When I was a child, one of my fondest school memories was a week-long stay at a place called “Nature’s Classroom.” Nature’s Classroom helped me to learn all sorts of neat things about how to survive in the New England wilderness, including brushing your teeth with the flesh of a white birch branch, figuring out what plants were poisonous versus edible or harmless, and learning about many different plants and animals in the wilderness. The experience was unforgettable, but I now realize that I could have just as easily been educated about all of those things on a camping trip.
Pit Stop at the Library
It’s summer, so kids will probably not be too keen on stopping at the library. However, going to the library can help them to become more engrossed in the experience than simply trying to point out something that is online or preach to them. Have them look up local plants, animals, rivers, and topography so that they can figure out what’s what when you get to the camp site.
Prepare for Camping
On top of the regular camping supplies like a cooler and tent, pick up maps, a compass, and some survivalist gear. Show your children the map and compass and let them figure out exactly where you are and how to get to places using the maps. Let them lead the way to the stream and go fishing. Give kids the resources and knowledge that they need to navigate the world immediately around them.
Take Interest in Their Interest
After finding the way to the local river, figuring out that a plant is edible, or learning how to start a fire, kids will usually begin to get very interested in their new skills and knowledge. Encourage them by being enthusiastic about whatever it is they are excited about. Helping kids to have an understanding and appreciation for the natural world around them can be a valuable life skill.