5 Hacks For Camping With Small Kids

If I were to sink back into my memory to the moments that I cherished the most it would be the ones spent outside. Our family camping-23792_1280vacations consisted of trips to different National Parks, local lakes, and to the giant redwood forests of the northern California. It installed a love of the outdoors in me that I hope to pass on to my boys now. My wife and I have wasted no time to get the kids out and enjoying all that nature can offer them. In fact, we started camping with the little rug rats as young as 5 months old. Here are 5 “Camping Hacks” we found through the years that you will want to try so that your kids will love camping too.

  1. Playdoh- Developing a love of camping is all about starting with fun memories to build on. There WILL be times 3757135606_d2d61e4907_owhere Mom and Dad are tired and need some quite time. The best tool I have found for this situation is Playdoh. It doesn’t melt like Crayons, the little tubs are easy to pack, and cleanup is wiping the dried up bits of dough into the trash. So, when you are between lunch and dinner and you hear “I’m BORED!” whip out a can of the salty wonder then kick your heels up and enjoy the quiet.
  2. Sound Machine – Do you have a nervous or sensitive sleeper? Tent walls don’t do much to block out the nature sounds around them. Or maybe the neighbor’s campfire chat is going a little later than your kid can handle. A battery powered sound machine will do wonders for little one. The white noise that they create eases the sensitivity to all that is going on around the tent and gives them something else for their little brains to focus on. Don’t be surprised if the little battery power miracle doesn’t help you saw some logs too!
  3. Baby Wipes- Marshmallow covered sticky hands with dirt and bug spray coated faces are all signs of a good time! Keep in mind tough getting to the bathroom is a walk to and crawling into a sleeping bag in this condition is not a great way to keep ants and other creatures out of the tent. Baby wipes are a bath in a bag! From cleaning eating surfaces to washing hands you will find 100 plus uses for these damp little miracles. I bring these along now even if I am not camping with my kids!
  4. A hammock- Go to any playground, kids love to swing and what is a hammock but a big swing! This little 2hammocks-413714_1280 pound device will give your little one a place to nap, read, swing, and (the best part!) to snuggle with you. There are many choices in the world of hammocks so get a sturdy one because kids have a way of testing the limits of these products. I would also supervise your child in the tree sling for a while until they learned that: Yes, in fact, they can fall out to the ground. Oh, did I mention that if you have a hammock this is a good place for you to lay down when you crack out the Playdoh?
  5. Stories and traditions- A fondness of the great outdoors is built on a foundation of great memories and traditions. Having yarns to tell around the campfire is the place that those are formed. Come armed with a story or two to tell. It doesn’t matter if it is the same story every year as long as you tell it well. The story that I tell every year when my family goes to Yosemite is The Story of ElmerThin_book_03. It is about a little boy that gets lost in the woods and the whole campground shouts out to find the little boy. It’s a story that dates back as far as the 1930’s. I loved the tale so much that I published a children’s book about it. So, if you need a story to tell you can use mine! Elmerinyosmite.com

Developing children who are outdoor enthusiasts is about having fun adventures that will create deep memories in your little ones. Remember, the trip doesn’t have to be the best most perfect trip ever. In fact the stories my kids re-tell over and over again are the ones that did not quite go according to plan. We can now sit around the fire and laugh about that one time that dad dropped the dinner in the fire and we had to have marshmallows and graham crackers for dinner.

Get your copy of The Story of Elmer in Yosemite On Amazon Today!!!

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The Prepared Idiot’s Guide to Backpacking (Part 2 of a Series)

The more I learn abHow to buy a backpackout backpacking the more it becomes clear the thing that moves most people into the sport is freedom. Freedom from busy daily lives, form cluttered houses, and from the sterile concrete world that we have created. In this episode I continue to work on finding and answering all the dumb questions about backpacking in the great outdoors

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The Prepared Idiot’s Guide to Hiking (Part 1of the Backpacking series)

In the age of social mThe prepared idiot's guide to backpackingedia and jobs that require long hours of cubical sitting most modern humans have forgotten the basic skill of walking. Except for in large cities where motor vehicle travel is unpractical the quick trip around the corner to get a gallon of milk is done in our cars. Many children in the Southern California area where I live don’t walk to school anymore and thought of and evening stroll is a terror inducing event for many teenagers. So, we are increasingly spending more and more time sitting on our posteriors plugged into a screen and watching others have adventures and live their lives. While it is not realistic to think that you can escape the modern day working environments entirely you should also be aware of the potential risks of all that sitting. Continue reading

How to Stake a Gold Claim

You might be surprsluice-box-3ised to learn that you can still find gold in the United States. In fact, over 80% of the world’s gold is still yet to be found. I guess once you realize these facts the questions are: Where can I go to find gold? And if I do find gold how can I be sure I get to keep it? Well, there are two likely routes you can go to answer these questions. First, you can join the Gold Prospector’s Association of America (GPAA) then you are entitled to go out and prospect on any of there gold claims or land leases across America. If you are the more adventurous type you can strike out on your own on any of the open public land across the country and try and stake your own claim.

Here is the Idiot’s quick guide on how to find and stake your very own gold claim: Continue reading

The Top Three Things to do as a family in Yosemite with Young Children

As a father of not one but TWO sets of twins riverunder the age of ten it is important to find something that we all can enjoy and accomplish when we are in the great out of doors. We as a family of 6 make the trip to Yosemite National Park every year. We have whittled them down to a top three must do events each time we head to camp in the valley.   Continue reading

Dry Prospecting vs. Wet Prospecting

There ideserto-sonora-paesaggios a great difference between wet and dry prospecting.

Wet prospecting is by far the more useful and the one which will provide the most frequent discoveries this is because you get a much better separation rate of gold from gravel when wet and sent through a sluice box and subsequent sieve or series of sieves. However, this separation rate is much, much lower when dry and the likelihood of expelling gold with your sand or gravel is greatly increased. Continue reading

The Top Three Things to do as a family in Yosemite with Young Children.

As a father of not one but TWO sets of twins riverunder the age of ten it is important to find something that we all can enjoy and accomplish when we are in the great out of doors. We as a family of 6 make the trip to Yosemite National Park every year. We have whittled them down to a top three must do events each time we head to camp in the valley. Continue reading