Saturday, August 11, 2012

Camp Firefly

I have fond memories of summer camps attended as a kid. My painful shyness made the first couple of days somewhat anxious for me, but as the days rolled out, I became more comfortable and events transpired that will forever be etched in my mind.

Since there were a couple of weeks this summer in between my own littles' camp sessions, I decided to hold our own camp at home. Why? Because I'm always up for a good challenge and I own more arts and crafts supplies than your local Michael's retailer.

OK, truthfully, I love being in our home and yard and knew we could create something special with everything we already had. And we did.
After polling a number of friends for creative names, we went with Camp Firefly (thank you Sue!).

Since no good camp is without a great T-shirt, we started the first day of camp by making our own shirts to wear all week.
I found this cute idea for tie-dye marker T's at Happy Whimsical Hearts. Because my kids are younger we opted for water-based markers. (Yes, that meant the shirts didn't get washed all week. But, isn't that what camp is all about?)
The kids loved exploring how the colors blended when they were sprayed with the witch hazel. 
But what they loved more were the final results.
(Poor Hunter. Our last minute Sunday night trip to the store proved fruitless in a boy's toddler T so we had to use a stretched out onesie. He didn't seem to mind.)

Kathleen even made her own T-shirt to wear on the days she was with us.
We began each day by reading books under the birch tree in our yard.
The rest of the day was filled with activities--some pre-planned and some spontaneous based on what we were interested in that day: 

We explored water beads and questioned what happens when water is added and then taken away.
(We accidentally left one out in a brief rainstorm to find it grew bigger than the size of a golf ball! I just wish I had a picture of it.)
Dress up.
I was washing our snack plates and heard Hunter singing and noticed he kept putting on my old childhood jean jacket and then taking it off and hanging it up. He did this over and over.
I walked over closer and realized he was singing, "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, 
A beautiful day for a neighbor, Would you be mine? Could you be mine?" 

I smiled because I had wondered if he would be interested in those old Mister Rogers episodes I put on my iTouch.
Puzzles and lacing cards to work on our fine motor skills.
(Our favorite summertime sitters are home from college and we've treasure spending time with them and what they teach us. We love you Annie, Bree and Mairead!)

Cloud and rainbow making
We explored different ways to use our easel--everything from magnets, dry erase markers to shaving cream.
***(OK, here is where I need to enter a caveat. Embarrassingly enough, after snapping a full two days' worth of our camp, I left the camera on the back bumper of my car only to drive off later. The camera has never been found hence a lack of some of the week's photos or subpar photos taken with my iPhone. 

After a solid week of trying to hunt down my camera (thank you Debra for lending me yours!), my sweet hubby bought me a new one. I have to give a big shout out to him because he knows how important it is for me to record our family moments. I love you hon!!)***

Creating beautiful masterpieces with crayons, markers, glue, watercolors and popsicle sticks.
Baking new recipes
Bead sorting
Games like Red Light, Green Light
Studying insects
The water table
and new ways to use it
(Ahem, this is actually Sari's water table that I have held hostage for, oh, about a year.) 
Painting our beach rocks 
 Fun in the sprinkler
Yummy themed snacks
(A butterfly to go with our insect exploring...
...and lemonade with blue ice cubes to further explore color mixing.)
Window art
Puzzles and latches boards
a lot of loving for the little guy
more rainbows and stars
(PBJ star sandwiches and fruit and Cool Whip clouds)
(Because the theme of camp was exploring we didn't enforce utensils.)
and the grand finale was this Mac Daddy color mixing activity that Kathleen created
(Empty jelly jars filled with different colored water, Pyrex dishes, pots, pans, kitchen utensils and flour for exploring.)
(We even saw some sharing going on.)
We finished off the fun week with a firefly reading box. A plain, cardboard box and Christmas lights transformed into a mesmerizing and cozy hiding nook filled with pretend fireflies.
Was it a little harder to hold camp at home versus sending them off for a few hours a day? Yes. But, was it worth it? Most definitely.  

Recently we were riding in the car and I asked Hunter which camp was his favorite since he attended two different camps this summer. He looked deep in thought for a moment and then a smile spread across his face as he said, "Camp Firefly!" I turned to mush and it reiterated what I know to be true--home truly is where the heart is.
"Children are naturally curious, but it's lots of work to be the teacher, parent, 
or sibling of a child who's always asking questions, always taking things apart,
always making a mess. But curiosity is an important part of being successful because that is what drives someone to think a little harder, do a little more."
-Karin Ireland

1 comment:

  1. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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