Once a year, my grandchildren come to visit for nearly a week. It’s a time we get to see them 24/7 and actively participate in their activities. I generally plan the days many months in advance, so we do not have to wonder, “What are we going to do today?” Children get bored easily, so it’s very important to have several activities scheduled per day. Normally, I have a theme like Drama week or Arts and Crafts week. This year, I’m planning Chef’s Week!! Yet, it's important even with an overall theme that many other activities are included like going to the park, beach, shopping, library, movies, etc. But, here are some examples of camp week.
Drama week began with all of us writing a play with a simple setting, some dialogue, a narrative; practice and rehearsal the next day, and collection of some props we created or collected ourselves. Finally, the big day!
Day one: we wrote the play – we decided it was going to be about a group of girls who went on a boat ride and got lost. We talked about what each girl would say and do. The youngest at the time wanted to say, “I don’t want to go!” So, we incorporated that phrase any time the older girls made a suggestion about the adventure; for example, when Olivia suggested, “Let’s go on an adventure!” Jules would say, “I don’t want to go!” If Sophie said something like, “Ok, it’s time to get on the boat,” Jules would say, “I don’t want to go!” You get the idea. That night I typed it up and had the script written and copies made for each one.
The next day, we practiced the dialogue and collected the props in between rehearsals. The setting ended up being our lanai/pool area. The raft we have became their boat, we collected sticks for the fire they were going to build on the island (off the lanai), and we bought fake fish (little ones from the Dollar Store), so they could pretend to fish and have something for their supper.
The following day we videotaped the play. It was wonderful and the girls loved every aspect of it except for Jules who really didn’t want to go, but she played along like a champ!
The year of Arts and Crafts week took more planning and buying, but was very successful. Since it ended up being the week of the Kentucky Derby, we centered the theme around horse racing. The girls learned about the Derby, about horse races in general and we read a children’s book on the topic.
The following day was the derby, so we colored wooden horses, named them according to the real horses, and then had our own pretend race before the real one. Before the real derby, the girls chose the ones they thought would win, we then watched the race, and finally gave prizes to the winner as well as those who did not win. We drank mint juleps without the liquor and ate hot dogs.
This year, we are going to have a cooking week. I intend on having them decide on the recipes from library cookbooks specifically for children. Then the girls can choose which meal they want to cook like breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We will go food shopping after they have made their decision of which recipe they like for their chosen meal and go from there. I have already purchased their aprons and I’m excited about the upcoming event!
Planning Nonno and Nonna Camp week is not only a lot of fun but also a time of learning, bonding, and creating memories. If you have any ideas, please let me know. I would love to hear your comments.© Natala Orobello