Mom Camp

“Survivor” Edition

This isn’t breaking news, but we are huge fans of summer. Summer around our house means camp, baseball, hopefully a trip to the beach, and of course, our annual Mom Camp. Teaming up with a handful of moms and kids, each mom plans a fun one-day activity for the kids, which results in a full week of entertainment. I have as much fun planning my day as I hope the kids have experiencing it. This year, my inspiration was one of our family’s favorite television shows, “Survivor.” With just a little preparation beforehand and a very small budget, the boys had an adventure they won’t soon forget.

On this particular day, there were six boys who we separated into two different teams. Each picked a yellow or green bandana from a pillowcase to determine which “tribe” he was in. The teams could earn points by winning different challenges. At the end of the day, the team with the most points would win the title: Ultimate Survivor. It wasn’t possible to be “voted off the island” in our game, but a little touch of competition made it more fun for the boys.

After the teams selected a name and made a banner with their tribe’s logo, it was time for the challenges to begin. The first involved a pegboard I found buried in the garage. I attached 40 small balloons (20 yellow and 20 green) simply by pushing the tied ends through the holes of the board. Then, each boy took a shot at the balloons with a dart. The first team to pop all of their team’s colored balloons wins. This turned out to be harder than the boys thought because, if they slightly missed their target, they could hit a balloon of the other team. I found using only one dart made it easy to do the activity safely, but you could use a slingshot with a small ball if you prefer. With very steady hands, the green tribe was victorious.

The next challenge was a race designed to test the boys’ memories. I had made a poster with five rows that each had seven differently colored circles. Each row was a different pattern. First, the teams had to search the backyard for marked bags of colored rocks, which they would use to represent the circles on the poster. Once all four bags were found, the team was allowed to view the poster, but only for one second at a time. Then they had to run back to their mat and try to recreate the patterned rows on the poster. They could return to the poster to view it again but only for 1- second intervals, and the team had to travel together every time. After lots of running back and forth and different strategies, the yellow tribe earned the victory in this close contest!

Our next competition was the easiest to prepare and the most humorous to witness. Using one of the bandanas from each tribe, I tied each of the boy’s right wrists together. This was easily accomplished by having the boys put their hands together like they would do in a team huddle. Then the race was on to assemble a puzzle using only their left hands. Any puzzle will do for this challenge. I chose a 50- piece puzzle so it took the boys a few minutes to complete the task. Although they looked silly trying to manipulate puzzle pieces with their non-dominant hand, teamwork was the key for the winning green tribe.

The last challenge we did left the boys wet, but smiling and laughing. I filled two ice chests with water and placed two other empty ice chests on the other side of the lawn. The empty ice chests each had a tape at about the three-inch mark. We repurposed typical sand buckets and gave each boy a bucket. I positioned one boy from each team at the full ice chest, one by the empty ice chest and one in the middle of the space in between the two. The boys had to transfer water from one ice chest to another by throwing it out of the first bucket, catching it with the second bucket and then throwing it to the third bucket. Then the team member would pour the water into the empty ice chest. The first team to fill the ice chest to the taped line was the winner. This takes longer than you might think, but is a great time. If your gang is younger, consider placing them closer together. The winning streak continued for the green tribe.

By this time, both tribes were getting hungry, so using the skewers usually reserved for roasting marshmallows, we “roasted” hot dogs over the grill and dined on a dessert of dirt and worms (chocolate pudding and gummy worms). The green tribe won the day, but I think I’ll give myself the “Ultimate Survivor” title. A “Survivor”-themed day is a blast, but be forewarned, it’s also “hands-on” for the parent. The tribe, and the momma, has spoken!

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