Monday, May 19, 2014

Notes from a Recent Campout

We went camping this past weekend and I realized I'm still waiting on updating my Camping with Kids 2 post.  In the meantime I wanted to share some notes on why it's so important to just get out and be in nature.

Last week, SD county was ravaged with 9 fires.  We evacuated our school and were closed for a day.   The heat in the city has been brutal with almost 100 degree days, and about 90 in the house as we don't have A/C.  Getting ourselves ready to leave after work on Friday seemed near impossible.  But we did it, and I'm so thankful we forged ahead and left our home behind, an utter mess.

With that, here are my "notes" I'd like to share.

  • Book a site and go
  • Plan ahead, but if you forget something, you will make do.
  • The more frequently you get out and go camping, you can fall back on the "usual" necessities
  • We have our camping clothes, so packing gets pretty easy and fast
  • Always be prepared for cooler weather.  
  • Going with friends helps in motivation and having a back up in case you forgot to bring things
  • Pack lots of drinks and snacks (adult beverages included).
  • Be flexible- things never go as planed and you just have to adapt and move on.  It's the best skill to be learned as a child and an adult and being in nature is the best test to this.
  • Take wipes and hand soap- I don't buy wipes for daily use or even around town. I hate the waste, but for camping, you just never know and it helps to have a small pack to rely on.
  • Head lamps and lantern are a must.
  • Pack a few books for bedtime.  Nature based books while out really ignite the imagination.  We read about monarch butterflies and we now hope to plant lots of milkweed plants.
  • Have a few dollars in quarters in case there are hot showers- helpful for kids who play in muddy ponds.  
  • Nature journal with pencils and colors for writing and drawing.

As difficult as it was for us to get out, it was worth it.  Watching my two run around with their friends and seeing how much fun they had getting dirty was worth it.   Being woken up to birds and woodpeckers- priceless.  Having my daughter wake up saying she didn't sleep well and the hawk woke her up- memorable.  Watching them play in the tent pretending to be princess astronauts - Ridiculous! Having them both brood and complain that they didn't want to go home- Worth it!

Nature discoveries that are impressionable lessons:
  • Baby dragonflies stuck to our legs 
  • Eared grebes only a few feet away from the children
  • Colony of ladybugs that have newly hatched and discovering them in the larva stage (click here for life cycle activity)
  • caterpillars in various stages of growth 
  • Baby lizards
  • Moss and lichen and the symbiotic relationship with fallen trees
  • Wild flowers in the spring

'Tis the season to get out and play.  Hope you find time to do so this summer.
p.s. I hope to get that second post out on camping soon- I promise!

 The children discovered a wild chamomile.  The flowers and smell were identical. 

 Some one had made a pretty cool house of bark and branches.
 The group we went with was almost 100 people. It was one of the biggest groups we've gone with but we shared a site with our friends and the kids had a blast hanging out together.

 Foil pack smores.  Let it be said that the 365 dark chocolate makes for excellent melting chocolate!

 Even when camping the children can help with chores.

We still need to look up what kind of caterpillar this is.
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