Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Camping with kids 101


My friend requested I blog about how the heck I survive taking a handful of kids camping summer after summer. Since It's fresh in my mind as I prepare for our 10 day homeless adventure I thought I'd comply.

  1. Be prepared. Check lists are key to making sure that tarp or child doesn't get left behind. There are a tonne of what to pack sites online.
  2. Less is more. Don't feel tempted to bring all your comforts that's why you go camping, to feel uncomfortable and force yourself to like it. side note: (I once saw a family sitting on a sofa outside their camping trailer. That's not camping that's trying to evade the landlord's eviction notice.)
  3. Bring their bikes: Bringing their bikes will ensure you only see your kids every 12 minute interval, as they circle the campground. As the day goes by it will go from one kid every 12 minutes to 37 kids. If you don't bring your bikes, they'll never leave your side.
  4. Plan for Rain: It will rain, Mother Nature; the home wrecker that she is, will have your camping schedule on her defrosted fridge and highlight for rain. Bring indoor games, coloring books and rubber boots.
  5. Glow Stick Magic: A glow stick will entice any fussy kid to stay in their bed at night so you can finally relax by the fire. As long as they don't bite them they'll stare mesmerised for hours until they fall asleep. It's amazing!
  6. Pack more clothes: Everything you pack will get wet, and dirty. I pack more clothes and less toys.
  7. Put a ban on healthy standards: Let go of your vegan, organic, food guide meals. Bring meat and chips. They're breathing in a lot more fresh air which will help detoxify all the crap they're eating.
  8. Meal Planning: I usually plan for the first few meals and pack ahead. Then I plan the following meals once I get there and take a shopping trip. We'd need a U Haul to pack all the food for 10 days for our family, so mom gets a shopping day in the nearest town.
  9. Bring a big Bucket:  A big Tupperware bin or bucket can serve as a storage bin, a baby bath, a wading pool, a foot washer, a dirty dishes washer and fire wood storage.
  10. Don't be Bear dumb: No food in the tents, or trailer. All food is locked away in the van at night and garbage cleaned up. A messy camp site means for a very unexpected terrifying pee at 3am.
  11. Work Em'! - Put those little messy food inhalers to work. Dishes, kindle collection, water fetching and more. All those chores your grandfather used to monologue about, do that. It's good for them.
  12. Praise the Man: I don't know what it is about men and bbq's but they love cooking outdoors. Let em! Don't go all Martha Stewart . Ketchup can make any burnt meat taste like...um... burnt meat in ketchup.
  13. Mind your manners: Follow all the camp rules, don't be one of "them", rip roaring your truck through the camp ground full of child bike gangs, don't bring your yappy dog and keep your dog on a leash, (you may like your dog but we don't.) Disicpline your kids for wandering off to other people's camps asking for food, don't blare bad music, and for the love of Heaven don't have a seperate tent for your dog, you will be labled.
  14. Bedding: If you're tenting, don't bother bringing matresses and foamies for your kids they will just roll off of them, kick off their sleeping bags at 3am and roll into a damp corner of the tent. Eventually they will squirm their way to the warmest body, (you) and hog your covers and pillow. Forcing you to scramble for a shirt to roll up under your head.
Hope that helps  anyone in their planning for camping with kids. May your days be full of joy and your neighbors generator that runs his 35 inch television and airconditioning not bring back flash backs of the neighbor kid flashing his icream cone in your face on a hot day while you hold onto your fast melting homemade juice pop.

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