Camp Mama: 12-year old Activities Director

Cross-posted from Cherry Blossoms The Blog.


One of the things my children had requested when we were planning this summer’s activities was that they each wanted a week of their own to plan and execute. This week my eldest was in charge and he did a fantastic job!

He had to work around the parameters of Cub Scout Camp for my middle son (and me on the last day,) and swimming lessons for both of them, but we still managed to get almost everything from his list completed.

Monday: Explosions. He prepared three explosions for us to try, the baking soda volcano, erupting watermelons, and the perennial favourite: mentos and diet coke. Using air dry clay he made a volcano mold in advance of the activity, but with too big of a caldera he was unsatisfied with the lava flow (we even added food colouring to the baking soda for a better effect.) Conclusion: room for improvement. Instead of squeeze bottles we used squirt bottles on the watermelons, and while we all agreed that it smelled great we didn’t quite get the desired effect there either. Conclusion: try again before giving up. (Especially considering last year’s watermelon explosion didn’t quite work as planned, either.)

Impatient with squiring they took off the nozzles and dumped the kool-aid in the watermelon. We did get some foaming action but we wanted something big and dramatic. At least it smelled good!
Mentos and Diet Coke, it never gets old.

Tuesday: Bridge Building. The materials for this activity are only two: craft sticks and hot glue. After a brief lesson on triangles as a solid form he split the group into two (because that’s how many glue guns we had) and let them go. He was a great teacher, going back and forth between the groups making sure to answer any questions or concerns they may have.

He helped them see which choices would be important to the structure and which were only aesthetic so that the end results were both sturdy and both a little different.

Wednesday: Pie. The kids started by making a cherry pie, not an easy task with 6 young chefs but in the end I think everyone participated one way or another. Cherry pie is a great beginner pie: with pre-rolled pie crust and canned filling the hard work is already done.

Other than the pi symbol, I cant tell you what else the kids chose to represent in their pie, but I can tell you they had fun!

While the pie baked they had a pie eating contest. He placed a gummy worm in each pie tin then filled each tin with whipped cream. The winner was whoever could produce a clean gummy worm first, no hands allowed of course.

Thursday: Water Fight. We filled over a hundred water balloons and he established some ground rules and the kids set to work dispatching the balloons. I’m so glad water balloons are biodegradable for how many of them litter my yard every year! When the kids were good and soaked and the stash of balloons was thoroughly pilfered we sat down to popsicles. Part of what made it fun was testing out some fun new gear we will officially unveil next week — so stay tuned!

Friday: Chill Out Day. To ensure that I didn’t overschedule our summer my 12 year old planned a chill out day. If the plan for the day is video games then Mummy can’t well complain, can she? Playing only games that could be played with 4 players at a time to ensure maximum cooperation, the kids had a great time and we mums didn’t mind too much because they were being social and working together.

Monday: National Videogame Museum. We had to roll this over to the following week because of all the time constraints in this week. Only he had been there before, having gone with some friends earlier this year. I think it was really fun for him to be the expert on something new to the rest of us. My only quibble is that with all the screens and the overhead lighting it is hard to take a decent photo.

Once I got over the weirdness of seeing my childhood in a museum, I really liked it. It’s not a very large space so I didn’t worry about my older two being out of sight so long as they were together. Spanning the beginning of personal electronic gaming in the 1970s to 21st century devices, it’s a pretty comprehensive collection with a lot of hands-on exhibits, beginning with a large-scale Pong, which is harder than it looks with the extra large dials and a toddler at your legs.

Feeling nostalgic for Tetris on your old Game Boy? They’ve got it.

Are you old enough to have had an Intellivision in your living room? (My first console was actually an Intellivision II so this definitely brought back memories for me.)

Miss Duck Hunt? you can play that in a replica of an 80s bedroom. 

There were fantastic murals throughout the museum and each section had helpful (but not overly verbose) descriptions of the era, the distinguishing features of gaming at the time, and some of the effects on society. It’s really accessible to all ages and interests. Best of all, there are plenty of opportunities to grab a controller and relive some of your old glory.

And there’s also an arcade. If I wasn’t starving and my littlest not falling apart I think my older two could have spent the entire day there.

Our service for the week included two full days of babysitting little friends and then Friday I volunteered at Cub camp. We’d really like to get more outside ourselves (and our house) for service, but with how busy this week was this was as much as we could do. We’ve got bigger plans later in the summer, never fear.

Next week: sports.

No part of this week was sponsored.
We purchased all our own supplies and paid our way at the museum.


Camp Mama follows a weekly theme to encourage diverse activities with the kids during the summer. See all our Camp Mama posts here.

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