How to Plan a Gathering for Your Grandchildren: Easy Ideas For You to Implement

See what a blessing it is to gather your grandchildren together in one place for a fun time of relationship-building and great fun!!

Recently I was asked, 

“Susan, looking back over your whole life, what is one of the things for which you are most thankful?”

Without hesitating I responded, “the Cousin and Family Camps we’ve had with our kids.”

For eleven years my husband John and I hosted a “Cousin Camp” for our grandchildren.

What is Cousin Camp?

We began with five grands from our three oldest families and the last few years, we had all twenty-one grands from all five families. You must be four years old to attend our camp. Cousin Camp lasts for four days and three nights. At the end of Cousin Camp, the parents with little kids arrive for three more nights of Family Camp with all of us. 

Throughout the years, I’ve had people ask a lot of different questions about Cousin Camp, mainly: How will you sleep all those people? (I’ve heard that a lot!) Sleeping bags, floors, closets, a sleeping porch, hammocks, and a neighbor’s shared rooms. But camp is not about sleeping; it’s about cousin bonding. (Only adults get beds at Family Camp!)

Our vision for Cousin Camp and Family Camp has always been the same. It is based on the two great commandments — to love the Lord with all your heart and to love your neighbors as yourselves. (Matthew 22:36-39)

Our closest “neighbors” are our family members. Yes, they can be the hardest to love but we ourselves aren’t always easy to love! 

Consider this: it can be hard to love someone you don’t even know or rarely get to see!

Because our kids live in three different states, it’s difficult to get together. However, we want our grandchildren to know one another. Camp has been a set-aside time each year to foster these relationships. On the last night of Cousin Camp, we have a candlelight march to the barn for a special time of singing, sharing and we recite the BOC (Band of Cousins) pledge: “As cousins we pledge to serve the Lord and to take care of each other always.”

Our simple vision and prayer has been that our grandchildren will grow in their love for the Lord and become committed to caring for one another. 

Over the years, we’ve made lots of mistakes, shed tears, laughed uproariously, thrown out plans, separated quarreling kids, cheered when kindness overcame selfishness, and fallen into bed exhausted, but above all, we’ve had a blast! It has truly been one of the highlights of our life together. 

Adventures with the Grandchildren

This adventure led me to write a book, Cousin Camp, a guide for anyone who would like to host a family gathering – small or large. In this book, I have included lots of examples from friends who have hosted different types of gatherings from large family reunions to small intimate get-togethers. 

I made this short video to share with you details of our Cousin Camp. I think it will make you laugh and give you lots of very practical ideas. For example: preparing your county’s largest banana split in a gutter, pairing your kids up in a “buddy system,” specific ideas for numerous activities that are simple, short Bible studies for the whole gang that are interactive and not boring! And many more. 

My desire is to give you a vision and details for planning your own camp that will meet your unique situation!

Order the book at a 30% off price and free shipping here. It’s a fun gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or any grandparent! If you prefer ebooks, Cousin Camp is on sale for only $2.99 through March 31st.

Check out my blog next week for Part 2: How to Foster and Grow Deeper Relationships with Adult Children and Older Grandkids, on ideas for a camp with teenagers, and adults. Over the years our kids grow and their needs change. The vision stays the same–loving God and one another–but we have to make adjustments to camp plans in order to meet new needs! 

Free Camp At Home ebook from Susan Alexander Yates, with 100 activity ideas for your family!

Grab Susan’s free ebook, “Camp at Home,” right here. This valuable resource is based on her book Cousin Camp. It includes 100 things for you to do with your kids of different ages including toddlers, the middle years, teens, and specific things for the whole family. In addition, there are ideas for grandparents to use to stay connected with their grandkids.

Get yours here! →

100 Words of Affirmation Your Son/Daughter Needs to Hear

Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you to discover the powerful ways you can build your children up in love with the beautiful words you choose to say every day–words that every son and daughter needs to hear.

These affirmation books offer you one hundred phrases to say to your son or daughter – along with short, personal stories and examples – that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire.

So start speaking a kind and beautiful word into their lives daily and watch your children–and your relationship with them–transform before your eyes.

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