we did homemade camp with the kids and a few of their friends last week. well, 12 of their friends. i guess that is a little more than a few. it was AMAZING. truly delightful. i honestly didn’t know what to expect. i had hoped the would just be happy to see their friends every day, but it turned out to be pretty much a total blast.
a lot of the camps around here are too expensive or have days that are too long or have pickup times that are inconvenient to nap time. our friend cherisse said, “we should just do our own camp!” and i thought, well i am definitely going to try to make that happen!
i bought us lime (!) green t shirts from some company on-line for just about $4/each and then i painted “camp adventure” on all of them with leftover blue paint samples from when were were choosing colors for gus’ room. they turned out ok! 20 shirts is a lot of shirts to paint! “adventure” is a really long word! (also, boring! but it was the name that was drawn out of the hat of camp name ideas. oh well. it’s generic enough, though, that it was easy to choose things to do and camp songs about it).
then we decided what to do. we were originally going to do two days in our neighborhood (we all live near JP) and two days out of it (one morning at walden pond and one at the frog pond and wading pool downtown), but the weather messed with us a little bit. so we ended up doing everything local, which ended up being particularly cute. it was fun to hit all our usual haunts — franklin park, the arboretum, the zoo, and jamaica pond — and make them extra special because of camp!
here’s a rundown of our schedule:
monday at franklin park: meet, sing our camp song (below), explore an old fort, play some tag, collect fairy house materials, build fairy houses, snack and free play at the playground, billy goats gruff game, follow the leader, more tag, closing songs, end. (closing song: bringing home a baby bumblebee)
tuesday at the arboretum: meet, sing our camp song, search for treasure (we did the arboretum’s letterbox hunt), wildlife scavenger hunt, snack/free play, arboretum “museum pieces” collecting, tree measuring, rock throwing (into a little creek), closing songs, lunch/end. (closing song: green grass grows all around)
wednesday at the zoo: meet, sing our camp song, zookeeper encounter (we got to touch a blue-tongued skink!), tree climbing, snack/free play at zoo playground/lunch, closing songs/birthday cookies/end. (closing song: i’m being eat by a boa constrictor)
thursday at jamaica pond: meet, sing our camp song, rock skipping, exercise bar hanging, duck duck goose, old fox old fox, charades, snacks/free play, red light/green light, mother may i, free play, closing songs/photo/lunch/end. (closing song: five little speckled frogs)
friday afternoon/evening we had a potluck, and everyone, including parents who had to work during the week, got to come and eat together and visit and talk about the week. it was really fun/disastrous. they kids were kind of a mess! they were just totally exhausted. still, they all insisted upon singing all the camp songs for the parents, which was incredibly cute.
so — nothing special, really. but the kids had lots of fun and they were all (at least until friday afternoon) genuinely kind to each other. there were some minor scuffles, but generally they all got along. it was particularly nice because ALL of the siblings were there too. and i think the littles really enjoyed getting to participate in everything the big kids too. we also noticed that the kids seemed to harbor some sort of “group” mentality that we hadn’t witnessed before. something about all wearing green shirts together helped them all do things together. it was pretty amazing.
we hope to do camp every year, probably in august. it’s a nice way for everyone to touch base for a few days before splitting off into our separate schools (almost all the 5 yr olds are going to different schools in the area) and a nice way for the parents to hang out, too. we’re also thinking of meeting up once a season for a “camp adventure get together” where we do one seasonably appropriate “adventure” activity. we’re so lucky to have such wonderful friends!
our camp song:
the more we go to camp
the more we got to camp
the happier we’ll be!
’cause you’re friends are my friends
and my friends are your friends
the more we go to camp
the happier will be!
yes, not very original, but very easy for the kids to pick up and very fun to sing.