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How to Run a Cousin Camp

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I once read that the only people who know you your whole life long are your siblings and your cousins. They are there from the beginning, knowing all of the childhood history that even a spouse likely doesn’t know.
Cousins are special — no doubt about it. Nurturing those relationships strengthens family identity and gives kids a sense of where they belong and where they come from in this world.
My nephew, Gabe, is going to be a senior in High School this year. Keeping Cousin Camp going is more important than ever as I realize how short our time is left with him! It’s going to be as hard on me as his mama when he goes to college!!
We began Cousin Camp when the kids were young. It was a fun way for them to bond, and a good way for us to have a chunk of time to get projects done without a toddler at our feet — a total WIN/WIN. As the kids have gotten older, we don’t need the time as much anymore, but the mission of bonding the family together remains the same. Here is the basic format we’ve created:
  • The camp usually lasts 4 days — 2 days at my house, and 2 at my sister’s
  • We pick a theme verse and reinforce it throughout the time together.
  • Whenever we go places, each child is assigned a “buddy” (a younger and an older cousin are paired). They are to stick together no matter what.
  • We focus on activities and skills — fun things they normally don’t get to do, or skills they don’t know or could improve upon. Here’s a list of life-skills we planned to do at my house this year (we got to almost all of them):

How to change a bike tire

How to unclog a toilet

How to build a fire

How to make a dinner for someone special

How to tie various knots

How to calculate your heart rate

Simple technique for studying the bible

What to do in an emergency medical situation

How to compare prices

How to sew on a button

Execute a spin dribble

How to catch a football

How to answer a phone

How to engage adults in conversation

How to tie dye a shirt

They also share in chores and sometimes help with the meals.  

Here is a visual snapshot:
Sometimes we do T-shirts

Backyard Movie Theatre

Lots of “Buddy Time” Bonding

We go on fun outings:
The Cherry Picker’s Trot Kids’ Race at Greenbluff

Silverwood Theme Park
 
New Skills are Learned:
I even got my nephews sewing camp laundry bags one year!

 
They spend time enjoying each other’s houses..
Here we just finished the Cousin Camp Olympics

Cousin Camp Visits Great-Grandma!
Lots of Crafting
Daisy Chains

& Tie Dye!


We have even had them create a theme song some years

 

 
The memories we have made are priceless, and the relationships forged will hopefully last their whole lives long!
Cousining is just THE BEST!
 


{ 10 comments… add one }
  • kendra July 15, 2011, 7:19 am

    Beautifully said sis and love all the pictures. Cousining really is special…xoxo. Tears in my eyes…don't blink!

  • Anonymous July 15, 2011, 7:43 pm

    Oh my gosh! what a special thing for your kiddos…a really neat thing to start at any age. Thanks for sharing Krysta!xxoo Melaine

  • Kelly & Monte Tareski July 16, 2011, 3:25 am

    What an awesome idea. Thank you for sharing. I found you via Kendra.

  • Anonymous July 16, 2011, 11:27 am

    I love it and it has inspired me to do the same with my children and their cousins. Lina

  • The Homemade Renegade July 18, 2011, 10:36 pm

    I'm so glad Lina! It is worth every second of planning and organization! Have FUN building lifelong memories!

  • RookieMom Whitney July 19, 2011, 3:27 am

    So cute. I just have to convince my own adult cousins. (Me and my two cousins are all only children. Now our children have no cousins but each other, so we just have them call each other cousins.)

  • Ladybird Ln July 19, 2011, 4:31 am

    Oh how sweet, I might have to start this with my kids and cousins, too much fun! I am excited to browse your blog more, I usually don't ask people, but I have a party on my blog that starts on Friday, and would love it if you want to link up… No pressure though. Love the idea, and your cute blog!

    Carlee
    http://www.ladybirdln.com

  • Christy July 20, 2011, 3:36 am

    such a great idea…makes me wish i had a house full of kids to share this idea with 🙂 thank you for stopping by my place and leaving such a nice comment. your blog looks great..i am your newest follower!

  • Robyn Bivens July 20, 2011, 5:30 pm

    I love this idea!! Gonna call my sister right now and start planning for next summer.

  • Ladybird Ln July 26, 2011, 2:30 pm

    PS, I showed this post off today:)

    Thanks,
    Carlee
    http://www.ladybirdln.com

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