Friday, May 29, 2009

Camp Mommy...

It's that time of year again...SUMMERTIME!!!!!!!

Do you send your kids to summer camp? I don't remember this being such a big thing when I was growing up but here in south Florida, it seems EVERYONE sends their kids to camp. I mean, when my girls were younger, there was big-time pressure to sign up ASAP for camps, unfortunately most of it coming from moms who thought this was "enriching"and you were holding your child back if you didn't do this. I'm talking all-summer, all-day camps and not just for parents who work. (For those parents, summer camps must be a blessed gift compared to trying to figure out childcare while kids are out of school.) And I understand those sports camps for kids who excel at a sport or want to learn one so they take a few weeks of soccer camp, volleyball camp or dance camp. My daughter is doing this, in fact. I think camps are a fun, great way to make new friends, learn something new... I went away to summer church camp for a week. I guess I t hink that's different than what's out there today. I just know that I had friends who worked and needed summer camp for their kids and couldn't get them in because they were full of kids who didn't really need summer long camps but their parents didn't want to be bothered. I always thought that was kind of sad and unfair to those who needed this. Summer camp at home is fun and easy. We don't do this now that my girls are older but we don't need to. It was when they were young that they loved these special days.

Anyway, signing up for camps for the summer was not an option for me and with the money situation being so tight for families, this may not be an option for a lot of parents, either.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am one of those weird parents who LOVE having their kids around and couldn't wait for school to get out. We had a huge party after school on the last day with a bounce house, friends and all that to celebrate the end of school. YAY!!!!!

I love not having a strict schedule, waking up, making a lunch, rushing out the door... My girls loved a break from that, too.

So...what to do, what to do... Then we decided to have a summer camp at home and called it "Camp Mommy". This was my answer to summer camp for my girls and started this when they were 5 and 3 years old. This left plenty of time to have playdates, go to the park, just chill out...typical lazy summer stuff. But it also let them feel they were in summer camp and they LOVED it. Sometimes their friends would join us for a day of camp. Don't get me wrong, this was not me planning like crazy to occupy my kids every minute of every day. They were not raised to expect to be entertained so this was more like a weekly or bi-weekly treat for them. Yep, I do have a problem with demanding kids and parents who entertain. Have a lemonade stand or something, right? (I'm sorry...just had to throw that in. It is so annoyingly common today:-)

Okay, on to Camp Mommy...

Camp was usually one day a week but sometimes we would do it more, like three mornings a week. If we were going to the beach or the library, it was a field trip and they wore their camp mommy shirts, which we made the first day of camp by spraying paint on a shirt or varied. Each week , for the full day camp we had a theme. I'm going to list as many as I can think of but I know there were more. Basically, any activity you can think of can be a theme. Sometimes, just doing something you don't have time for in the school year is all they need. We had "porch picnic" day where we had our meals on a blanket on the porch and their friends came to join us:-)

~Teddy Bear Day: we went for a Teddy Bear picnic, did teddy bear crafts, watched episodes of Little Bear, had teddy bear pancakes for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, crafts...

~Arts & Crafts day: Painting, bead jewelry, cereal necklaces, shell art, sidewalk chalk... We got rolls of white paper and colored a table cloth, made a huge paper mural for the playroom...

~Christmas in July...our favorite: We played Christmas music and watched our favorite Christmas shows. We cut out Christmas cookies, baked and frosted them. Maybe we love this because it made us feel "cool" in the steamy Florida summers.

~Jammies Day/Slumber Parties. Sometimes it was an actual sleepover and sometimes we would pretend to have one during the day. We did spa stuff, made popcorn, played twister...

Camping Day: We made forts, naps in sleeping bags, cooked out, made smores...

Princess or Barbie Day: We made crowns, tutu's, wands...played dress-up, had tea parties. You see how it is stuff they might do anyway but they thought they were at "camp":-)

Carnival Day: dressed like clowns/ silly people, face painting, carnival games, water balloons, games for their friends, sprinkler fun...

Anyway, you get the idea. Very silly and tons of fun! They were happy making bubbles, play doh or cleaning counters with shaving cream.

We ended every week with a theme dinner/Friday Family Night. We decorated, had themed food and watched a movie in Mommy and Daddy's bed, followed by a sleepover in our room. Some of the themes for this were luau's, mexican fiestas, French/Paris theme, Italian night, 50's Night, Groovy 60's/70's and disco, mermaid, polka dot parties or color themes.

At the end of the summer, we went on a back to school road trip but more about that in August. Guess that's about it for my trip down memory lane. I hope it gave those of you looking for ideas a bit of inspiration. My 14 year old finished school yesterday and is now officially a high-schooler. Trust me when I say it is well-worth it to do those silly, special things while you can:-)
Hugs, Suzanne


  1. Holy cow, your camp is awesome! Can I sign up?! :)

  2. I'd love to enjoy a day back in time with my 3 little girls! My baby is now 22, where has the time gone???

  3. Very cute!!!! My daughter goes to softball camp but it's only for 4 hours a day

  4. So wonderful! I can't wait for summer. I'm also one of those weird Mommy's who loves to be home with the kids with no schedule. My girls still have 5 weeks left. UG.
    We don't do a camp Mommy, but do make a huge list of things they want to accomplish over the summer and try and get through as many as possible. Some of my faves from last year were Join the Reading Club at the library (It was once a week) and have Ice Cream for dinner.
    love this post..and your music today:)

  5. Adorable photos - I so enjoyed it and you gave me some good ideas! You are an inspiration!!

  6. I just did a double take on one of your pictures - is that a kid's sewing machine? If so, what kind and does it work well?

    I'm a new follower but love your blog. Can't wait to see what you come up with next! Stop by my place and pick up an award I have waiting for you! Congratulations and keep blogging! :)

  7. I came back! Yours was the best post of the day by far, thanks for giving me a wonderful memory of times gone by. New Mommies need to do your Mommy camp with their kids! Maybe when the time comes, if I'm lucky enough, I'll do a Grandma camp!

  8. LOL! These pictures are so fun! I wanna come next time!

  9. That is just about the most adorable and creative idea I have ever heard of. I'm sure you created many wonderful memories that will last all of your lifetimes!

  10. Love the Camp Mommy Idea. I might do it next year. I am still a graduate student and don't have time off in summer. So my son is going to a summer camp and he is excited. He starts tomorrow.

  11. We always have time to do the Mommy and Grandma camp - and so far it's the best!

    Love-love-love being with the kids during the summer...Love to see them grow and have fun and just be kids!

    Do stop by and grab the Mother Love award =D

  12. This is sooo the photos!

  13. LOVE THIS POST Suzanne.
    I'm with you... no camps for my kids either. Loved having them home also.
    Every weekend I would pick a place to take them. Of course we wanted dad around, hence the weekend.
    The girls are all grown up now.. my gosh... so adorable.
    I have 1 girl, 2 boys.
    Hope you had a great weekend.
    Love Claudie


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