Summer Camp: Military Style

Tara Crooks

Operation In Touch is proud to partner with Army Wife Network. We thank them for passing on their valuable advice, reprinted here.

The summer sun is bearing down and we are definitely feeling the heat! At the Crooks’ house summer is full of front yard play complete with sprinklers and snow cones! This summer though, as I looked across my front lawn I saw the most peculiar sight – through the drops of water & sticky syrup all of the neighborhood children were playing “Army”. It made me laugh (in the civilian world no one would have understood their madness), and then I was inspired to find more ways to encourage their creative play. We have now set up summer camp “military style”. I gathered some of the fun resources that we are using during our adventures and I thought I’d share them with you.

Dress Right Dress

A true military adventure cannot begin without proper uniform and attire. Head out to your local surplus store or Clothing & Sales and pick up some military uniforms (Clothing & Sales even offers them in children’s sizes for very little cost), hats, and boots (we found that black rain boots work great).

Pitch the Camo Tent

Yes, that means drag out a bunch of your soldier’s camo netting, 550 cord, 100 mile an hour tape, and round up some tent stakes! We found that covering our regular tent in camo netting was a lot more stable than creating one from scratch.

Mess Hall

No camp would be complete with a bright orange Gatorade® container (my kids affectionately call this the “water buffalo”), and some MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).

Time for PT (Physical Training)

Military summer camp has no time for lazy! Set up an obstacle course. Play a game of ultimate frisbee or ultimate football. You could even take them for a run. Want more fun? Add in timing and give them a true PT “test”.

Build a Tank out of Cardboard Boxes

Here is a website with step by step instructions on how to build a tank out of cardboard boxes. You can go BIG or small, either way having the kids make their own toys is a blast!

Carwashes & Bake Sales (or even a lemonade stand)

Get them ready for those FRG (Family Readiness Group) fun(d)- raisers! Set up a car wash complete with signs and have them wash all the neighbors’ vehicles. Take them inside to cool off and bake up some summer treats and then let them do a mock bake sale outside and share their goodies.

Military Pomp & Circumstance

Finish off your summer camp by attending one of the numerous Change of Commands that take place during the summer, or you could even grab a 4th of July celebration at your installation.


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