Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cousin Camp 2008: Activities

Some of these activities are dependent on the location of Cousin Camp. I'm hoping to have it at my house this year, but there might be a problem getting everyone here. I'm brainstorming ideas at this point.

We live near Assateague and Chincoteague Islands, so they're on for an entire day's activities. We can picnic, walk trails, look for wild ponies and try to find a secluded section of the beach to build sand castles (we're not sunbathers). This will be prime photography time for me! I just have to figure out the best way to protect my camera from the sand ...

We also live just a few miles from a fabulous free city zoo and play park. You wouldn't believe what's there for free! So that's also on for an entire day's activities. We can picnic, go through the zoo and play in the play park (which is one of the best I've ever been to). This will also be a great time for photography!

I plan to do another obstacle course, which was so popular last year. We have a great backyard for this!

Another repeat from last year will be Cousin Camp Celebration, where we play games and win prizes. (Everyone gets a prize for every activity - they just get to pick prizes in ranking order.)

An activity I mentioned earlier that also coincides with a craft is the Soap Box Derby using the Soap Box Dragsters the boys will be making. I'm not too concerned about the girls being bored with this activity because if you can get the boys interested, the girls usually come along, too.

I found a Jump-O-Lene at a local thrift store last fall (very similar to the one in the link - for $2!), and I'm planning to keep that inflated to keep the youngest three busy in case they get bored with the more detailed crafts the older kids are making. I've already had it up, and my kids are enthralled with it.

And then there are other miscellaneous activities to fit into little niches in the schedule where we have some time, but not an entire day (or even afternoon):

  • Magic Sandbox (from Family Fun, July/August 2007) - Hide coins and other small prizes in a sandbox and let them dig them up. I plan to combine that with the Treasure Stones idea and keep track of how many stones I've hidden.

  • Along the same lines, there is the Backyard Treasure Hunt (from Family Fun, July/August 2007) where they learn to use a compass and work together as a team to find the treasure you've hidden. They start out with one clue and directions to the next clue, using the compass. After finding several clues this way, they are directed to the treasure, which will include a little something for everybody.

  • Magic Lollipop Hunt (from Family Fun, September 2007) - Poke a bunch of lollipops into the yard and let the kids try to find them. This works best in grass that hasn't just been cut, since a little length will help to hide them. Of course, everyone will end up with at least one.

  • Super Sidewalk Paint (from Family Fun, February 2008) - This is a "recipe" for a cheap homemade version, using items I have on hand. We have a large parking lot next door at the church, and I'm fairly certain sidewalk paint will be more popular than the chalk. There's just something about paint and kids!

And here are some great indoor activities, in case of inclement weather:

So what exactly do I have for prizes? I'm glad you asked!

In case you're wondering, I got these treasure chests at Dollar Tree. They're hugely popular and sell out within two days around here, so I was pretty happy to be in when they got a fresh shipment in the middle of winter! Just what will be in the treasure chests? Well, take a look at what I already have. This is the boys' treasure chest.

I got the plastic canteens at Wal-Mart when they were clearancing them last year for $0.10 each. The grow frogs (and lizards) were from Target's Dollar Spot, but they donate them to Goodwill and I picked them up for $0.25 each. My little guy loves these things so much, I just had to get some. There are also some sports-type watches that I picked up for $0.25 each when Dollar Tree was moving to a larger store and didn't want to have to move them. There's more in there - those are just the highlights.

Here's the girls' treasure chest:

The Ty Beanie Babies were given to me, and I know my nieces will love them. They like anything stuffed! There are quite a few craft-type kits behind them that I picked up at Dollar Tree for $0.25 each when they were moving the store, as well as girls' watches ($0.25 each) I got at the same time. That's where the journal came from, too ($0.25).

Lest you think I spend a small fortune on Cousin Camp, I really don't. I keep my eyes out for inexpensive prizes and such everywhere I go. It's amazing what you can find for $0.10-0.25 when you're looking hard enough and long enough!