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Camp Casa

Just because it's summer break for the kids doesn't mean it's summer break for you. But when the schedules align and weeks off coincide, you're often left with a question mark of how to fill the days. Slow down and recapture the summers of your youth and make your family's own version of summer camp … in your backyard.

1. Make a bohemian tent
Next time you’re scouring the sales rack at Anthropologie, mosey over to the home-goods department and pick up a few blankets and pillows. The kids will love creating a DIY backyard abode, and you can enjoy the spoils after a quick run through the wash.
 
Anthropologie
Multiple locations
anthropologie.com
 
2. Promote playtime
Round up the neighborhood children for a friendly game of Capture the Flag. (You can simply tie fabric scraps to sticks if you don’t have the regulation flag supplies.) Or ask the kids to write a short play, put together costumes and perform their masterpiece for you and the neighbors. For a lower-maintenance production, have them try their hand at sock puppets.
 
Make Your Own Sock Puppets
Multiple Barnes & Noble Locations, $17.95
bn.com
 
3. Get crafty
When the afternoon heat takes over, it’s craft time. Think lanyards, friendship bracelets, woven potholders and stamped leather. Feeling a little less ambitious? Venture over to the driveway where the kids can doodle the day away, courtesy of sidewalk chalk.
 
Leather-working gear
Tandy Leather Factory
Dallas, 214/342-2282
tandyleatherfactory.com
 
4. Indulge your sweet tooth
Stoke a fire (or just pretend) and nosh on the quintessential camping treat, s’mores. Try a fancier flavor: The Salted Caramel S’more. Simply add a drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt to your traditional s’more components.
 
Dude, Sweet Chocolate
Bishop Arts, 214/943-5943
Preston Center, 214/360-7516
dudesweetchocolate.com
 
5. Have a (nontraditional) story time
Create your own crazy stories with the help of a Mad Libs book or let your hands do the talking as you master the art of shadow puppets.
 
Me and My Shadows
Multiple Barnes & Noble Locations, $14.95
bn.com
 
6. Do some stargazing
Advanced degrees in astronomy need not apply. Even the most inexperienced stargazer can make sense of the constellations with a little help from Star Walk, the iPad app sure to become your go-to for exploring the night sky.
 
Star Walk
itunes.com, $2.99