Summer is coming soon, and moms everywhere are asking the same question… What will we do with the kids? I can help you out with filling at least one week of your summer (inexpensively) with richer relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. What can it be, you ask?
When we returned to the US after spending two years in Ecuador, our kids couldn’t wait to see their cousins. We’re all busy homeschooling families and we live about half an hour apart in different directions, so it can be difficult to get everyone together at the same time.
I was inspired by a local couple that holds their own “Tennis Camp” each summer for all their grandchildren. Theirs is a week-long day camp held at their home where the main activity is tennis lessons. And while I can’t teach my kids how to play tennis, the sisters-in-law and I decided we could create this thing we call Cousin Camp.
This summer will be our 3rd annual Cousin Camp, and the kids are already excited about it. In fact, mine have been asking about it since Christmas!
Maybe you’d like to plan a Cousin Camp this summer for your family. If so, here’s how we’ve managed to pull it off two years running.
Pick a Date & Choose a Theme
It can be tricky to find dates that work for everyone, so try to get this taken care of first. As soon as you get dates for VBS, church camps, sports camps, or family vacations, put them on your calendar. Compare notes with the other families and look for available dates you have in common.
We’ve done this differently each year. The first year, we did five mornings in a row. Last year, we did three days (Monday, Wednesday, & Friday). We haven’t decided what we’ll do this year.
To make planning easier, you’ll also want to choose a theme. We had way too many ideas our first year, but finally got it narrowed down to Super Heroes. The kids dressed as Super Heroes, made capes, played Super Hero (outdoor) games, and on they got to BE Super Heroes on the last day when they completed a service project in our community.
Our theme last year was “Art, Science, & Nature”. We had a day of making art, a day of science experiments, and a field trip day spent hiking to a nearby waterfall.
Don’t be a Lone Ranger! Your nieces and nephews have parents. Enlist them to help with not only the planning, but the execution as well. I have two sisters-in-law and by sticking with a three-day camp, we’re each responsible for one day of leading. And we usually host one day of camp at each of our homes.
Another source for help would be from grandparents. If yours are willing and able, include them!
For some people, planning can be intimidating, but it’s my favorite part. The sisters-in-law and I tend to brainstorm ideas via group text–so easy when you’re busy trying to tend to a tiny mob.
We choose a date and theme, and then we volunteer for our “Lead Day”. We also set up a private Pinterest board where we can pin ideas. This helps us to all stay on the same page and make the camp cohesive for the kids.
Decide on your start and end time, and fill in your Lead Day with camp activities based around your theme.
You all may want to decide on a budget ahead of time too. My sisters-in-law and I are
cheap frugal, so we try to stick with free or cheap activities. The kids won’t remember how much money you spent anyway. They’ll only remember the time spent with family.
Gather your supplies. Prepare ahead of time. Show up. Smile, and enjoy. Your kids will thank you for it!
So have you ever planned a Cousin Camp or something similar for your kids?
What do you do to make summer memories with your kids?