Welcome to our GLTC Summer Camp
I, Rachel, have worked for and been a customer of GLTC for many years now and one thing that I'm continually amazed by is how well the team manages to create inspirational but achievable scenarios for children's rooms. In a world where we're constantly bombarded with perfect homes on Instagram and Pinterest, I always feel quite proud of GLTC for continuing to emphasise that if you invest in great quality furniture and lots and lots of storage, other than the odd coat of paint and switch up of accessories depending on your child's latest love, you'll be set from toddler to teen.
That said, when it came to creating the GLTC Summer Camp in my back garden for my two boys to enjoy on the non-rainy days of the holidays, I was ALL over Pinterest for photos of immaculately decorated magical hideaways and beautifully styled rustic camps. However, just as I was one the verge of ordering fishing nets and a crumbling rowing boat to fulfil my dreams of a Swallows and Amazons-type summer adventure, common sense prevailed and I thought who better to ask for advice on what makes the ultimate summer camp for kids that my eight and six year old. Sometimes, as parents, we tend to think that perfection equals an amazing experience for our little ones, but no, that's the last thing on their minds (it's mainly extra snacks and staying up late in my house).
So, here are the ten things that you need for the best ever summer camp for kids, straight from the mouths of my two tearaways.
SNACKS AND DRINKS
Number one position? Sweet provisions! My boys are nothing if not predictable. I knew that snacks would feature close to the top of their camping must-haves list, and I was right. Small ramekins of popcorn, a shared cookie, a handful of chewy sweets, and a big glass of orange squash each. A little more than I would normally allow them in an afternoon/evening but balanced with big slices of watermelon and lots of fresh air, I don't feel like too bad a parent.
A TENT (PREFERABLY ONE PER CHILD)
Obviously, a summer camp needs a tent, or two tents as my eight year old's legs are a little too long for sharing now. GLTC's play tents are brilliant as they're so easy to put up and take down. It makes them ideal for impromptu adventures in the garden. They make a great den and the perfect place to escape to for a touch of shade when the sun gets too much.
Both born in Zurich, the boys were keen to make Swiss army knives the third item on their list but I managed to talk them around to torches. Much handier for evening missions to the kitchen to stock up on snacks. And far more useful for campsite bedtime stories, too.
The boys are yet to sleep overnight in their camp but that doesn't stop them from dragging their sleeping bags out in to the garden. In fact, they sometimes sleep in them indoors too, when they have sleepovers in each other's rooms. We bought two of the old red star designs three years ago and they are still going strong. In fact, they look relatively new. If I had to buy another, the navy dinosaur one is fabulous ... it's the perfect choice for little adventurers.
The walkie-talkies were a Christmas present from several years ago and they are still used so much (when we remember to recharge the batteries). Now, I can't guarantee that your child won't hand you the second one so that they can alert you whenever the snack supplies run low, but they really are fun to play with out in the garden, especially if your children set up rival camps but still want to talk to each other.
If you're outside on cooler evenings or are planning to stay out in the camp overnight, extra blankets are a must. We love GLTC's quilted bedspreads; they're great for summer camps in the garden, or for sleepover guests indoors. We've also been trying out the bed in a bag, as we've been decorating recently and playing musical beds to avoid the paint fumes. It's been used A LOT and we'd definitely recommend it if you have children that love having friends and family to stay but no spare bed for them to sleep in.
TOYS AND GAMES
Toys and games came in at number seven on the boys' list. Lower than I expected but then the garden is basically a play space of its own and there are lots of trees to climb. They decided that a cricket bat and a couple of tennis balls would make the perfect camp game. Something for everyone to join in with. I think they were inspired by England's recent World Cup win.
BINOCULARS AND A BOW & ARROW
No camp is complete without binoculars and a bow and arrow. You never know what 'bad guys' are lurking in the garden ready to cause mischief in and around the campsite. They're great toys for imaginative play, and the tutorial for making the bow and arrows can be found here on the GLTC blog.
My eight year old loves reading stories and my six year old loves listening to stories, so books were always going to feature on their list of ten things that you need for the best ever summer camp. Tom Gates books are their current favourite as well as anything magical or spy-related.
Last on their list, a camera. Something to capture memories with. Or a pretend plastic one to play around with, at the very least.
Will you be camping or play-camping in your garden this summer? What would your children include on their list of things needed for the best ever summer camp?
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