Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nature Kids - Taking a Power Vacation

This month Kris and I will be blogging about ideas for exploring nature with your kids, places in and around Lake Country that are great for nature hikes, and ways to get your kids outside. We hope you will add your favorite places and ideas in the comments!

This weekend my husband and I hosted our 6th annual Cousin Camp, an event we host during the summer for our nieces and nephews. Each year we have a different theme (space camp, archeology camp, Survivor camp...) and this year the theme was "Unplugged". The premise was that no electricity could be used during camp (2 days). This theme paved the way for many cool activities (like tubing down the Bark River, as shown above) and it was great how not using electricity became a sort of game for the kids. Actually, pretty soon it was apparent that no one even missed the electricity... brushing teeth by the light of the campfire was fun, not a sacrifice. After camp my husband mentioned that we ourselves should have occasional "power vacations" where we turn off the power for a couple days. I thought this was a really cool idea and a great thing to do with kids as summer break winds down. What can you do on a "power vacation"? Here are just a few ideas:
  • Spend the whole day outside, making it a goal to not go inside (except perhaps to use the bathroom!)
  • Make tin can lanterns in preparation for an evening by candlelight
  • Cook dinner over a camp stove or campfire
  • Make a solar oven and bake cookies or some other goodies
  • Play outdoor games, a great list of all those old-time games can be found here
  • Build something (we built a play fort during camp using no power tools... the kids had a blast using old-time, manual drills and saws)
  • Put on an outdoor play
  • Read
  • Talk amongst yourselves
  • Go on a nature hike. Then go on another. Then another. Re-visit the same trail at different times of the day and see how it changes.
  • Count stars
  • Sleep in a tent
  • Make your own music
  • Bust out your old Snoopy Sno-cone maker or ice cream maker and build muscles while making tasty treats
The list could go on and on, of course, this is just a start. The point is to take yourself off the grid for a day and see where it takes you.


Kris said...

We have a power-free night on the eve of the Winter Solstice every year. After I read the the kids a story about how the ancients understood the dwindling days if winter and return of the sun, we run around and turn off all the lights (ok, there might be a problem that this is a step that needs to be taken) and then light candles, representing the sun. We sleep out in front of the fireplace that night.

Sometimes we'll camp out in the backyard for the Summer Solstice. It would be fun to make this power-free also. Thanks for the idea

Anonymous said...

Hi Courtney,

I just recently found your blog. I just introduced myself in a response to Kris's latest post. But I also wanted to introduce myself to you specifically as I also have a 2 year old girl and live in Hartland and I'm striving green my ways. Its been great reading your posts and I look forward to reading more. However, I don't get online as much as I'd like to read blogs so I thought I'd also leave my e-mail address for you in case you were interested in connecting with another mother with a 2 year old girl in your neighborhood. Congratulations on your little girl!