A favorite family memory is a well-planned summertime adventure we’ve referred to as Gram Camp or Cousin Camp.

Joining me on our first such adventure was my husband, his sister, and her husband; four adults with five grandkids (second cousins) between 3-8 years old. We asked each grandchild to bring a sleeping bag. What we didn’t say is that we had wall-to-wall tents awaiting them – their own tent city!

We entertained these five for the weekend with kid-friendly menus, crafts, and activities including scavenger hunts, yard games, day trips, campfires, picnics, and s’mores. 

The personalized tents were a huge hit. They’re easy to make and equally easy to store. If your grandchildren live nearby, let them pick out fabric or ask for their input in picking some fun fabric – an animal, favorite color, or cartoon character. My sister-in-law did all the sewing. My husband made all the frames.

Here’s what you’ll need for each tent:
o 3 yards of 45” wide fabric (we used cotton)
o Four 1x2s, 48” long
o Three ¾” dowel rods, 48” long
o A drill and ¾” bit
o Sandpaper

1. Hem both ends of the fabric with a casing for a ¾” dowel.
2. The finished size fabric should be 74”x45” (44.5” if selvage is hemmed).
3. Drill a hole in each end of all four 1x2s, with the center 6” from the end. 

4. Use sandpaper to smooth all rough edges.
5. To assemble, stack two 1x2s. Insert one end of a dowel rod into both 1x2s. until flush.
6. Insert the other end of the same rod through the ends of another two 1x2s until flush. This becomes the top of the tent structure.
7. Spread apart the other ends of the 1x2s to form tent legs.
8. Drape your finished fabric over the top dowel rod then insert a dowel through each casing.
9. Let the fabric casings (with dowels) drop to the floor, then insert each dowel end into a 1×2 leg.

That’s it! You’re done! When the party’s over, simply unassemble and store until next time. Your grandchildren will love having a tent to call their home sweet home while they’re at Gram Camp or even when they come to visit you later. It’s more fun to sleep in a tent than a bed if you’re a kid.

I’d love to see pictures of your tents and grandchildren. Tag me on Facebook at Elaine “York” McAllister or share pics at BFFGramma@gmail.com. 

Enjoy! Make memories now, before they grow up! 

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