It’s the best week of the year.

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The grandkids have a packed summer schedule. Between sports practices and summer camps, the weeks will fly by before they know it. But not at Grandma’s house. Summer camp at Grandma and Grandpa’s place is a week (or two!) of slowing down, spending time together, and having fun. Camp Director Grandma, are you ready? Plan a week the grandkids will never forget with a little help from these tips.

Avoid homesickness.

Being away from home can be tough for the first few days. Make sure the grandkids pack a familiar toy or blanket to stave off homesickness. Let breakfast set the tone. Nothing beats Grandma’s breakfast, but it’s good to have their everyday breakfast items on hand just in case they wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Send them outside.

We know it’s tempting, but fight the urge to turn on the T.V. Don’t do it. Not even once. You’ll be glad you encouraged them to run wild outside once bedtime rolls around.

Teach them something new.

Those city kids have never been fishing before. Now’s the time to learn. Whether it’s telling the difference between oak leaves and maple leaves, learning how to hopscotch, or pointing out the location of Ursa Major in the night sky, share and share some more.

Go exploring.

Whether you’re exploring the local library or your own backyard, make an adventure out of it. Avoid the mid-day slump with a yummy snack and a long walk around the neighborhood. When you take a walk together, collect rocks and leaves and tell stories as you go.  

Do a project they can take home.

The kids will love sharing what they made at Grandma’s with the folks back home. For summer camp at Grandma’s house, plan easy drawing, painting, and building projects. Also, an afternoon tie-dye session is a must. (Just remember to wear gloves, or you’ll be sending the kids back to Mom and Dad with purple hands.) If all else fails, cutting and pasting magazine collages is always a winner.

Plan an adventure.

It’s hard to get restless if you’ve been exploring and having fun all week, but it can happen. If you’re in need of an adventure in the form of a quick field trip, get creative. Museums, libraries, playgrounds, farms, and even the local dairy can be exciting destinations for an afternoon trip. Call your friends, and get them to give you a behind-the-scenes tour.

Cook!

They’re never too young to learn simple recipes and to help Grandma out in the kitchen. Enlist the kids' help with stirring and reading the recipes, and teach them the ins and outs of Grandma’s kitchen. You can also gather a list of kid-friendly recipes that they can learn to make themselves. They'll love the independence, and Mom and Dad will be so impressed when the little ones proudly show off their newfound cooking skills!

Sleep under the stars.

Haul out that old camping gear and put it to good use. There’s no time like summertime for a backyard campout. Make s’mores over the fire pit, point out the constellations, and tell stories. The kids will look forward to the backyard campout every year (even if everyone inevitably wakes up after a few hours and relocates to the living room.)

Try to heed Mom and Dad’s rules.

Summer camp at Grandma’s house means fun, fun, and more fun, but no one enjoys that post-camp phone call: “Mom, did you let him stay up late every night? She ate dessert before dinner?” Feel free to relax the rules a little, but maintain some structure so that the post-camp transition is a little easier on the kids.

Try these fun activities too:

Arts and crafts
Picnics
Tag
An afternoon movie
Card games
Sewing projects
Indoor treasure hunt
Neighborhood scavenger hunt
Running through sprinklers
Baking cookies
Swimming
Playing Simon Says
Scrapbooking
Dancing
Playing instruments

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What activities are you planning for summer camp at Grandma’s this year? If you’re a pro at this, what traditions, projects, and activities do you always plan?