Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Home From Camping and Keeping the Adventure Alive

We're home again from our last big camping trip of the year.  No more camping adventures to look forward to this year, but we do like to curl up and talk about all of the fun that we have had (while we can still remember it).  It's time to order our favorite camping and outdoor books.  Not that there are many--and thus, the reason why I had to go and write my own (due out next spring from Kane/Miller).  In the meantime we love "Stella and Roy Go Camping," by Ashley Wolff.

Stella and Roy Go Camping
Originally published in 1989, by Dutton Publishing, this picture book describes Stella and Roy's day (and night) backpacking in Yosemite National Park.  The siblings are looking for animal tracks and the animals who made them...especially bear tracks.  Wolff's book is well-told and rolls right along.   Her illustrations are especially marvelous.  Each spread not only shows a different animal track, but also depicts a special place in Yosemite, and has wonderful animals hidden here and there.  For a one-on-one storytime with a child 3 and up, this is such a fun book to keep us talking about our summer, and looking forward to next year.

Keep an eye out for anything Crinkleroot.  Jim Arnosky's now largely out-of-print series of nature guides for young children are funny, smart, and relevant.  Arnosky must have been a true outdoorsman to write so honestly and warmly about the wonderful birds, animals, plants, and places around us.
Crinkleroot's Guide to Walking in Wild PlacesCrinkleroot's Guide to Animal Tracking   Curious George Goes Camping

Keeping the Adventure Alive....Journals and Albums

Journaling is one of my family's favorite ways to help us remember our adventures.  You can easily make a child's journal out of any kind of paper.  It can be sewn, tied, even stapled together.  Brown paper bags are economical, durable, look great, and provide very useful pockets to keep some of those leaves, flowers, seeds, feathers, and other wonderful treasures.  Plastic sandwich bags also make great treasure-holders.  Trim paper bags to the size you like best, add pieces of paper for drawing and writing, punch holes, and tie everything together.  Open ends can be sealed with string, yarn, etc.  The possibilites are endless.

Leave it to my good friend in DC to know that the thing now for children's parties is to provide digital cameras for each child so that they can record the good time on their own.  And leave it to her to bring much-more-practical-and-just-as-much-fun instamatic cameras for all of the kids on our last camping trip.  Most of the photos may be of dirt and foreheads, but that makes the shot of a smiling Dad fishing or a sister eating breakfast that much more wonderful.  I can't wait to see the albums (dirt photos and all)... Thanks Evie!

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