"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
One great way to teach your children to appreciate our beautiful, natural world is to take them camping. This can be challenging with little ones, but it is well worth the effort. Shamefully, I have only taken my kids camping one time, but I plan to venture out again with them this summer. When you live in the mountains, the call to get out the tent and go camping is not as strong (at least in my experience) as when you live in the city. Camping with young kids is more challenging than older kids, so I like to find a spot that is not quite car camping, but a short walk to the car. Our favorite spot is Bear Harbor on the Mendocino coast in the Sinkyione Wilderness area, as you can camp near the beach after a half mile hike. You can even take a jogging stroller on the trail. Other friends of mine take their horses and pack into the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area with their two little ones. They can cover many miles this way. Another friend of mine packed her six month old 12 miles into the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area. I was quite impressed, as she hung diapers to dry off of her pack. REI offers Expert Camping Advice for Camping with Kids. Here are five quick tips from REI:
1. Practice camping close to home before taking a long, faraway outing.
2. Involve kids in the planning for a camping trip.
3. Seek out activities unique to the outdoors.
4. Make sure kids always carry an emergency whistle.
5. Focus on fun; let kids be kids.