We always advocated that being outside is its own reward; that kids can be entertained with a minimum of ‘toys’ while in Nature’s Playground. Â And while we still stand by that, it’s also true that a few simple props can greatly enhance any camping trip–especially ones that last a few days.
Here’s a list of our favorite camping gadgets. Â If your kids are especially short on attentiveness, space these out over a few days for even greater enjoyment.
- BinocularsÂ Whether it’s to view the night sky or the moon, magnify a spider (turn your binoculars upside down), or check out the birds in the trees above camp, binoculars are a great addition to any bag of camping goodies. Â With adult supervision, any pair will work or you can buy your kids their own pair fairly inexpensively. Â Look for ones with low magnification, wide field of view, not too heavy or considerÂ a pair specific to kids. Â I’ve been drooling over these made by Bresser. Â They ship from Germany. Â For older kids, invest in a pair that is durable and will last awhile (but still not too expensive). Â I like these Pentax binoculars. Â We wrote a post a few years back on teaching a kid how to use binoculars.
- Whittling tools Â Hours of fun, and with the added danger of a trip to the emergency room! Â Just kidding… sort of. Â Buy a thumb guard, or put a leather glove on the hand holding the carving wood to reduce the chance of injury. Â If you want to splurge, get a beginner’s set of wood-carving tools. Â Otherwise set them free with a pocket knife (there are many good pocket knives for young outdoorsmen, but I will forever be partial to Old Timer’s because it was my first). Â A good beginner project is a marshmallow roasting stick. Â Also fun are flutes. Â You can also buy blocks of woodÂ for beginners, or give your novice a bar of ivory soap and see what emerges. (more…)