Today’s post is brought to us by Julie Kieras from HappyStrongHome.com
If you’re a grandparent or caregiver during these carefree summer months, you likely are just waiting for those dreaded words: “I’m bored!”
Here’s an alternative to kids wandering aimlessly about the house like so many pinballs bumping into each other… Grandma Camp! (Or Auntie Camp, etc!).
All you’ll need is a few craft kits and tools to create a schedule of activities for your own “Camp” whether you need to plan a day, a week, or even a month.
Nature Activity Ideas:
Garden Class: Set out garden tools and host a “garden class” to explain the names and uses of each tool like a cultivator, trowel, or garden rake. Each child could have their own set, or take turns with each tool. Plant a row of seeds (beans grow quickly!), or for instant results, a pack of flower plants. Children can plant directly into the ground or in a large pot.
Night Time Bug Hunt: Give each child a flashlight and go out just before bedtime to see what nocturnal bugs they can spot. Check under rocks, plants and on walls. Don’t forget to turn the flashlights off for a few minutes, to see if you can spot lightning bugs!
Nature I Spy: Create a list (text or picture) of items to keep an eye out for, then walk around your yard or neighborhood. Work together or in pairs/teams to find as many items on the list as possible.
Active Play Ideas:
Wonderball: Sit in a circle and pass a large kickball around the circle singing or saying the “Wonderball” song: “The wonderball goes round and round, to pass it quickly you are bound. If you’re the one to hold it last, you – are – out!”
Hopscotch: A foam hopscotch mat can be used indoors and out – quickly set up on a patio, driveway, sidewalk, hallway or playroom. These are great to have on hand for rainy and sunny days alike! Try traditional or use the round markers to skip squares for a challenge.
Arts & Crafts:
*Use jumbo construction paper to give each child an area to create, and keep the paint, crayon, and other materials off the table. Easy to clean up, too!
Claytime: Separate blocks of modeling clay to give each child several chunks in different colors. Demonstrate mixing two different colors to create a new color. Talk about primary and secondary colors. Older children can try creating tertiary colors too! Show them how to mold, roll, and press textures into the clay. Plastic molds help them create interesting shapes, which kids can embellish with hand-rolled embellishments.
Sun catchers: Discuss how light helps us see colors vividly. After painting sun catchers, dim the lights to show how it’s harder to make out colors. Then hang in a window to let the light shine through. *Place each suncatcher on a paper plate, so they are easier to move around while still wet.
Sand Art: Layers of colorful sand create beautiful bottles to display or give as gifts. Show how using just a little sand at a time creates thin layers, while using a lot of sand creates thicker layers. (Demo this without using up the art supplies by layering white and brown sugar in a glass). Invite kids to create layers of favorite sports team colors, bedroom colors, or create a whole rainbow!
More Grandma Camp Ideas
Create “stations” for each activity, and rotate kids through hour by hour or day by day. This is helpful for larger groups, small workspaces, or when you have limited supplies. Everyone will have something to do and get to try all the activities.
Transitional activities: coloring books, crayons, stamp marker activity pages, board games, puzzles, music CDs, books, bubbles. Have a basket of these items handy for when you need to clean up or set up an activity.
Art kits and outdoor game sets save you the “gathering materials” part of planning activities for kids. Plus it’s easy to whip out a new activity on short notice.
Creating a schedule of special activities keeps the days running smoothly while making memories with your grandkids.
What other activities would you add to your Grandma Camp!?
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