This week Jumbles and Mr Monkey Juggling, headed off on a Dads’ and kids’ overnight camp that Mr Monkey organised for church. We deemed Bean to be a little young, plus as Daddy would be busy organising everything he’d struggle with 2 kids of his own. So Bean was a little left out. We did have some fun crafting while they were gone, but decided to do some camping in the garden when they got back (it rained a lot while they were camping, so we waited for a better day).
I was surprised at just how long garden camping kept them entertained for. We read “Maisy goes camping” (If you want a different camping book to read, check the links, there’s a lot available on Youtube), I put up a beach shelter and rocket tent, plus some cushions and let their imagination take the lead. I’m completely rubbish at role play, so letting kids lead is necessary at our house, but it’s also good for them.
Hopefully your kids will be creative, but if you need some ideas, this is how we spent around 3 hours:
- Watching a show at the cinema – unsure of the logic here, but Jumbles and I were eating imaginary popcorn in the tent, watching Bean perform a film on the trampoline, the film consisted of her singing “Moana” while jumping.
- Exploring the moon. – this took ages and was the most fun as it involved “flying” in the rocket tent, then landing and setting up base camp in the purple tent. The rocket tent is getting a bit battered from 3 of us rocking around Star Trek style.
- Lunar picnic – If planned in advance I might have come up with appropriate food, but we just ate sandwiches and fruit outside
- Lunar colonisation – they were unimpressed at my attempt to steer their play into a bit of gardening. I did manage to pull up a few weeds though, and they did go looking for lunar fruits to pick, but we’d already harvested everything except for a few blackcurrants
- Nap time – they don’t nap anymore, but there was a short period where we pretended to sleep in the tent and I genuinely thought 1 of us might nod off. This was my favourite part, the few minutes of peaceful snuggles was worth the pain of all of their weight coming full force onto me on their knee or elbow occasionally.
- Stories in the tent – mine love stories anywhere, but it’s nice to do them outside occasionally.
I got the fire pit out, but in the end didn’t use it, as we didn’t have marshmallows or anything, and I decided we’ve had a lot of fires lately (we’ve been trialling a sort of “Forest Church” activity for families), so they probably didn’t need another.
On this occasion I didn’t want us to properly camp out, because I had things to do in the evening, so I didn’t put up one of the proper tents, but that’s definitely the plan for another time.
Affiliate Links for camping books:
Buy “Maisy goes camping” from Wordery (free worldwide delivery) – Simple story, a bit young for my 2 now, but they still enjoy it. Maisy and her friends all go camping, but can they all fit in the tent?
Buy “Bailey goes camping” from Wordery (free worldwide delivery) – very relevant story for this situation, the older siblings have gone off on camp, leaving Bailey at home missing out. So his parents make a camp for him at home, making a sheet tent, toasting marshmallows, going on a bear hunt.
Buy “Scaredy squirrel goes camping” from Wordery (free worldwide delivery) – I really like the Scaredy squirrel books, with the ridiculous things he’s scared of, and the labelled diagrams detailing his plans for getting what he wants whilst avoiding perils. Plus, in each book he learns that it’s better to enjoy life close up, than view it from afar.
All 3 of the above books can be watched on Youtube, just have a search.