Mom Goes Viral For Her "How To Be A Person" Summer Camp Idea

And she spoke to Scary Mommy about how to run your own camp at home.

A mom is going viral for her "How To Be A Person Camp" checklist.

Summer break is a magical time for kids, but it can be a tough time for parents. Camps and daycare can be expensive, and having the kids home all day for weeks on end can be exhausting whether or not you are working outside the home.

One mom is fighting everything from the lack of summer schedules to the summer learning slide with one super-cool summer break idea, and it’s going viral for good reason.

Kaitlyn Rowe is a stay-at-home mom with four kiddos — a 6 year old, 3 year old, 1 year old and 4-month-old baby. And if her Instagram page tells us anything, her mom super power seems to be creating tons of cool activities for her kids, especially her two older children.

“I started sharing little learning activities on Instagram that I did with my oldest when she was 2 — right when the pandemic hit and we were inside often and I had to get creative and use materials we had on hand to try and change up play and make things fun,” she tells Scary Mommy. “It’s been a fun hobby ever since and a favorite way to connect with my kids.”

After she was inspired by the original idea on social media from last summer, she developed her own “How To Be A Person Camp” for her two oldest kids. The cute and practical ideas soon went viral, helping other parents find a way to navigate the empty space of summer with activities that were practical, useful, and fun for the kids.

“I kept an idea list on my phone and added to it over time — filled with age-appropriate tasks that my older two kids would love to learn,” she explains. “We also brainstormed together to come up with things they were eager to learn or master! My daughter came up with a lot of the ‘summer’ related tasks and was so excited!”

For her older kid, who is 6, “Person Camp” ideas includes:

How to write a thank you note

How to politely order at a restaurant

How to wrap a gift

How to count change

How to pack an overnight bag

How to pack a lunch

How to use a knife

For her second-oldest, who is 3, “Person Camp” was a little simpler, with goals like:

How to make your bed

How to water plants

How to clean up spills

How to wash your hands

How to introduce yourself

How to get your own drink

How to put on an outfit

They also had a list for both of the kids to work on, including:

How to empty the dishwasher

How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

How to put away clothes

How to dust

How to practice pool safety.

Just a few weeks after “camp” started at the Rowe household, things are splendid.

“The camp is going well,” Rowe reports to us. “We are close to ‘completing’ it (meaning we’ve been over almost everything now, but of course it’s all a life long work in progress). My kids have absolutely loved it though. They would ask me every morning if we could work on it and it’s been so fun and beneficial for both them and for me.”

The response to her post has also been huge. And while some people have ridiculed items on the list or the idea in general, Kaitlyn says she has appreciated almost all of it.

“In general, 99% of people’s reaction to the post have been very positive! I did not expect it to be viral (I even made a spelling error on the list), but I have loved the feedback in the comment section,” she says. “A lot of people have added in some of their own ideas for older kids and teens too and it’s been so fun to see the different ideas! I definitely welcomed the feedback (like changing the title) and I have loved seeing the different perspectives. I also love that my 3 and 6 year old specific lists were inspiring for others to try it out at home too since we’ve had such an awesome experience with it ourselves.”

Finally, she offered some advice to other stay-at-home parents, or anyone dreading a long summer with kids at home with nothing to do.

“My best advice for parents struggling to get their kids through summer... first off all, acknowledging how HARD parenting is, especially in the summertime with no school. Give yourself and your kids grace and manage expectations,” she says. “Focus on small moments of connection and doing simple things together — which is why I LOVE this camp for summertime. It has helped me get side by side with my kids to accomplish chores and get them more involved in things around the house and it has taped into their natural curiosity and willingness to help as well.

Other tips that Rowe says specifically help her on long summer days too (especially with really little ones): Eating a meal outside each day (more fun, less mess); getting outside as much as possible to play and explore; and taking advantage of free outings (local library events, parks, splash pads).

Perspective, she also says, is key. Even more important than expensive camps and activities.

“This summer we signed up for way less and have been just focusing on learning and playing at home — with the person camp, art, family movie nights, etc.,” she shares. And it’s been nice to slow down once I switched my perspective a bit.”