Spending the day at Waterton yesterday really awakened the camper in me. There is just something so refreshing about being surrounded by gorgeous nature and watching my kids play together in such an ideal setting. I love being away from the crowds, immersed in the wonders of the world. From the time I was a little girl, I loved playing outside, climbing trees, digging holes and losing myself in the moment. My parents helped foster that love by taking us camping every year, and making sure that we spent much of our family leisure time together exploring nature. Only now, as an adult and a mother of less children, do I realize what a sacrifice that really was.
Recently I was listening to a talk given by a BYU Social Science Faculty member, Brian Hill. In this talk, given during Education Week, he stated different studies that had been done studying the effects that wholesome recreation has on family cohesiveness. They found, through various studies, that families who participated in activities that were challenging but within the participants ability to accomplish, greatly increased family cohesiveness. He goes on to state that one of the best activities a family can do is to go on regular family adventures-like camping!
When I heard this I have to admit I felt a bit guilty. I am great at daily, weekly type of adventures (playing at the creek, going to the park, visiting the library), but not so good at the more challenging type (because it takes so much work). I am determined to change that. This year I have an opportunity to take my kids to Long Beach, BC for four days with all our extended family. In the past, I have just ‘survived’ our camping trips, but this time I am going to work hard to thrive camping. To do this, I am researching fun, yummy food, and great camp activities to play.
The fun part of this research is that I will need to try things out at home first to see if they work. My kids are so excited. Today we made our first camp fire and tried boiling an egg in a paper cup. It worked great, the kids had a blast and now the house smells like camp fire (the wind blew the smoke throughout the house). I am secretly pleased with this plan because I was reading a parenting book by Nicholeen Peck and she said that allowing your kids to know about family activities ahead of time and letting them plan and anticipate them makes the activity even more meaningful. Since I have 6 weeks before Long Beach, I am going to be letting my kids anticipate this fun for a LONG time!!