April 12, 2013

Home in the Woods & Wilderness Inspiration

Last summer I was a camp counselor at a wonderful summer camp in Southern Virginia. Each week there was a scheduled time for us to take our groups into the wilderness for an overnight camping trip. We planned our meals and picked our "Home in the Woods" spot. We grabbed sleeping bags, hammocks, coolers of food, tarps, and rolled endless amounts of twine. (Fierce forearms for the win!) Then early in the afternoon we took off across a (never ending) field towards the woods.

We would spend the afternoon setting up a boy's and girl's tarps to sleep out under. I learned how to tie a movable knot (I probably learned that during Girl Scouts, too, but I forgot it somewhere). We would collect logs, sticks, and kindling to make a table and start a fire for dinner. I learned how to lash this summer, too. (Again, I feel like that's a Girl Scout tool I learned as a Junior, right!?)
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During Home in the Woods, the Camp Director would always encourage us to be creative and make MORE  than just a table, build a fire, hang our tarps, and feed our kids. :) This didn't always happen...the more part, anyway. It was bad if you didn't make a table, build a fire, hang your tarps, AND feed your kids. I had a couple weeks out of the summer, where our kids would make things - one week, they painted "Welcome" and our group name onto river rocks; another week, we painted with rock paint all over ourselves (and my hair!); another week, we made a great big hammock village.

While, I'm not returning there this summer (I've got other Wildernesses to venture into!) - I have been collecting a few things that would inspire me for future Home in the Woods or any wilderness, camping adventure with kids of any age!

Hammock Chair How-To: This instructable includes detailed how-to with pictures! 
Andy Goldworthy's Art: Inspire your kids to use nature to create patterns or works of art. Talk to them about artist, Andy Goldworthy, who used leaves, rocks, and sticks to create works of art. 

Primitive Tic-Tac-Toe: This one seems simply enough - start the kids on a game of tic-tac-toe while you're getting dinner started. 
Wooden Toothbrush: Campers will probably find this really weird and really fascinating. The author of this article talks about Native Americans using a similar method to brush their teeth. 

Big Nature Loom: Put those lashing skills to good use and rig up a HUGE loom. Have the kids weave anything into it that they can find in nature. 
Little Natural Loom: Let them practice their weaving skills with a small, natural loom. 

Additional Ideas & How-To's:
Boy Scouts can basically build anything: A huge selection of pioneering how-to's from latrines to towers! Not step-by-step, but has simple pictures that you can extrapolate from.
66 Ways to Tie a Tarp: An image with 66 different ways to tie a tarp.
Rigging a Tarp Basics: An infographic that has tarp-rigging basics and knots to use.

Bring on the warm weather!

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