Grand Camping: Six Ways to Make Memories with the GrandKids

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Ever yearn for a simpler time? Do you sometimes wish your grandchildren could slow down and unplug? Here are some ideas to try on that next camping trip:
  1. Challenge them to spend at least one day only doing things available when you were a kid. Obviously, that means you’re going to pull the plug on most every form of entertainment they brought, so be prepared to step up and show them what that looks like. Are you the Fish Whisperer? Can you ‘knuckle down’ and ‘plunk’ like an ace in a marbles competition? Did you play Croquet from sun up to sundown, or was your cannonball the best at the watering hole? Plan to relive some of those events with the kids. It’ll bring back some great memories for you, and who knows, the kids might learn what ‘play’ used to mean. [One note of caution: don’t unplug the AC. We’re all for authenticity, but hey, it’s summer time.]
  2. Tell stories. Now that the iPad is stowed, you’ve got some time to talk. Did making homemade play-doh remind you of the time you and your brother mistook caulking compound for modeling clay, and…? Or the time your cousins took apart Grandpa’s wagon and reassembled it on the barn roof? Well, that’s kind of a fun story to share. Kids also love to hear about what their parents were like when they were young, so be sure to give them a glimpse of that not-so-distant past. Just remember, you’ll have to look their parents in the eye to return your grands, so choose your stories wisely.
  3. Listen. Life moves fast, and sometimes weeks go by without any real communication. Ask questions, then ask more questions. Then really listen to the answers. Resist the urge to interrupt, solve the problem, or correct their thinking. Just let them share. Kids, like everyone else, need to feel like they’ve been heard. Sometimes that’s really all it takes. You might be surprised at what you learn about these precious people.
  4. Be creative. Don’t just hike, make it a scavenger hike with items of various point values to look out for. Make little characters out of twigs and leaves and use them to retell a fairy tale. Play Checkers using that tin of old mismatched buttons. Scratch out a hopscotch in the dirt or gravel. Get out the old ice cream maker, let them take turns cranking it if they can. Count the  lightning bugs, find the big dipper. Teach them the Charleston. Be sure to pick things you’re enthusiastic about, and don’t be discouraged if they grumble a little. Change takes some getting used to.
  5. Be flexible. So what if the marbles fell in the mud, Bobby can’t spin a jack to save his life or you never actually got to the Checkers game because Lily wanted to line up every old button by size and color? Your hike was nixed when Susie Jean stepped on a bee – perfect time to go swimming instead. Can’t have bologna for lunch because Johnny Joe is now a “vegan”? No problem – blindfold the kids and play Name That Veggie! You’re shooting for memorable here, not perfect. You may find they’re more willing to try new things if you give them a couple of choices – should we roast marshmallows now or make lemonade? Go fishing or ride bikes? Everyone likes to feel as if they have a little say. Try not to script it too carefully. The best things often happen by accident.
  6. Above all, enjoy them. We none of us will ever be at this time and place again. They will never be this age again. You owe it to yourself, and to them, to live every second of it!
For more about great grandparent-ing, visit the help guide.  Meanwhile, when you’re planning your next camping trip, remember your friends at Styx River Resort. We’d sure love to be a part of some of your Grand memories.

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