101 Conversation Starters With Kids

Get ready to start gabbing! The moment you become interested, you’ll help kids feel more interesting. These good conversation starters are sure to get any child’s inner chatter box talking. Some are funny, and others just get you thinking. Even if you don’t work at camp, use these topics during long car rides, for dinner table discussions, as sleep-over games, or anytime you want to have a good belly laugh with the kids (and teens!) in your life. Just start asking. You’ve got to start the convo. But once you do, watch the conversation unfold!

ice breakers for kids

1. If you could make up a brand new school subject, what would it be?
2. Can you remember a time when you laughed so hard you snorted?
3. Make up a new holiday.
4. What is you favorite letter of the alphabet? Why?
5. If someone gave you $50 dollars what would you do with it?
6. Would you rather eat your least favorite vegetable or have extra homework?
7. When you are sad how do you make yourself feel better?
8. Would you rather pack your lunch or buy from the cafeteria?
9. What is your favorite day of the week?
10. What is the best way to eat an Oreo?

Talking With Children Conversation topics

11. What do you normally do during recess?
12. Which state shape do you like the best?
13. Do you have a favorite place in your town?
14. Would you rather scream or whisper?
15. Would you rather take a picture or be in the picture?
16. When you play tic-tac-toe, do you choose to be Xs or Os?
17. When you’re waiting for something, how do you pass the time?
18. What is your favorite chore?
19. If you could do one thing, everyday, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
20. Once you lie down in bed, how long does it take you to fall asleep?

Getting Kids To Think Deeply

21. If you had a robot for one day what would you ask it to do?
22. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
23. How do you make friends?
24. What’s your favorite thing to do on a snow day?
25. If you could design a zoo, which animal would you have the most of?
26. If you could change one thing about your room what would it be?
27. Do you like riding in the car?
28. When you woke up this morning what was the first thing that you thought about?
29. Do you normally do chores and homework right away or do you wait until the last minute?
30. Would you rather take a shower or a bath?

Dinner Table Topics

31. If your parents told you that you could have dessert for breakfast what would you eat?
32. What’s the silliest thing you can think to do with a paper plate?
33. Do you think it’s important to pay attention every single second when you’re at school?
34. What’s the best smell you’ve ever smelled?
35. Make up a new sport.
36. Do you have to use your eraser a lot at school?
37. Have you ever fallen asleep when you didn’t mean to?
38. How many books do you have in your room?
39. Would you ever wear your clothes inside-out at school?
40. Can you remember a time when you made someone smile?

41. How old were you when you learned to tie your shoes?
42. Do you think you could go an entire day without talking?
43. If you could turn one room of your house into a giant trampoline which one would it be?
44. Have you ever told a small fib so as not to hurt someone’s feelings?
45. Are you good at tongue twisters?
46. Do you have the same first name as anyone else at your school? Do you like that?
47. Do you like to look at a clock or do you prefer not knowing what time it is?
48. What’s your favorite joke?
49. Who do you talk to the most on the phone?
50. What’s your favorite radio station?

Imagination

51. Do you prefer animated movies or films with real actors/ actresses?
52. Would you rather watch a movie with no sound or listen to a radio program with no image?
53. If you had the opportunity to visit the moon for a day, would you?
54. Describe your perfect cookie.
55. If you could put frosting on any food in the world what would it be?
56. If you became President of the United States, what would you do?
57. When was the last time you helped your parents without being asked?
58. If your favorite toy could talk, what would it say?
59. What would you do if you found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?
60. Make up a song about your favorite teacher.

Food for thought

61. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
62. What makes someone a good friend?
63. When was the last time you received a letter in the mail?
64. What is the longest word you know how to spell?
65. What are the two largest numbers that you can add together in your head?
66. What would you do if it started raining ice cream sundaes?
67. When was the last time you gave someone a high-five?
68. What is one thing that you don’t know how to do, but you wish you did?
69. How would you feel if, for one day, you were the parent and your mom and dad were the kids?
70. Do you think that kids should be able to choose what they learn at school?

Topics For Bedtime

71. Do you prefer games with cards or dice?
72. Can you remember the silliest thing you’ve ever said?
73. Have you ever played an April Fool’s joke on anyone? How did they react?
74. What would you do if you accidentally dropped your ice cream cone on the ground?
75. Do you get more excited on your own birthday or on your best friend’s birthday?
76. If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be?
77. Create a new cereal flavor.
78. Pick one fruit to combine with one vegetable to make a “fruitable”.
79. When you think about your day tomorrow, which part of it makes you the most excited?
80. Why is your favorite color your favorite?

Kid-Friendly Topics

81. Can you remember a time when you had a really good day?
82. Do you think it would be fun to be famous?
83. In your town, do you have more sunny days or more rainy days?
84. Do you like to visit the library?
85. Do you have a favorite word to say?
86. Do you think it would be fun to have a hippopotamus living in your house?
87. If someone gave you a blank piece of paper, what would you do with it?
88. If you design your own playground, what kinds of things would you want to play on?
89. If you could have a class pet, what would it be?
90. What is the quickest way to make someone smile?

91. How did you learn that your least favorite food was your least favorite food?
92. If someone wrote an article about you in your school’s newspaper, what would you want them to say?
93. What do you think would happen if you had to go to school on Saturdays?
94. When was the last time you told someone “Thank You”?
95. Have you ever taught anyone how to do something?
96. What is something that you think kids understand, but adults do not?
97. Do you like to get your face painted?
98. Describe what you see when you look outside your bedroom window at home.
99. Do you like how old you are now or do you wish you were older or younger?
100. If you were going to bury a time capsule, what would you put in it?
101. What is your favorite question to ask your friends?

Awesome camp girl

Host The Perfect Holiday Party

Holiday Gifts

Open any glossy magazine cover this month and you’ll notice no shortage of party planning advice- Seven Simple Steps to a Perfect Holiday Party!, Party Planning on a Budget!, This Holiday’s Hottest Party Playlists!, Perfect Party Dresses! Oh my!

Today, we present to you party planning advice from a muddy-sneakered, wide-grinned, sun-soaked Rockbrook Girl.

If a summer camp camper or Rockbrook counselor were to take the lead on a holiday party advice article, here’s what she might say….

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
Let’s talk food. What should I serve? Hors D’oeuvres? Scallops wrapped in bacon? Artichoke dip? I need advice on menu planning.
Yours,
Munchies

Holiday Treats

Dear Munchies,

Keep things simple and fun! Old standbys like s’mores, GORP, puppy chow, and drippy ice cream cones are great. It’s always a good idea to roast your party food over an open fire- hotdogs, banana boats, tin-foil pancakes. Of course, milk and cookies are a huge hit!

Yours,
Rockbrook Girl

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
I’m looking for good conversations starters for my holiday party. Any suggestions?
Yours,
Chatty Kathy

Dear Chatty,

Great question! It’s a wonderful idea to ask your guests about themselves. It will make everyone at your party feel comfortable and supported. Make sure to listen actively and the conversation will get rolling in no time. Here are a few of my favorites:

Tell me about the last book you read?

I heard you can divide two three-digit numbers in your head! How do you do that?

What makes you laugh?

If you couldn’t watch television, how would you spend your time?

Do you have any pets?

Yours,
Rockbrook Girl

conversation starters

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
What should I wear at my party? I hear so much about holiday fashion these days, I just don’t know what’s trendy.
Yours,
Trendy Wendy

Dear Trendy,

Well, red and white are always in fashion! My advise is this, dress for function. Ensure that you are warm, cozy and comfortable while hosting for the holidays. Anything that you can jump, swim, roll, giggle, zoom, run, swing, stretch, and dance in is a must. It’s not at all about how you look, it’s all about how you feel!

Yours,
Rockbrook Girl

Uniform

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
I’m wondering about presents. Should I ask my guests to bring gifts to my party?
Yours,
Wrapped Up

Dear Wrapped,

I love this question! By inviting guests to your party, you’ve automatically asked them to bring gifts to share with everyone! Each and every one of your guests has something beautiful to share with the world; they have their own unique set of talents and traits that are- are you ready?- GIFTS! At your party, instead of requesting that your guests offer up something synthetic just ask them to bring themselves- perfect and priceless.

Yours,
Rockbrook Girl

Gift Giving

Thanks!

Stephen Wallace’s article Always Thank the Bus Driver featured in the American Camping Magazine’s May/June 2011 issue inspired our plans for this weekend. Wallace claims that camp teaches us to “thank the bus driver”. It’s all about appreciation and gratitude. Why wait for camp to cultivate a greater sense of gratitude?

This weekend, let’s appreciate this wonderful life that we are living by giving thanks! Here’s a few suggestions how:

Gratitude for deep camp fun

1. No Mirrors

Challenge yourself to go through the weekend without looking in a mirror. You’ll have more time to thank your body for all it does and less time to analyze everything you’d like to “change” or “improve” about it. Your body allows you to jump, sing, clap, dance, and play! Let’s appreciate it!

2. Stop, Drop, and Roll

This famous fire safety tip works well to cultivate our sense of gratitude. When you have a quiet moment this weekend, Stop what you’re doing for a moment. Drop all the thoughts and to-do lists running through your mind. Roll through all the people you know. Who has gone out of their way to help you recently? I bet the list is longer than you might have guessed. Thank goodness for all the people who care for us!

3. Both Sides Now

The famous Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now is a beautiful example of perspective. The song begins with Mitchell singing about clouds. In her younger years, Mitchell’s imagination saw angel’s hair and ice cream cones in the shapes formed by the sky. In adulthood, Mitchell was annoyed by clouds. They snowed and rained and got in the way of her plans. It’s so easy to let life lose it’s luster. With a subtle shift in perspective, life doesn’t have to seem quite so tough.

Camp Friends Grateful for each other

4. Share Yourself with the World

The word “donate” is not necessarily synonymous with the word “money”. Giving of ourselves can enhance our appreciation of not only what we have but who we are. What do you share to the world? Are you a great listener? A fabulous joke teller? A beautiful singer? An excellent gardener? Your talents are your gifts- give them away this weekend. And as a superstar camp counselor!

5. Look Up, Down, Sideways, and Byways

There’s a whole world out there to explore! Look beyond yourself and leave no stone un-turned.

6. Overestimate

“Overestimate” people’s abilities and capacity for compassion and they will rise to the occasion. At camp we say, it’s way more fun to think the best of people!

Let this Saturday be better than your Friday and worse than you Sunday. With a little effort and practice, camp life and regular life can just keep getting better and better.

Lesson Learned

We do a lot for our campers. We support, foster, develop, create, smile, love, sing, dance, model, and encourage everyday each summer. Our camp job is unique and fabulous. For all the elbow grease you put into your job as a counselor, your campers will do just as much (and sometimes more!) for you.

North Carolina Rivers
To Life!

A (Very!) Short List of Lessons Learned From Campers:

1. It’s okay if someone rains on your parade.

Both in the literal and figural sense, our campers help us learn how to make the most of life. It’s raining? What a great time to put on your bright yellow boots and splash in the puddles! Your friend woke up in a grumpy mood? All the more reason to tell her a silly joke!

2. Life is way more fun if you don’t take yourself so seriously.

Your campers are the perfect example that a healthy dose of laughter and a nap can change the world.

3. Why wait?

Life is short so go for it! If you blink your eyes, the moment may be gone (or it may be closing day).

4. Turn it off!

You don’t need a cellphone, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to be happy. A real thumbs up is much more satisfying than a virtual one.

5. Turn it on!

Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Who better to share your talents with than a group of six-year-olds?

6. Failure is the fun part.

In school, in general, there’s little room to fail. At camp, you have 250 acres to “fail”! You won’t be good at everything you do, and thank goodness. Wouldn’t that be boring?!?

7. Start small.

We are constantly getting overwhelmed. This project is too big, I can’t start it. The race is too long, I

Campers
Live it Up!

can’t run it. I don’t have a lot money, I can’t donate any. Campers tend to take things bite by bite which makes the world much easier to swallow.

8. Everyone is special.

Campers recognize this. We tend to forget.

9. It’s best to start each day excited for what’s to come.

How refreshing! Our campers typically align with Winnie the Pooh’s feelings, “‘What day is it?’ asked Pooh. ‘It’s today,’ squealed Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.”

10.  There’s always a reason to celebrate.

I think the Kid President said it best, “Give the world a reason to dance.” Rockbrook girls know how to celebrate life!

Camper Health and Beauty Tips

Fun Camp Tips for Girls
Dear Rockbrook Girl

If you’ve ever read any of those swanky health and fitness or fashion magazines, you are most certainly familiar with the health and beauty tips that leap out at you from the pages: “torch calories”, “create the perfect pout with your lipstick”, “dress for your body type”.

Although you probably won’t find these on any newsstands or runways in the near future, the health and beauty tips you learn working at summer camp are way more fun than any we’ve ever read in a magazine. (Not to mention that they outlast all the trends!) Here’s how we imagine a Rockbrook girl’s advice column about how to look beautiful and live beautifully might read:

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
I’d like to improve my look, but I don’t know where to start. Any suggestions?
-From: Confused about make-up

Dear Confused about Make-Up,
Great question! Well, lucky for you, I know a quick way to perk up your look. SMILE! Your face will automatically shine and shimmer; your complexion instantly brightened!
-Rockbrook Girl

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
I’m preparing for a very big event. I’ve picked out an outfit and I know what shoes I’m going to wear, but I cannot figure out what to do with my hair! HELP!
-From: All dressed up and no hair to go

Dear All Dressed Up,
Hmmmm. This is a tough one. Now you’re probably referring to a red carpet affair or a party as a “big event”, but I think that we can make a big event out of anything: brushing our teeth, writing a letter, wading in a creek. My general rule thumb about hair is to keep it simple. Dry it naturally, don’t use any product, and if it ever gets in your eyes as you’re exploring, throw those tresses in a ponytail!
-Rockbrook Girl

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
What are the hottest fashion trends for this summer?
-From: Wardrobe Warrior

Dear Wardrobe Warrior,
Keeping up with the trends can be difficult, but have no fear. This summer it looks like fashion is going to be easy and breezy. Any clothes that you can play, jump, and climb in should serve you well. Popular items in 2013 will be water shoes, one-piece bathing suits, worn-in T-shirts, and whities with a red tie.
-A Rockbrook Girl

Dear Rockbrook Girl,
I am looking for a new regimen for my skin? Any tips on how to achieve a clear complexion?
-From: Comfortable in my own skin

Dear Comfortable,
What you need is a mixture of dirt, lake water, sweat, and shaving cream. Ta Da! Happy skin from your head to your toes.
-Rockbrook Girl

For many more health and beauty tips, apply to work at camp TODAY!

A Nod (and a shake) to the Oscars

Rockbrook, as most of you already know, is a noncompetitive camp. We believe that the “award” takes places within the experience, not in the trophy, medal, or certificate given after the fact. In that frame of mind, we thought, what if our camp gave awards? What would they be? Who would receive them? Certainly not best short camper or best supporting camper, and absolutely not best animated camper. When placed in the context of real life, these awards don’t even make sense. They just seem silly.

One of the many benefits of a camp job is that it negates the effects of Hollywood on our youth. A girl’s value is not attached to her looks (thanks goodness we all don’t look like a Barbie Doll!). It’s admirable to be studious, a team player, confident, a good friend. Not to mention, “who are you wearing?”. If you’re living it up at camp, by the end of the day you’ll have grass stains, mud, and dribbles of ice cream all over your clothes. Who are you wearing, more like what are you wearing?! In a world of screens full of high speed car chases, short skirts, and competition, isn’t it wonderful that we can take a pause this summer? We can engage in healthy, happy, fun-loving times that we experience rather than fictionalized images that we watch.

So leave the Oscars, Grammys, and Emmys to Hollywood. We’ll just be having the time of our lives over here!

And the award goes to… every Rockbrook Girl who was, is, and ever will be.

camp counselors jumping

Freaky Friday: The Great Switcheroo

Most of us have seen the movie Freaky Friday (starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsey Lohan). Through some mysterious circumstances, mom and daughter suddenly switch places! Mom lives in her daughter’s body and finds herself navigating through the social and academic world of high school. Meanwhile, daughter finds herself juggling a career, kids, and everything that comes along with “the real world.” Needless to say, this mix up brings mom and daughter closer together than ever!

At Rockbrook, we thought it might be fun if we switch your day as a college student with your day as a camp counselor. This change up comes with some very kooky surprises!

Mornings as a college student:
-Alarms
-Hair dryers
-Quiet conversations over croissants and coffee
-Wearing your fancy jewelry

Morning as a camp counselor:
-Rising bells
-Pony tails
-Singing at the top of your lungs over eggs and bacon
-Wearing your friendship bracelets and name tag

Afternoons as a college student:
-Naps
-Study groups
-Thesis writing
-English, political science, math, history…

Afternoons as a camp counselor:
-Naps (well, that one is the same)
-Swims in the lake
-Writing letters home
-Kayaking, crafts, hiking, drama, dance…

Evenings as college student:
– Studying
– Logging onto Facebook with your roommate
– Telling your friend “Happy Birthday” over email
– Trying to stay awake so you can study

Evenings as a camp counselor:
– French braiding
– Exploring logs for bugs and creepy crawleys with a group of 6-year-ols
– Celebrating everyone’s birthday with cake, costumes, and presents at Birthday Night
– Trying to stop laughing so you can finish your dessert

Nights as a college student:
– Requesting that your roommate to turn down the music so you can read
– Pop Tarts before bed
– Falling asleep to the sounds of your roommate snoring

Nights as a camp counselor:
– Requesting that your co-counselor to turn up the music for the dance party!
– Milk and cookies before bed
– Falling asleep to the sound of a crickets, streams, a gentle rain on the roof

We hope you make the great switcheroo with us this summer!

Switch it up!

Poetry Slam

Poetry does just not appear out of thin air. It begins with a spark of inspiration. Because our campers and staff inspire us to “play more and sit less,” we thought it fitting to write a poem for all our Rockbrook girls. Whether you’re a camper in kindergarten,  a staff member at a university, or an alumna crossing your “t”s and dotting your “i”s out in the “real world”, this one goes out to you….

An Ode to a Rockbrook Girl

A Rockbrook Girl.

She’s as sweet as a marshmallow (and fiery enough to melt one).

Her sneakers are muddy and her smile is bright.

It’s hard to slow her down!

She’s zippy, peppy, and over-the-moon.

camp surprised look
Sweet and Fiery
girl rock climbing
Can’t Slow Her Down
camp kids dressed alike
Born To Stand Out

She’s loyal, courageous, and true.

She always stands out in a crowd.

Rain or shine, count her in!

She splishes and splashes and sploshes and takes the world by storm.

sliding rock at night
Rainy day? A Chance To Play!
shaving cream in hair
Happy As A Clam!
shooting arrow
Leaving Her Mark on the World

A Rockbrook girl is a mover and a shaker. She slam dunks, flips and flops.

She’s a friend and a joy. She’s happy as a clam!

She’s a sweet treat. She plays outside.

She explores the world up-side-down, right-side-up, and side-to-side.

A Rockbrook Girl leaves no stone unturned.

The world is just a little bit better because she’s a part of it.

Take our Holiday Challenge!

Each year, we challenge our staff to spread the camp spirit around their community well beyond the summer. The holidays are a great time to utilize the lessons you learned while working at camp. See if you can complete all ten of these holiday tasks by the new year!

1.  Try something new. It can be anything- a new food, signing up to volunteer – whatever you want!

Kayaking at camp
Try Something New

2. Slow things down and spend some quality time with your friends.

summer yoga
Spend Time With Friends

3. Reminisce about the passing year. Think about all the fun you had in 2012. Be prepared for all the good times you’ll create in 2013.

Learning how to use a camera
Reminisce About the Passing Year

4. Be silly! Have a dance party, sing in the shower, put on a costume!

Costumes at camp
Be Silly

5. Lead the charge. Be the one to start something. Organize a food drive in your neighborhood – start a jump rope contest – make and deliver wreaths to all of your neighbors.

summer fun
Be a Leader

6. Get Crafty! You don’t need to spend a fortune to give great gifts this holiday season. Just a little creativity and inspiration and va-la! You’ve created a gift from the heart.

Crafts for kids
Get Crafty

7. Lend a helping hand. Wherever you see the need, help out.

trunk moving into camp
Help Out

8. Laugh until your stomach hurts!

goggles for kids
Laugh

9. Kick your shoes off. It’s so easy to rush, rush, rush during the holiday season. Remind yourself to relax.

rain boots at camp
Relax

10. Let the comfort and joy you experienced at Rockbrook show loud and proud in your community.

joyful camp girls in play
A Rockbrook Girl, Loud and Proud

Turkey Day…Rockbrook Style!

Rockbrook girls know how to have a good time. Thanksgiving is the perfect day to show off your camp skills. Read on for a few ideas about how to put your Rockbrook knowledge to use this Turkey Day, Gobble Gobble:

-Rockbrook girls love to help out! Offer a helping hand to anyone who is working to prepare the holiday meal.

-Rockbrook girls love to get creative! Prepare a skit or talent show for your family. While the turkey’s in the oven you can wow the crew with your talents!

-Rockbrook girls love to get dirty! If there is any dish that requires you to mash, peel, or mix with your hands-go for it. Who needs a mixing spoon when you have the opportunity to make a little mess?

-Rockbrook girls love to share! If you and your sister both love pumpkin pie and there’s only one piece left, why don’t you split the piece in two? Vwah-la!

-Rocbrook girls love to get a little silly! Tell a story or two from camp at the table. The sillier the better. (You’ll get extra points if you can make your family laugh so hard they snort!)

-Rockbrook girls love to sing! Teach your family a campfire song to sing after the meal. They’ll be thankful you did.

-Rockbrook girls love to try new things! Go for it! Today’s the day- you’ve never tried Brussels sprouts? gravy? cranberry sauce? Be a little adventurous and give them a whirl!

However you use your Rockbrook style this Thanksgiving, just do your thing!

Thanksgiving Style Found at Summer Camp
What’s Your Thanksgiving Style?