How-To Books Make Cousin Camp Simple

Help for Grandparents When Grandchildren Come to Visit

Looking for wise counsel about holding a Cousin Camp, Camp Grandma or other Family Camp? Sure, you can find ideas online, but these books bring a lot of good advice together in one place. 

Each of the six books listed provides a unique take on the Cousin Camp experience. Find the book that matches your own philosophy, and you're all set. Of course, you could buy them all and then spend a lot of time dreaming about good times to come, sort of like gardeners do with seed catalogs. 

  • 01 of 07

    Previously published as Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars, this book by gardening expert Sharon Lovejoy is a bouquet of delights. While it does contain some practical advice about grandma camp, it's mostly a gathering of wonderful outdoor projects and crafts, with some indoor activities thrown in. The book is beautifully designed and great fun to look through. It's available in paperback or Kindle edition, but I recommend buying the actual book because it's so pretty. Lovejoy's...MORE ideas go far beyond the ordinary. She might be considered the Martha Stewart of grandma campers! 

    Sample projects include firefly lanterns, faerie mailboxes, berry biscuits and a kitchen scrap garden.

  • 02 of 07

     Ramona Roberson's grandchildren are spread over several states and didn't get much opportunity to bond, until Roberson began holding Cousin Camp. Roberson's camps are for grandchildren five and older. Camp comes with a schedule of events, a packing list and camp rules, but the days are also full of adventure and learning. More than other books on this list, Roberson discusses how to head off problems such as cousin rivalry and homesickness. This book is available in paperback only....MORE Read full review.

    Sample activities include cooking omelets in a bag, waking up with a morning campfire and bouncing on a trampoline moored in the lake.

  • 03 of 07

    If you're looking for simple, time-tested activities, this book is the one for you. Author Jana D. Hletko admits that she uses kits for some of her crafts and keeps meals simple. Still, she has a wealth of advice about how to plan and pull off a successful Cousins Camp. When her grandchildren grew to a number too large for two grandparents to handle, Hletko's Cousins Camp morphed into Family Camp, with parents invited to share in the fun -- and the work! Available in Kindle or paperback...MORE editions, Cousins Camp is rich in practical advice.

    Sample activities include lava lamps, dream catchers, Minute-to-Win-It games and garden stepping stones.

  • 04 of 07

    One of the cool things about this book is the presence of a grandfather in the mix. Michael Sandlin is credited as an author along with Mary Dawn Sandlin, and there is a chapter called "Grandpa's Story." This book also has lots of lists -- itineraries, supply lists and lists of rules. Available in Kindle and paperback versions, Welcome to Camp Grandma is a nice primer for beginning grandparent campers. The Sandlins also emphasize interpersonal skills such as good sportsmanship.

    Sample...MORE hints include turning a spare room into a dormitory with personalized posters, encouraging writing with individual diaries and providing each child with a laundry basket for dirty clothes.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

     This 2017 book by Peggy Sue Cross Downey shares her experiences holding Grandma Camp for up to 9 grandchildren. Her camp began as a way to get her grandchildren to Vacation Bible School, and she has continued to host grandchildren during VBS week for 16 years. She has tons of good ideas. For example, she periodically sends questionnaires to the grandchildren to get feedback on past camps and ideas for future ones. 

    This book is a great choice for those looking for specific activities to do with...MORE grandchildren. It has 40 or so pages of games, crafts and other things to do. Sample activities include a photo scavenger hunt, a game of Pass the Pickle and the making of Solar S'mores.

  • 06 of 07

    I can't even tell you how much I love this idea:  a grandma camp dedicated to skills that children need but that are seldom taught in school or at home. Besides giving basic instructions for organizing a grandma camp, author Pamela Conrad suggests a list of skills for the grandchildren to learn. These encompass cooking and serving, sewing and needlecraft and other skills such as ironing and flower arranging. Available in Kindle and paperback versions, this book has activities that are...MORE suitable for grandchildren of all ages. And won't the parents love you when you send home children who are eager to show off their new-found skills! 

    Sample projects include sewing on a button, making jam, setting a formal table and finding the fuse box!

  • 07 of 07

    And now for something a little bit different. The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa is a children's book to share with grandchildren. Beautifully illustrated, the story depicts Nick and Sarah's visits with their grandparents. Flash the Firefly figures in the action, too. A special feature of the book is an appendix that allows children to enter their own memories of visiting with their grandparents, as well as plans for future visits.