"It's not so important to know as to feel when introducing a young child to the natural world."
Montessori Papa and I make an effort to get our children outside. We bike often. We take them to swim (in a pool, okay, so not that natural of a setting), we garden, but really nothing compares to the experience of camping for allowing our kids a chance to experience their lives in a different way.
Both Thumper and Booster love camping. Unfortunately, as I get older, I've come to like it less than I did as a younger woman when I spent months camping across the western United States and Canada. I LOVED camping back then. Now I can really see the appeal of staying at a nice bed and breakfast; however, when I see their reactions, I know that we've chosen the right kind of family vacation.
This time, newly three year old Thumper went wild. Within a minute of arriving at our sandy campsite, she was naked and in the sand. Really IN the sand. She rolled around, attempted a slip n' slide maneuver, twisted her body into yoga poses, and covered herself in it until she was a dusty, sandy mess.
At the beach, she jumped and giggled and screamed with the ocean. She was a sight to see.
Booster made a campfire all by herself and rejoiced in flying her flag on a very windy beach. The second day with her kite, I saw her using the techniques her father had shown her with confidence. I was so pleased for her. She was having such a wonderful time.
Unfortunately, we might not be able to camp again this year since we will be vacationing with my parents in July and moving in August this year. Throughout the trip, I kept thinking about Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. I was feeling more committed than ever to giving them natural experiences like camping.