Monday, July 15, 2013

Stay Camp: The Wild West


I recently wrote a post about how I plan a Cousin Camp (or a Stay Camp) every year.  I’ve recovered significantly (almost) from our last one which took place just a few weeks ago. I only have just the one twitch.  

It has been my intention for quite some time to write up ideas for different themes of Stay Camps or Day Camps. That is not going to happen within this post, but I thought maybe a few things we did might light a fire under your cowboy hat.  Plus I have a few suggestions…just for kicks. 

It’s tempting as a Homeschool Mom to make everything thing educational. “Josiah have you brushed your teeth? Did you know that toothpaste was invented only about 100 years ago? Maybe we need to google that.” 

Don’t tell me you’ve never gone there. 

Anyhoo. When I started planning this year’s Cousin Camp it wasn’t my intention to educate the Cousins on the mining practices of the Old West (our theme was “The Dig”), but certain educational opportunities were hard to pass up. 

Most of it was just plain fun.

If I had this year to all over again I would have paid more attention to the decorations. The kids didn't seem to mind, but in year's past I have done a little bit better job. This year we went on vacation the week before cousin camp. Talk about pressure! 

I did scavenge the Thrift Stores in our area. I found all sorts of bandanas, old hats and even four cute little stick ponies. You know how I feel about the Thrift Store. If you are unable to round up your own stick horses here is a site that shows you how to make them out of pool noodles! I've also seen some really cute ones made out of socks.

The Bandanas and Hats wound being quite the hit. Who knew?

The point is that it doesn't cost a lot to make the day a little more fun. 

It's important to keep the campers feed! Fortunately, you can "cowboysize" almost any recipe.

It doesn’t get more Wild than eating out under the open sky. One night we enjoyed just cooking hot dogs on a stick over an open fire. 

And made Hobo Dinners another night. 

We had cowboy beans another night with cornbread the kids had made during cooking school. 

You can check out my Pinterest Board of Wild West Snacks. There are so cute ideas! I especially like the popcorn served in fringed paper lunch sacks.

I would make it as simple or as complicated as you have to. Just make it special!

You can't have a Stay Camp without some fun and games. 

Pan for Gold! All you  need is a little swimming pool, a bag of sand and few baubles (real or otherwise). We made strainers (is that what you call them?)  from some screen and frames....added a few spoons and we had us a good time!

After we found our treasure my mom helped everyone make their most precious finds into jewelry. It takes a little bit of know how (check youtube for a few simple wire wrapping tutorials). Everyone was pretty proud of their creations. 

Another fun activity was a take on the Spray Gun. I actually got this little inspiration from a friend. Instead of Spray Guns we used Spray Bottles to have an old fashioned water gun fight. I personally don't have an issue with toy guns, but I know some momma's do. Plus, the spray bottle holds more water. Endless hours of fun. We kept a bucket of water outside just for refilling purposes. 

Sometimes simple is better. We had old-fashioned board games and cards available for all campers. It's amazing how much fun was had! I think the bandana makes everything a little more exciting, don't you?

Here is a site with all kinds of fun Cowboy games. Oh the possibilities! 

So. A big tradition my family is the sing-a-long. My mom is just a bit obsessed. Every quiet moment is a chance for another sing-in-along.

She usually has a crowd of willing participants.

At our camp we had late night movies. If I had to do it again I would make it mandatory to watch this.

It's an oldie, but goodie (kinda like me).

You must know how I feel about the Hank the Cowdog Series. 

You can read these, but they are even better on the audio CDs. My library has lots. Check them out!
You can see what had a great ole time.  It was good to just to chill out at the end of the long day.

Speaking of long days....This cowgirl still has a few chores to do before hitting the hay.  Night all!

I've linked this post up to the Day Camp Ideas for Homeschoolers at Go check out some more fun ideas!

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