I remember the time too, when my cousins and I were at their age, we too had regular sleepovers at each other's houses during summer vacation. We had one week to raid, pillage and conquer the chosen castle, uh, I mean camp out at the designated cousin's house before we were returned to our respective parents at my grandmother's house the following week.
I think giving kids this type of experience, even at the tender ages of six and eight is a very good idea. It teaches kids how to plan ahead, make choices, get along with other people, adjust to living conditions and house rules that they are not accustomed to, take responsibility and take care and be respectful of their and other people's belongings.
Although what I can only recall now is how much fun we had as kids in those sleepovers with my cousins, I did not realize how prepared their houses had to be for such an invasion of minimum five kids per week of summer vacation. It's only now when my mom and I babysit for my nephew and niece do I realize what a well-stocked pantry and a very creative "baby sitting activity list" can do for your and your little guests' sanity and relaxation. :-)
Doing the "learn to eat what is on your plate" sermon, though a very good lesson to teach kids while they are young is really not the best way to deal with picky eaters. And while a hotdog and fried chicken smörgåsbord would be the most painless way to get them to eat for the duration of their stay with you, I do not think it's very sensible from a nutritional and healthy-eating habit point of view. Though they would have their moments, these two are beginning to open up their palates to new taste experiences whenever they are here at home.
So, my dilemma this week was how to keep these two kids occupied so I can finish chores around the house. Well, after breakfast and a little time for cartoons on the television, I called the two over and gave them each a pad of paper, and watercolor pencils. To keep the mess at the minimum, I just told them that those are colored pencils and the small brush in the kit was just put there by mistake... :-P
Then, I told them that I for the next hour or so, they would be competing with each other in making a storybook, with a story that they each made up. I expected my niece, being younger, would protest as she is just beginning to spell and draw, but she gamely rose to the challenge like her brother! Good job, sweetie!