What can we do to keep our little cherubs happy, healthy and entertained in spring? Take them outdoors of course!
I just love spring – mainly because it’s nearly Summer, and who doesn’t love summer. The trees are coming out of dormancy, animals are waking up from hibernation, and the days are getting longer. The sun is shining a lot more often, nights are generally not as cold, and kids just want to be outdoors.
It also means a return to the camping season. That means it's time to dig out the camping checklists from last year, and make sure that everything is in good working order for the coming season. Time to buy kids' clothes that fit this year (you went up HOW many sizes this past year?), dust off (and wash) the sleeping bags, and refill the gas bottle. And, for a large proportion of humans, it means going to the chemist to restock the hay-fever medication.
By this stage, you should have at least thought of, and possibly even booked, the campsites you will hope to visit over the Melbourne Cup Long Weekend and Christmas Holidays. This may also coincide with calling the cattery / kennels for your beloved fur kids (unless the places you are choosing to go are fantastic and allow animals), and getting neighbours to keep an eye on the house...but I am getting a little carried away. When looking at potential camping spots, I try to remember the acronym SCALED.
S – Safety. Is the campsite close to water (drowning hazards)? A main road? Is it remote? Does it have phone reception, in case of emergency?
C – Children. What is there to do for the kids? Will they be bored, or exhausted every day? Will other kids be there to play with? Is there a nearby playground or pool?
A – Adults. What is there for us? Can we have a fire to sit around at night? Is there bike / running tracks for us to use? Is there a nearby shop, for those items we forgot? Is the park / site big enough to fit your van / tent / 5 bikes / canoes etc?
L – Local Attractions. What are you going to see? Time to get the maps out and visualise the area. Maybe even ask the kids to check out the map, and get them to suggest places they might want to see. You may be surprised at the places they want to go.
E – Excitement level. Is it going to be a relaxing holiday (think camping beside a small stream) or an adrenaline fueled, non-stop fun trip (think bungee jumping / Dreamworld / surfing), or a mix of the two? Is it going to tick everyone's boxes in terms of an ideal holiday?
D – Distance to destination. How long do you estimate it could take? What will the kids need to keep them occupied over the time? Do you need to recharge the ipod / ipad / video player? How much food will you need for the car? Where are potential rest stops (this of course goes out the window when you have toddlers...).
See also: Cristie's winning camping recipes!
Just remember, that kids will love being anywhere, as long as they are with you. Enjoy Spring and all that comes with it, and I hope that you manage to get outdoors really soon.
Now, where did I put that sleeping bag wash...