Welcome Jodi Stemler of Jodi Stemler Consulting!
I am honored to have a dear colleague of mine as a guest on KDN. Aside from the fact we have the same first name, Jodi and I lead similar lives, albeit in different time zones. We are both moms who have a background in fish and wildlife conservation, spent many years working in Washington, D.C., left our full-time gigs to raise children and are avid outdoorswomen. We are also committed to keeping our children connected to nature. While talking business with her one day it dawned on me that she is a perfect person to provide my readers with a new perspective on connecting kids with nature. Enjoy!
Camping with your kids can be a whole new adventure from the relatively easy days of camping without kids! When it was just me, I’d sleep with just an inflatable pad thrown on the ground (now that I think about it, that wasn’t that comfortable either). With kids, there’s a lot more to consider when planning and organizing for the trip. But the world that you open up for your children when you spend a night under the stars is worth the effort, and the memories from the trip cannot be replaced.
So, after my family’s recent weekend trip camping in the Pike National Forest in Colorado, I thought of three tips to pass along to parents to help them be prepared when camping with kids.
- Layers! Remember that when you’re camping you’re not treated to the nice temperature-regulated life that we usually live. Depending on where you are camping, it could be very hot during the day and really cold at night – and we’re not used to that when our house thermostats usually do the work for us. So make sure you check the weather and know what to expect for your trip. Pack layers of clothes for your kids. Nothing spoils a trip faster than one cold (or hot!) night in the tent!
- Activities – Think ahead about what you will do with your kids to keep them busy. I’m not suggesting you script every second of your trip by scheduling tours and hikes and fishing trips down to the minute. But look at the options that you’ll have where you’re going, give your kids a chance to choose the things they’d like to do – and then make sure you “schedule” plenty of free time. One of the best things about camping is giving kids some freedom to come up with activities on their own. Have field guides for birds and flowers, pack your fishing rods, and taking some card or board games isn’t a bad idea either. But leave the electronic games at home – remember you won’t have a plug to charge them up anyway!
- Chores – Really? On a camping trip? Yes! I’m not talking about the normal things they would do at home, but involving them in tasks that will engage them in the process of camping and teach them what needs to be done to make the camping trip successful. Collecting firewood, clearing the tent site of rocks and sticks before you put up the tent, helping to clean up after meals – all of these types of things will connect your child to the entire adventure.
More about Jodi:
Jodi Stemler has been in and around the outdoors since she was a small child growing up on a farm in central New Jersey. Her passion for nature led her to a career working on conservation policy and communications. When her daughter was born 5 years ago, she shifted from life in the office to life as a consultant allowing her to stay home (and play outdoors!) with her daughter while staying connected to the conservation cause. Jodi and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado and hike, run, fish, bird watch, camp…. you name it, as long as it gets them outside as much as possible