|Swim goggles may help keep smoke from children’s
eyes while marshmallows droop and tan to perfection.
If you haven’t tried family camping yet, autumn is a colorful season to introduce the children to short trips at local farms or forests. As the temperatures cool, leaves deepen into crimson, gold, and tangerine. And, if you’re really lucky, some of the peskier bugs have disappeared. Aside from the tips I offered for Family Camping in Spring that also pertain to camping in autumn; dress in layers, bring warm bedding, etc., October holds other interesting elements.
In the United States, many campgrounds in October offer hay rides and campsite decorating contests. I remember a camping trip when one of the twins needed to bring in show and tell that week and the letter happened to be “h.” We gathered a few straws of hay from our ride around camp Saturday night and twistered them together. She stumped everyone that day in school, including the teacher, with her show and tell bag of hay.
Some campgrounds offer Halloween costume parades and trick or treating at the campsites as well as pumpkin decorating. Sometimes, campgrounds offer haunted mazes as well as haunted hay rides. Oooo…we did the haunted stuff after our youngest children reached 9 or 10 years of age, but all children are different. As long as you are with them and remind them that the scary stuff is pretend, you shouldn’t have any nightmares to contend with in the tent.
We remember seeing a young person wearing what looked to me like authentic camouflage gear. He was hunkered down near the reeds by the lake with reedlike strands hanging across and down from his helmet and clothing. The strands blended him into his surroundings. I mean, if I wasn’t staring right at him, wondering why those particular reeds looked ever-so-slightly different from the surroundings, I wouldn’t have noticed him. His father was very proud of his young son’s ghillie suit. This was the first time my family had ever heard the term ghillie suit.
Campfires are more inviting in autumn because of the warmth they bring. Weenie roasts [hot dogs] and s’more toastings abound at campgrounds. For tips on how to enjoy campfires with the family, look in my “Gotta Have-a Campfire” post. I explain why it’s important to begin a campfire right after dinner and how to allow everyone to assist without mishap.
However, smoke will always be a problem with campfires, or at least it always follows me no matter where I sit around the family campfire. My daughter decided to try her swim goggles to keep the smoke out of her eyes while toasting marshmallows. It appeared to work. In fact, I wished I had a pair.
Remember to douse the campfire with at least two pots of water to be sure it’s really out. And always finish the campfire before the children—or even the parents—become tired.
There are many reasons to camp in autumn. Please share any memories you may have or offer some tips of your own camping with kids. Thanks so much!