Is Winter giving you the blues? Not enough snow to send the kids outside? Too low temps to safely play outside? What does any stir crazy,outdoor loving, cabin fevered mom do? Get ready for warmer temps by finding Ways to Beat the Winter Blues! In this multi-post series I will share with you some ideas to get your family ready for Spring and Summer by taking simple steps now. I will share a variety of easy craft and DIY projects to inspire you and prepare you for the seasons ahead!
This is sort of an odd post for me really. Why? Well, my hubby doesn’t like to camp or at least the one camping trip with a 1 yr. old/pouring down rain and tornado warnings did not go very well! Trying to keep a newer walking tot dry and clean was near impossible. But I digress because we did buy a tent last year. The kids used it for backyard camping.
I thought we could trying camping again this year if we bought a larger or 2nd tent, but now that I am pregnant not sure if that will happen. (edited to say that this post was written in 2013!) I am not currently pregnant, lol.
I love the outdoors. Not the pulling weeds and landscaping, but the sound of birds, the pond dipping, and nature. I plan to give my children a fun Spring and Summer of exploration outdoors. Better get to prepping and planning by preparing for camping season!
1. Safety and First Aid Training-Since we homeschool we can focus on things like learning how to make firestarters, how to start fires OUTDOORS properly or how to dress and bandage a wound. Now that my children are a little older
(10, 8 1/2, 3) (14,12,6,3) we will begin to teach more survival and safety skills.
2. Check your Gear– Does your tent still work with your current sized family? Maybe it’s time to buy a new one. Do you know where your tarp is for under the tent? Do you need to waterproof your tent? Do you know where your camp chairs, camp stove, and other gear are? Has anything been damaged or broken since last season?
3. Create a Camping Box– What is a camping box? Well, something I am determined to create this year even if very small and rudimentary. Large plastic tote with dedicated cooking and camping supplies that do not spoil. (i.e. pots, pans, firemitt, firestarter, can opener, utensils, camping spices,etc.) We actually own a large Rubbermaid box on wheels from a previous business that’s being stored at my in-laws. Gotta make room on our back porch for it!
4. Pack a Day Pack– similar to a nature pack but filled with things to help you stay safe in case you are out longer than planned! Each person should have and WEAR their packs for single day trips even if you only plan to be out a few hours. What should you pack in your Day Pack? Bare minimum: water, sunscreen, small first aid kit, small survival kit, rain-gear, matches, map of area, whistle, and high carb/protein snack.
5. Learn new and unusual skills– Learn how to start a fire 2-3 different ways. Learn to build a shelter out of a tarp and rope. Learn knot tying skills. Learn to cook over a fire (on a stick/spit, foil packets, dutch oven, and cast iron skillet). Now is a great time to check books out at the library or to find free Kindle books about camping, campfire cooking, etc.
6. Plan a Backyard Campout FIRST– If you have little ones or are new to camping, PLEASE do your self and your little ones a favor and try it in your backyard before heading to the great unknown! So many reasons: kids can get used to dark, noises, and sleeping in sleeping bags and not beds. You can learn very quickly if they could tolerate bug bites, spiders, and being outdoors for long periods of time. As a parent you can try your skills at starting a fire and seeing if your first aid kit would hold up:)
Some fun resources I found online:
Backyard Camping Checklist
7. Create/Craft a new piece of gear or camping luxury item– I have pinned so many wonderful ideas that it would be terrible to wait until the week of camping to create them. Some require you to save recyclables and re-purpose Some may take a few days to dry. Some may need special tools that you could borrow from a friend.
8. Research and Learn a new skill– Anything from alternative methods of fire starting to cast-iron cooking to geocaching. Learning a new skill in the winter that can be practiced all Spring will get you ready by Summer to share that skill or to enjoy that skill. Star gazing and constellation identification, Compass/Orienteering skills and Topographical map reading skills are all great activities to learn indoors while it’s cold!