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.)
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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 #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!

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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!

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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!!!

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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.