Last summer, I was looking for a way to create a fun sleepover experience for my grandchildren. I came across a book called, Cousin Camp: A Grandparent’s Guide to Creating Fun, Faith, and Memories That Last by Susan Alexander Yates. This book and idea really got my creative juices flowing so I decided to throw a mini cousin camp for my then 2- and 3-year-old grandkids. What a great idea to create a camp experience at home. It would give my husband and me an opportunity to create memories with the grandkids and give our grown kids a date night.
When you begin to plan a camp, it is a bit more than just a sleepover. But you can create it however it works for you. This can also work for moms, dads, aunts, uncles – really any family member can host it. What I am about to share is what worked for us considering the age of the grands, location, and budget.
Before Camp Begins
We needed to come up with a name for our camp. Since we are called Mimi and Papa by our grandchildren, we took the first two letters of each name and ta-da – Camp Mipa was born. Our camp would be 24 hours and we created a schedule with age-appropriate activities. Considering the attention span of our campers, we came up with activities that included squirt gun water painting, crafts, games, movie and snack time, field trips to a local splash pad and park, and some free time to just play. We also gave plastic mini trophies throughout camp for small skills we were teaching, like listening, sharing, and using their manners. We factored in that our goal was to create memories with the grandkids!
Many of the camp supplies were purchased at the dollar store, Target, or Walmart. I also learned Amazon has a section called Grandparent camp. We splurged on the t-shirt because every good camp has a t-shirt! For the 1st Annual Camp Mipa, we invested in sleeping bags and a tent. We set it up in the living room and one of their highlights was to sleep in their sleeping bags in the tent!
Campers Have Arrived
The parents were emailed an invitation with time to drop off, pick up, and a list of what to pack. We decorated the house to look like a mini camp with tents, and a fake fire that I found at Walmart. When they arrived, they received a camp bag with a lanyard, name tag, and camp t-shirt. Mimi added a special gift of water shoes and a tumbler! We spent the next 24 hours with an overscheduled event but realized it was better to have more than enough, than not enough things to do.
Memories Were Made
24 hours of non-stop fun and now it was time to go home. The grandkids were so excited to tell their parents all about their camp experience. A year has passed, and it is that time again to host the 2nd Annual Camp Mipa. This year our camp crew will include Baby Luna making a guest appearance, as we create experiences around the two toddlers. As they grow up, we can add so many different types of camp fun. However you decide to host an at-home camp, just know with lots of love, an attitude for fun, and time to spend together, you will create memories for a lifetime!
Let us know if you go on this adventure. Share your ideas in the comments!