Author Topic: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?  (Read 8569 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« on: May 13, 2014, 10:00:17 AM »
This weekend my wife is out of town at a conference, so I'm taking my two kids (8 and 10) camping up at Deception Pass, near Anacortes, WA.
The main attraction is the beach, clam digging and also some fresh water fishing nearby.

We're doing casual "car camping" with a full size family tent, comfy chairs, cast iron cookware, giant ice chest of food and drinks.

While I'm out there enjoying time with my kids, I figure this is also an opportunity to test out some preps.
There's the obvious stuff like rope/knots, fire, outdoor cooking - but what else might we try?  Any opportunity to test out preps?

Thanks for any suggestions

Offline MTUCache

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2014, 10:09:57 AM »
Food: I would be all about the food.

Instead of bringing a big cooler loaded down with convenience and comfort stuff, what if you limited yourself to one bucket full of prep foods? It may be a rather expensive experiment (and not likely to be popular with the kids), but it would give you a real good idea about how long things take, how much fuel they take, how much gets wasted, etc. You'd probably want to be doubling whatever you cooked if you were hiking, but even so I'm sure you'd learn a lot.

Navigation: Print out whatever maps you think you'll need for the weekend, and then shut down the GPS and the phone maps when you get within about 10-20 miles of your destination. Learn to rely in signage, whatever maps you have on hand, and your instincts. If you do end up lost, at least you'll have the opportunity to turn all that stuff back on.

Communications: The kids may be a little young to be spending any time away from you, but I'm confident that with an old Boy Scout handbook you could come up with all sorts of little games to play on short hikes that would be useful tools for communicating. Stacks of rocks on a beach. Sticks forming arrows. Maybe it's a scavenger hunt you set up for them. Maybe it's a breadcrumb trail you leave as you're heading away from the car and then they lead following it back.

Offline archer

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2014, 10:12:09 AM »
Anacortes? Have fun!
Fire starting, building a fire.
Making things with rope and sticks.
Make bannock on a stick over the camp fire (you are going to have a camp fire, right?)
Compass directions using a compass and a watch that has hands (not digital).
Look for wild edibles.

Offline Cedar

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2014, 10:50:37 AM »
My thought was also map & compass.
What about tides?
Animals in tide pools and what could be edible. Let me lookreal quick and see if the 4-H manuals are online.

Edit:
4-H Marine/Tidal Data Sheet
http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/marinetidal.pdf

Wildlife Observation Data Sheet
http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/wildlife_observation_data_sheet.pdf

Forestry
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/4h/4-h331.pdf

Exploring Water Habitats: Wetlands, Streams, Oceans
https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/47342/4h3805-l.pdf

Archery
http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/19888/4-h361.pdf

Cedar
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 11:03:17 AM by Cedar »

d3nni5

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2014, 10:58:13 AM »


Tree identification and bird identification.   Learning those is fun.    After the sun goes down, find a nice open field, and start learning the constellations.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2014, 11:07:25 AM »
My thought was also map & compass.
What about tides?
Animals in tide pools and what could be edible. Let me lookreal quick and see if the 4-H manuals are online.

Cedar

We'll certainly plan on that.  For the first time ever I bought a shell fish license, so a bunch of things are available for legal harvest.

As to cooking, I'm not packing a bunch of junk aside from obligatory kid classics like hotdogs and marshmallows.  I enjoy cooking and cooking outside is the best.

If we reach our clam limit (45 per person, and kids literally eat free), I plan to make some clam linguine fire side with some garlic, parsley, olive oil and lemon.
I'll probably also make some sort of dutch oven stew, baked beans, etc.

Offline Cedar

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2014, 11:12:05 AM »
If we reach our clam limit (45 per person, and kids literally eat free), I plan to make some clam linguine fire side with some garlic, parsley, olive oil and lemon.

You might consider Mussels too.. 10 pounds per person per day.
http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/mussels/

And with any seafood, always check this site for Red Tide alerts
http://ww4.doh.wa.gov/gis/mogifs/biotoxin.htm

Cedar

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2014, 11:20:00 AM »
You might consider Mussels too.. 10 pounds per person per day.
http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/mussels/

And with any seafood, always check this site for Red Tide alerts
http://ww4.doh.wa.gov/gis/mogifs/biotoxin.htm

Cedar

While I knew this, very important tip to share.  All the tactical gear and training in the world won't prevent hepatitis   ::)

endurance

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2014, 11:28:09 AM »
Navigation and lost-proofing would be my priority.  It's always good to reinforce the tricks of staying found.

Offline Josh the Aspie

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2014, 11:39:56 AM »
Well part of it depends on what skills you've already built up, I think.

If you can do any sort of tracking, practicing that when out and about would be enjoyable, particularly if you can share that knowledge with your kids.  Identifying birds not only by sight and wing profile, but also the tracks they make on wet sand can help build out the knowledge-base in multiple directions, and something I think a lot of kids would enjoy, and not think of as "survivally" so much as "neat stuff about birds".

Plant identification (particularly teaching the kids to avoid poison ivy, oak, and sumak), would also be good.  I'd avoid eating anything that has a poisonous plant that looks anything like the edibile plant, but it looks like you already have food covered.

I like Endurance's suggestion on navigation and lost-proofing, though other than general orienteering, I'm not sure how you'd teach that to a kid.  Telling them to stay on a trail?  Stay put if they do get lost, so they'll be easier to find?  Use calls and whistles to help people find you?

Care to share Endurance?

Offline Cedar

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2014, 11:48:23 AM »
Quote
I'm not sure how you'd teach that to a kid.  Telling them to stay on a trail?  Stay put if they do get lost, so they'll be easier to find?  Use calls and whistles to help people find you?

SP knows... I grill her on it often on our way to school...
I used to teach at assemblies at schools...

SP says-- "Find a Christmas tree and climb under it to stay dry and warm when I know I am lost. Don't move. If I hear noises in the dark, it is just bunnies and deer and they won't hurt me. I don't follow the bunnies and deer, I just watch them from under my Christmas tree. If I move from my Christmas Tree Tent, it will take longer for mommy to find me as she might have to walk further. If I hear someone calling my name, I yell "I AM HERE", but I don't go to them as I might fall down and get hurt and they might not hear me. Mommy will find me."

But every kid should have an age appropriate day pack. Even SP at 4 years old and 30 pounds weight, has a 5 pound pack with basics like water, food she can open, a space blanket, a lifestraw and a little 2" stuffed animal.

Cedar

Offline Rangeboss

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2014, 11:59:13 AM »
Last summer we took our two nieces camping and it was the first time they ever camped.
We taught they outdoor cooking. Each kid had a meal to help in the camp kitchen every day.
We walked the woods and I pointed out tracks and game trails.. Have them get low and look through the brush and help them pick out what a trail looks like.
We took some plaster on a walk and cast a few tracks and it helped teach them about what game was in the area.

We played board and dice games, some by lantern light.
We dug a solar still next to the camp site and I explained the principles. I taught them whittling and knife safety. We caught a few fish and everyone had a great trip.

We are planning two more trips this summer and they are excited. We all are.

Offline Josh the Aspie

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 12:14:25 PM »
SP knows... I grill her on it often on our way to school...
I used to teach at assemblies at schools...

SP says-- "Find a Christmas tree and climb under it to stay dry and warm when I know I am lost. Don't move. If I hear noises in the dark, it is just bunnies and deer and they won't hurt me. I don't follow the bunnies and deer, I just watch them from under my Christmas tree. If I move from my Christmas Tree Tent, it will take longer for mommy to find me as she might have to walk further. If I hear someone calling my name, I yell "I AM HERE", but I don't go to them as I might fall down and get hurt and they might not hear me. Mommy will find me."

But every kid should have an age appropriate day pack. Even SP at 4 years old and 30 pounds weight, has a 5 pound pack with basics like water, food she can open, a space blanket, a lifestraw and a little 2" stuffed animal.

Cedar

Awww.  Would you give SP a head ruffle for me?

Also, this point in particular is one I sometimes over-look a little in my planning.
Quote
a little 2" stuffed animal
Morale items are important, even more so for kids, and those who don't have proper hardening against hardship.  I suppose that's part of why I tend to splurge for food I'll actually enjoy as a part of my preps.  No extra weight, I can afford the expense, and it helps with morale.

Thanks over-all for the tips.  When I'm out with a large group (from church or the like), I'm one of the adults that tends to give parents a break by watching kids, and playing with them, so despite not having kids, I like to hear tips for how to make sure they stay safe.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2014, 01:11:04 PM »
My son has been in cub scouts since he was 7, and I've been a den leader as long.   My daughter has tagged along on several outings, so I'm not worried about the kids having fun or being unsafe.

Regarding edible native plants in our region, I know my scouts can identify salal and salmonberry: 
http://www.nwplants.com/business/catalog/gau_sha.html
http://www.nwplants.com/business/catalog/rub_spe.html

Salmonberry gives you the "munchies" while salal suppresses your appetite.

A favorite kid outdoor breakfast is "barf in a bag".  Basically you crack an egg(s) into a ziplock baggie, add whatever toppings like ham, cheese, veggies, etc.
Then with them all sealed up, you boil in a large kettle of water.  The come out looking like mini-omelettes and the kids love that they participated.

That meal idea also scales quite well with large groups (thus it's popularity in scouting).

I'll definitely do some navigation/orienteering.  Wish I had planned ahead and got a USGS scale topo map of the region. 

endurance

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2014, 02:06:32 PM »
...

I like Endurance's suggestion on navigation and lost-proofing, though other than general orienteering, I'm not sure how you'd teach that to a kid.  Telling them to stay on a trail?  Stay put if they do get lost, so they'll be easier to find?  Use calls and whistles to help people find you?

Care to share Endurance?
What Cedar says is spot of for what to do once lost, but the lostproofing that I was taught as a kid was more about staying found in the first place.  It started in the mall or ski area parking lot; if we were separated we were to meet at X at YY:ZZ hours and stay there no matter what.  Beyond that it included learning to familiarize yourself with the landmarks before going anywhere.  That included natural landmarks along with tall buildings, major highways, and other points that could be recognized from anywhere in the area. 

We'd often play a game of describing how to get home without describing anything manmade or using the four cardinal points.  Describing my way home today might sound something like this:

Walk toward the mountains until you come to a swift creek, follow it downstream until you come to a small but wide river.  Follow that river upstream until you go past three small creeks, then turn at a large creek.  Go up creeks until you get to the first ridge and walk toward the noon-day sun until you come to the foot of a hill with red rocks.  Go toward the setting sun up the hill until you reach the summit and can see the snowy peaks.  Walk for three fingers of time toward the setting sun, then walk toward the ridge away from the sun.

The key is to learn landmarks where ever you go.  After that, learning how to back check the trail at every intersection (turning around to see what the intersection looks like from the other direction) and if in doubt, kicking an arrow into the dirt to mark the way back to the trailhead.

It starts with teaching them to discriminate between trees, hills, mountains and valleys so they don't all look alike.  Have them describe the differences they see between two trees.  If they're the same species, what makes them different?  Can they recognize those differences from all sides of the tree?  From near and afar?  A tall hill might look one way from one direction, with a rocky patch just short of the summit, but from the other side is it still the highest peak?  Does it have any other unique features like a ridge that points toward another hill or peak?

Then there's the importance of mentally logging significant events.  Teach them to make a mental note of each stream they cross, look for identifying characteristics for each crossing (rocks in the shape of a heart near the edge, a pool in the sun on the north side, etc.).

Teach them to hold a bearing by keeping the sun at a constant angle on their body/face.  Teach them how to use their watch as a compass if the sun is out.  All of these tools combined is what I call lostproofing.  It's an internal mapping system that keeps you found relative to other things in the area.  Fog may roll in and hide mountain peaks, but if you can recall crossing three streams, each with its own unique qualities and characteristics, you know you were walking in at 9am with the sun on your right cheek (north), and after the third stream you were only 100 yards from the parking lot, you're still going to get home even if it takes a compass to figure out which way is south now that the sun is gone and you can't see the peaks anymore.  On the other hand, if you have to return cross country (bad idea, but sometimes the only option), knowing that there was a high peak across the river with snow on it across from the parking lot you started at, using that reference point can get you heading in the right direction.  Getting a compass bearing on that peak and holding that bearing even when you lose sight of the peak will keep you moving in the right direction.  At worse, you hit the river and re-assess which direction you need to go up or down stream.

Offline Josh the Aspie

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2014, 02:11:33 PM »
Glad to hear you've got that handled Smurf.

And Endurance?  Thanks.  I think I will need to come back and re-read that post a few times in the future, consider points about it, and go about actually gaining these skills myself.

+1

endurance

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2014, 02:26:44 PM »
Glad to hear you've got that handled Smurf.

And Endurance?  Thanks.  I think I will need to come back and re-read that post a few times in the future, consider points about it, and go about actually gaining these skills myself.

+1
I was lucky to have a dad who didn't mind us exploring in the woods as kids.  We had boundaries, like never going north of the road (which was about 1.5 miles north), but we could go probably 3 miles to the west before hitting the ridgeline (which was another boundary), so there were miles to explore of open ponderosa pine forest.  He's explore with us on the weekends and over the years I learned the tricks of the trade of being an outdoorsman.  I'm just so grateful I grew up with so many opportunities to explore.  Had I grown up with a helicopter mom I wouldn't be the man I am today.

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2014, 02:41:48 PM »
In addition to all the previous suggestions:  take a star chart and show your kids how to find a few of the major star constellations.  Use the flashlights to teach about their natural night vision and how using flashlights too much/too bright can actually make it more difficult for them to see in the dark.

Offline Josh the Aspie

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2014, 02:44:23 PM »
Sounds like a lot of fun, and a lot of chance to develop skills.

My mother, meanwhile, was scared to death if I climed any of the pines out back of our house, even after I was in my teens... in part, because she had a fear of heights herself, and I wasn't the best judge of my distance to the ground.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2014, 03:04:32 PM »
Sounds like a lot of fun, and a lot of chance to develop skills.

My mother, meanwhile, was scared to death if I climed any of the pines out back of our house, even after I was in my teens... in part, because she had a fear of heights herself, and I wasn't the best judge of my distance to the ground.

I have several neighbors I would describe as helicopter parents.  They seem to think raising spoiled little brats with foul mouths is fine, but riding their bicycles 2 blocks away from home is unthinkable.  I taught an 8 year old to shoot a .22 rifle, they let an 8 year watch a rated "R" horror movie.  Time will tell...

In any case, I'm looking forward to devouring a pot of fresh steamed clams.   :P

Offline Josh the Aspie

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2014, 03:20:53 PM »
Oh, I got to bike well more than 2 blocks away.  I think my outer range she was okay with was a couple of miles on a main street at one house (no crossing rail road tracks, or going past a certain road), and about a half mile in certain parts of a sub-division at another house.  When I was in high school, I wound up going along biking paths, etc, several miles away, and on the other side of lakes without having to do more than tell her I was going to be out enjoying the trails or biking, and answering any questions she asked.

It's just the limited size of the neighborhood areas that didn't involve crossing highways or train tracks, and her projected fear of heights that was limiting when I was younger.

And I'll fully admit that when I was younger, I had an extreme lack of common sense.  *points to my handle* Aspergers Syndrome.  I needed more attention than a lot of kids, and for a good reason.

She still "gets cold" from looking at me and insists I wear a jacket when we go on walks sometimes though... and I'm an adult with a good paying job.  :P  Moms.  Gotta love um, but sometimes they seem a bit silly.

Offline Cedar

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Re: What should I practice on weekend camping trip with kids?
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2014, 03:28:50 PM »
My mother, meanwhile, was scared to death if I climed any of the pines out back of our house, even after I was in my teens...

Yup... and it got to be a game with me... "What can I freak mom out with this week." Mom was very very restrictive on what I could do. It could be the fact she had two children before me die... but it all started with me as mom said that women should not drive pickup trucks.. so then I drove a dump truck. Then I stated repelling in SAR and am/was certified for doing it out of a helicopter.

Then there is me as a mom... I watch her like a hawk, but even as a baby when she fell down, I said "Dust Off" and she has dusted off, since she was little... and she doesn't cry when she falls etc. IF she ever does, I know it is serious.

So coddle your kids without coddling them I think is the trick... and teach there is a whole wide world to explore out there.

Cedar