I’m hosting a give away! Want to win a copy of “The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids”? Simply leave a comment of your best camping experience with kids to be entered! The winner will be announced Saturday May 12, 2012.
I highly recommend this book to any family that is looking into camping for the first time or that is newer to camping. The book is 254 pages and features chapters on camp topics such as:
- Planning your camping trip
- How to choose the right camping gear, tents, sleeping bags, and more
- Camp grub. What’s for dinner? This book will help you plan your meals while out enjoying nature
- Camp boredom: Boredom is a preventable disease This book has some ideas on games for all ages
- Daily hygene
- Camp safety
- and more!!
The entire chapter devoted on what to cook and camp planning is great. You will know exactly what you’re having for your meals and what should go into backpacks on those hikes. There is also a section for brewing a cup of the perfect camp joe, for those coffee drinkers.
Another cool tip is for star gazing. Because most camp sites are miles away from the lights of the city this is the perfect time for gazing up at the stars on a clear night. Being a tech guy I noticed the mention of Google Sky Map. It’s a free app for Android phones that lets you hold your phone up to the sky and uses your GPS to show on the screen any constellations, planets, or stars that should be visible when you move your phone. I recommend this app for fellow amateur star gazers.
The book also has great tips. Tips such as “use fluorescent or brightly colored ribbon to tie bows on your tents guylines. This will keep the kids (because adults NEVER trip over those lines) safe around the tent”.
Here is my Q&A Helen Olsson, author of The Down & Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids
At what age did you first take your children camping, and how long of a trip was it?
When our oldest of three children was 11 months old, we took him on a backpacking trip on the flanks of Steamboat in Colorado. He was still in diapers and breastfeeding. I loved camping with my babies because they were so portable. We put our son in our Kelty baby backpack carrier (a critical piece of gear) and hiked to our campsite while he napped. It’s when kids can toddle around that things get a little more complicated. I clearly remember thinking how great headlamps are for camping with babies, as I dangled a slippery flashlight between my teeth at midnight, changing his diaper in a nest of sleeping bags.
What are your kids’ favorite campfire snack?
S’mores are so old school! We like to raid our pantry at home, bringing along candied ginger, dried cherries, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, and coconut, as well as fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries. For dessert, we open up the s’mores bar. Which is to say, we dig holes in marshmallows and stuff in different combos of goodies. For example, a marshmallow stuffed with a cherry and some chocolate chips and roasted over the campfire is a chocolate cherry bomb. Mmmmm. The kids also love to make apple pie s’mores and bananas foster over the campfire. (Recipes are in my book and at my website, www.maddogmom.com.)
What is your family’s favorite thing to do when out camping?
We love to take a long leisurely hike with the kids. Hiking, of course, sounds like a simple endeavor, but most parents know that a hike with small kids can be fraught with grief. I have a beefy section in my book with tips for hiking with kids. For one, never ever use the word “hike.” It’s a four-letter word. Also, dangle the destination carrot. Tell kids you’re going on an adventure to see a haunted miner’s cabin or to throw rocks in a pond and look for frogs.
For first time campers what is the best way to prepare a child for sleeping outdoors overnight? Any tips to alleviate the child’s anxiety about that first night in the tent?
It’s important to make sure all the comfort devices from home are in place in a tent. If a child sleeps with a security blanket, a binky, a favorite stuffed animal, don’t forget to pack it. If your child sleeps with a nightlight at home, bring along a portable nightlight for the tent. You can also bring along glow sticks. Children can play with them before bedtime (light show!) and then you can tuck them into the pockets of the tent, where they’ll give off a comforting glow. And if you always read to your kids at bedtime, keep the routine by bringing along books. My kids never had anything but raw excitement for sleeping outdoors, but if kids are truly anxious, another tactic is to set up the tent in the backyard and have your first campout close to home.