An Interactive History of D-Day

June 6 marks the anniversary of that fated day that began the campaign of the liberation of Nazi-controlled Europe and brought the long-planned Operation Overlord into play.  It also marked the beginning of the end of the war that started for most Americans with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The Allied invasion of the beaches of Normandy in France was the largest seaborne invasion in history and came to be known as D-Day.  Planning for this operation began the year before and proved to be the crucial turning point in the war in Europe.  Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”  Although victory did not come easy, nor did it come without significant cost, it did eventually come.

The naval invasion fleet included 1,213 warships, 4,126 landing craft of various types, 736 ancillary craft, and 864 merchant vessels.  More than 13,000 aircraft supported the invasion including over 2,200 British and American bombers.  Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on that fateful day with over 10,000 casualties logged and 4,414 brave men and boys having given their lives.

This important day in history is memorialized in an informative and interactive way online by visiting the US Army’s official D-Day website.  You can listen to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s speech to the troops reminding them that, “The eyes of the world are upon you,” before they embarked on ” a great crusade.”  You can also learn what the “D” in D-Day stands for.

normandyFor the younger generation, the book Normandy, A Graphic History of D-Day tells the intricate story of the planning and execution of Operation Overlord from the invasion of five D-Day beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword) on June 6, 1944, to the liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944. In between, Vansant paints a portrait of the campaign’s vicious and unforgiving fighting, including the Allies’ capture of Cherbourg, the deadly battles in hedgerow country, the Allied struggle for Caen, the breakout of Patton’s Third Amy, and the eventual defeat of Axis forces in the Falaise Pocket. It was the Allied success in Normandy that hastened the beginning of the end for the Nazis.

However you choose to teach your children about this day isn’t as important as the fact that you are teaching them about this very important day.  It is a day in the history of the world where men and women of many nations, religions, and races came together with a single-minded purpose to defeat a common enemy.  It is the story of good vs. evil and triumph over tragedy.  It is a story that must be told for many generations to come.

 

Mission #5 – Backyard “Command Center” Obstacle Course for Kids!

Mission Objective – To collect the most mission cards at the end of the mission.

Obstacle Course for Kids Keeps Army Kids Happy
Calling all Army Kids! Are you ready for the next big mission?

Calling all Army Kids!  Mission #5 is here and it is a real obstacle course challenge.  Divide the group into two teams.  Each team will have a home base.  In an area that is equidistant from both bases, will be the command center.  At the command center will be Mission Cards (exercises written on notecards or paper) that have tasks on them that will need to be completed.

Each team will take turns sending a soldier to race to the Command Center and grab a Mission Card.  That soldier completes whatever task is on the card and runs back to the home base, remembering to take the card with.  When he/she taps the next soldier on the back, then the second soldier repeats the same process. When all of the Mission Cards are gone from the Command Center, the mission is complete.  The team with the most cards wins!

Obstacle Course for Kids Makes Kids Smile
They’ll all be smiling before, during, and after they complete this Backyard Obstacle Course for Kids.

Here’s how to create your own Obstacle Course for Kids:

  • Mark two home bases and a Mission Command Center.
  • On notecards or paper, write down various Missions.  These can be anything from exercises (10 jumping jacks), to tasks (say the alphabet backwards), to funny skits (run around the yard like a chicken).  Create as many mission cards as you’d like to for the group and use as many different tasks and ideas as you can think of.  (See below for a list of mission ideas)
  • Put all the mission cards in a bucket or bowl in the center of the command center so that they can be chosen randomly (no picking and choosing amongst mission cards!)
  • Divide into two teams and get started!

To complete the military theme, let your soldiers get into the spirit of the mission by donning their military gear.  A Four Pocket BDU Army Shirt for Kids, matching Six Pocket BDU Army Pants for Kids, and an authentic Army Helmet for kids will turn them into battle-ready soldiers!

Authentic Army Helmet for Kids
An authentic Army Helmet for Kids will turn them into battle-ready soldiers!

Backyard Command Center Obstacle Course for Kids Mission Ideas:

  • 10 or more of exercises including: lunges, squats, pushups, burpees, jumping jacks, sit-ups, or pull-ups
  • run around the house, the yard, or the block
  • sing a song, recite a poem, or read something aloud
  • run around the yard like an animal (chicken, horse, crab, bear, elephant, etc.)
  • list 10 of anything (10 different flowers, states, people, etc.)

Dogfights, Secret Codes, and Other Inspiring War Stories

Kids have been playing army for as long as there have been armies! Sometimes, play is just play, but the next time your army kids are in full battle mode, why not use it as an excuse to teach them a little history? Even a sentence or two about a brave soldier trapped behind enemy lines could spark a curiosity that may lead to a long conversation about the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.  Imagine what would happen if you told them this:

“Did you know that pilots in World War I would often very briefly turn OFF their engines during a battle so that the engine would not stall when they turned quickly? When the pilot then restarted the engine in midair, it sounded like a dog barking. That’s why airplane battles are called dog fights!”

(Beware though. This kind of inspiration may lead to the next great air battle occurring in your living room.)

Secret Carrier Pigeon found with Coded WWII letter.
This secret coded WWII letter from Sgt. Stott to agent XO2 was found attached to a carrier pigeon’s skeleton in a chimney in England.

The next time your adventurous troop is battling it out, try this one on them:

“Hey guys, did you know that in 2012, in a chimney in England, an older couple found the skeleton of a World War II spy pigeon with a red cylinder still attached to its leg? When they opened up the cylinder, there was a secret, coded message inside.“

That kind of teaser could provide their imaginations with hours of fun and my lead to a lifetime of interest in history. Be prepared, however, because they may ask you to show them the coded letter.

JM Cremps has many resources to inspire your child’s imagination and encourage a love of learning. One of our favorite resources for World War I and World War II history is the Usborne Book, War Stories – True Stories from the First and Second World Wars. This 432-page book is full of photographs, drawings, maps and diagrams. The short stories cover enemy raids, traitorous spies, secret plots, epic battles, and heroic missions. It is recommended for kids ages 8 and up.

Army Kids WWII Books War Stories Usborne Books
War Stories, True Stores from the WWI and WWII, is full of inspiring stories and interesting facts.

Whether your kids decide to use the couch to launch the Invasion of Normandy or their favorite toy soldier set to stage an epic battle, the short stories nestled in the pages of this book will provide them with hours of inspired fun.

Mission #4 – Operation Capture the Flag

Army Kids Operation Capture the Flag
Operation Capture the Flag is a special mission designed for the toughest Army Kids. Are you ready to get started?

Hey Army Kids.  It’s time for another mission!  This fun game is a cross between capture the flag and freeze tag.  It’s really simple AND really fun.

Mission Objective: Capture the other team’s flag before they capture yours!

Mission Intel:  Divide into two teams.  Each team needs to hide their flag on opposite ends of the area that you are going to play in.  You’ll have to assign some of your soldiers to guard your flag, while other soldiers set out to capture the other team’s flag.  The first team to capture the other team’s flag wins.  Easy enough right?

Well, your secret weapon is your ability to freeze the other team’s soldiers by tagging them.  They’ll remain frozen until they are re-tagged by one of their teammates.  Of course, the other team is going to do the same thing to you so be careful!

JM Cremps has a full assortment of authentic US Army gear for kids that will really make this game a lot of fun.  Start with some Camo Face Paint to disguise yourself.  Then, make sure to grab your helmet.  We’ve got several styles, but our authentic Steel Pot Army helmet is one of our most popular.  Complete your military outfit with our US Army Tactical Vest.  It is loaded with pockets so you’ll have plenty of places to store your gear during the battle.

Army Kids Tactical Vest
The Army Kids Tactical Vest is the perfect addition to every army game.

JM Cremps ‘Adventure for Boys’ Retail Store Opens in Minnesota!

JM Cremp’s Adventure Store, the Only Online Retailer Focusing Exclusively on Fun Adventure Products for Boys, Opens its 1st Retail Store in Dassel, MN

Online sales growth results in retail store opening

JM Cremps Adventure for Boys Retail Store Opens Labor Day weekend
JM Cremps opens its first retail outlet in Dassel, MN.

Dassel, MN – JM Cremp’s Boys Adventure Store, the only online retailer focusing exclusively on adventurous boyhood, announces the grand opening of its first destination retail store in Dassel, MN. Located in the former train depot at 651 Parker Avenue West, the store will feature the same great products, gear and activities for boys that have made the online site a success. The grand opening of the store will take place over the extended Labor Day weekend 2012, Friday, August 31- Monday, September 3.

JM Cremp’s Boys Adventure Store is home to thousands of carefully selected items designed to foster the spirit of an adventurous boyhood—from toys and games, outdoor gear, books, and so much more. In a world inundated with electronic games and gadgets electronic games and gadgets, JM Cremp’s promotes an old-fashioned American boyhood experience reminiscent of days gone by. In fact, parents love that they won’t find a video game in the store. JM Cremp’s highly trained adventure team is ready to help customers gather the best products for boys all under one roof. “The retail store is just another way for us to help bring adventure to the lives of our customers. A place where families can come to find the unique products and gear that will help ignite their child’s imagination—all in a unique, spacious and creatively designed retail environment” said Jay Asplin, owner.

The Adventure Store for Boys has opened its first retail store.
Finally! A store built for boys! It’s an adventure-lovers dream come true.

About JM Cremp’s Adventure for Boys Store

JM Cremp’s online retail store launched in October of 2010. The company was started by Jay and Maria Asplin, and their five boys in their hometown of Dassel, MN. JM Cremp’s attributes their success to their unique selection of quality products and unmatched customer service. See JM Cremp’s complete selection of unique ‘adventure for boys’ products and gear at www.jmcremps.com, and if you are looking for fun, imaginative, and healthy activities for boys, their new Adventure for Boys Blog is the website you can rely on. It’s packed with activities, stories, and projects that will keep them engaged for hours. When it comes to boys – JM Cremp’s is your complete “Adventure for Boys” resource!

Grand Opening Hours:
Fri 8/31: 9 am-7 pm
Sat 9/1: 9 am-7 pm
Sun 9/2: Noon-5 pm
Mon 9/3: 9 am-7 pm

Regular Hours
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 11am-7pm
Saturday 9am-5pm

JM Cremp’s
651 Parker Ave West
Dassel, MN 55325
Call: 1-877-469-0673
info@jmcremps.com (Customer Service)

Getting To Dassel:
Located 50 minutes west of the twin cities metro area and 45 minutes south of St. Cloud, off of highway 12 (in the Old Train Depot).

Mission #3 – Operation Field Dinner – Kids Camping Recipes

Army Kids Campfire Cooking - True Adventure for Boys!
A campfire is a fun way to end an adventurous day.

Every soldier knows how important a campfire is for survival, but it is equally important for morale. After a long day of marching with a heavy pack through rough terrain, a warm, crackling campfire is like an old friend.  When you’re hungry, and the mess hall is far behind, that same campfire is your ticket to a full belly.  If you’re tired of eating hot dogs and marshmallows around every fire, you’re in luck – JM Cremps has some simple and delicious ideas for your next campfire meal.  (And you can leave the hot dogs behind!)  Check out these kids camping recipes:

Egg Platoon

– Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray OR rub the inside of each muffin cup with butter.  Crack one egg into each cup.  Top with cheese, meat, or vegetables.  Put the muffin tin on a grate above the campfire.  Bake until the eggs are set (about 10 to 15 minutes).  You can also make toast to go with these awesome eggs.  Just lay a piece of bread on the grate next to the muffin tin.  After one minute, flip the bread.  Keep flipping until your toast is just the way you like it!

___________________________________

Private First Class Field Dinner

Army Kids Private First Class Field Dinner
The Private First Class Field Dinner is ready to put on the fire.

What you’ll need:

  • Tinfoil
  • Cooking Spray
  • Ground Beef (or turkey)
  • Diced Potatoes
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Diced Onions
  • Salt & Pepper & Garlic (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Butter
  • Optional Vegetables of your choice
  • Ketchup (optional)

This recipe is such a favorite in our family, that it’s been cooked around the campfire (and on the grill) for five generations now!  Best of all it is easy, nutritious, and fun to make.  Each person can make their own dinner just the way the want it, and just the size they want it too.  Plus, it’s the perfect way for little brothers and sisters to get involved in the fun.

Cut a 12 inch section of tin foil and spray one side with cooking spray.  Place about a handful of potatoes, a ½ handful of onions, and a ½ handful of shredded carrots.  If you want to, you can add another handful of any type of vegetable you’d like.  Some of our favorites are mushrooms and sweet potatoes. (Yes Sweet Potatoes!)  Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, and a little garlic (Or use seasoned salt.)  Top with a tablespoon of butter.

On top of the vegetables place a hand-sized portion of ground beef.  Season the ground beef with additional salt, pepper, garlic OR seasoned salt.    Lift the ends of the tinfoil up until the meet in the middle.  Roll up the ends to form a pouch and seal the contents inside. (It kind of looks like a pastry.) Cut another piece of tinfoil slightly larger than the first one, and double wrap your dinner.  This will prevent it from being punctured.

Place your First Class Field Dinner on a grate over the campfire or place it in an empty coffee can in the embers.  Cook it for 30 to 60 minutes or until the meat is cooked and the vegetables are tender.  To see if your dinner is ready, carefully remove your tinfoil pouch from the fire using tongs or spatulas.  VERY carefully open the sealed tinfoil using a fork so that you can allow the steam to escape without burning your fingers.  Test the softness of the potatoes and carrots.  When they are nice and soft, you’re ready to dig in!

Serve with ketchup for the ultimate Private First Class experience!

___________________________________

Peach Grenades

After a dinner like the one above, it’s time for some real army kids dessert!  How about some peach grenades?  They sure beat canned peach rations any day!

What you need:

  • Peaches or nectarines
  • Marshmallows
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar

What you do:

Cut each peach in half and remove the pit.  Place a marshmallow in the spot where the pit was on one half and leave the other half alone.  Sprinkle both halves with sugar and cinnamon.  Put the peach back together and bake it until the peach is softened.  About 25 minutes.  Test it by poking a toothpick into it.

You can do the same thing to apples, but instead of putting a marshmallow in the middle, put a couple of caramels instead.  YUM!!!

___________________________________

JM Cremps has plenty of army gear (link) for kids to make cooking in the field a lot easier. For example, our 6-in-1 Chowset Tool is the perfect cooking companion.  It’s got a knife for cutting up vegetables and meat, a fork & spoon for eating, and extra tools for cooking.  Our Carabiner Mug (link) is easy to carry and clips on to your backpack or belt.  It’s perfect for both hot and cold drinks.  So bring on the hot chocolate!

Serious campers and soldiers who spend a lot of time in the field prefer to carry a lightweight, portable meal kit in their pack.  Our Outdoor Meal Kit is that and more.  It has two plates (one that doubles as a bowl), a spill-free cup, a colander/cutting board, a fork/spoon combo, and a small waterproof box.  You can’t go wrong with this one!

The Outdoor Meal Kit is perfect for dinner in the field
The Outdoor Meal Kit is perfect for dinner in the field!

Before you head out to build your own campfire, we can’t leave you without reminding you to be safe.  Here’s some simple safety rules all soldiers and army kids must follow:

  1. NEVER start a fire without adult supervision.
  2. NEVER leave a fire unattended.
  3. NO running or horseplay around the fire.
  4. Make sure you use the proper cooking utensils so you don’t cut or burn yourself.
  5. DO have a bucket of water near the fire incase embers or ashes get out of control.

Mission #2 – Backyard “Boot Camp” Obstacle Course for Kids!

Mission Objective:  Race through the course with the fastest time.

Obstacle Course for Kids is a good ideas for kids games to play for army kids
Come on Army Kids! Don that uniform and beat the backyard “Boot Camp” Obstacle Course!

Mission Intel:  Hey Army Kids! Mission #2 is a perfect way to add some excitement to your day and keep your military skills finely honed. Round up your friends, put on your favorite army uniform, and have FUN!

Building your own “Boot Camp” obstacle course for kids can be very easy. You can use many of the things you have at home. First, gather your materials, and then separate them into stations throughout the yard. Pick a starting point and a finish line, and you’re all set!

Step #1 – Build your custom obstacle course for kids.

Here’s some of the “stations” you can include in your special “Boot Camp” obstacle course for kids:

1. Jungle War-fare Rope Challenge – Hang a thick rope from a sturdy tree branch. Place a kiddie pool underneath the rope. There are two ways you can approach this challenge. A) Try to swing over the pool without getting wet or falling off. B) For a tougher challenge, tie a flag around the branch near the top of the rope. Jump onto the rope and climb the rope to the top to touch the flag – without falling in the pool!

2.  Four Star Ladder Drill – Place a tall ladder flat on the ground. The objective is to run across the ladder as quickly as you can while placing your feet on the ground in the space between each rung. This duplicates the tire run that is included in the Army’s training courses, and it improves every soldier’s coordination and speed.

3.  The Landmine Field – Fill several buckets or pails with water. Place them a couple of feet apart in a staggered pattern. The objective is to weave in and out of them as you run through the course WITHOUT knocking any of them over. This simulates running through a minefield – one misstep and you’ll suffer the consequences!

4.  Tunnel Rat Challenge – Gather together as many large boxes as you can. Fold the tops and bottoms of each box down into themselves so the sides of the boxes are sturdy and strong, and the tops and bottoms are open. This will create your tunnel. (You can often get large boxes from appliance stores, department stores, or recycling facilities.) Then connect them end-to-end to create a tunnel. For even MORE fun arrange each box a foot or two apart. This extends your overall tunnel challenge length and gives you the opportunity to add corners and turns. To be creative, paint camouflage on the outside of the boxes.

5.  Water Gun Sniper Training – Blow up three to seven balloons and, using differing lengths of string, suspend them from a clothesline or a tree branch. These will become your targets. Fill one or more water guns with water, and lay them on the ground 5 to 10 feet from the targets. When you reach this station, pick up a gun, and hit as many targets as possible before you run out of ammo.

6.  Over-Under Infantry Run – Position several sawhorses or picnic benches a few feet apart. As you run through this section of the course, you need to hop over the first one, go under the second, hop over the third, and so on.

Step #2 – Time each person’s run through the course.

Authentic Military Medal as a reward for completing the Obstacle Course for Kids
What better way to reward each finisher than with an authentic military medal?

The fastest person through the course is the winner! For extra fun reward each finisher with an authentic Military Medal.

This mission is fun for the whole family, and can turn an ordinary summer day into a day to remember. Build this course for family gatherings, birthday parties, and backyard bar-b-ques.  An obstacle course such as this is also a wonderful way to get your kids exercising.  Homeschool families find obstacle courses to be an excellent addition to their curriculum.  Besides, who ever said gym class has to take place in a gym?

If you really want to make this fun, JM Cremps carries some great army gear for kids that will really make this challenge complete.  This Cadet Watch will ensure accurate timing of the run through the obstacle course. It’s nylon band, camouflage color, and luminescent hands are durable, reliable, and really fun! For a real authentic experience, wear the same thing every Boot Camp Trainee has to wear. The Armed Forces Boot Camp T-Shirt and Camouflage Military Cargo Shorts will really make you feel like you’re in bootcamp!