on fun. Activities can focus on helping them learn a new skill and end with a bang -- a talent show for the whole neighborhood. Or, focus each day on a different talent television show, from American Idol to The Gong Show to America's Next Top Model, to keep things light and give everyone a chance to shine.

Go green for summer camp

A camp that couples having fun with doing good is a win-win for your kids and planet both. Each day, give kids an eco-friendly lesson on what they can do to help keep the Earth green. Then, engage in activities that will emphasis the message such as planting trees, making art with recycled materials, or coming up with new ways to do everyday things that would make Mother Nature proud.

Tame boredom with a wild animal camp

Focus your summer camp theme on the animals that are making this summer's flicks famous like the beasts from the Ice Age or animals of Madagascar and engage your youngsters in wild-themed activities such as an animal version of Charades. Choose a different continent or era of animals each day and be sure to invite an animal handler to bring creatures for your kids to touch while they learn.

Get rockin' with a Geology summer camp theme

Your kiddos will see the rocks under their feet in a whole new light when you engage in summer camp activities that focus on geology. Keep boys and girls engaged with activities that are fun and educational like: panning for gold to spotlight the gold rush, letting kids talk to a geologist, breaking open geodes or hunting for polished rocks you've hidden and identifying them while building their very own field guide.

Remember^It doesn't take a boatload of kids to have a summer camp. Engage your youngsters in activities based on these sizzling summer camp themes in your own back yard and watch your bond grow as quickly as your kids do under the summer sun!

Read more tips on family fun

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Summer bucket list
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