Monday, September 10, 2012

{into nature} guest post by KC of Olive and Owl

{into nature} is a weekly Monday post inspiring the exploration of nature. It is a grassroots effort to combat the nature deficiency syndrome in our current generations. Please join this movement back into nature by sharing your own nature inspiration, whether shared through photographs, words, poetry…. leave a link here in the comments for all to enjoy.

“For children, nature comes in many forms. A newborn calf; a pet that lives and dies; a worn path through the woods; a fort nested in stinging nettles; a damp, mysterious edge of a vacant lot- whatever shape nature takes, it offers each child an older, larger world… nature does not steal time; it amplifies it.” -Richard Louv


this week i welcome KC of Olive and Owl.  since coming across her space, KC has always inspired me with her nature stories, photos, crafting, and fantastic ideas for children and the home.  this week for {into nature} she shares some great ideas for taking your wee ones on a camping trip!
Two Babies and a Tent by KC of Olive and Owl

When I tell people we love to go camping and then add in “with our children”, I always get a bit of gasp, and then a “You’re brave”. But really camping with children is not that hard because with any vacation or trip with children there are certain steps you need to take to keep them happy and comfortable, and then everyone can enjoy the time in woods.

First things first, plan well. Go to a spot that you and your spouse have been to before, that is not too far from home. That way you know the area and know if there are rest stops along the way. You will also know the campground a bit and will be able to pack accordingly.

When packing for a camping trip with children, like any other outdoor trip, make a thorough list of all the things you could possible need. Car camping as opposed to backpacking allows you a lot more leeway in what you can bring. You’ll want to make sure your tent is spacious. A four person tent will do well for two adults and one child, but not for a three year old and infant for example. You’ll definitely want more space. I recommend a tent that has two rooms because you never know what weather might occur or what kind of bugs there might be. An over abundance of flies at dinner time can really ruin a trip. But with a two room tent, you can set up a small eating/place space in front and then sleep in the backroom. We’ve had the fly problem on many occasions where we have had to retreat to the tent with our food due to the flies or other insects it attracts.

For the baby who can’t walk remember to bring a backpack style carrier like a Boba or Ergo. It will really save your sanity when you can’t figure out how to make dinner or set up the tent without a place to put them down.

Take careful consideration to the clothing you pack for your children and don’t forget anything important like a jacket or warm pj’s. I forgot pj’s once and that required us to sleep in dusty, smoky, sappy clothes. Not too fun. Bring sturdy shoes for walking and water shoes for any streams or lakes. Telling a toddler or three year old they can’t go in the water because of their shoes will just cause them to have wet shoes.

The food that you bring can make or break a trip. This would be the time to leave anything fancy at home of course. I recommend things that can be eaten cold, such as sandwiches, fresh and dried fruit, nuts. One of our favorite things it to bring bagels along. They serve as a basis for all our meals be it sandwiches or snacks or breakfast. Children tend to get hungry and thirsty faster in the outdoors because they are on the go all the time, so having snacks that are ready to go as well as meals is a great thing. Of course you can always get more complicated for the adults. :) Filet mignon in a cast iron skillet anyone? As for baby, breastfeeding is always easiest if you are or can still breastfeed. No need to prepare anything, or bring along bottles. I would recommend waiting to go until baby is eating solid foods that way you don’t have to stop to breastfeed as frequently.

Sleeping in the woods is often a concern when I tell people we’re going camping. But if you play it safe and work around your child’s naptime and sleep schedule you maybe ok. If you are co-sleepers at home, tent sleeping will really be no problem as you can all sleep on an air mattress together. It becomes like a family slumber party! My older daughter sleeps near my husband in her own sleeping bag and the baby will sleep with me. I just open up my sleeping bag and place a blanket on top of us. With everyone snuggled together on one mattress we all keep nice and warm.

Activities that are easy going and open to change are best in the woods. Short walks that young ones can do on their own are great. Take time to let them wander and pick up stuff they find. Within reason of course. Don’t let them pick up unknown mushrooms or eat flowers or anything. We like to bring an explorer bag with a notebook and magnifying glass on our walks. That way we can look up close at bark and small insects and bring back souvenirs for our nature table. Also bring along a plant and animal book for the region you live in. My three year old asks me the “why, how and what” of everything and it’s much easier to say, “let me look in the book” then “oh such and such.” If you can get to a body of water or a stream or river that can help you pass the time as well. Skipping rocks, looking for frogs or fish playing in the mud all things to build great memories!

For inside time I bring books, crayons and paper, balls and some toy they haven’t seen in a long while. That way there is something new to look at when they’ve had enough of being outside for a while.

Sharing the outdoors overnight with your little ones can be such a treat. We take it slow and don’t worry about the occasional tantrum here and there. By being prepared and having an open schedule (ie no peak bagging or ten mile hikes), we’ve found that we always come away planning our next trip before we’ve even come down from the mountain.

thank you so much for sharing these wonderful tips and ideas KC! 


Hannah White said...

Here is our {into nature} moments :)

Amber said...

Great advice! We love camping with our kids. We've stuck with car and trailer camping since adding them. We used to be avid backpackers. When both kids are old enough to hike solo then we'll get back into that, I think.

KC Pagano said...

Thank you for having me! It was a pleasure to write about camping.

Amber- We were big backpackers as well. I really look forward to take the girls out when they can hold their own weight!

Kim Corrigan-Oliver said...

Great post KC!!! Camping was something I couldn't wait to introduce to Reece and I am so happy he loves it as much as I do. We are hoping to squeeze in one more camping trip before the snow comes.

Here's our post

KC Pagano said...

Kim- We're going camping again next weekend to celebrate the fall equinox. I'm very excited and so is Sofia.