Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Camp Stimey Returns!

Well, school has let out and my houseguests have left, leaving me with three kids and many, many weeks of summer to fill. That can only mean one thing: Camp Stimey.

Last summer, in an effort to provide consistency and structure to our summer, I planned activities around a theme every week and called it camp. For example, for Cooking Camp we made playdough, decorated cookies, made macaroni pictures, and did other activities loosely associated with cooking.

It was great. It was enough that we weren't left with a bunch of "I'm bored!" "What do I do now?" moments. But it wasn't so much that my kids didn't have time to just play.

It works for my family because Sam craves these kinds of activities, Jack needs these kinds of activities, and Quinn will just sort of doo wop along with whatever his brothers are doing. Although after a couple of days last week when we did some activities, every time Sam is bored now he pleads, "Can we do camp? I want to do camp!" which sucks, because that means I have to participate in playing with my children instead of just forcing them out the back door.

My main goal for Sam this summer is to improve his handwriting. He's practically illegible at this point and if not for the pity taken on him by his teachers this year, his handwriting would have kept him off the honor roll. So, guess what? If you have fun notebooks, dry erase books, and call it camp, being nagged about handwriting is fun!!

For Jack, I'm just trying to keep him practicing writing and drawing. He has ESY (extended school year, for you non-special ed folks) in July, so that will help keep him in his school groove, but I think extra structure is really important for him. He seems happy about it and is enjoying writing in his daily journal, although he steadfastly refuses to write about "my favorite thing today" like I order him too.

Today he wrote about how he wants to play on my iPhone. But he drew an awesome picture, so I forgive him.

Not the iPhone page, but a wading in a creek page.

What you see to the left there is the crux of camp this summer. In there are art supplies, workbooks, journals, handwriting practice tablets, and the all-important clipboard. (Who doesn't love a clipboard?)

We have some fun themes planned this summer: Government & History Week, Geology & Science Week, Sports Week, Boot Camp Week, Geography Week, and Animal and Nature Week. Right now we're smack dab in the middle of Transportation Week, mainly because we're going to have to take the bus somewhere on Friday and this way I can tell the little dudes that it's a fun camp activity.

I'm not promising that I will follow through with Camp Stimey every week, but I'm going to try. So far the guys seem to like it. And since no one reads blogs on the weekends, I'm thinking about doing a Saturday Summary of our camp week and a Still to Come Sunday (or something) for upcoming camp activities. That way, those of you who couldn't care less about Camp Stimey won't be overwhelmed by my insanity.

So far, we're having a good time. Even having all my kids home all day, we've watched way less TV than we normally do. As I said, this week is Transportation Week. We've had Train Day and Airplane Day, and last week we did a SuperWhy and Educational Puzzles Day:

Good stuff, I tell ya'.

Although even though it's still technically Transportation Week, tomorrow may end up being Personal Grooming and House Cleaning Day. Because we are sorely in need of some of that. I have 60 tiny fingernails to cut.

Join us virtually for Camp Stimey if you'd like, or, if you're local, we might have some Camp Stimey meet-ups in the coming weeks. (Stay tuned for Still to Come Sunday.)


  1. What a cute idea. I really wanted to try something like that, but for better or worse I think our summer is going to be 90% swimming and soccer amd skateboarding, with me just hanging on the sidelines :) I got my kids some cool stuff from barebooks.com, so we're going to at least try to read and make some books.

  2. This is a genius idea. I believe I'll be reading with interest on the weekends and then stealing all your ideas for the next week, so you might want to copyright your intellectual property.

  3. I'm very curious about boot camp week...your ideas are great! I love the themed weeks and sounds like you have lots of cool stuff planned!

  4. What a fantastic idea! I may have to steal it, but turn it into Camp Sarah.
    We're only 3 days into summer vacation, and I think I've already heard "I'm boooooored" and "what can I do? All my toys are booooring" about a million times!

  5. This is brilliant. I am definitely going to do something like this when my wee one(s) are older.

  6. I love reading about Camp Stimey! Last year my housemate said something about dinner and I responded with "Yeah, cos it's Cooking Week!" Blank looks all around. Your themes this year sound awesome.

  7. I bow to the master.

    I must virtually join you for a few weeks. Otherwise we'll be reduced to Disney XD Week and Wathing the Grass Grow Week.

  8. Great Idea! but may not work for my 3 year old and 6 month old,
    "60 tiny fingernails" <- CUTE!

  9. Camp Stimey Meet-ups - you can take a road trip up here!

    I'm going to steal your box idea to keep our journals and books in. I love those Brainquest books - we have from preK to grade 3 (a very good friend got them all for the girls last Christmas). I also just picked up the Brainquest 3+4th grade DS game for Einey (and boy those questions are hard - but she likes playing it).

    We just made these super cool shirts (do you get Family Fun magazine?). You take a colored shirt and us a bleach pen on them to draw a picture- so they are a reverse tye-dye sort of thing.

    Hey - for geography - do they want some pen pals?

  10. I wanna come to Camp STimey. Can I join in for a week? (on a side note, in about a month I FINALLY get to see you)

  11. You are so awesome. I'm taking a page from your playbook. This week is Hang out at the Pool while Mommy Sips a Margarita Week. (Oh wait. That's every week.)

    ;-) Seriously - this sounds so fun. Where do I register?

  12. Hmm. 60 fingernails. Either you have 6 children, or your three children have 10 fingernails on their hands and 10 fingernails on their feet, which means that they have ARMS where their LEGS should be?

    Next you'll be at it about the cats arms, right?

    Your camp sounds divine. I could buy one or two of those tiny Indian cars for what I'm paying for camp.

  13. For those of us who are, sadly, not local, please do post info about what activities you're doing. My kids are harder ages for camp (1 and 3) and I need inspiration! Anyone else trying to entertain really little campers? Help!

  14. I love Camp Stimey! I first discovered you during Camp Stimey last year. I remember thinking "This woman is amazing! She's got it all together! How does she do it and would she mind if I dropped my kids off at Camp Stimey for a few weeks?"

    We have our own version of Camp here. Yesterday we had Camp Drag Out The Slip N Slide And Then Watch As The Kids Refuse To Get Wet and today we'll be having Camp Barely Tolerate The Mother-in-law Coming Visit. Your camps sound more fun.

  15. I LOVE reading about Camp Stimey. And EVERY Camp Director has a cliboard, right? And definitely a whistle. You got a whistle ?!?!

  16. Oh YAY! I enjoyed camp last year - and you thought it was just for your kids! Glad it's back, I admire your creativity. :)

  17. Camp Stimey sounds like a great idea! My nephew has ESY also, and I think it's the greatest idea ever. Typical children are at a danger of losing so much, and these little people who have to work so hard to get where they are deserve a chance to retain as much as they can!

    I can't wait to hear about Stimey meet-ups. We're going to be doing some field-trippin' ourselves, so maybe we can hook up!

  18. I'm all for a Camp Stimey meet up! I loved how you decided that this week was going to be transportation week. I'm with Sue from My Party of 6 about margarita week and am curious like Melissa about Boot Camp Week! Sounds like you are having a great summer so far!

  19. Would TOTALLY love some CampStimey meet-ups!

  20. Who doesn't love Camp Stimey?

    I can't wait to hear what you guys do this summer!

  21. I think Camp Stimey is an awesome idea. I'd love to try something like that if I could get my butt organized enough. I just may have to copy off of you. ;)

  22. wow, you're awesome! camp planet over here just involves alot of yelling, screaming, timeouts, tv watching and having every attempt to go to the pool thwarted by the longest stint of rain in NJ since the dawn of time...

  23. I absolutely love this idea - hope to remember it when my son is old enough. Right now we are having camp drool and stand...


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