A friend posted a parenting question on Facebook recently. “What do you like to do with your kids for FUN?”
I heard (or at least imagined) in her words a plea for something out of the ordinary. Something everyone would like. Something memorable.
Much of what moms do can be so ordinary: grocery shop, prepare meals (that get complaints), laundry, teach manners, teach pick up and put away (again and again and again), change diapers, clean up messes, clean up tiffs between siblings, repeat. Wanting to know what others do for fun made sense to me. When I was in the throes of parenting, I did not want to be the mom remembered for always being serious (“Oh I’m sorry you made that choice…”)
I also knew this Facebook friend was crowd sourcing (which is a great way to get a bunch of ideas all in one place) but her question gave me an idea for a Friday blog series; hence the title: Family Fun Fridays.
To start us off on this weekly venture I texted my sons (who are grown men in case you just dropped by) asking them what they remember of fun things we did together. Happily they quickly texted with favorites that made me smile. Number one for both of them? Camping.
Now before you throw your arms up and tell me you hate camping, please hear me out. I know that not all you parents grew up in families that camped, so lack of experience may keep you from it. You might think it’s an expensive way to get outdoors. It can be if you think you need every bell and whistle to be able to camp. I’ll say, Not Necessary. If you live in a city, getting out past the boundaries of crowded civilization will do all of you good. If you live near the great outdoors but haven’t gone camping as a family yet, give it a try!
Where else can you let your little boy do this?
(without worrying about how much the water costs?) Playing in water, dirt, sand, whatever, is a child’s slice of heaven. What great memories!
Here’s an idea, go camping with another family whose kids are near your kids ages. It’s a great way to share expenses, keep your kids entertained so you can rest a bit and get vitamin D for everyone!
Growing up, my parents always included another family in our camping trips. We went to Yosemite for two weeks one summer and Lake Tahoe for two weeks the next summer. My brother and I grew up with these kids. Their family lived in another part of our city so we only went to school with them once we got to high school, but by then it was so helpful to know someone in such a big school. But I digress…
If you’re worried about dirt conflicting with fashion, you can tell my mom managed to overcome the conflict. I on the other hand cleaned off in the river daily!
Remember, family fun is supposed to be out of the ordinary. Memorable. Camping certainly provides those two aspects. Where else can you do this with your kids?
In the midst of all the fun outdoors is the very real opportunity to look around at God’s Creation and appreciate the beauty He blessed us with and intends for us to enjoy.
This was my first camping trip at age 3. (please note all you dirt phobs; she’s wearing WHITE shorts) My early experiences with mountains and trees still cause me to pause, look up and give thanks to a great big God who made all this beauty.
Yes I grew up going camping so it was a natural thing to want to do with my own kids. But that didn’t mean I didn’t have to make a list of things to pack.
Camping can be simple. Try one weekend. Cereal for breakfast. Sandwiches for lunch. Mac n cheese for dinner. (jazz it up with peas and tuna!) S’mores for dessert!!
Borrow things before you invest to see if you really want to commit.
Go with another family who has other stuff like a tent, stove, lantern, etc.
Go. You may find you like it. You may also find that your children have memories of outdoor fun that will last a lifetime.