How to Plan Your Own Local Family Camp

Posted on June 10, 2014

Family Camp

How to Plan your Own Local Family Camp


Family Summer Camp Week is different than a family vacation (which I definitely enjoy as well :). This is a planned camp done in your state and around your home utilizing what you have in a whole new (and often times free) way!

 Family Summer Camp Week is a time to STOP the routine of life we can so easily fall into. To plan purposeful, simple, joyful opportunities to engage and relate as a family. The purpose for us is to draw closer to each other and to renew our purpose together as an outreach focused family.

Note, the kids should know that Family Camp is coming and look forward to it! Plan it ahead of time and follow through. Ideally, include both parents as much as possible. Show your children that family is not only the first place they belong, but also the place they can experience joy and wonder of life. It is also the place they learn how to serve others, and reinforce what their family really values

Family Camp


Here is one example of a Local Family Camp:

Monday: Boat Ride on Poway lake  (costs $13 for family of 5). Bring Focus Box full of sketch supplies and keep in car until after boat ride. Enjoy a picnic lunch, get out the Focus Box, set up sketch supplies for Nature Drawing. Free play in the dirt & fishing at the lake until dinner. Get dirty because your plan included a comfy change of clothes in the trunk. 

Tuesday: Visit the Free Museum Today in Balboa ParkGet your local list of free museum days. Talk about how the art we saw related to the art we created yesterday. After the Museum: Bring lunch, a soft blanket, and 25 library books. Enjoy the shade and put away all electronic devices. Hear my kids read to me. Watch them play in the grass. Spray them with a squirt bottle of water. Laugh. Tickle.

Wednesday: Buy snorkeling gear from Costco or Amazon ($5-20) and visit the shores of La Jolla. Bring beach gear, lunch, water bottles, and a waterproof camera. After snorkeling eat out at the Fish House. Talk about why it is important for us to care for the ocean, plants, and marine life. At home do the “Oil Spill” science project as a family.

Thursday:  Pack a picnic dinner & enjoy Summer Free Movie on the Grass at the Cove in Solana Beach.

1604712_736149136417902_2008028896_n (1)Friday: Farm Day & Neighborhood Outreach Day! I LOVE this day! Pick up local produce together. Pick up extra for a family near you to minister to. Create a summer gift box. We love doing this for 4th of July! We now call it 4th of July Apple Pie Neighborhood Outreach Day!  One year we had fresh apples. We gave each of the 6 closest neighbors a box filled with enough fresh apples to make 1 apple pie, a gallon of vanilla ice cream, a pie crust, and a card. On the card we wrote this verse: Galatians 5:13“You are called to be free. But do not use this freedom as an excuse to serve yourself, but rather serve another in love.” Then walking together through the neighborhood delivering the six boxes as a family, we talked about how freedom (like summer) is not just for us, but for us to serve another in love.

Update: ***We just got a phone call, from a neighbor from 5 YEARS AGO, who we met on “4th of July Apple Pie Neighborhood Outreach Day“. He said he was thinking of us, and wondered if we had the same phone number so he called it. He wanted to know how we were…he still remembered that day ….. and catch up … and that never got to know any other neighbors once we left.*** FIVE YEARS AGO – with no contact, we moved shortly after that day. Wow. Sometimes we don’t find out until later, the impact of the joy we can spread together as a family. 

Saturday: Treasure Map Day! Create a treasure map or print one off the internet. Add real stops along the way including a destination you will end at. Have clues already written out in your backpack. When you come to each destination discretely leave a clue. Some stop ideas include: The Zoo, The Fire Station, The Beach, The Railroad Park, Skate Park, Japanese Friendship Garden, a Family Favorite Restaurant or Hang Out. Actually go to several different places. This is SO out of the normal for a family with young kids. We normally go to one place and stay till someone falls asleep or gets crabby. End up where you like (I will plan the ending at a set up camp site one summer!) My favorite ending place though: home. Popcorn ready and homemade ice cream already in the freezer. Press play on your favorite movie. Let the kids actually fall asleep wherever they sit still long enough. Sometime before falling asleep, share the verse: Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart is.” I love this night, holding my treasures until we fall asleep.

10384363_454938361309529_4422378096027243655_nSundayThis week, we do Sunday differently! Talk about how in some places Christians are not allowed to go to church. They could be hurt badly if they tried. Explain what it means to be persecuted against. There are a few times where we did a home church morning and I will never forget hearing my husband lead our family through a Bible passage together with kids in Pajamas.  How would our family do a Bible study if we could not leave the house because of persecution? Sing together quietly, read together, pray together. As age appropriate, discuss situations going on right now, and what we can do to help. 

Waves of Perspective

Before you print your free planner, here are some thoughts as you begin:

– What is your family purpose vision statement? Incorporate it!

– What is your family budget for the week? Let it inspire you to be creative!

– Include your kids ideas for their ideal family camp.

Ready to begin? Ok – Click here for your free printable that can be viewed and printed in Word:  Family Summer Camp Planner FREE

Have a great Family Camp! ~ Joy

Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."




Author Joy Brownlee. Written and Photography copyrights
to Joy Brownlee @ for the photos bearing Joy's watermark.

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