"And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling" Shanti
I am certain that when asked the question ‘Why do you camp?’ most people will respond that they simply love it. However, that answer is insufficient, it is the easy way out. Take some time to think it over …why do you camp?
We camp to get away from it all and be close to nature. What can be better than to sit next to the campfire at night and gaze up at the stars? What a privilege to wake up to the sound of birds, to breathe in the cold freshness of the morning air and to see the horizon ever so gently lighten up as the first rays of the sun emerge.
As our family expanded and the kids came along we couldn’t think of a better way to build a family bond. We wanted them to experience and enjoy nature the way we do and for quite some time it seemed to work. Then they became teenagers and the bright lights, noise and rhythm of city life cast a spell over them.
However, I am confident that one day they will return to camping. You see I hear it in their voices when we reminisce about places we visited. And when I listen to what they deemed highlights of various trips, I also realise that while camping we were building memories to last a lifetime.
In addition to memories these camping trips have also helped to shape the kids characters. For example, trying to sleep in a tent at Port Gregory while the wind does its best to rip it to pieces, taught them to stay calm amid a storm – literally and figuratively. Thanks to that and many other similar experiences they know that difficult situations are merely temporary and that those too shall pass.
They have developed a love and respect for all life forms. We encountered a few spiders, snakes, stingers, bull ants, etc. along the way, but because we also came across cute and cuddly animals we know to treat them all with respect, even the ones we don’t like so much. Those ones you just avoid as far as possible and leave them to go their own way. I can see the kids applying these principles to people too and it works a charm.
Climbing the Sterling Ranges taught them that hard work pays off in the end. It also taught them to listen to their mum, that the wind on top of a mountain is really ice cold not matter what time of year!
Oh I can go on and on about the blessings we received and the lessons we learned while camping. But I think is it clear that we camp because we really love it.
There is no doubt in my mind that timing and a bit of preparation are all that is needed to get kids hooked on camping. The younger you introduce them to nature, the more success you will have.
Little ones are inquisitive – they see the world as a big playground that needs to be explored. Tap into this enthusiasm, hype it up and enjoy it with them.
We’ve spent countless hours building sandcastles, catching crabs, bottoms up in shallow rock pools marvelling at anemones and scrambling up sand dunes or rocky outcrops with our daughters. They’ve drifted on currents clinging to their Dad lost in the magical underwater world at Shark Bay. They fed dolphins at Monkey Mia and spent hours searching for illusive dugongs. They have also endured flies and heat trekking through hostile terrain to experience some or other natural wonder.
What an idyllic childhood they had! Aren’t we blessed to have experienced sunshine and happiness all the way – HA, dream on … they got tired, irritable and just plain bored which could very quickly escalate into a stressful and downright ugly situation. However, with a little bit of planning most of these melt-down times can be avoided or turned around.
I learned very quickly to keep snacks and drinks on hand at all times. Hunger and tiredness were the main causes of end of world melt downs for our girls. To this very day our daughters carry water bottles with them where ever they go. For snacks I usually had a fruit and nut mixture on hand or some muesli bars.
Plan your activities for first thing in the morning when the kids are still full of energy. You should also go in armed with a variety of games they can play at the campsite – both indoors and outdoors.
1. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
Provide the kids with a list of things they need to find, e.g.
· Two kinds of seed
· Man-made litter
· Something rough
· Something smooth
· Two kinds of leaves, etc.
2. Bring their pushbikes with. Most camping grounds have ample room for the kids to explore.
3. Water games. Even when you’ve forgotten the water pistols at home, you can still organise a fun game on a hot day with just a few plastic cups. Get the kids to stand in line, fill one cup with water and have them pass on the water from their cup to the cup of the person behind up…over their head. It is even more fun when there are two teams competing against one another.
4. Teach them how to play duck, duck, goose.
6. A game of cricket
7. Bocce – this was a firm favourite for our family. We played it on just about every surface.
8. Hide and seek
9. Tug of war
10. Sack races – of course most of these games are more fun when parents join in.
1. Board games
3. Reading or telling scary stories
4. Card games
5. Balloon tennis
Of course you can always pull out technology when all else fails. We aimed to keep camping trips technology free – you know the idyllic notion to connect not only with nature, but also with one another.
Source: pinterest.com (RV Funny)