We have been tent camping with our kids since they were babies. I love sleeping in a tent–the way we all end up snuggled together at night. Last summer, however, we realized that the five of us were rapidly outgrowing our 4 man tent. After much discussion we decided to start watching craigslist for an inexpensive camper. Nothing fancy–just something that provided a little more comfort during rainstorms and made it a little easier to keep everything dry and mud-free. We are excited to announce that yesterday we became the proud owners of a little 1989 pop-up camper. It’s in excellent shape–just needs a bit of updating. I’ve been browsing the internet looking at pictures of retro campers for inspiration. My first step is to pick out cool fabric off of etsy for curtains, as well as make a few pillows out of some vintage fabric that my grandmother passed down to me.
After we get it fixed up I plan on filling it with nature books, notebooks for drawing, art supplies, etc and making it our summer home/classroom. I’m going to spend a good chunk of the summer out camping with the kids–exploring, playing, and learning. We’re fortunate that my husband works one week on, one week off. On his off weeks we’ll head off together to different parks and state forests. On his work weeks I plan to take off with the kids by myself (or with my mother or a few girlfriends).
Not only will this be a fun way to spend the summer, but it will also provide me with lots of research for my masters degree. First, I look forward to seeing what kind of impact all that time in nature has on my three kids. Second, I’m hoping to take notes on our experiences within our state parks and forests so I can someday write a book on the top parks and trails for kids in Wisconsin. Finally, I have stacks of nature activity books full of games, art projects, camp recipes, and other ideas that I’ve been wanting to try. I’m looking forward to trying them out and reporting back on my family’s favorites.