Activity Stations and Transitions

Coordinating different activities in stations and rotating groups from one station to the next is a common practice at camp and a great way to get a lot of activities in a small amount of time.

Here are some guidelines to make sure your stations and transition from one activity to the next run flawlessly:

  1. Set up all the stations prior to starting your station activities.
  2. While setting up each activity station inspect the area to make sure it is clean and safe for campers.
  3. Explain each station activity to all the kids prior to starting your rotations. When arriving at each station the counselor then just needs to do a quick reminder on what the activity is and they are ready to go. This is also an opportunity for staff to learn each activity so they can pass it on to their campers. It will reduce down time at each station if you can knock it out before you start.
  4. Make sure each group is cleaning up after themselves before the next group arrives. It is important to set clean up expectations with campers from day one. It does not take long for cleanliness to go south if none of your groups clean and organize each space before they leave.
  5. Make sure your activities are age appropriate and are right for the amount of kids you have in each group.
  6. Make sure the activity at each station is appropriate for the time available. These are generally quicker activities that can be coordinated with less kids.
  7. Space out each activity to make sure you have ample space to not only run the activity, but for your groups to go to each space and not interfere with any of the other groups. An example of a 4 station rotation could be indoor activity, outdoor activity, arts and crafts, and game room.
  8. Have a back-up plan in case one activity doesn’t work. You and all your counselors should always have a few of those low-key down time type activities that your kids enjoy. If a new activity isn’t working and you still have time, change it up and throw in a quick game to finish that station and be ready to move on to the next one. If this happens, make the next group aware the issues you faced with that activity so they know what to expect.
  9. Clean up and put away all equipment immediately after the station ends. Get groups in the habit of bringing equipment back and putting it away when they are the last ones at the activity station.
  10. Make mental notes or jot down all the station activities that are working well or not working as you go throughout camp. When you need to repeat station activities that are working well and the campers enjoy, you will know exactly which ones you want to work into your rotations.

As you are coordinating your activity stations, transitions are going from one activity to the next with your group and are extremely important to ensure you are not wasting all your camp time in between activities. Here are some tips for successful transitions.

  1. Always be thinking ahead. Once your activity begins, start to think about how you are going to wrap it up, clean up and get the group to the next one.
  2. Use tactics like whistles, chants, claps, and hand signals to make sure kids are attentive, listening and paying attention to avoid wasted time getting them organized.
  3. When you start to wrap up an activity and get your kids organized, give yourself enough time to clean up before time runs out.
  4. Have your campers lined up and ready to move to the next space a minute or two before time is up.
  5. When you get to the next activity do a quick overview of the activity and then start the activity as soon as possible to maximize your time.

Not considering the items above can cause your activities to go south quickly. Activity stations should be fun, structured, and organized so that once it starts it runs itself. Streamlining your transitions will result in less down time for your campers to get in trouble or be bored, will maximize the time you have available for each activity throughout your day, and create more fun for your campers. Coordinating as many engaging activities as possible with limited down time will ensure your campers are always having a great time!


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