Screened-In Porch Play: A Fun Summer Camp At Home Idea (Reader Request)


So, a whole lotta moms have summer camp on their minds; namely, is it happening? The CDC issued a few guidelines, and in short, had this to say:

Schools, child care centers and camps should not reopen, the guidelines stipulate, unless they are able to implement coronavirus screening protocols, evaluating employees and children daily for symptoms and potential past exposures to COVID-19.

Well that simplifies that. (NOT AT ALL.) And so we take a deep breath, come together, and we just do what moms do: we just figure it out. Together. All suggestions welcome.

I’m OK with just figure it out. Some projects are just pure fun. And some challenges really are opportunities. Summer Camp At Home, I’m tagging as both a challenge and a fun opportunity, for all of us!

Summer Camp At Home Ideas: Kids’ Activities For The Screened-In Porch

The spaces that are the most fun for me, personally to think about, involve kids and/or adults who also know how to play! So yes, I felt that fun rush of pure fun and play pleasure when Eva wrote in and asked:

Hey all! You NAILED my last questions about golf outfits so I thought I would reach out again. I’m loving your outdoor ideas and I was wondering if you have some inspiration to turn a screened in porch into a children’s play area (since camp may not be happening this year and we need some serious activities! I’m thinking a mix of fun stuff for the kids and some comfy seating for the grownups to oversee. Thank you!

And now we’re all super-jealous and wondering if we too can have a screened-in porch please? Let’s file that under #quarantinedreamssummer2020

In my dreams, I also have a screened-in porch. I do not. In reality, once upon a time, I had kids who were young and went to Montessori preschool. And let’s face it, that means we all received a Montessori education. Which was great by me. I like organized. I like creating a situation that allows kids to be independent and then letting them do their thing, in whatever way they wish to discover it, for as long as they wish, knowing full-well that they will also consider cleaning-it-up to be part of the fun! Maria Montessori was in fact a genius. And living with our kids in these special, opportunistic spaces is also a nice work from home break too!

I love play and design and space styling and organization, and summertime too! So working that best of all of that in, here’s what I’m dreaming up for your summer camp at home Eva:

Moms just figure it out. Kids' activities for summer camp at home includes Montessori play & if we're lucky, a screened-in porch. Fun DIY ideas, right here.

1 Climbing Rope | 2 Pod Hanging Chair | 3 Small Pod | 4 Disc Swing

5 Butterfly Kit | 6 Magnatiles

7 Water Table | 8 Art Station | 9 Plank Blocks

10 Slide | 11 Climbing Gym | 12 Tent | 13 Floor Cushion

14 Obstacle Course Climbers | 15 Big Puzzle | 16 Rug | 17 Play Mat

Swing From The Rafters

Vertical space is an awesome opportunity for fun! Without knowing exactly how much space you have, just choose one of these that’s right-sized for you! Something is holding your ceiling and roof up, and can also support some fun swinging too! If you only have a bit of space, the climbing rope and disc swing are great options. If you have a bit more space, the hanging pods are a wonderful place to play, and also to cuddle with a book! And if you have a bit more space the full pod chair can absolutely fit a few kids, or an adult and a couple of kids, for stories and cuddles— and it looks beyond gorgeous on a screened-in porch! When my own house goes silent, I know Grace, my youngest, is probably cuddled in her hanging chair with a book or a sketch book — where she will just gently swing and read or make art for time on end! It’s her happy place. And by way of note, her room is the tiniest one in the house and the hanging chair still fits! The big point here though, is use your vertical space for fun!

Creation Station

When play is organized into stations, it’s easier for kids to choose an activity, work/play on it, and then put it away and choose the next activity. Bins are great for this. My favorite stations are the building blocks and Magnatiles, which at 8, 10 and 12, my kids still play with every single day. And the art station, remains in daily rotation around here. How about the fact that this fancy one, with storage, also folds up! Honestly, you can probably collect their existing toys and just reorganize them, and maybe even some extra stuff from your own kitchen, too. For even more extra fun though, add something they don’t see every single day indoors, like a fun water and sand or dirt table, and a butterfly growing kit for more fun!

Floor Space Play

Adding an indoor/outdoor rug or two can help define space within your space for certain types of play or stations, and is also so pretty! Step that game up a notch with with a cute padded play mat…maybe under whatever they swing or climb on for when they inevitably tumble a bit. And speaking of climbing…these indoor climbing gyms are everything!!! So is this slide, which works just as well for kids as it does for matchbox cars, and things they create on their own with toys like these builders. The climbing stations are available in a multitude of sizes and configurations. Note the lead times on them though…some can get to you tomorrow, some next week, and a few are a wait for it kinda situation.

In addition to a climbing situation, other floor fun stations are these great movable blocks they can reconfigure every day, or every hour and challenge one another to, and big giant floor puzzles that are both fun and educational!

And it’s also nice to have somewhere for pretend play and or quiet time. Collapsible tents, plus floor cushions can be a great storytime cuddle spot, just as well as with a little imagination they become a store, or a zoo or a whatever little minds can imagine!

Comfy Seating For The Adults

Supervising never felt so good as it does in an amazing lounge chair or curled up on a sofa in a spot where you are just sheltered enough, yet can breathe in the fresh air! These are a few of our favorite seating options, most of which are on sale! Surely one or three of these can also fit on that amazing screened-in porch, right? (oh, and note Shana’s note in the Swimsuit Guide, just keep clicking on an image until it gets you through to the actual item.)

Let’s make the very best we can, of all we can— that’s what we do! Thank you, Eva for reminding me to get on planning some more fun for my own kids and for giving me something fun to think about with your sweet kids in mind too! It’s gonna be a long hot summer at home—we’ll take it, and make it one to remember!

(Eva PS): More fresh golf outfits coming soon. Just in case that’s maybe a possibility, one day. Girls can dream — and prepare, right? xoxo, A

PS: Follow along with me on Pinterest for more Home Inspiration and other random distraction via pretty visuals. xo, A


    • Eva- My pleasure lady! Thank you for giving me something fun to think about! Let us know how it goes- xoxo A

    • Valerie- Thank you! Moving and reorganizing existing toys is the best! It brings them new life! xoxo A

  1. I just might have to get that little picnic table. Cute, fun and seemingly easy to move to all over the yard to capture that elusive shade for lunch or put in the sun for our fun tye-dying projects.

    • Sarah- We only recently just let go of our kid picnic table and only because I felt like my niece needed it more! You are exactly right, they move everywhere and new adventures begin! I do especially love that the water and sand table has a top, so that it can be both picnic and play, and there’s also one in here where the water and play is in the center of a more traditional table, and that area can also be covered for full table…and who says it has to be water and sand, maybe it’s playdough and legos or cars? xoxo A

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