When I was a child, the summers seemed endless. Do you remember that? Just day after day with no schedule but the “It’s time for dinner” from the front porch. Ahhh!
Summers always started the same way for me. For as long as I can remember, every July long weekend our 1977 “pop up” tent trailer would get packed with all our necessities… plastic plates, pots & pans, sleeping bags, clothes and a ton of “yummy” food. We would then hop into the sky blue Chrysler Plymouth and we were off to Manitoulin Island for our annual camping trip.
I have such fond memories of camping. It was about being outside from sunrise to sunset, meeting new friends, swimming all day long and eating outside. The evenings were filled with playing cribbage with my father and sitting around the campfire staring up at the dark clear sky full of bright stars. Knowing in my young mind that no clouds meant that tomorrow was going to be another glorious day.
Camping was a large part of my childhood and it was something I wanted to pass along to my kids… However, our first attempt was not so great. We tried camping when our youngest had just discovered crawling and the moment we put her down she began shovelling handfuls of dirt into her mouth… and then the rain started, it poured and poured. Needless to say I was glad we were close to home on that first attempt. A few years later a close friend asked us to join them camping, my youngest was 3 at the time. O.k., we were ready to try again!
We dusted off the camping gear and started our list. Now 6 years later we still go every year, it’s become a new tradition with my own family. It is one of the only times in our hectic lives that there is no driving to activities, no TV, no video games and it’s a long weekend full of family meals and time together… It’s our time to reconnect.
Want to give camping a try? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Just do it.
- Pick a date and place. Ontario is full of beautiful provincial parks.
- New to camping? Ontario Parks has a Learn to Camp program, they will even supply the equipment! Parks Canada also has a free Learn to Camp app.
- Make a list of what you’ll need, but don’t worry about anything you forget.
Get the kids involved.
- Give them jobs to do to.
- Kids can help gather the “list” items.
- Give them tasks once at the campsite.
Enjoy and rediscover the kid in you.
- We always play capture the flag; adults versus kids.
- I also love to play TV tag in the sand.
- Play catch, soccer, frisbee, football and bocce ball.
- Make sand castles and swim with the kids.
- Roast marshmallows, sing songs and play games by the campfire.
Camping is a great way to reconnect as a family, why don’t you give it a try this summer?
Share your camping experiences and treasured spots with us. What is your favourite activity in the open air? What is a must have item for camping?
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