I’ve mentioned before how much I love camping. Even before I was old enough to roast my own marshmallows, I knew that there was something pretty magical about falling asleep under the stars and waking up to your mom grilling bacon, your dad tending the fire, and the sun rising over the ocean/desert/mountains etc…
Now that I am older, lots of my good friends and relatives have kids. Being an aunt/godmother/second-cousin/etc. has given me one of the greatest excuses to play dress-up, read children’s books, run around like a Wild Thing, and enjoy life as I did when I was seven. It’s the most socially acceptable way of never really growing up! (I think. My family may be calling me a weirdo behind my back, and I just haven’t picked up on it because I’m too busy lying in the grass looking for animal shapes in the clouds with my nieces.)
Either way, now that there are so many sweet kiddos in my life, I’ve been thinking about crafts and activities that would make sleeping under the stars as magical for them, as it was for me- BEFORE there was texting, handheld video games, and before anyone had come down with Bieber-Fever.
Last September, I went camping with a few of my cousins and their kids. One of the activities we did was “Night Writing” (writing messages with glow-in-the-dark bracelets while we set the camera on a tri-pod at a long exposure.) This was SO.MUCH.FUN. But the kids who participated ranged in age from eight to forty-something…
For a fun craft that kids a little younger than eight, (4+) can enjoy, I recommend throwing a bottle of craft glue and a bag of googly eyes in your backpack and making a some rock friends when you get to your campsite!
Young kids don’t always have the attention span to appreciate a craft that takes more than a few minutes. Asking them to collect a few rocks around the campsite, or shells off the beach, and then letting them glue on the googly eyes is a fun and fast way to keep the little ones excited about being away from home.
Take the kids on a walk, or feed them lunch while the glue sets. Later, place the new rock friends around camp. Kids and adults will get a kick out of looking for the rocks that are also looking back at them.
I wouldn’t recommend leaving the googly-eyed rock friends at camp when you leave, (although if I rolled up to a campsite and found this trio welcoming me, it would be one of the happiest moments of my LIFE- BUT…) if left in the elements for too long, the eyes and glue may eventually break down and become litter. And do you really want to be the camper who takes only photos, and leaves only footprints… AND eyeballs? Take your little friends home. They will be a great reminder of your fun camping trip, and a fun addition to the household. Oh- one other teeny weeny note on collecting items while camping… if you are camping in a National Park, please do not collect rocks, plants, flowers etc., it’s illegal. That said, happy crafting, happy camping!