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Thread: Camping with my 4 and 3 year old boys

  1. #1
    Member skagdog's Avatar
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    Default Camping with my 4 and 3 year old boys

    I've taken a break from roughing it for a few years until my boys were a little older.

    I've never been camping with kids and was looking for people who have to give me some advice. Any hints or tricks or must-haves or must-dos while camping with the little ones?

    Some things I can think of right now would be:

    Smores
    a whistle for each of them
    soccer ball or something

    what else? I am fully capable of planning a camping trip but would like input from those who have been there and done that with small children.

    Peace!

  2. #2
    Member oldakcop's Avatar
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    Dress them in BRIGHT colors and set boundaries for where they are allowed to go without you, teach them to stop and stay in one place if they get separated from you, and to blow that whistle! Enjoy these times, they are fleeting and will be over before you can blink. Make sure you bring along LOTS of self entertaining things that they enjoy ( coloring books, games, etc. ) just in case it rains and you get stuck in the tent for an extended period of time. Have fun, I wouldn't trade those past years for anything in the world!
    P.S. take LOTS of pictures

  3. #3

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    I've always let my girls bring a small backpack with whatever they want. However, the toys almost never come out of the pack. I have been blessed to have two girls who love camping and exploring and would rather play with a stick and a rock than a DS - amazing. Likewise - no matter the weather - they are always outside. They need good raingear, warm clothes and xtra tuffs (however, if your near water the boots will be off) and let them go and explore. Have fun and enjoy this age.

    Our oldest is now a tweener, so I don't know how much longer it will last before it turns into FFF (Forced Family Fun).

    -hiker

  4. #4
    Member aksheephuntress's Avatar
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    .....LOTS of paper towels.....





    -wonderful getting out there with your kids!

    -I agree, don't let their ages stop you from getting out there!
    -the more exposure to the outdoors and love for nature for them to experience,the better!
    -those years slip away so fast...

    -I used to enjoy taking mine out moose hunting, too, at a real early age...(then later, as you know,there is that certain age period they go through in which they have to learn the art of being quiet-)

    -little Ruthie 2005 moose hunt; 3 weeks old-
    -I can't find the single photo to scan, but here it is, scanned previously, with 4 others- lower right)
    ps...-the photo w/ the boys on the ATV weren't driving by themselves; I just stopped, got off wheeler to take the pic-
    ....a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed....

  5. #5
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aksheephuntress View Post
    -little Ruthie 2005 moose hunt; 3 weeks old-
    It may be noteworthy that you were able to take care of a 3 week old while hunting....but what is impressive is that YOU were able to go hunting 3 weeks after delivery ....holy cow, must be one tough lady...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

  6. #6
    Member aksheephuntress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    It may be noteworthy that you were able to take care of a 3 week old while hunting....but what is impressive is that YOU were able to go hunting 3 weeks after delivery ....holy cow, must be one tough lady...
    ...thankyou!



    -oh ...what was torture though, was not being able to sheep hunt that year.....(I did get to get up and hang out above timberline and scout a bit before the birth,though-)

    -an August delivery!!....what in the world was I thinking?!
    ....a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed....

  7. #7
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    We lived in a camper last year with a newborn and a 2 yo. We'll do the same this summer.

    A few things that helped up:
    a magnadoodle-helps when driving long distances (Denali Hwy to Valdez)
    a favorite CD- again, for driving
    Tonka truck and loader/dozer-if you are car camping, these large toys are excellent recreation. We leave a pair in the camper
    A few small toy trucks- great when it's raining or around bed time.
    books-we purchased books from local authors wherever possible.

    Have fun. We did last year. My son was asking about the camper this morning. We're planning the summer out right now.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Kids love water...

    Our kids have always enjoyed water. Any campgrounds near water were great. Eklutna Lake in the ANC area is a good example and later we took bikes there when she was old enough. The lake there is calm with no current or dropoff hazards. And kids just amuse themselves around water. Here, there are streams where kids can see fish easily too - often provoking many questions.

    The whistle could be great for signaling. S'mores can become a tradition on your campouts that your boys learn to look forward to. Anything you have learned about camp or woods craft can be interesting to your boys. How to find your way - or keep from getting lost. How to make a fire, or lash two pieces of wood together. Using "old man's beard" hanging from spruces and a spark to get flame was a big favorite. Years later, a BB gun was the beginning of learning firearms safety and marksmanship. Not a good idea for a crowded summer campground though.

    Agree with aksheephuntress too about 2 things:
    1. Whether it's lakeside mud or something else - playing and getting dirty is what young kids too. Go equipped!
    2. I'd forgotten that there were some sacrifices - sometimes I did much better to quit trying to fish and just sit down and help our daughter fish, or whittle a walking stick with her or teach her something about firebuilding, or critters.

    Have a great summer with your boys.

  9. #9

    Default Camping w/ kids

    The girls @ Kenai Lake in September. (They love the hammock)

    -hiker
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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Light Sabers are a must:


  11. #11
    Member Scottsum's Avatar
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    Default Determining priorities

    For me, I've had to determine my priorities ahead of time. I can't seem to manange a real hunting or fishing trip with my kids (4 and 7); to do so always ends-up with me frustrated. I've come to the conclusion that my camping trips with my kids are not really about whether or not I catch fish, or kill anything, but more for time well-spent with my wife and kids. As long as I remember that, we have a great time. Having said that, I have to say, for Alaska's many rainy days and nights in the summer months, I love having a camper with card games, books and yes, even a portable dvd player. I enjoy watching movies with my kids, and while it may not be really "roughing-it," (and I fought it at first) it still brings us closer than watching a movie at home. The experience is different and enjoyable, even if some might argue whether or not it's truly "camping."

    I'll never forget the morning we woke-up with a shrew in the camper. Apparently, it had hitched a ride in one of our shoes we had stored outside the door during the day and brought in at night. My 3 year-old daughter woke us up with, "Dad! There's a skunk in the camper, a skunk!" Too cute and funny.

    Enjoy.

  12. #12
    Member cristancanoe's Avatar
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    Our little man loves to camp. He is now 3.5
    I would suggest setting your tent up in the backyard, or even in the house, and have a "camp-in" just so the little men get used to the sleeping arrangements in a safe to them environment.

  13. #13
    Member skagdog's Avatar
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    My kids are already setting stuff up in the house as "tents". I'm really itchin to go. We are fortunate enough to live near some close-to-home camping sites (it's literally 10 minutes from my house to the boat launch @ chena lakes) so we'll "rough it" in cell phone range early-on and branch out from there.

    We like our canoe:
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  14. #14

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    There's already some good advice posted above. About the only thing I can add is to not skimp on their gear. It's hard to shell out the bucks knowing how fast they will out grow their gear, but it is worth it. I don't like to be cold and wet, so I buy myself good gear...I do the same with my daughter.

    Don't be afraid to just get out there and do it! The best way to learn is by experience.

    This is a great website: http://wildernessforkids.com/wp/ Jen Aist is very knowledgeable and experienced with kids and camping, backpacking, boating, etc. The classes she teaches at Providence are top shelf, too. We are excited to get her new book, Babes in the Woods. Tons of great gear reviews on her website.

  15. #15

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    i know this sounds bad but we used to keep the kids on a clothing line with a 25.ft long clothing line rop with a hook for the harness system that they wore to keep them in the camp as a toddlers they could run around but could not leave the area and go off somewhere..

  16. #16
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by henry2 View Post
    i know this sounds bad but we used to keep the kids on a clothing line ...
    No wonder you can't type. I'll bet your kids beat your tail when they grew up
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

  17. #17

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    Add baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Kids, especially boys pick up some of the nastiest stuff, I know I do, I mean did. The BB/Pellet gun would have been another I'd add but someone beat me to it. Oh, cards too.

  18. #18
    Member skagdog's Avatar
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    Default It's warming up.

    Thanks for all the ideas/inputs so far. It's warming up so keep the ideas coming.

    I picked up a magifying glass and some other camp toy trinkets for their back pack. The little explorer type stuff is right down my kids' alley.

    I'll share something. I'm sure i'm not the first but has anyone out there ever tried smores made with little Reeses cups instead of chocolate bar?
    It's yummy, give it a shot.

  19. #19
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default slow enough to see bugs

    For some reason my boys took to finding bugs of all kinds and are completely fascinated to the point of spending hours in the same little patch of woods or beach to find what lives there in the microscopic world.

    Requires some patience for Mom and I as we are into covering ground to see more big stuff but we "Slow way down for the Bug Finders"

    Also the tent in the yard is a great break in and seems to "be way out there" to little guys, Stay out there with them, time of their life with Dad in the tent

  20. #20
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    Default Good times

    I have taken my kids camping from a very young age. They are now 5 and 9. Last summer I noticed they tend to explore farther than I'm comfortable with. I bought a set of walkie talkie / two way radios with a 3 mile range. ( haha about a .5 to .75 range in alaska's woods). Still it lets them go have fun.
    Anotheer thing I did was purchase a small camera, I tried the throw away kind the summer before and ended up getting them a cheap digital with a 2 gb card. They loved taking pictures, what I liked about it was it tought them to enjoy alaska's beauty with out realizing it. Of course you get about 75% of the pictures blury, off angle, or 100 picturs of the same bug,insect,or whatever. It was well worth the $50 bucks. Also I second, third, and fourth the " bring extra clothes" It still amazies me how they can get so dirty! rubber boots are a must, because even though it may have not rained or your not near any water how fast two kids can get wet! HAVE FUN and enjoy.
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    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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