Friday, February 29, 2008

Cousin Camp 2007: Activities

Yesterday I shared with you the crafts we made at Cousin Camp last year. Today let's talk about activities. I might have a few surprising revelations for you ...

Like this one: Ask ahead of time what games they know how to play. I assumed that kickball was an elementary staple, but my 13-year-old nephew was the only one who had ever played it before. So most of our game was spent like you see right here - me directing traffic as they ran the bases. The only problem? I was also the pitcher. Oh well! I think they actually enjoyed it.

And here's another tip: limit the strenuous activities (like kickball) for the cooler times of day. We tried this first thing in the morning, and it was too hot!

This Jeep was a favorite activity. We had to limit them to so many minutes per person, since the battery eventually goes dead and everyone needed a turn. My oldest nephew had a blast teasing the younger ones and trying to get them to push him. (The battery wasn't quite dead yet.)

Yes, work can also qualify as an activity. My sister's kids are the ones that live on this farm, and they accept work as a daily reality. (Good for their parents!) The rest of them aren't used to manual labor like weeding the flower beds, so this was good experience - and still fun for them. Thanks to my brother-in-law for the inspiration to put them to work for a bit! It burned off some of their energy when I needed to put my feet up for a few minutes.

My brother-in-law also came up with the good idea of taking us over to his sister's house and rowing the kids around on the pond. For sake of space, I didn't include pictures of that activity. But let's just say it was a huge hit!

On the last day, I planned a series of skill games that I called Cousin Camp Celebration. The kids played games for prizes. (Everyone won a prize - we just lined them up in order of score and let the highest-scoring individual pick first.) One of those games was bowling - with 2-liters and a large playing ball. As you can see, they really got into this one, too!

This obstacle course was the highlight of the week. I had them each bring their bicycle or tricycle (and helmets, although you can see not everyone chose to wear one) and then my sister and I constructed this obstacle course from old "junk" in one of their barns.

First of all, they rode their bikes through cones ...

... rode through a sprinkler (my oldest nephew who turned the garden hose on at the appropriate time), ditched the bike and crawled through a cardboard box ...

... got as many rings on the ring toss as possible ...

... threw a ball into a suspended bucket (aka basketball) ...

... and then finished by climbing through another "tunnel" and sliding down a kiddie sliding board. We timed them to see who could do it fastest. They loved it!

To finish things off that day, I filled nearly 100 water balloons and let them go to it. They had a blast and all the balloons were gone in no time. It served a dual purpose of cooling them off after the more strenuous activities.

There were a few activities that didn't go over very well:

  • sidewalk chalk drawing (They weren't very interested. I'm thinking about trying a variation on it this year that I think they'll like.)
  • board games (Some of them have a little too much of one of my sibling's blood and are too competitive for their own good. I didn't want to hear any more whining about who was "cheating." But for some strange reason, Bingo went over great!)