If you're like a lot of grandparents, you may not live close to your grandkids. Any chance you get to see them is a treat and a treasure — especially when it's for an extended period of time! Why not plan to host them for a week or a few days, at your very own version of summer camp?
For starters, think of what a typical summer camp offers. Of course, you'll need to take your own grandchild's (or grandchildren's) ages into account, as well as your own ability to participate, and your living situation, in terms of whether you have a backyard or common area you can use. If you have a sibling with grands, consider a "Cousins Kamp" that you could co-host together, including their grands.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Arts & Crafts
These kinds of projects are staples at most summer camps. They make great mementos, too!
- Make decorative soaps. You won't need a ton of special suppliers for this, just a few bars of inexpensive white soap along with some soap-making dye.
- Perfect a popsicle stick project. Did your grands fly to visit? How about a little airplane?
- Craft a bird feeder from an empty toilet paper roll. Who doesn't have those around these days? Again, you'll just need some simple, readily available supplies: peanut butter, bird seed and string or twine.
- Create handprint T-shirts, tote bags or other goodies for each grand, as well as yourself. Or tie-dye!
- Make a placemat and have it laminated.
Good old-fashioned fun is easy to come by with field games. And inexpensive! Consider a three-legged race, water balloon hot potato, a relay race with eggs on spoons, a potato sack race, beanbag toss, sprinkler limbo, etc. An obstacle course is easy to assemble using things you likely have on hand, such as a ladder and 2-liter bottles filled with water to use as cones.
Archery & Other Skills
How about Nerf archery? Or a set with suction cups? They’re fairly inexpensive. Most camps involve, well, camping of some sort. Have a camp out in your backyard — build a bonfire (if allowed) and make s'mores, stargaze and identify constellations and planets.
Many camps specialize in sports, such as soccer, volleyball, basketball or even cheerleading. But if you have a yard or a communal space, you can offer fun physical activity by way of kickball, tee ball, croquet, badminton and more. Pick up some pom poms from a fan-based sporting goods store and lead a simple cheer routine. Have access to an outdoor pool? You can offer swimming.
With a plethora of parks and trails in CoMo, take advantage of the sunshine with your grandkids...and give them a chance to run off some energy before bedtime! Here are variations to make a hike more fun!
Borrow books on trees from the library. Use them to teach your grands about different types of trees, what they're used for and how to identify them (bark, leaf shape, blossoms.)
Find out what rocks and minerals are common in the area and give each grand several to scout for. Bring a plastic container with dividers, a descriptive rock and mineral guide and a magnifying glass to examine and identify their finds.
Photo Opp Hop
Hiking trails or parks provide plenty of photo opps. Give your grands a chance to snap pics on your phone or their own. Print out the best shots once you're home and create a nature scrapbook.
Teach Old-school Navigation
Nix google maps. Choose a trail system that provides maps, and teach your grands how to read them. Take a compass along and show them tricks like where the sun is, moss on the north side of a tree, etc ...
Scouting for insects is an all-time favorite with most kids. They love creepy crawly things. Bring a tote with an insect book, clear container, tweezers, a journal and magnifying glass. Collect and ID the bugs.
Prep your grands to let them know that there may be rules against bringing some of their nature finds home.
With a little planning and prep, you're sure to have happy campers!