To say kids look forward to summer is an understatement. With no work, homework, teachers, tests or projects, youngsters are living the dream life. However, it creates all the concern for parents who want to keep their children stimulated, engaged, learning and out of mischief as schools shut their doors. 

But how do you fill the time with such activities? And who will be present for them? Many families enlist the support of family. As such, we've looked at fun ways to make Camp Grand.  

Set the structure. Many families rely on grandparents to help with childcare during the summer. While it's important for children to have fun and connect with family, it’s also important to have clarity and consistency about what kids need each day. Having grandparents spend time with your kids is great for all of them. Be sure to let the grandparents know of any allergies, sensitivities or hard and fast rules.  Remember though, this is a special time for your parents and your children and it may be a good time to relax some of the rules.

Have weekly themes. Ideas and activities can be elusive. Incorporating fun can also be a hurdle. Having themes for the week or each day can pique interest. Mamas Facing Forward created a camp program with activities to support parents with such breaks from school. From human body camp to cooking camp to weather camp, her outlines feature craft ideas, games, items to learn and even excursions to take. These can help govern the weekly schedule, keep all parties on task and are a great way to cater to each child's interest while encouraging them to engage in less desirable topics. 

I love getting the reports from the kids after they spend time with their Grandparents. One grandma loves to go on exploratory walks, and the other takes them on adventures around town. They are getting a multigenerational education!” - Nathalie

Teach and learn. Does Grandma like to knit or needlepoint? Is Granddad a gardener or a novice mechanic? Whatever the grands love to do, exploring these hobbies may open children to amusement they have never imagined. Plus, many activities can result in making or growing items. Bonus! But flip it, too. By having children share and show their favorite activities and passions, grandparents can learn new skills and ideas as well. By the end of summer, everyone will have developed new skills and perhaps new bonds. 

My mom always has great activities planned for my daughter! They go swimming, create art projects and make treats. The last time they were together my mom started to teach my daughter how to sew. The two of them spending time together reminds me of summers I spent with my grandma. - Ellie

Plan field trips or excursions. Planning expeditions is a great way to explore community gems and take advantage of Florida’s history and resources, as well as reinforce what was learned or practiced in activities and curriculum. Plus, many establishments in Volusia offer free days or reduced pricing. Marine Science Center offers field trip pricing starting at $4 per student and $5 for chaperones (educators are free). MOAS offers free admission to Volusia County residents on the first Tuesday of every month. Visiting the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens is donation-based, with a suggestion of $2 per guest. For a sweet trip, visit Angela and Phelps Chocolate Factory to see chocolates prepared fresh and try one for free! 

Grandparents story time. It was a different time, so let the kids hear about it firsthand. Cassettes and 8-tracks, analog television and rotary phones, maps and payphones. Have the grands share stories and experiences from their lives. It’s a great way to learn about the past and have bonding time.

Take it further by creating writing prompts. “When grannie was 10, her favorite food was…” or “Grandpa’s favorite summer activity was.” From there, creative juices can flow as the young minds conjure up a tale of days gone by.

Incorporate chores or housework. It may not be ideal, but things need to be done, so why not have the grands make it a game? Freeze Clean is an amusing way to tick cleaning items off the list. Think of the “Party Freeze” song with cleaning elements. Play music and begin. When the music stops, the cleaning stops until the music starts again. I Spy, the Floor is Lava, or using a child’s favorite sport are all great options for scrubbing games. Use these same games for yard work as well.

"In our family, Camp Grandma is a weekly deal. We take one day a week with our granddaughter while our daughter works. I take her to a local museum, the library and the park. We also have a special activity every week. Since we don't get snow, we created a winter day where we played with plastic penguins and polar bears and built "snow" forts out of toilet paper. The best part was knocking them down. Time with your grandchildren does not have to be expensive or complicated. Just being with them, focused on them, will create a great experience for all of you!"  -  Jeanne

So, if your kids are looking forward to seeing their grandparents at the next school break, try out these ideas to make Camp Grand even Grander!