Summer is underway! It’s time for campfires, swimming, vacations, and most importantly, family get-togethers. If you’re looking for ways to bring your family together, both immediate and distant, you should consider hosting a cousin camp this summer!
Cousin Camps: What are they?
Cousin camps are exactly what they sound like – an outing or reunion camp for cousins who either live far apart or don’t know each other very well to spend some quality time together! They’re generally held for young grandchildren, but older kids can benefit from cousin camps too! Check out this post for info on how to host one, but for this post we'll be sharing tips and activities for making it a success!
Tips for Success with Cousin Camps
To hold a successful cousin camp, you’ll want to consider having a theme. Not absolutely necessary, but great to rally everyone around a common idea or objective. Some good themes for the youngsters include:
- Disney Themes (especially if you can find dollar store party items around the theme)
- Despicable Me/Minions
- Star Wars
- Lion King
- Science fun
- Animals/ Noah's Ark
- Christmas (Christmas in July)
- Kids around the world
Generally, cousin camps are literally “camps.” They’re often held at a remote cottage or campsite. But they can also be held at home or in your own backyard, or a grandparent's backyard. The point is for family members to disconnect from their smartphones, laptops, and video games for a few days to focus on spending time and creating memories with the distant loved ones.
Here are some activities you can plan for the kids (under 10 or preteens) and parents, rain or shine. You might even want to create sticker badges they can earn for completion of individual or team activities.
- Building or Woodworking
- Water Gun or water balloon fights (these are so easy to fill!)
- Kickball or Wiffle ball
- Scavenger Hunts
- Biking or hiking
- Yard Games
- Life-size Jenga
- Baggo or Cornhole
- Slip n Slide or pool time (make your own slip n slide with a plastic tarp on a hill with a bit of dish soap and a hose to make it slippy.)
- Fence painting
- Photo scavenger hunts
- Campfire songs/stories/smores
- Board Games
- Arts and Crafts (design challenges)
- Kitchen science experiments
- Food Art
- Finger Painting
- Painting Stones (pretend pet rocks!)
- Tie Dye
- Card Games
- Drama or puppet shows
- Lego challenge
Any of these activities can be made competitive. You could turn the scavenger hunt into a race and use prizes as an incentive to win!
- Make set of wordless book craft kits for missionaries or your local church evangelism program.
- Shop for and assemble blessing sacks to hand out downtown or take to a local shelter.
- Assemble a summer shoebox gift for each child in a less fortunate family.
- Make cookies or desserts for local older people who live at home, but don't get out often or get much company.
- Establish rules.
- Cousin camps may sound like a fun and carefree time, but having an influx of children around can be a recipe for chaos. This is why you’ll want to create a set of rules to establish order. They don’t need to be as strict as home rules, but they can still help the children learn respect each other and authority.
- Have a set but flexible time schedule.
- Unfortunately, children don’t always agree on which activities to do. To avoid any confrontation, make a set, daily schedule of activities. Be sure to include time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and to have substitute activities in case of disagreeable weather.
A great way to ensure that your cousin camp is memorable is to have something to take home. Consider making or printing themed t-shirts, goodie bags, magnets, etc. for everyone to take home at the end of the camp, and of course a camp group photo of all the participants. Creating a photo book on Shutterfly to gift to each family the following Christmas is a great way to honor the time and extend the memories too!
Running a cousin camp is a wonderful way to foster lasting relationships that will continue for a lifetime. Whatever activities you decide to do, planning in advance will make the experience less stressful and more organized.
Don't forget to read this post about how to host a cousin camp!