Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cousin Camp Fun

Well, here we are back from our mission to Finland with a new mission in mind, namely getting to know our grandchildren better.

I'd heard a few mentions of cousin camps being held by grandparents and decided to try out the idea.

We started by ordering cousin camp shirts, including a couple in larger sizes to fit grandpa and grandma.

Next we went to Trader Joe's and chose one of their fun 'grocery bags' to be a keep sake bag for each of the kids.  The first craft we did was making name tags for each of their bags. They were able to save their crafts, prizes, and even fun rocks they found and wanted to save.

We spent a couple of weeks sprucing up the yard, which it needed, including putting up this sweet picket fence.

We divided camp into three themed days.  Day one the theme was animals, with the big activities being fishing and horse back riding.

Day two was all about Pioneers, the activities were a hike in the morning and a living pioneer museum in  the afternoon.

Our final day was circus day, where we put together carnival games, circus food, and costumes for the finale activity, a circus parade,  and finally a carnival with games and food to share with the extended family when the parents came to pick up their kids.

Now its time to start our cousin camp, on Wednesday, we gathered around 10 in the morning and passed out the shirts.

Then we loaded up the nine munchkins in our twelve seater van (a must for an antique dealer) and headed up Payson Canyon, just to the east of our little town.

We'll have two more passengers at next year's cousin camp, so we plan to rent a 15 seater van. (we only invited those from 4 to 12)

 My son-in-law, Sam used to live in Payson, and loves Payson Lakes for fishing.  He knows all the tricks. Here he is getting a fish pole ready for one of the kids.

It wasn't long until they were hauling them in.  Eleanor was pretty excited to have the first catch.

Since we only take home what we will eat, we threw a lot of them back.  The kids were always unhappy when we threw back 'their' fish.  I told them we would only take home what they would eat, which came in handy later when it was time to eat them.
 Grandpa also set up some of the kids with their own poles to hold.

 Nenna is one of two four year olds who came to camp, and caught the biggest fish of all.  She was so excited.

We stayed until each of the kids had caught a fish.

Then we headed home for lunch, which included dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, and a taste of the trout they'd caught. There were also tatertots and foods we associate with animals. The kids who guessed the right animal for each food got a small prize.

Bananas - Monkeys
Apples - Horse
Cheese - Mouse
Crackers- Parrot
Honey - Bear
Carrots - Rabbit
Fish - Bears

After lunch we went outside for activities.  I loved how companionable these two cousins seem, one lives in Texas and the other in Utah.  This was my main goal of cousin camp, was the cousins bonding to one another. 

Outside we played animal games, like the farmer in the dell.  Then since we were spot watering on the lawn, the kids got the idea that running through the sprinkler would be fun.

Here's the oldest of the cousins at cousin camp. She's eleven and the next oldest are seven turning 8.  She ended up being our camp councilor and having her help was huge.  I've already hired her older brother to be an additional camp councilor next year.

I have a daughter who has a horse, and she was willing to let all 9 of the kids come and take a turn around the arena of the barn where she boards her horse. It was't much but the kids loved it and and brought along apples,cut in chunks, to feed to the other horse in the barn.  

"Hold your hand flat so you won't get bit!"  and  "Grandma, I felt his teeth but he didn't bite me. 

Back at the house we watched Bambi before crawling into the boy tent or the girl tent.

Our craft for the day was making a chain of all the animals we'd seen, sung about (They loved singing in the car, especially "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee.") animals mentioned in the games we played and the animals we saw on our two treks out.   We saw a bald eagle, deer, horses, cows, calves, dogs, cats and lots of other birds, as well as an unconfirmed fox sighting.

 On Wednesday morning, after eating a delicious Mountain Man Breakfast and scones that Grandpa made, we made whole wheat bread and shook cream to make home made butter.  Of course that was a hit.

We followed up with our craft for the day that was learning to sew and sewing ribbon for ties on half dish towels to make aprons.  I had planned to have the boys hem their raw edge on their kerchiefs, as you can see, that idea bombed, though 5 of the 6 girls actually sewed on their aprons.
 Here we are all set up to hike to the Grotto, as small alcove in Payson Canyon with a very well maintained trail, and a lovely waterfall into a shady area to splash and have fun.  At about a half a mile its the perfect length for kids.

But still sometimes you just need to rest.
 Here we are on a log bridge, a few of which criss-cross the stream we hiked beside.

Back at the house we played pioneer games, like red rover and hide and seek.  Of course hide and seek was the favorite.  I  guess the game hasn't lasted hundreds of years by accident.

In the afternoon we headed to Provo, about ten miles north of Payson, where we enjoyed the Sons of the Utah Pioneers, living Pioneer village.

Above you see the girls watching a lady doing fancy work.  There was also a weaver, and a spinner, who showed items made from the spun thread.

To the left a couple of the girls enjoy the slates in the school.

The kids loved the school.  We had our own personal tour guide and she was amazing.

Afterward school, there were fun pioneer games to be tried.
 The children also played an 'I spy' game through out the village, circling items as they saw them, then receiving a striped candy stick as a prize.

How perfect is this activity, getting to dress up and and pose on a wagon.  As you can see some liked it better than others.  How pleased does our William look to the left?
Back home,  we had chicken and dumplings for our pioneer dinner.  Surprisingly they liked it.  Then, we had to cook something over the fire, right?  We'll smores may not be authentic to the period, but the kids loved them.
 Then Friday was all work, work, work, work.  But I thought I'd show you the result of the work first.  Here are 7 of the kids, all ready for their parade.  Two of the kids were picked up at 3:00 to head home, but they helped us get ready, all the same.

During breakfast we talked about all the kinds of circus workers there are.  Such as cleaners,  builders, decorators, food makers, clean up people and performers.  When asked, they all wanted to be performers, then we agreed that without the other workers there would be no circus.  Thus we paired up in sweeping teams to sweep up the patio area, and a bit of the driveway we needed for the bowling game, there were even prizes for the most dirt and leaves in their garbage bags.  Eva, said "Grandma, you even make the work part, fun!"  That made my day.

  Next we made decorations and the items we needed for the carnival games, like covering cans to stack to be knocked over with a thrown ball.  The older kids filled almost 200 water balloons. We also used a hula hoop to make a ring of fire for the performers to jump through, tying on red and orange yarn so that when the whoop is spun it looks like fire. 

 This is the practice parade with the whole crew. The practice parade was initiated to include the two children who had to leave at 3:00, since they had both been excitedly talking about their role in the parade, before I got a call from my daughter, saying they had had something come up and needed to leave early for home.

Grandpa shares his costume.

With the circus prep all done, we watched the Greatest Showman, which the kids had all seen, but still enjoyed.

Then we all dressed up again, ready for the real parade, as parents and aunts and uncles gathered.

 Here they are all ready to go.

Our greatest showman's Dad had to try on the hat.  He's kind of fun like that.

Next it was time for the games.

We had a couple of kids in charge of each concession, but the youngest one in each team drifted off.

Here Eleanor keeps watch as her Aunt Darby pitches at the cans we covered as part of our craft activity.
Uncle Trevor gets ready to throw, while holding his nephew Mac.
Pretty Good shot, don't you think? I hear Titan was pretty exacting in passing out the prizes.

Eva takes charge of the back up balloon toss, which some how didn't use up all the balloons, and she was forced to improvise.

The kids loved the junk food meal. 

As did the adults, evidently, as my oldest son Trevor takes the junk food to a new level with his edible corn dog-donut mushroom.

After dinner my kids gathered up their kids and that was the end of cousin camp.
It was exhausting, but the grand kids loved it and are still telling their parents their about their favorite parts.

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