Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Back to the Great Outdoors ~How To "Go Wild" with the Kiddos

A little 'ole cold front can't stop this hardcore crew! Even though our wilderness camping adventure has been postponed~ we all managed a good time in the outdoors (and IN) with great friends.
The kids spent time fishing, canoeing, and gathering fresh oysters for a delicious feast that none of us will soon forget! Fortunately for us, we didn't have far to get to this land of milk and honey  fish and oysters. The kids were originally dissapointed that due to scheduling conflicts (pesky adult stuff) and weather that seemed to get colder and colder..... we were not able to head off on a major camping expedition as we had previously planned ~ but they soon forgot their worries~ as children often do ~ and they were laughing and playing and shoving off in the canoe right from the backyard ~  they were off on their own adventure~ perhaps we should take a lesson and just learn to let go so easily!

Later they even pitched a tent outside ~ right off the backporch. One might think they were actually on a gen-U-ine wilderness expedition ~ due to the amount of supplies they hauled out there! It was a perfectly fine idea for a couple of young wilderness men. Unfortunately, it was a fairly short lived adventure. About 3 a.m. short ~ to be exact! (You just can't win them all).

Having the right information and a few basic survival skills can surely help when you are venturing a bit further from the house.  These books are written for kids, but are just as enjoyable for adults who don't want to look like a fool want to brush up on their wilderness training. The book "Camp Out" is one of our faves. It has loads of fun and practical ideas. The "Outdoor Survival Handbook for Kids" is full of tried and true survival tips (some of which I might not be able to pull off~ even to save my life) but is all useful information none the less.

One of the most important things to remember on an outdoor trek of any type with young children is be prepared to wing-it !  Any 4-5 yr old worth their salt can give even the best laid plans (and the ones who plan) a run for their money. But DO have a plan and TRY to stick to it, just be ready and willing to bend it a bit! (like every 15 minutes or so).

 One of the best things you can do is keep the little buggers busy! Now, I'm not suggesting that you carry a clip-board and have a set itinerary (although, I really do like clip-boards and  just love making out an itinerary for a trip) what I mean is simply have some things on hand~like a couple of fishing poles, or yard darts.

(Remember the ones from back-in-the-day that were weighted down & had sharp tips... ) Well, the attorneys have updated the requirements for such yard toys, and they are a bit safer than they used to be. Not near as much fun~ but they'll do in a pinch!

If you can't or don't want to bring along those type of supplies~ well, good luck. No, you can find your "inner child" and get creative. How long  has it been since you skipped rocks across the water? What about a "rock skipping tournament"?  The winner is awarded a pine cone decorated with whatever leaves or stones you can stick to it for a trophy and is ceremoniously called up to accept their award and give a speech! The kids will have fun if you are happy to be involved. Sometimes you can even get them started and then sit back and relax.

When our youngest boys were only 2 1/2 and 3 1/2, we used to tie a little rubber fish to the end of the fishing line and they would just cast and reel for hours! It was just about last year that they figured out what we were up to~ and we had to switch to real hooks and bait. Loads of fun!

Our "Captain Daddy" has an "how to" article on teaching kids to fish on his fishing guide web-site at . Great tips from a professional Captain and a super Dad!

In case you haven't figured it out~ we are Big believers in getting the kids out in the great outdoors. Times are such, that you can't just turn them loose to go and explore the wilderness on their own~ but times are also such, that the best thing in the world for families is to spend time together making adventures as you go.

You can do it~ sit around the campfire and make up silly (or at least~ not so terribly scary) stories. Talk about your favorite childhood camping trip. Kids love to hear stories about the "rents" as kids. It reminds them that we are human, and that we were once like them. Mostly, it brings them closer. It makes families stronger.

If you have the right attitude, a couple of bug bites and a few sore muscles are worth it~ I promise! And if you absolutely can't get away to a state park or river expedition, or the weather messes up your plans, all does not have to be lost. Pitch a tent, dig a fire pit, get some marshmallows and have a good time with your family!


Karen's Ideas Galore said...

Love the rubber fish idea...I wish we had thought of it when the kids were young!

Anonymous said...

How fun! Great pictures!!

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! You asked for a "how to" on turning off captcha, I obliged! I updated the post with instructions! Check it out:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post! It's a great encouragement to get outside with my kids. (Here in snowy Wisconsin, I need lots of encouragement. :))


Nicole said...

Your kids are super cute! I love that you made the best of it even though the weather was less than ideal. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I was out of town and just now getting back into the swing of things! Looking forward to reading more on your page!