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Three children playing a summer camp game inside. There are preschool in age. There are two girls and one boy.
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8 Great Indoor Summer Camp Ideas

Take your kids on a camping adventure this summer with these 8 great indoor summer camp ideas adapted for your indoor classroom.


Late-night mess hall raids, cabin wars, zip lines, campfires, climbing walls, sleeping under the stars, and not showering for a week—anyone who’s experienced summer camp knows how great it is. Summer camp experiences are, after all, the stuff of legends for kids. Your kids look forward to summer camp all year long because they’re surrounded by excitement, adventure, and tangible lessons about God. And camp counselors enhance their experience by teaching as Jesus did, using modern-day parables that embrace the landscape and camp experiences.

Throw on your hiking gear and an adventurous mindset; these ideas will bring the fun of summer camp home to your ministry—minus the personal hygiene issues and the bug spray.

1. The Path

This experience helps kids understand how difficult life can be without God.

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Gear:

  • A large indoor or outdoor area;
  • blindfolds; and
  • various obstacle course items such as chairs, boxes, or tables

Scripture Compass: Psalm 121

Summer Camp Challenge

Create an obstacle course using large objects to form various twists, turns, and challenges.

Read aloud the Scripture. Then have kids form pairs, with one partner wearing a blindfold. Instruct the other partnSummer Camp ideas 1er to help the blindfolded partner through the obstacle course using only simple, nonverbal cues, such as tapping on the person’s left shoulder to signal a left turn or tapping on his or her knees to signal crawling. (Kids can’t simply physically lead one another through the course). Once through the course, have partners switch roles. Then reconfigure the obstacle course and play again.

Buddy Up

Have kids form pairs to discuss the experience.

Ask:

  • What was it like for you to go through the obstacle course?

Read aloud the Scripture again.

Ask:

  • What does this Scripture tell us about God?
  • Find something in this passage that helps explain walking through the maze blindfolded.
  • What’s a past or present “maze” in your life?
  • How has God helped you find your way in a difficult situation?

Close in prayer, asking God to help kids see more clearly and rely on him in difficult situations.

2. Shine Like Stars

A look at the night sky reminds kids what it means to follow Jesus.

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Gear:

Scripture Compass: Matthew 5:14-16

Summer Camp Challenge

Give each child a copy of the constellation sheet. Have kids stare at the large dot in the center for 30 seconds. Then have them close their eyes and tilt their heads back. Ask kids to describe what they see. With their eyes still closed, say: When we look at an amazing nighttime sky, we don’t say, “Wow! Look at that big, black nothingness! That’s incredible; just look at all that darkness!” No, our eyes are drawn to the stars, to the points of light set apart from darkness.

Have kids open their eyes. Ask:

  • Why do you think God made stars?

Read aloud the Scripture.

Say: As followers of Jesus, we’re supposed to shine so that others see his light through us.

Ask:

  • What do you think it means to shine out for others to see?
  • Why do you think it’s important to God that we shine?
  • What does this Scripture tell us about what God wants?

Buddy Up

Tell kids God put a picture in the sky of what we’re supposed to be like as followers of Jesus-a brilliant light in the darkness that draws everyone’s attention toward God. Then give kids a glow-in-the-dark star as a reminder to shine every day for Jesus.

3. Sin Stones

Kids experience how the guilt of sin is wiped away with God’s forgiveness.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Gear:

  • A medium-size bead and
  • a 6-inch piece of yarn for each child

Scripture Compass: Psalm 32:1-5

summer camp ideas 3

Summer Camp Challenge

At the beginning of class, give kids each a bead to place inside one of their shoes. Have kids think of a sin they’ve committed within the past week, such as fighting with parents, stealing, lying, or gossiping. The bead represents that sin. Have kids keep the bead in their shoe for the duration of class, and encourage activities where they have to get up and move around so they’ll constantly feel the discomfort of the bead. Toward the end of class, let kids remove the beads from their shoes.

Buddy Up

Ask:

  • How do you feel when you sin?
  • How are these feelings like the bead in your shoe?

Read aloud the Scripture.

Ask:

  • What does this passage tell us about confessing our sins to God?
  • How was taking out the bead like or unlike receiving God’s forgiveness?

Have kids attach their beads with yarn onto their shoes as a reminder of God’s forgiveness. Close with silent prayer, giving kids the opportunity to ask God for forgiveness.

4. Acting Out

Skits are a camp favorite-use this idea throughout the summer to help your entire class bring the Bible to life.

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Gear:

  • Boxes of props and
  • a Bible

summer camp ideas 4

Summer Camp Challenge

give each group a box of props you’ve prepared ahead of time. Boxes should include random objects such as books, yarn, jump ropes, flashlights, helmets, beanbags, or goggles. Choose Scriptures ahead of time, and assign each group a Scripture passage to act out-using all the props in their box in some way. Each person in the group must also have a role, whether as an actor, narrator, or director. Give groups 10 minutes or less to come up with a skit and decide how they’ll incorporate all the objects in their prop box. Give each group a chance to perform its skit in front of the entire group.

Buddy Up

Have kids remain in their groups, and ask:

  • What was the biggest challenge of using all the props in the skit?
  • What was the funniest thing about this experience? the most memorable?
  • How did acting out the passage help you understand it?

Close by challenging kids to creatively share their favorite Bible lesson with a friend during the week.

5. Some Mores

Kids create a favorite camp snack that reminds them to serve others.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Gear: Graham crackers, chocolate bars, marshmallows, paper plates, and a microwave oven

Scripture Compass: Galatians 5:13-14

Summer Camp Challenge

Create an assembly line with the ingredients to make S’mores. As kids stack their snacks, ask them to talk about a time they did “some more”-an act of kindness or compassion-for someone, or how a person reached out to do some more for them. Once constructed, melt these tasty snacks in the microwave for about 15 seconds to eat when kids Buddy Up.

Buddy Up

Ask:

  • Why do you think God wants us to do some more for others?
  • When wouldn’t God want you to do some more for someone?
  • When has God done some more for you?

Read aloud the Scripture. Have kids think of ways they can do some more for others this week.

6. Rubber Band the Word 

Kids can create these bands to keep Scripture with them wherever they go.

Best for: Ages 6 to 12

Gear:

  • 3 1/2 x 1/4-inch rubber bands,
  • fine-tipped permanent markers,
  • and Bibles

Scripture Compass: Psalm 119:9-11

Summer Camp Challenge

Give each child a rubber band. Have kids form pairs and give each pair a Bible and marker. Have kids look up verses from a favorite lesson and then take turns helping each other write words from the verse or a simplified version of it on the stretched rubber band. One partner can stretch the rubber band flat on a table while the other prints the verse. When the print dries and the rubber band is relaxed, the writing becomes small and illegible. But when kids wear their band as a bracelet, they can stretch it, read it, and remember it.

Buddy Up

Read aloud the Scripture. Ask:

  • What words from the Bible have encouraged you?
  • When was a time you relied on God’s Word?
  • What does it mean to “hide God’s Word in your heart”?
  • How can you do this?

Close in prayer, reminding kids that they can rely on God’s Word to get through stre-e-etching situations and to celebrate during good times.

7. Cross the River

This adapted wilderness team challenge teaches kids the importance of working together.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Gear:

  • Masking tape and
  • paper (you’ll need three fewer papers than the number of kids participating)

Scripture Compass: Proverbs 18:24

summer camp ideas 8

Summer Camp Challenge

Create two parallel lines on the floor with masking tape to mark the boundaries of a river. The width of the river depends on the size of your group—use two feet per participant (so 10 participants means your river is about 20 feet wide). Have everyone start on the same side of the river. Place the papers on that side, too.

Your entire group will work together to get everyone safely to the other side using stepping stones (papers). To begin, there are no stones in the river. Your group gets to add stones as they successfully advance across the river following these rules.

  • Kids have to work together to figure out how to get everyone across the river by passing and placing the stepping stones.
  • Each stepping stone must have at least one child’s foot on it at all times, or the group loses the stepping stone. For example, before one child steps off a stepping stone to move ahead, the next child in line needs to have his or her foot on that stone as well so it’s never left untouched.
  • If your kids lose all their stepping stones or too many to continue successfully, give them an opportunity to start again.

Buddy Up

Form pairs and then read aloud the Scripture.

Ask:

  • How could you have completed this challenge alone?
  • How did this experience remind you of a challenge you face at home or at school?
  • What do you think this Scripture passage tells us about working together?

Close in prayer, thanking God for helping kids learn to work together.

8. Great Commission Maps

This experience gives kids a visual reminder of how they can influence their families, communities, and world.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Gear:

  • White paper and
  • markers

Scripture Compass: Matthew 28:16-20

summer camp ideas 7

Summer Camp Challenge

The last day of camp often centers on the value and purpose God gives each child. Campers are challenged to not simply leave the lessons they’ve learned at camp in their cabins, but to take them home to share with their family, friends, and community. Kids can use these maps as visual reminders of the impact they have as a positive influence for Jesus.

Give each child a piece of paper and markers. In the center of the paper, have them write their name and draw a circle around it. From the center circle, have them draw five lines connecting to other circles. In those five circles, ask kids to write names of family members, friends, or teachers that they know well.

Have kids continue the pattern of drawing five lines from each circle and connecting five new circles. Kids can write five people the person in the center influences inside the connected circles-generic names such as “mom,” “boss,” or “best friend.” As the web grows, a map of influence begins to form. Kids get a picture of the impact they can have on a large number of people, even adults.

Buddy Up

Ask:

  • How do you influence the five people connected to your circle?
  • How has someone positively influenced you? negatively influenced you?

Read aloud the Scripture.

Ask:

  • What does Jesus say about influencing others in this passage?
  • How can you be a positive influence for Jesus this summer?

Laycie Costigan is an editor for Group. Prior to that, she worked at a kids’ summer camp in Colorado.

For more great articles like this, subscribe to Children’s Ministry Magazine today!


4 thoughts on “8 Great Indoor Summer Camp Ideas

  1. Avatar
    Eunjung Jin

    How great!
    As a teacher i served children’s english worship at smll church. I’d like to hold summer camp for children.
    Can you help me?
    What should i start with?
    Lead me please~~~

  2. Avatar
    Stacy Dufault

    I’d like to know if you are supposed to see anything once you close your eyes after looking at the constellation sheet?

    Thanks!

    • Avatar
      childrensministry.com

      Hi Stacy! When you close your eyes, you should see the opposite of the constellation sheet, meaning all the black dots should look like stars. If you’re having trouble, try staring at the sheet for a longer period of time! Hope that helps!

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8 Great Indoor Summer Camp Ideas

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