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How to Plan a Cousins Camp or a Camp Grandma

If you follow this blog, you know I have a passion to come alongside people and coach them in how to build a spiritual legacy.

You only have one lifetime to influence your family for Jesus, and I don’t want you to waste even one tiny bit of it. It’s you who can declare God’s power to the generations who follow you.

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come (Psalm 71:18 NIV).

So with summer fast approaching, I think it’s time to consider planning a Cousins Camp or a Camp Grandma. It’s the perfect opportunity to impart a little of your faith into the lives of your kids or grandkids.

What’s Camp Grandma or Cousins Camp?

A Camp Grandma or a Cousins Camp is basically the same thing. A Camp Grandma is hosted by grandparents. A Cousins Camp is hosted by parents, aunts, uncless or grandparent.

A Cousins Camp or Camp Grandma is a focused approach to weaving the love of God into the lives of our children or grandchildren.

It brings the kids or grandkids together and gives us a platform where we can be intentionally missional with them.

I model our camp after those I attended growing up, but you can design yours as to what works best for you. If you live in a city, design your camp around visiting some major attractions for the kids and use your home as Base Camp for meals and sleeping. If you like to fish, take them to your favorite fishing hole and make it Grandpa’s Fishing Camp. Be creative!

Your camp can last from one day to a whole week and can include all ages of children or just those over a certain age. What does your energy level and time allow?

Here’s what goes into our Camp Grandma


Every year I check with the parents and have them put our camp dates on their calendar. A few weeks ahead of camp, I send out invitations. A month before camp starts, I plan out the camp schedule by pouring over my Camp Grandma Pinterest board for fun food ideas I’ve collected throughout the year. (See links below for sample schedules and menus.)

My camp counselors:

The grandchildren who are 12 years old or older arrive a day early to help us set up for camp. Then they help throughout the weekend doing crafts, skits, and games. (I host Camp Grandma over a three-day weekend.)

Sleeping areas:

Tom sets up the big tent in the back yard and takes his sleeping bag out there to sleep with the kids. Grandma sleeps in the house with the littlest children.

Crafts and games:

Again, I use Pinterest to come up with unique camp crafts and game ideas.


What’s a camp without swimming? We happen to have a pool, but a nearby beach or public swimming pool will work just fine.

Scripture memory verses:

Every year we have a theme verse for our camp and use creative ways to memorize the verse.

Community service:

This is usually a “garbage walk” where Tom and the kids grab a few garbage bags and walk along our street picking up trash. It communicates that serving our community is what we do in our family.


Summer and nature seem to be inseparable. Consider a nature themed scavenger hunt or other type of nature walk. Explore a creek bed or discover some local tide pools.


Kids love performing skids for each other or their parents. I use some old ones from my camp days and also look for some new skits on the internet. (Do a Google search for campfire skits.)

Make a movie:

Last summer at camp the children made a movie. The camp counselors wrote the script, directed the acting, and came up with the costumes for their younger cousins. I just filmed and edited the movie … and included the bloopers at the end. They showed it to the parents at our “end of camp bar-b-que.”

Evening campfire time:

In the evenings we have a camp fire in a fire pit for roasting marshmallows and telling our God stories … the stories of how God has worked in our lives. We think through these stories ahead of time so we’re well prepared. After we’ve shared our stories, the kids get inspired and share their God stories.

Family dinner:

The last day of camp always ends with the arrival of the parents for a bar-b-que dinner. After dinner the kids present their skits and share about their time at camp. Eventually, they all head home and grandma and grandpa collapse into bed.

Remember to …

  • Allow wiggle room in your schedule.
  • Take a day or two off after camp to get some needed rest!
  • Preserve the memory: Use Shutterfly to create digital scrapbooks of your camp for each child’s Christmas present.

Helpful Links for creating your own Cousins Camp or Camp Grandma

This Camp Grandma Tips and Ideas blog post has photos and explanations for hosting a Camp Grandma. It also includes a printable How to Plan a Camp Grandma PDF with a pre-camp planning timeline, menu, and schedule.

2013 version of Camp Grandma with more tips, ideas and photos

2014 version of Camp Grandma with new tips, ideas and photos, including a movie video the kids made.

Looking for Pinterest ideas? Check out the Camp Grandma board where I put the ideas I steal … I mean collect.

Click here for posts on being intentionally missional with your grandchildren.

Visit this URL to claim your FREE Spiritual Legacy Tool Kit: The Five Tools I Use Everyday to Build My Legacy of Faith.

Let me know how your Camp Grandma or Cousins Camp goes! I’d love to hear about it and share some of your photos on my blog later this summer. (Just email me via my contact page. I’ll get back to you shortly.)

Catch you later,


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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Hillary

    Grandparents are special people in a child’s life. I have heard many stories about faith journeys that included a grandparent who modeled their faith and shared it with a grandchild who later came to faith because of their grandparents actions and words. It is definitely a mission and one that has a huge impact on grandchildren’s lives. The Grandma camp is a good idea.

    1. Susan Gaddis

      So true, Hillary. As a parent doing a Cousin’s Camp or a grandparent doing a Camp Grandma, viewing it as a mission seems to add an eternal joy to the activities. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  2. Clare Speer

    Wow what a wonderful idea! I will become a first time grandmother the end of this year! Also, my parents were such a BIG part of my daughters’ lives and my grandmother did all kinds of learning and fun things with my daughters and made such wonderful memories! This is great!

    1. Susan Gaddis

      Oh you have so much to look forward to, Clare! Grandparenting is a whole different world from parenting, and I love it. Enjoy that new grandbaby coming up. 🙂

  3. What a wonderful idea! We aren’t at the “grandkid” stage of life yet but I love the idea of being so intentional. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Susan Gaddis

      “Intentional” is the perfect word, Cheryl. And if you aren’t at the grandkid stage yet, try a Cousins Camp. My cousins host one every summer for their college age kids… who insist on it!

  4. kathy goddard

    Thank you Susan, for sharing your ideas and wisdom with others. I have been inspired by this blog to do a “Meme and Papa” Camp. Every Thanksgiving we have a scavenger hunt so now i can add another tradition. I am so excited. My grandchildren are young, 8,5,4,3,and 2 years old. This summer I may have a one day camp.
    Can’t wait to share with you how it goes.

    1. Susan Gaddis

      Oh Kathy, a Meme and Papa Camp sounds wonderful! And your grandkids are at such perfect ages for it. Our camp usually runs over 2 nights (3 days) and we cram a lot in. The kids usually have to be 4 years old to attend, just because I can’t give them the attention they need if they are younger. But I have a friend who jumps all in, even with the babies! Please share with me how it goes. And send some photos too!

  5. Tammy

    Susan and Kathy, I was wondering if you are still doing Grammy and grandpa camp or cousins camp? Also do either of you have grandchildren out of state and what do you do there?

    1. Susan Gaddis

      Hi Tammy,
      Yes, I am still doing Camp Grandma’s. You can catch up on all of them at the bottom of my Resources page: https://susangaddis.net/resources/
      (You’ll also find how to do a virtual Camp Grandma with your out of state grandchildren on that list of resources.)
      And yes, I have two grandsons who live in Finland. They have never been able to attend one of our Camp Grandmas, but this year they are coming for 3 weeks at Christmas, so we will be doing Camp Grandma while they are here instead of this summer.
      Hope that helps. And enjoy your time with the grandkids!

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