Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Grandma Camping - Part 3 - Nature Hunters!

Nature holds a wonderland of wealth for a grandmother and her lively little campers - there's lots of it, it's free, and kids cannot be any happier exploring it.

Each of my grandkids has an inviting section of woods in their own backyards; one even has a beautifully thriving pond. But for some reason, it's grandma's quarter acre that consistently appeals to them. And maybe that's because things "out-of-the-ordinary" sometimes occur back there! Like zombie invasions, you know. And hunts for monsters, or candy and toy packed dinosaur eggs at the end of a winding scavenger trail. But there are "normal" things going on back there, too. And this time, we agreed to team up to investigate them all!

But, first things first!

Sociology 101. Chapter one. Page one. Human beings form groups based on common interests. Once those units are established, they seek symbols - totems, coats of arms, emblems - to separate and identify themselves. Hey! That's us, too! So we chose tribal walking sticks to bond us together for our week long grandma camping adventure. These made it easier to maneuver wooded slopes and allowed us to stake finds of interest to return to and share with other members of our clan. And besides, they transformed our woods into an exotic jungle-like venue that had us really feeling that whole "goin'-on-safari" thing!

Rich in color, symmetry and pattern is the culture of the American Indian. We examined some art book examples, noting fierce faces and animal themes. Rattles, masks, campers were fascinated, and very anxious to get started on their own interpretations!

Ask any one of them, and be told that grandma will buy anything they point to at the toy store. Anything. Not this time though! We harvested our own walking sticks - and dragged 'em home by ourselves - exactly the way you see little Jungle Jane doing right here!

(Oh dear! Somebody's eyes were a little bit too big for their body size! Grandpa took care of that problem with a few strokes of his hand saw, though!)

We know that traditional Indian art was fashioned from carved wood, or gourds or earthy clay, but our heads are made of instant paper mache. It mixes with water to become a malleable medium perfectly suitable for the task at hand. The CelluClay brand I prefer is here, on page 12 of my Amazon gift shop. Hobby Lobby may also have it; in that case, be sure to use your coupon for the best price!

Here's how they look once they've been sculpted.
I like the Stonehenge-y look!

Back on the sticks they go, set out to dry. After a couple of warm breezy days, depending on the thickness, they're ready to paint.

Hmmm....kinda spooky! I might have to revisit this for Halloween. Imagine a trail through the woods of these ambiguous skeletal faces, up-lighted eerily with flashlight lenses covered in green clear plastic. Oooooooo!!!!! Yep! Making some for sure!

(and then sending grandpa out there to search for my "lost cat!" he he he!)

I adore watching the kids paint their projects.

Use acrylic paint, then offer an array of beads and feathers for finishing touches.

Bree's project began as a monkey. Then she saw the pink paint. And the feathers. We're not exactly sure what it is today, but we're delighted with its perky personality!

Now we're ready to gather up our totems and explore the woods as a fearless, indigenous tribe of nature hunters! We made some interesting discoveries out there during the course of the week. Those are coming up next, in Part 4 of Grandma Camping 2015!


  1. So much fun and interesting crafts. I bet they never want to leave!

  2. SIGH. I thought I was a good grandma when I made cookies the other morning. AND that was only because it was 57 degrees. Heck with those little kids if it had been the normal 80+.

    Tribal walking sticks. Love it. The things that you come up with are always so amazing and fun...and yes the originals before paint would be great for Halloween.

    Love what the kids came up with in the end...I can only imagine how much fun they had during this camp week and I know that you put so much heart and soul into it, and hard work too.

    The boys and Bree have grown up so much in just a few months time !

  3. When did Bree grow so much? I love all the totem animals and how you taught them about things like American Indians while they had all this fun! You really are the Carnival Queen!

  4. What a fun learning opportunity you created for these three lucky grands including Native American Indian history, nature, and art. The teacher in you shines through and that is a really good thing. :-) I am amazed looking at these photos how handsome your boys continue to be and how grown up Bree is looking. Look in the mirror and you'll see one talented and lucky grandma. :-)

  5. What a cute idea for your adorable nature hunters. The walking sticks are so creative, your grands have so much fun at Grandma's! Have a happy day!

  6. hahaha! oh what fun these would be for halloween while Grandpa looks for the "lost cat". i hope the kids know how lucky they are to have you-they will have an abundance of happy memories :>D!

  7. Enjoyed your post. Hopping over from Mila's Little Things. I, also, do a grandma camp. We call it Oma and Opa Camp which are the Dutch names for grandma and grandpa. I blog about a lot of kid's crafts and our camp, too at We can exchange ideas!

  8. I'm really enjoying your posts on the camping adventures. My grandkids are little yet, but I can't wait to take them camping. Mostly, their grandpa can't wait...he's the REAL camper! I'll plan the fun activities... Looking forward to hearing what's next!

  9. Wonderful post! I need to remember your great ideas when our little ones are just a bit older. They, too, love exploring our back yard. We usually go for discovery walks, where we see what's new, what's blooming or pick up fall leaves, etc. But you have taken it to fabulous new level. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Love this project, and must try that brand of clay you've used. As far as favourite back yards go, I can totally see why your grandchildren love yours. Sounds like you would make any space magical!

  11. So awesome. You are so creative..great memories for everyone.

  12. I haven't heard of CelluClay before. I'm going to have to check it out. Those faces (both the craft ones and the kid ones) are fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing at Grandma Ideas Sharing Time link party. I really appreciate your participation!

  13. We are a family of nature lovers. Love being outdoors and creating! These are just too much fun! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  14. I love this idea. I had my grandchildren last week-end and my granddaughter ran around with a stick all evening. A tribal walking stick would be great. Thanks for sharing on Sunday's Best.

  15. Oh my, how delightful, my friend! Where do you come up with these fabulous ideas? You could write a book on how to have fun with children :)

    Thanks for sharing your sweetness with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you!