Part of the fun of summer for kids used to be learning and enjoying a whole bunch of things that you never did during the regular school year. Like making smores or spider dogs over a campfire, or staying up late to watch for a meteor shower, or telling ghost stories, or singing corny songs out in the woods that you wouldn't have warbled if your life depended on it back home in the neighborhood. Older kids usually taught younger kids this lore, and so it all got passed down by word of mouth through the generations and was never really written down.
But if you need to restart some of these traditions in your family with your children, you might want to try The Kids Campfire Book and The Kids Summer Games Book, both written by Jane Drake and Ann Love and illustrated by Heather Collins from Kids Can Press. The Kids Campfire Book provides a tenderfoot with a basic introduction into the joys of spending time outside around an open fire. There are some great suggestions for recipes, like campfire cobbler, and plenty of ideas for activities to while away those hours between supper time and sleep. Drake and Love also good sections about what to observe at night in the sky -- like the faces of the moon -- and what sounds to listen for in the woods. Much of what's here may seem pretty obvious, especially if you went away to camp when you were a kid. But if your children haven't, they can ease themselves into the experience with this user-friendly primer -- and after a few cookouts, they'll be ready for Survivor.
Which is where, of course, they'll need to know plenty of games that they won't learn if their major leisure activities are watching television, listening to music, or going on-line. That's where The Kids Summer Games Book will really come in handy. Drake and Love include dozens and dozens of games, for indoors and out, for swimming and running, for groups, and for individual tests of skill. Most of the games you played as a kid are probably here: spud and 500, capture the flag and horse shoes, marbles and comet ball, and tons of card games to use up those long summer afternoons and evenings. And the only energy they require is totally renewable and charged with fun.
Copyright © 2001 by Rosie Russo
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Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 22:24:21 EDT