Summer vacation is fun, but trying to find something to do every weekend or throughout the week to keep the kids entertained is a job in itself. Day trips are not cheap and with 3 kids, admission prices can really add up! It’s great to find alternatives to amusement parks and since my family loves the outdoors, my husband and I knew that the kids would love to go camping. However, we know that sleeping in a tent and everything that comes along with that would just be too much for my husband and I to handle with the 3 kids, so we kept an eye out for a travel trailer. Late last summer we found the perfect one for us that could be towed behind our minivan! I have never claimed to be one for roughing it and think our trailer is the perfect combination of comfort and camping. Not tent camping but not quite “glamping” either. Now starting in early spring, all of the summer and even into the autumn we can get outside and enjoy some of Ontario’s beautiful parks for several nights instead of just a day trip here and there.
I love that when we get away for a few days, other than to basically sleep, the kids spend every hour of every day outside. It’s a much needed break from television, the iPad and other electronic ways to pass time. We take them hikes where they find caterpillars, listen for different bird calls and ask ‘why’ to just about everything they see. I am not sure why tress have different barks or what lives down that hole, but I love their enthusiasm for knowledge! We find beaches to build sand castles on and lakes to swim in. Summer in Canada really isn’t summer until you swim in at least one lake. Which by the way, is way better than swimming in any pool! Sure sometimes you can’t see the bottom or you don’t know what just touched your foot, but the water in our lakes is crisp and clean and there are very few things that can compare with it!
Feathers, rocks, pieces of bark, they are all treasures to my kids and they study each finding with awe. Chipmunks, butterflies and caterpillars are friends and spiders are even ok as long as they are found outside. We have campfires, roast marshmallows and make wishes on the first star we see. I should add, by roasting marshmallow, I mean my kids make little marshmallow torches, wave them around and yell “mommy! daddy! my marshmallow is on fire” as we try to avoid having our faces burned with smouldering pillows of sugar. Each day is full and exhausting. The kids really do love it and most of the time, so do I. Yes, I could do without the mosquitoes and other pesky flying bugs, but in the scheme of things, those are minor annoyances.
The kids are “on” from the first chirping of the birds in the morning until the s’mores are done and all that’s left of the fire is a pile of coals. I will say though, they sleep so well after getting that much fresh air and activity! It’s not easy all the time though and my husband can tell you, that more than once upon returning home I say I am done with camping. I am usually very tired and I know it will be days of catching up on laundry and finding “acorn hats” in little pockets. But thinking of the memories we are making and the fun we are having, I know it will be a long time before I really mean it when I say I am done.
Happy trails to you…