Camp Shopkick: Camping Week

We’re back with the latest theme for this week’s edition of Camp Shopkick! In case you’re new to “camp”, we believe summer isn’t summer without themed weeks of fun to enjoy with your family, whether you try a new activity each day or plan a packed day to fit in as much as possible. We hope you and your family have already made wonderful memories during Barbecue Week and Family Fun Week. This week, we’re taking “camp” literally – it’s Camping Week!

Have you ever taken a camping trip? Whether you’re an outdoor camping novice, someone who frequently pitches a tent in the backyard, or a camper with plenty of experience in the great outdoors, we thought we would dive into everything you need to know to take a camping trip at a campground. Let’s dive into the essentials! 

Where to Go:

Once you have decided camping is officially on your agenda, it’s time to decide where to go. Parks are a great place to begin your research because many offer both camping facilities (wash houses are wonderful!), campsites, and plenty of information to review before you arrive. You can also look into official campgrounds. These can range from sites you will need to hike to, to locations where you will drive up and keep your car parked nearby. Some sites even include amenities, like pools, to encourage you to have even more family fun while meeting other families in the process.   

What to Do:

When deciding where you would like to go on your camping trip, you will also likely need to decide what you hope to do as a family while you’re there. One decision will help to guide many others! Many camping sites are located in wonderful areas to hike. If hiking will be a new experience for your family, you will want to research trails that are clearly marked for beginners. Some trails are even flat, which are excellent for young kids! You will also want to be prepared in advance to swim, so research if your camp is near a stream, lake, or beach open to water play. 

Must-Have Items: 

Some of your must-have items will largely be driven by the activities you plan to do while you’re camping, but there are also plenty of other items you will want to have on hand. Keep the following in mind: 

  • Tent (P.S: One Crazy House has plenty of tent tips!)
  • Foam Flooring/Air Mattress
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Clothes
  • Flash Light
  • Kitchen Items & Food
  • Toiletries
  • Hiking Gear
  • Toys for Kids
  • …and plenty more!

We discovered this packing guide for camping, particularly camping with kids, on the blog Em for Marvelous. Make sure to open the PDF she created titled Master Packing List. It’s excellent and so thorough! 

Recipes to Cook:   

Before you set out on your camping trip, you will want to create a meal plan. This will help you to know what you will be making well in advance, so you can make sure to have all of your groceries on hand. Cooking over a fire is a must while camping, and we thought we would think beyond hamburgers and hotdogs. So, we highly recommend trying Camping Breakfast Burritos from Taste & Tell, Grilled Cheesy Buffalo Bacon Fries from Tablespoon, and Campfire Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches from Homemade Heather. All three recipes sound delicious! 

Of course, our top tip is to simply have fun on your camping trip! We are so excited to hear about the adventures you either experience or plan to experience on a camping trip with your family. Keep us in the know on Facebook!

Camp Shopkick: Barbecue Week

Our summers may look different this year, but that means it’s time to get creative and make sure all of the fun of summer’s past is still in the mix at your home! To help you foster meaningful memories with your family, we’re launching Camp Shopkick. We believe it’s not summer unless your weeks are themed with plenty of activities, so we’ll be introducing a new batch of fun each week. To kick things off, it’s Barbecue Week!

Prep Your Grill:

Grilling is a summer family favorite, and there isn’t a week that goes by when we’re not cooking lunch or dinner outside over the flame. With that in mind, it’s important to keep your grill clean. For that task, we turned to the pros from Home Depot who shared this step-by-step article on how to clean charcoal and gas grills. Take a look!

Do a Craft:

Any experienced summer camper knows that a week at camp simply must include a craft! If you and your kids are going to be cooking on your grill, we thought you might want to add to your attire.

When we spotted these no-sew DIY aprons from Say Yes, we knew we had found the ideal craft for you to make with your kids. All you need is a dish towel (the author scored a $1 towel from Ikea), bonding tape, glue and glue gun, ribbon, fabric scissors, and an iron. The steps are simple, and this craft can be completed in no time. Plus, your kids will have a new apron to wear!

If your kids love to paint, another idea is to purchase canvas or fabric aprons and fabric paint. Encourage your little ones to paint their own designs on aprons for them or aprons for the adults they love. A sentimental idea is to have them add their handprints. These are pieces you will use and treasure for years to come!

Get Cooking:

Of course, the ultimate goal with grilling is to create new recipes. To help you to cook something new, here are a few ideas: 

  1. We shared three new-to-use recipes in the Shopkick app. As a fun hint: None of our recipes include hamburgers! We’re thinking beyond the classics.
  2. Check out this blog where we shared fruits, vegetables, and complete meals you can make on your grill. Pineapple, peaches, quesadillas, and pizza are all on the menu!
  3. Epicurious is a wonderful source for recipes for kids! Their team rounded up 16 barbecue recipes for kids that reach beyond hotdogs on their site. Take a look!

Have fun at camp during Barbecue Week, Shopkickers! Let us know what your family makes on Facebook.

6 Free Virtual Summer Camps for Kids

Camp is a staple for many kids and parents during the summer because it offers kids of all ages a chance to have fun, explore their interests, and experience a structured environment. This year may look different with many camps opting to remain closed for the season and families choosing to stay home and stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, organizations throughout the country (and the world!) are rallying together to make summer camp continue to be a reality! Today, we thought we would round up six of the best virtual summer camps we have discovered that are completely FREE. 

San Diego Zoo:

When COVID-19 began, the San Diego Zoo was quick to begin offering resources for families to enjoy at home. And, their We’re Here Together campaign has continued! Perfect for animal loving kids of all ages, the San Diego Zoo’s website is packed with live video cameras (there’s 13 different live streams to enjoy!), hands-on activities, games, the Zoo’s own newspaper geared for kids, and much more.

Note: It’s not free, but we did want to mention Woof Wag Dogs’ virtual summer camp for kids and their dogs! It sounds like a wonderful opportunity for both to bond together through dog training, education, and more. 


If your kids have multiple interests, encourage them to explore them all through #CampYouTube! Complete video series are available online with topics ranging from STEM and arts to sports and adventure. The YouTube team has also made sure to round up videos that offer educational opportunities for kids about topics like racism. Plus, they can learn to cook and create simple DIYs. Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the Bingo boards!

Met Opera:

For kids who come alive when listening to, learning about, or performing music, encourage their interest by having them attend virtual summer camp with the famed Met Opera. Each week, the Met launches a new summer camp theme, and they’re all based around a well-known opera. There are daily live sessions streamed on their Facebook page (make sure to choose the time targeted to your child’s age!), activities, and a chance to watch the week’s opera performed by the Met’s professional singers.

Best Buy:

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while or have visited our app, you know we’re big fans of Best Buy! They’re known for their skilled Geek Squad team, and we discovered they have a Geek Squad camp where kids can learn all about tech, science, and coding. The camp is called Geek Squad Academy at Home, and your kids can explore topics at their own pace with free PDFs. Get ready because they’re about to learn the ins and outs of computers, how to capture their own photos, how to build a website, and how to create their own video game.


If you have little campers at home, get to know KiwiCo. Their crates are beloved by kids and families alike, and they launched an online summer camp that allows your camper to attend at their own pace. Simply sign up, choose your sessions or topics, and let your camper dive in! There are camps for kids of different ages from as young as three to older than 11, and they explore everything from art to engineering. If you want to enhance your camper’s experience, they do have an option to purchase one of their themed crates geared toward your child’s chosen session.

Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami:

We wanted to make sure to include a camp for art-loving kids, and the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami’s virtual camp could not be better! If you are local to Miami, you will be able to pick up your camper’s art supplies in person at no charge, but they also created a supply list so you can pick up any materials on your own. There are basic and more advanced camps available for varied ages, and each one is taught by a professional art instructor daily over Zoom for an hour and a half. At the end of camp, MOCA will feature the best student work online in a virtual exhibition!  

We’re in this together, Shopkickers. Let’s make it a fun summer for all!