Mike and Nancy Kaufman and Ron and Cathy Burgei are shwon with their grandchildren at Spangler Candy Factory. The visit to the Bryan Ohio factory was one of many activities the grandchildren enjoyed while visiting their grandparents during a "home campout."
Mike and Nancy Kaufman and Ron and Cathy Burgei are shwon with their grandchildren at Spangler Candy Factory. The visit to the Bryan Ohio factory was one of many activities the grandchildren enjoyed while visiting their grandparents during a "home campout." (photo submitted)

PUTNAM COUNTY – Spending time with grandchildren can be a special time. Some area grandparents have gone beyond just having a few hours or an overnight time with a grandchild. Instead they had all of the grandchildren come to stay at the same time for three or four days of activities, cooking and shared time. They also use their own homes as the base for the “Campout.”

“It’s a special time where the cousins can interact with each other,” said Kathy Green, Pandora. Kathy and her husband Don held their first ‘campout’ with their seven grandchildren ages four through 14.

Kathy had talked to a friend from Pandora that has held campouts at home for her grandchildren and liked the idea.

“I had matching shirts made for all of the grandchildren,” Kathy said. “I didn’t put any date on the shirts and ordered them so they can be used for more than one year. The Green campout was held August 6, 7, and 8.

A little earlier, July 30-August 2, two sets of grandparents in Ottawa also held a ‘home campout’ for their grandchildren.

“My sister in West Virginia had done it for her grandchildren. I thought it sounded like a good idea,” said Nancy Kaufman. She also was talking to a neighbor, Cathy Burgei, about the idea, and the two ladies decided to host the campout for their grandchildren at the same time and do some shared activities.

“We each had special shirts made for our grandchildren with the theme “Life is sweet at…” said Nancy. “We did this because one of our shared activities was to visit the Spangler Candy Factory in Bryan.”

One set of shirts said “at Na Na Camp. The other set said “at Oma Camp.”

“We went by the name our grandchildren call us,” Nancy said. When the two families visited the Spangler Candy Factory the grandfathers wore shirts identifying them as “Camp Security.”

“The activities are a great way to teach the grandchildren,” Nancy said. One activity the two ladies had was to make candy dots and decide if the dots tasted were sweet, sour or salty.

“We also had a scavenger hunt at the Glandorf Park. Since the children were younger we had them look for and collect items of different colors,” Nancy said.

Kathy Green said their planned activities included making and decorating their own tepees, learning to sew on a button and cooking. She also had croquet, a scavenger hunt and slip and slide as the activities. Her daughter assisted with the activities.

“My grandchildren did all their own cooking,” Kathy Green said. The children made a wide variety of tasty dishes including fruit pizza, protein bites, macaroni and cheese, blueberry pancakes and a giant chocolate chip cookie.

The Greens had a tepee set up in their backyard that was used by the older boys to sleep in at night.

The Kaufman and Burgei grandchildren slept inside at night.

“It’s a great way to bond with the grandchildren since their parents aren’t present,” Nancy said.

Kathy Green said planning a grandchildren ‘home campout’ takes a lot of organizing to plan activities, make sure there is free play and to have everything on hand.

“But I plan to make this an annual event,” Kathy said. “Though the age range was spread out the cousins interacted well.”

“It’s a fun time and there are a lot of things around here that are free or low cost to do with the grandchildren,” Nancy said. Both grandmothers said having the campout at their homes was easier to set up and provided a comfortable place for the grandchildren to stay.