There’s Something Different Outside
Kids love to explore.
And kids love to go exploring outside, most of the time. But if they never get a chance to, if you never take them out, they’ll miss some of the most important lessons they can grab in their youth.
Things like knot tying, rappelling, river rafting and learning how to build a fire.
But to get all those skills, you’ve got to…
Get Out of the City!
There’s more to life than pavement.
But when the only outlet your children have for exploration is their own city block, or their iPad, they’re not getting these wonderful lessons from the outdoors.
Here are some ideas for an overnight camping trip where you have a little more time than usual to get acquainted with the outdoors.
Make a Compass Course
On an overnight trip, bring along a map and a compass.
Create a course that teaches your kids how to navigate outside, and have fun!
Making a compass course is simple.
Just set the compass to one point and walk in that direction a certain number of feet – you can make it easier by choosing an object to stop at – like a rock or a tent. Write down where you started and the correct number of degrees. You can also pinpoint these spots on the map you’ve brought.
Do this for three, five or ten different points – just as many as you’d like the course to last. Then give the information to your campers.
Easier: Provide them with degrees, number of steps and the destination marker (rock, tree etc.)
Harder: Provide them with degrees and number of steps only.
Create Happy Children On the River
If you decide to take a river trip, the best way to enjoy it is going overnight. The river is an exciting place, and you can encourage rafting, swimming and water safety skills all on one trip. From how to hold a paddle, to how to ride a wave and navigate the river, scout ahead or avoid rocks.
There are so many character building lessons when kids get to go out on a river trip. They’ll come back bigger.
Building Skills in and Enjoyment of Nature
The best way to help children build the life skills they need to survive and thrive is by bringing them out into nature.
Have you ever tried sitting by a tree for a whole day?
Ignite the tracker in your kids by going out before sunrise and finding a spot that’s perfect to sit underneath a tree. Bring a pad and pen or pencil to sketch and record your thoughts. But don’t be so quick to use it.
Just take in nature and you will be surprised at what you experience.
Some people have tried this and become so one with the forest, by being so still, that they have close contact with deer and small animals, birds and can hear sounds and see life that they’ve never experienced before. Those things come early and late in the day. But they also come with stillness and quiet.
Training your kids to get the skill of just being quiet and at home under a tree is an amazing gift.
Getting to build a fire is one of the most magical parts of camping outside.
It’s also one of the practical ones. Collecting firewood, selecting the best sticks for starter, tinder and kindling, plus learning the important parts of fire safety all lead a young person to gain new appreciation for the most basic of all elements, and pride in being able to learn a camp skill that is so useful – allowing for warmth, cooking, camaraderie and entertainment
Nothing is like camping out – either in a tent or under the stars. Once a child has slept outside then there will be no holding him back from experiencing whatever the natural world has in store.