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May 29, 2010

CAMPING WITH KIDS


I’m a Mom in my late 40’s with a daughter who is eight. I started camping with ADR when she was 3 months old. ADR tends to like calm environments and up to the age of four she was rather fussy and clingy. Now she is eight and she loves camping, but it didn't start out that way. 

This post is about camping with young kids as I see it. Simply edit the information based on your needs. 

Basically I feel camping is a highly rewarding and educational activity for children. The more you like it the more they will too. I love camping with ADR so much and she has taken to it with much interest and enthusiasm. But it didn’t start out that way………………….


WHAT AGE IS THE BEST TO START CAMPING? 


Start with these questions?  
1- Know your child regardless of what others say about "Camping With Kids".

2- How many people are you camping with that will be helpfull?

3- How comfortable is your child outside or in new environments?

4- Does you child get overwhelmed or over stimulated by new people, things or locations? 

5- How comfortable do you feel when you’re in public with an upset child? 

6- How did you feel about camping when you were a kid? 

7- How do you feel about camping now? 

8- Can you throw caution to the wind and have an adventure?
 
9- How many kids or dogs will you be keeping track of? 

10- How patient are you?
 
LASTLY- If your only job is to watch your child would you be comfortable with that while watching others tend to the camping tasks?

Answering these questions can give you a good idea on what your up against. They can also bring awareness to places you may need to be more patient with yourself and others. If your camping with a group of thoughtful helpers then you will be fine. If your a type A personality like myself with no helpers you may have to be creative with how you approach your trip - and yes that is why I started this blog.










Gear IDEAS For Camping With Little Ones


This Month were talking about Camping With Children. We start by looking at a few items that could make your trip flow better.
Without overdoing it or bringing too much but rather packing just the right items to make your trip flow better.








CAMPING MATT
Koko Tree
A plastic woven matt provides a place for little ones to crawl on and play. It's easy to shake out, lightweight and can be used outside as well as in a larger tent. Especially good for little kids who do floor play at home.









STROLLER
Inglesina Swift Stroller
A stroller can be used at most campgrounds for strolling around. Weather you use it to put your child to sleep or give you a break from holding, taking a walk or having a place to sit your child for a snack this is a great addition to camping gear for little one.




BABY WARE
Ergo Baby Carrier
For me the was the most used piece of equipment I owned. This brand is an Ergo Baby Carrier however their are many other brands you can choose from. I wore Adrienne like a second skin for all our camping trips until she was three. In fact this was incredible at the airport as well.










PLAY PEN
Soft N Play Playpen by Sorelle
If your child does well in a play pen then bring it. If your child is going to cry to get out then maybe this won't work. However don't pass this item up as acceptable camp gear. Some people like a play pen for a place to put your child to sleep.












MONITOR
Glow and Go Nursery Monitor by Safety 1st
Using a monitor is peace of mind. My daughter didn't do well waking up in an unfamiliar place so we used a monitor whenever she was sleeping in the tent. Make sure the batteries are good and bring a few extras just in case.








WET WIPES
Tushies Wipes
What can I say, you can not bring enough wet wipes. Try to stay with the unscented type as not to attract any insects. And don't leave them in your tent. For children or adults wet wipes are a campers luxury.







BOOTS OR CROCS
UGGS
Some kind of slip on boot or shoe to keep your little ones feet warm and clean, something easy for them to put on themselves when they wake up. I like the soft fuzzy boots that you don't have to ware socks. Another alternative is the rubber clog with fleece/fuzzy liner. These are in addition to the day shoes they would be waring.


SUN HAT
REI
It goes without saying that a full coverage hat for your child is absolutely necessary, weather they ware it or not is another thing. Make sure it's light and is comfortable or a color that inspires them.










SUN SCREEN
Aubrey Organics
Don't forget the sunscreen! we don't want a sunburned baby!









NO SPILL CUP
Foogo
A good quality no spill cup is a must here as well as in every day life with a baby or young child.I like this brand because it's stainless steel inside.


Footed Sleepwear
Hatley Steel Moose
For as long as they will ware them the classic footed sleepwear for over PJ's in the morning or for sleeping are great. they are easy to put on and keep your child clean and warm. Fleece works better as far as resisting dirt and dust and keeping them warm. Also if you have a pair of Ugg type boots are a tad bit big they can just slide into them with these PJ's and be ready to go for morning and evening comfort.










Hat & Mittens
Cozze Critter
Again most places can be quite cold in the mornings and evenings. A warm hat and mittens will keep your child comfortable.





Camp Chair
Apex Double Chair
Don't forget the camp chair. I like the double seat for two reasons. One it is more stable and two it has room for my daughters "STUFF". She can have her doll sit next to her etc....





Sand Toys
Green Toys
This is a must for most kids. It may only go as far as the campsite dirt but it will be enjoyed just like at the park. If you go to the beach then it goes without saying. Otherwise if it's cars and trucks bring them instead.







May 24, 2010

Childrens Books That Inspire The Outdoor Spirit



Wow so many GREAT books for children and adults to use to inspire outdoor exploring, building and love for nature. 


 







The incredibly intricate and vivid illustrations in this book are details of a modern quilt inspired by Sibylle von Olfers' classic storybook "Mother Earth and Her Children.

When Mother Earth calls her children to prepare for spring, the earthly children yawn and stretch before they busy themselves with beautification. The children emerge from the earth and become spring flowers that frolic through the summer and autumn, until the leaves begin to fall and they return to Mother Earth, bringing weary bugs and beetles back to their winter refuge.

 

 

 Go Wild!: 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up by Fiona Dank Ages 8-12

Go Wild! describes a range of outdoor adventures for families to share, including foraging for wild food, the magical excitement of making fires, cooking over the hot coals and making your own shelter. Eight-year-olds to young teenagers will discover tempting alternatives to computers and hanging out: brilliant ideas for having fun that will also help them to learn new skills and give them independence and confidence.

 

 How to Build Treehouses, Huts and Forts by David Stiles Ages 5 and Up

Provides carpentry basics, instructions and plans for 50 projects that parents and kids can build together. Many of them can be built in one afternoon using discarded materials found around the house. Projects are designed to encourage kids to be creative while having fun and range from designs for an A-Frame Treehouse , Ad Hoc Fort and Kung Fu Hut to plans for a Downhill Racer, Trolley Ride, Circle Swing, Model Sailboat, Pogo Boat, Treasure Chest, Lemonade Stand, Tarzan swing, Wheel of Fortune, and Exploding Cannon, to mention a few.  





Filled with activities and suggestions that encourage everyday explorations of the world around you, from paperclips to fallen leaves, to grocery stores and sidewalk cracks, How To Be An Explorer Of The World by Keri Smith should be part of every person, parent or caregiver’s tool kit. 
Not only is it a great source of inspiration for endless adventures, but in its own way, it manages to rediscover, pinpoint,  expand and celebrate the amazing and indescribable wonder that is childhood... even if you are only a kid at heart


  



 Tom Brown's Field Guide to Nature and Survival for Children

No matter what type of outdoor experiences are planned--day-trips to local parks or long wilderness treks--Tom Brown can help children and adults fully appreciate the boundless beauty of our most precious natural resources. 



 Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids' Guide Ages 7-12

Whether you're planning an over night in the backyard or a weekend in the wilderness, this book is packed with stuff to know. The basics, from gearing up to choosing a site to building a tarp tent. Tasty outdoor recipes: Solar Oven Pizza, Chow Down Chili and s' more's of course—with 8 variations.
Plus: how to keep a Field Journal, exploring the nighttime sky, creepy campfire stories, and when it's time to go home, leaving no trace. It's everything you need to pick up and head for the hills.  


The Kids' Summer Handbook Ages 9-12

From crayfish trap to canoe strokes, raising monarch butterflies to building a tree fort, paper-folding to whittling, there is something for everyone here. The appealing format features lots of pencil illustrations and diagrams. Most topics fill one or two pages, with large green headings and green-tinted boxes containing lists of ingredients, ecology suggestions, or nature facts. The array of crafts, activities, and outdoor skills will make the book a useful tool for camp counselors and scout leaders. Children who delight in quiet activities will find a wealth of them as well. 



 


Eleven-year-old Megan is stuck in the wilds of Vermont for the summer with no TV, no Internet, no cell phone, and worst of all, no best friend. So when Megan gets lost on the Appalachian Trail with only her little dog, Arp, for company, she decides she might as well hike all the way to Massachusetts where her best friend, Lucy, is spending her summer. Life on the trail isn’t easy, and Megan faces everything from wild animals and raging rivers to tofu jerky and life without bathrooms. Most of all, though, Megan gets to know herself—both who she’s been in the past and who she wants to be in the future—and the journey goes from a spur-of-the-moment lark to a quest to prove herself to Lucy, her family, and the world!
 


Introducing children to the excitement of the natural world, this guide to outdoor adventure provides hours of creative, safe, and fun activities. Children will learn how to build a den from branches, make twig boats to sail across a pond, and voyage through the backyard to find tiny insects and creatures. Activities include invigorating games, natural crafts, and lively adventures, all of which are organized by season. An additional chapter also addresses safe activities for children after dark. Perfect for families, caretakers, and educators, this creative resource encourages children to turn off the television and play outside all year round.  




The Great Lakes Wildlife Nature Activity Book is an outstanding way to learn about wildlife in this region.  An impressive array of word games, puzzles and drawing activities, help to make learning fun.  This soft cover book is an educational tool and will keep children entertained for hours. 





These Outdoor Guide Books and Our Wild Worlds Series volumes will get your future hunters and outdoor enthusiasts on the path to knowledge. Colorful pictures and easy-reading text provide fun, exciting facts about amazing animals





Angelina and her cousin Henry are off on a camping adventure in the Big Cat Mountains with Uncle Louie.  They love being explorers and are excited to hike deeper and deeper into the forest.  But then night falls and ahh!...is that Big Cat behind the trees?  Luckily, Angelina is brave enough to calm Henry's fears and her own.
I bought this one for my 5 year old daughter and we both love it. It's a great little girly girl book with a camping theme.




May 23, 2010

FUN FIND - Glow Sticks


 Do you remember how fun those glow in the dark thingies were. At Disneyland or any time you were out past your bedtime. 

You can find these in shapes, sticks, bracelets you name it. I just picked up a Glow-Flower at the $1 store. Called the Waste Management Sub-Station by my friend Kim. 

So don't forget to pick up a few before your next camp trip with the kids.




May 22, 2010

ART KIT 10 PROJECTS



SUPPLIES FOR YOUR KIT
8+ assorted colors felt squares
1 ball of yarn any color/black
1 bottle of tacky glue
1 pair of scissors
Paint, acrylic or tempera in red, yellow, blue & white only
1 black marker or enhance with whole package of assort. colors
Stack of white paper
1 paint brush
EXTRA IDEAS: needle thread for older kids, popsicle sticks, plastic eyes, pipe cleaners


1 Felt Finger Puppets
draw shape of finger on back of felt
draw figure shape outside of the finger line. Head, arm, legs
cut out shape
glue together just outside of finger line, enough to get your finger in
younger children can make a simple sun or flower shape instead
decorate outside with eyes etc... and use yarn for hair


2 Pine Cone Critters
collect 1 pine cone and assorted smaller rocks, sticks, acorns, pine needles etc..
glue eyes, ears, feet to make critter
use felt to make ears & decorations
use cut yarn to make hair or braided tail


3 Sick Bugs
Collect sticks of different sized
glue eyes from felt
glue smaller stick for legs


4 Rock Pals
collect smooth rocks
paint or glue felt for face
paint body to be a ladybug
paint face to be cat and add felt ears


5 Build Fairy House
collect bark, small sticks and leaves
glue together to make a small house
when it dries add more or decorate


6 Tic Tac Toe
cut a 4"x4" or bigger square
draw lines cross lines on square
cut strips of contrasting color
glue on top of lines
find 10 rocks and paint 5 each in different colors


7 Nature Painting
collect 5 or more things that are different from nature
pour red, blue, yellow paint on plate
have paper towels available
use pine needles, feather, rock etc.. to paint on paper


8 Nature Prints
collect leaves and other flat items from nature
paint one side with paint
place one piece of paper in front of you
lay face down the painted item onto paper
lay another piece of paper on top and rub with your hands
lift paper and painted items to see imprint


9 Wooden Adventure Boat
collect several pieces of bark about the size of adult hand
cut, tear or break 2 pieces into about 4"x 2"
cut, tear or break 2 pieces into 1" squares
glue, let dry and glue seams again and let dry
make any size or shape the wood determines it to be
it won't last forever in water but could be fun to use as a car as well
glue pretend wheels on sides with cut out felt


10 Felt People
just like finger puppets but larger and glued together without a hole
decorate with marker eyes, yarn hair
use in wooden boat or fairy house
add wings to be a fairy


May 17, 2010

FUN FIND - KIDS FUNCOT


THIS IS KINDA COOL



I don't know if I would actually buy this, would you? but I do know that Adrienne my five year old would have some serious fun with this.



Modelled around that of its larger counterparts, the ''KIDS FUNCOT'' is just as good for fun as it is for total enjoyment of the outdoors. It has the same functionality as our other Tent Cots, in that it can easily be converted and safely used as a lounge chair, a seat and as a stretcher. You can find this Funcot at Camping Comfortably for just under $100.

SEE PARKS 
SEE CAMP COOKING WITH KIDS
SEE BUGS


May 15, 2010

TEENS and Camping Written by Sue Kemper


Camping is a great experience for children, and our trips have been some of our greatest family experiences.  Of course my children aren't really children anymore; they are 19 and 17 years old already... but we've been camping as a family since they were three and five years old, and we've got some great memories of those days.  And yes, even at 19 and 17, the boys still want to camp with us whenever they can.

As I look back over the years, I have a few thoughts (in no particular order!) for anyone who is thinking about camping with their own kids.

-- I believe that the number one rule is:  Keep it SIMPLE.  Especially when the kids are little.  Don't start out with long trips, don't pack every toy they own, and don't worry about filling every minute with an exciting activity.  Studies show that families today are "over-scheduled."  Time to just sit around and be bored isn't  bad for kids.   Do you remember being little and spending time with a parent watching clouds, picking out shapes?  That kind of quiet, day dreamy.  Sharing time is missing in our children's lives. 

-- I suggest that on camping trips, the video games or hand held games stay in the car.  I would hesitate to say that they can't have their games at ALL, but I seriously suggest you limit them DRASTICALLY.  A kid playing a video game can be anywhere, and he doesn't care what is going on around him.  If the rule is set early limiting video game use, and you stick to it, the kids will have a chance to really join in the experience of camping.  They might not be too happy at first.  I think it's like an addiction for many kids.  But if they play video games the whole time they are camping, they might as well stay home.

-- In our family, we always had a rule that our tent is for sleeping in ONLY.  I hate the tent opening and closing all day, with the bugs that brings in... not to mention the muddy shoes...  So we told our kids from the very beginning that if they went into the tent, they had to stay in there and take a nap. No playing, actually SLEEPING.  Well, that felt a little mean because of course kids LOVE to play in the tent.  So as a compromise, we always brought an extra tent.  It was a small pup tent, just big enough for the boys to hang out in.  It didn't take up much extra space in the car, and actually it was pretty handy because at night we could stash their toys and some of our gear inside.  The boys loved it, because it was like their own private club house.

-- I try to plan my camping trips far in advance.  I make a list of everything I need. That list includes my menu, and the food and cooking gear I need.   I have a section of my house that I call the "staging area" where I start piling things up that I know I want to bring.  This way everything is together before I start packing the car; I think I'm less likely to forget something.  The morning of the trip, I try not to be running around guessing what else I'm going to need.  And if you camp a lot, some of your gear can just stay packed; for example, the boys each have their camping toiletry kits all filled with toothbrush, toothpaste sample, deodorant, hand towel, and toilet paper.  Our cooking tote already has a frying pan and a large pot, camping dish soap and brillo, all of those kinds of things, ready to go.

-- Finally, even with all of the planning, try to BE FLEXIBLE.  Sure, you have an idea of what the trip should be like.  But sometimes you just have to go with the flow.  If it isn't fun, try something else.  If you are stressing out, the trip won't be fun for you and it won't be fun for your kids either.  Some of our greatest memories now are the trips that were uncomfortable; "Remember the time it rained so hard and it wasn't stopping and we had to buy tarps and hang them all over our site?"  If you are uncomfortable, you might want to try to stick it out for a while, because like my grandma always said, that's what builds character.  But if you are just plain miserable?  Hey, there's always another camping trip next weekend!

In the photo:  My son Nick and his cousin Stephen still love to come camping, even though they are 16 and 17 years old!  Here, they are swinging in a cheap hammock that we found in a dollar store.

Sincerely, 
Sue Kemper - Camping In Style Member
Iselin New Jersey
Campground is Pine Barrons - Where the "Jersey Devil" supposedly resides!