Jul 28

Friends Camp: What To Do With Your Kids This Summer


If you know my wife and me, then you would agree that we are quite protective of our kids.  Since Noble is only 5 years old, we wanted to find things to do this summer that didn’t include dropping him off with a complete stranger.  And giving Noble a fun experience like that of a camp is important to us.  Perhaps in years to come, we’ll be more loosey goosey about summer camp.  But for now, we created “Friends Camp.”

Coined and created by my wife, Friends Camp is the ultimate answer to giving your kid a fun time during the summer, getting a break from your kids, and feeling safe about it all.

How does it work?  We made it a week long event.  You get together with 4 or 5 kids that your child hangs out with, playdates with, and whose parents you trust to leave your kid with.  Each parent takes a day of the week to host a 2-3 hour camp at their house.  And each day the kids have a different craft or project to complete. (The majority of all the things we did were easily available at our local craft supply store.) Usually, as I found, the project lasts about 30-45 minutes, and then the remaining time is spent in a giant group playdate at the house.

Friends Camp was a big success, and I highly recommend it.  We are actually going to plan another one before the summer is out.  I would only make a couple changes for the next round.  There should be at least 2 adults overseeing the kids.  I was left alone for a while during my hosting turn, and I realized at one point that I couldn’t even leave to go to the bathroom if I wanted to.  With 4 kids running around outside and a 22 month old needing attention, that would have been tricky! If Alistair pooped his diaper, I would have been forced to keep him in the backyard, strip him down and turn the hose on him.  Wouldn’t have been the first time.

Some pictures of the event:

Day 1 - Miio's house. They made shields and swords.

Miio putting his sword together with his father.

And then they attacked the cardboard monster! That monster was killed beyond dead.

Day 2 - our house. The kids made flags.

Noble's flag. The lesson learned on this day is that a bunch of boys using fabric paint is both messy, and will inevitably mess something up. The play structure got smeared with black fabric paint. Not an easy clean up...

Day 3 - Alex's house. TIE DYE SHIRTS, MAN!

Cupcakes were also included on day 3 because of Alex's birthday. Notice how intensely a child can focus when there is chocolate involved. Maybe math and writing learning tools should be made of chocolate. Hmmm, nevermind, bad idea.

Day 4 - Beckett's house - wooden castles! Beckett's dad is giving the instruction. A couple of the kids sported their tie dyes from the day before.

It's only a matter of time before the disgusting, spitty noise making fun begins.

Even Alistair and Maia did camp on this final day. Here we see Alistair attempting to charm some crayons away from Maia. She's not buying it.

The boys of Friends Camp. You think they could look at the camera just once for a picture? Exactly. From left to right (Alex, Noble, Beckett, Miio)

This was a great way to keep the kids busy, tire them out, and get them to spend some memorable time with their friends.  And we did it without the paranoia that naturally comes along with being a parent.  I will spare you the gruesome paranoia scenarios that play out in a parent’s head, because you being a parent, you know them.  Although I managed to hang out at camp each day, so I REALLY didn’t have to be paranoid!

Summer is going good so far!  What are you doing with your kids this summer?  Do you have some neat idea that you could share with the lot of us?  I’m all ears!  Or, in the case of a blog, I’m all eyeballs!



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