We just had a most excellent camping trip at Table Rock Lake, in Missouri. It was so good we spontaneously decided to stay an extra day. The scenery was gorgeous, the site was on the water's edge, the wildlife was a plenty, and the child(ren) were easily entertained.
In photo summary is this 4.5 year-old's favorite camping activities (& man, I wish it was feasible to just load all 217 of my photos!!! Each one has such a great memory attached):
1. Kenzie's a huge fanatic of chasing down and studying wildlife. We upgraded from bugs this trip with crawdads and lizards. After catching two kinds of lizards, we were able to research them on-line (oh, because the site had free wi-fi!!!) and learned that this one was called a "skink." The other kind we caught is a Northern Fence lizard. Both were harmless and handled frequently. We built a habitat for them and kept going back to catch more, more, more. I'll bet this was Kenzie's most memorable activity of the trip.
2. I like to bring along activities for the event that the "I'm boooored" whines hit. It probably wasn't necessary this time, but in addition to all the fun we had - Kenzie also painted on trees. The paint is washable, and will run off in a good rainstorm, so I didn't feel too guilty about messing with nature. We also recorded her giving us a detailed explanation of the artwork. This is a priceless memory for me.
3. We made balloon yo-yos. Fill up some water balloons. Cut a rubber band open - so that it resembles a string. Tie a finger hole at one end, and attach the other end to the balloon top. Yo-yo away. Or, fling it at stuff & watch it explode. Just don't fling it at your Mama.
4. Rent a boat and cruise around for 4 hours. Sit up front and let your body fly with the bumpy waves. Giggle like crazy. (We all giggled like crazy, because the boat price was 1/2 off because of an end o' season sale!)
5. Force the parents to take long walks pulling you in the wagon...and bike rides...and hikes...
6. Make a silly goo concoction. Mix 1/4 cup of School Glue Gel with 1/4 Liquid Starch. Let sit for 5 minutes so the glue can soak up the starch. Then knead it. Play with the glop, blow bubbles using a straw, and as it hardens - toss it around like a ball (it'll bounce).
7. Torment the geese by pretending to throw food out. Watch them swarm you excitedly. If you're nice, you'll go back like we did and actually feed them some bread.
8. Make Daddy take you swimming. Several times. Because that water is cold and your mother is NOT nuts.
9. As if learning about lizards wasn't good enough - add crawdads to your collection. Build a habitat for them too and keep them by the campsite for constant companionship. Release when it's time to go home.
You'll all be sad when that time comes.
**Night time view of the What's Up Dock. As seen directly in front of our campsite.