Summer time is prime Kids Can Kids Club time. During the school year I have found that most of the time the kids are so busy with after school activities that there just isn't time to squeeze in one more thing. I have an occasional tea party for the older girls, crafting sessions and special gathers now and then that are age related but in summer we gather once a week. And then sometimes kids are away at day camp or on family vacations, but I have 9 kids in Kids Club now so even with a few missing I have my hands full!
For those of you who are new readers, Kids Can Kids Club is a club I created for my grandkids as a way for me to have more meaningful time with them rather than just acting as the role of care giver. Sometimes in the midst of changing diapers, meals and cleaning up messes the older kids are unintentionally ignored. I wanted a way to keep connected with them that was a fun and learning environment.
Our club is entirely of my own making as I could not find a model that suited me. I wrote up a hand book, designed badges the kids can earn for learning different things like sewing, cooking etc. We have levels for different ages, Sparks 6-9 yrs old, Flames 10-11 yrs old, and Embers 12-14 yrs old. Once they are older they will become helpers, teachers.
I will sometimes have a gathering just for one group and do something age appropriate with them. I also wanted a way for the the kids to earn their own money for field trips and such but as of yet that just has not worked out. Parents feel it's more trouble to have the kids earn their own money than it is to give them money they need for things. If our summers were not so hot, a yard sale would be a perfect fund raiser and a great way for the kids to learn to work.
Two summers ago I wasn't able to do much with the kids due to my auto immune disease issues so I tried to make sure this last summer was really fun. I chose a theme for the summer, determined how many gatherings/meeting days we will have available, then worked out a plan for each meeting. Since I have so many different ages together, 6-11, I tried to find something all would enjoy instead of dividing up in to age groups.
This last summer my theme was Finding God. Using puppets the older kids made, they told a story to set the plan for finding God that day. Included in each puppet show was a clue the kids need to listen for to find God. The clue is usually in a Bible verse such as 'Knock and it shall be opened' meaning the clue is hidden on a door. I let the puppeteers mostly carry the story as they want as long as they kept it with in the guide lines I gave them a head of time.
For instance the puppets have been talking about God, is He big? He created the universe so he must be huge! But He speaks in a still small voice so maybe He's really tiny! and so on; then a puppet will ask " I wonder exactly where God is? Then the puppets all go off to try to find Him. In the story line there will be a clue the kids need to listen for to find their first clue after the show, and the puppet giving the clue will say, I wonder if this is a clue....and then say the line of whatever the clue is.
When the puppet show was over, I handed out back packs filled with things to help the kids look for clues like flash lights, magnifying glass, note book and pen etc., and a Decoder. Once they have figured out the first clue in the story the search begins. Sometimes they need a little help with that first clue. All the things for the clue search were purchased through Oriental Trading Co (not an affiliate) except for the Decoder which I made.The Decoder has been the favorite activity this summer at Kids Club.
I have my kids divided into 4 teams according to age. We have team Monkey Lovers, team Donut Eaters, team Velociraptors, and team Sassy Pants. When the clue search is over, we gather with the final clues to see if we have found God yet. Then it's circle time were I teach about whatever I have chosen for the day limiting that time to just 10 minutes or so. Then the Special person of the day is wrapped in the Blessing Blanket for a special prayer blessing with all the kids participating in Blessing the Special person.
I have rules for kids club, and I am very strict with the kids on their behavior. Don't get me wrong, I believe in silliness and lots of fun but I have boundaries. I have a high tolerance for kids running and screaming in the house but fighting......no way no how! I expect respect from them and respect for my home. Mostly I watch for how they treat each other, I will not tolerate mean behavior at all. I remind them many times that I am watching and always looking for acts of kindness. Kindness is rewarded. In situations like this when the kids are all searching for clues, they want to be the first to find it and it's easy to forget about your team members, rewards for good behavior helps.
I have a point system for each meeting. They get points for such things as attitude, participation, wearing club colors, and kindness points. I carry a clipboard with me at all times and let the kids know when I witness an act of kindness, telling them they have just earned a point. At the end of the meeting, points are added up for each child, and they add that number of beads (each child has an assigned bead color) to a jar. I then draw a bead from the jar and the winning child gets to choose a prize from the prize bag. It works really well.
When the meeting is over the kids can play what ever they want while one Special person for the week goes with me to the kitchen to prepare lunch, something they have chosen. This lunch is pre-planned with the kids parents and they provide necessary ingredients for the lunch. The Special child of the day sets the table and chooses where each of the kids sit. When all is in ready, I call the kids to line up and make their way to the table. Trust me if you call them and they come running they will fight over who sits where and who got there first! Since I have so many kids I have learned to control the chaos.
The Special child of the day prays over our meal, the kids thank the Special person for the wonderful lunch. It's a great time to work on table manners like how to react when the food served is not something you want to eat! We love our time together! It's fun for all of us, and they are learning too. It takes several hours for me to prepare for each meeting but as hot as it is here in the summer, I'm not really going anywhere or spending time outside so why not spend my extra time creating fun for my g-babies? It won't be long before they are too big to want to spend time with me so I am cherishing the time I have now.
I have not yet begun to plan this summer. But I am thinking about it! It will be a Blessed time of loving on my babies as best I can.
I link at these parties.
Hill House Homestead is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Copyright © 2017 by Hill House Homestead ALL RIGHTS RESERVED