How to Have a Low Key CAMP MOM Summer

School’s out for S U M M E R!

Does that fill you with excitement or dread? A little bit of both? For so many of us moms, we are thrilled that the school year is over (No more homework! The end of bake sales! Goodbye rushed morning drop offs!) but a little bit nervous that we have so much unscheduled time ahead of us. Even worse? Thanks to social media, we feel like we have to keep up with the Joneses and go on a different amazing adventure each and every day. And as someone who blogs about all the things you can do in Chicagoland, that even makes me feel totally and utterly exhausted.


So this year I have decided that I am going to TAKE BACK SUMMER. Yes, that’s right, I’m taking it back. Yes, we will go on some fun and unique adventures (I mean, that is what I’m known for, after all), but we are also going to slow down and savor the 100 or so days of summer we get in Chicago. I purposefully “under-scheduled” our summer and instead of spending time at the park district, we are doing a whole entire type of camp. CAMP MOM. And it’s going to be awesome.


CAMP MOM is great. We do things on our schedule and based simply on what we feel like doing that day. All you need is a stockpile of sunscreen, snacks, comfortable shoes and a healthy sense of adventure. Or lack of it. Because I mean, who doesn’t love spending a rainy day having a movie marathon?


This past week my boys and I came up with a list of practical and fun things we want to do this summer so we have a starting point for our CAMP MOM itinerary. Yes, we might have glanced at my Chicagoland Summer Bucket List for some inspiration, but we also realized that we have so much time at home that we want to make sure we spend a significant amount of time in our backyard with family and friends. Need some inspiration for your CAMP MOM to-do’s? Here you go!


Go berry picking.


Fly a kite.


Make popsicles.


Splash in the sprinkler.


Have a picnic.


Watch a baseball game.


Have a water balloon fight.


Go fishing.


Play at the beach.


Watch a movie at the drive in.


Make and eat s’mores.


Grow a garden.


Drink water from a hose.


Go on a park crawl.


Have a camp out.


Jump into a pool.


Happy summer, friends!
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  1. Lian says

    These are all fabulous ideas for parents and kids to get through a summer with a lot of fun. We love having picnics and bike rides to get out of the house.

  2. Mandee says

    I love your list! These are all great ideas for fun things to do during the summer months. My kids are always coming to me telling me that they are bored. I plan to sit down and make a few monthly activities of our own. Thanks!

  3. Marcie W. says

    Your summer plans sound awesome and I love the idea of keeping things low key. We seem to go, go, go all year, so I am looking forward to using this short time off to relax and de-stress.

  4. paula schuck says

    I might have done this a few times when the kids were very small. Great ideas. Sadly mine hit a stage where they needed a lot more. Also my one who has special needs is beyond hyper. I wish we could do low key all the time but doesn’t work for her. It’s a mess when I don’t structure her summer almost every week. I envy families that can do this.

  5. Rebecca Swenor says

    These are all great things to do during the summer months with the kids. I love the Idea of camp mom. Picking berries and going to the park are two things I used to do with my boys. We got out the sprinkler few times also. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  6. Marysa says

    I like having structure, and then I also like bring able to sleep in and do whatever! I think that sometimes the kids need to just be able to relax without being on a schedule. Sounds like you have plenty of stuff planned to keep the kids busy without spending a fortune or being overscheduled!

  7. Echo says

    This is FANTASTIC! I am totally printing this. My kids only have 2 days of school left and I will need inspiration to keep them busy!

    • Amanda says

      I was totally dreading the end of school but now that we are relaxed and without a schedule, we are all so much happier.

  8. Melissa Dixon says

    There is so much to do there, that is for sure. I like that there is always something going on no matter how dreary of a day it is there, life is always happening in fast motion.

    • Amanda says

      See, we are taking the opposite approach and only doing simple things whenever we feel like it. I’m hoping it will make for a summer of epic memories and relaxation!

  9. Crystal Lopez says

    Love, love, love these ideas! What great ways to keep the kiddos entertained over the summer! I have to do this with my kids this summer to keep things totally fun for them!

  10. Kathy says

    This is a great list. I love all of these ideas. I’m very excited for summer. It’s one of my favorite times of the year!

  11. Jacqui Odell says

    This is such a neat idea! We live in a small town and I have been thinking of different activities to do with the kids!

  12. uprunforlife says

    This sounds like a blast. I am hoping that we can spend quite a bit of time at the swimming pool this summer. My son is now used to a structured day at school that he doesn’t know what to do with all of his free time. He was bouncing off the walls on Friday when he was home due to the long weekend.

    • Amanda says

      I know exactly what you are talking about. Thankfully the kids can go outside and amuse themselves now that the weather is beautiful!

  13. adriana says

    This is awesome! When I was little my siblings and I always had a “bucket list” of things we’d do in between vacations. I love the idea! And your ideas are all so great too!

    • Amanda says

      I think our bucket list consists of simple summer fun and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way! 🙂

  14. Karlyn Cruz says

    This is an amazing idea! I love that you will pick what you want to do that day and not be forced with the schedule. I bet it will be a lot of fun to spend it with your kid 🙂

  15. Lynndee says

    Camp Mom sounds like a whole lot of fun! 🙂 We’ll be away for a month for our much-awaited vacation ever! But I don’t know what’s going to happen after that. So thanks for those fun ideas.

    • Amanda says

      An entire month? So fun! Maybe you can fit in some of our simple fun activities like chasing fireflies!

  16. Carol Cassara says

    I love it. It’s not intense so it won’t put too much pressure on moms and you do a lot of fun things with the kids! What more can you ask for in the summer!

  17. HilLesha O'Nan says

    I’m not fan of the weather that summer brings, but I do agree that there are so many fun things to do during the summertime! My family and I enjoy getting in touch with nature by going hiking, attending nature-related events, and cave exploring.

  18. Jennifer G says

    I love all of these ideas! We like to make our own popsicles every summer because it’s just so much fun to see what awesome stuff we can put in them. That and we really love to go berry picking… (we usually use them in our Popsicle) Great ideas to have a wonderful summer with the littles.

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