Friday, August 20, 2010

Camping Trip

What do you get when you cross 12 adults, 14 kids, 7 tents, dozens of lawn chairs, a fire, mud, at least 6 coolers, and a guitar?

Joan helping Marin get ready to leave. (I love both this photo and how helpful my older girls are these days!)

It was a "walk-in" site, meaning we couldn't pull our van up and unload. Thankfully they provided these handy carts.

The kids could not be kept away from the fire. Here they are "roasting sticks".

I was just saying how I wish I had a friend who would play the guitar while we sat around the fire. And then TWO friends appeared out of the woodwork, with their guitars. HEAVEN!

This is a pretty accurate slice of typical camping life. Chaos and community...

All of the kids, minus one.

A camping trip to a group site, that's what!

So, we think a new yearly tradition has been born. Much like our traditional Father's Day camping trip, I think this group will (try to) get together each summer to go camping.

I think out of mostly sheer dumb luck, we've always been able to take our children camping without a problem, even when they were infants. The first camping trip we went on as parents, our twins were 5 months old, and we camped in a tent for a week. And it was awesome!

I think the camping is a wonderful way allow children the joys of being free in nature, much like many of us experienced during our childhoods. I may not let my children roam as far and as freely as I was allowed to roam my neighborhood, but when we camp, they are given a taste of that experience.

(Erm, not that we allow them to head off into the woods unattended. NOT SO. But they do get to get dirty and catch bugs and draw with sticks and go on hikes and hear forest sounds and smell nature smells... you get the idea...)

I was going to leave you a few tips for camping with kids, but then I realized I've already done that, and I'm quite happy with that list. The only tip I would add is this:

-Keep your camping supplies in plastic totes that close tightly. This will keep the rain out while camping. Also, when you get home, resupply the totes (garbage bags, toilet paper, and paper towels are things that get used up) and stick the totes on a shelf for next time. You wouldn't BELIEVE how much simpler it is to pack for camping if all the gear is kept in one place, ready to go.

You would think that camping with 14 children under age 8 would be sheer hell, and I wouldn't blame you for assuming that. But I swear to you- pinky swear, even- that it goes very smoothly. The kids kind of take on a "pack mentality" and find things to play with (sticks! caterpillars! mud!) and basically wear themselves into a exhausted, happy state... Many of us even got a decent night's sleep, if you can believe it.

Have you taken your kids camping? Any other tips?


Tess said...

I camped SO MUCH as a kid, and I really miss it. One of the great things about MN is that you can camp all summer long. TX is just way too hot for all but a few weeks of the spring/fall. Wamp wamp.

Jess said...

I have never been into the camping. I did it a few times as a kid but probably haven't done it for the past, oh, 13 years? And I'm totally OK with that.

BUT we live in Colorado and camping options are plentiful and we have a piglet on the way, so, you know, once we have a piglet actually here living in our house maybe we'll have to get over ourselves and start camping again.

Or just stick with our former plan of cabin rental. We'll see.

Pickles and Dimes said...

Ah, camping! Love it.

Wet Wipes are a godsend, especially if you don't have a water site and the bathrooms are far away.

We put Bounce sheets in our pillowcases; they keep them smelling good and repel the mosquitoes.

I agree on the plastic totes. We have all our camping gear in totes in a certain spot in the garage, so it's easy to grab and go (and we're less likely to forget something).

Only a few more weeks until Labor Day camping - yay!

Kelsey said...

So inspired by your camping experiences. Must remain determined to try this with kids next summer. I just found out we can camp in our a few of our local metro parks, so I'm officially out of excuses.