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Educational Camping and Nature Trips

Discussion in 'Nature' started by gracer, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. gracer

    gracer Explorer

    As a parent, it is my aim to always include some sort of education or learning opportunity with every activity that I make with my child. Whenever we go camping or hiking, I couldn't help but put on a little lecture here and there with my 6-year-old son, especially when he asks about the things he sees along the way. He is a very curious child so I also support his curiosity by explaining about the things I know.

    There are also moments when we explore and learn more about nature together. I find camping as an opportunity for learning not only for my child but for us adults as well.

    Do you also feel that camping is a good way of learning more about nature and its many aspects? What have you discovered or learned so far from your camping trips? I'd love to hear your stories. :)
     
    missyify likes this.
  2. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    To me there's so much to learn about life from nature than anywhere else. One of my favorite quotes is, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

    As a former couch potato, I've learned many valuable lessons from being out in nature and I'm excited to share them with my kids. Not only has my entire demeanor and outlook on life changed, but my health has greatly improved.

    Some of the subjects we've been talking about lately:
    • Why we want to avoid the use of balloons, plastic bags, and generating too much trash. This is something I've been working on myself as my husband is a little resistant to go all the way.
    • Which led to why even the much hated mosquito and other nuances in the animal world are still important and have their role in the environment. My daughter doesn't like things that bite, so that was also part of the discussion. Which also led to the discussions of "who was here first?" and "who's home are we in?" when we are out camping. We try not to bother animals and insects as much as possible unless they're an immediate threat.
    • Why taking caterpillars, snakes, and other creatures from their natural environment may seem like a good idea for having a pet, but why that's unkind... The difference with domesticated animals.
    • "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" which also includes don't pull up plants or twigs off of trees that you don't need for a purpose. Especially if you can find it just laying around.
    • I try to teach more of the Native American values of only use and take what you need and use as much of whatever you deemed necessary to take as possible... We're trying to work that into everyday life. Sometimes it's appalling how wasteful we can be. We also discuss this around food since we like to go fishing. We compost food scraps at home, too.
    • Enjoying the moment you're in right now. Feel the breeze, the rustle of leaves, the sounds animals are making... Just look around and take it all in. How to be patient, like the quote I mentioned states.
    We are also going to be a homeschooling family using a distance learning curriculum which has a lot of outdoor based activities for learning. My kids learned to write in the dirt before they set pencil to paper.

    I was pretty intrigued by the idea of nature schools so I try to use that philosophy in teaching academics as much as possible along with just letting them experience nature... Climbing trees, planting seeds, running around or climbing barefoot... That's the best way they build up strength and coordination. Their physical abilities are off the charts compared to most other kids their ages.

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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
    gracer and Northern Dancer like this.
  3. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    @gracer, I think your idea of extending the teaching of your children in outdoor setting is a wonderful idea.

    Just the fact of learning about the creatures of the forest and also learning the different trees and plants, will help your children learn how we must be gentle with mother earth. Such as why pick up and clean up a campsite, with an answer showing wildlife that has become tangled in a fishing line or has it's head stuck in a can.

    Knowing and respecting wild animals as being wild and not pets. We all see the results out in Yellowstone National Park, where people who have gotten to close to wild animals, as in bears and elk, and buffalo. How selfies can get you hurt or killed.

    Just knowing mapping with and without a GPS. I see so many people just relying on their electronics and not having a hard copy of the area they are visiting and camping in. I guess I am old-school because even though GPS gets you there you learn nothing from the trip and without the GPS, people are lost. So to learn about maps and knowing where they are in the woods and on the road is a another teaching tool.

    Learning about waterways. Directions creeks and streams run, in relation to where you are camped. Learning about using a compass. Oh, there are so many wonderful things that can help children and young adults grow in knowledge and skill, and have sharper minds, by your using nature to teach wilderness arts.
     
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  4. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    My stepson was bummed that my husband didn't get him a compass (he did get it before camping, though). I tried teaching the kids how to find direction by the sun... Not as thrilling but I know my daughter will have it figured out soon.

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  5. gracer

    gracer Explorer

    Such wonderful and very educational posts you guys have there @missyify and @2sweed. I actually copied your posts and saved them on word because I want to read them over and over until I am able to absorb them. :)

    I remember a question that my son keeps on asking me especially when we are hiking or camping in the woods. Because of the vast number of creatures and different wonders of nature that he sees, he would always ask the question, "what's the importance of this and that?" Sometimes I would even pause for awhile thinking of the right answers to his questions because he is a very curious kid with a lot of questions in his mind.

    I think that nature is the best teacher for everyone to learn things from. This is why I'm also a strong environmental advocate because I want our future generation to enjoy and learn from the benefits we are having with nature right now. :)
     
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  6. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    Sometimes, if I don't know the answer, I will find a video or other info on the subject and learn about it together. I feel like it's important that I show my children that I don't know everything, but I do enjoy learning.

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  7. ashley0323

    ashley0323 Novice Camper

    As a homeschooling parent, we do use camping as being educational. You can study the different animals and insects you see and write about them. Thats what we did for snakes, leeches and fish.
     
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  8. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    I feel like hands on learning leads to more passion for self directed learning. I remember having a school project on mantises, but I'd never even seen one. I liked making my mantis out of clay but that was as far as my interest went. At home (or in the yard) we've hatched butterflies, mantises, raised worms, set up a bat house, etc. It's a great way to make learning about something immediately relevant. Sure they'll probably learn to appreciate reading about the pyramids of Egypt one day, but I've found it's hard to get a young child to be interested in something they can't see for themselves or holds significance in their eyes. Heck my daughter asked me if the Wiggles exist... Maybe it's just me that I've raised a bunch of Spocks lol. My daughter is already a fan of the scientific method at the ripe old age of 4.

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  9. gracer

    gracer Explorer

    This really brings out the value of experience over other ways of learning. :) I also noticed how my little boy learns more by experiencing things aside from just reading about them in books. He is a very curious boy and he has a lot of questions about things. I see this as an opportunity to feed him with more knowledge, especially from experience.
     
  10. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ... there are numerous organizations that provide free stuff on nature and such.
    There a whole lot of appropriate age books and fun packages that one can purchase for youth.
     
  11. ashley0323

    ashley0323 Novice Camper

    We are a homeschooling family. That being said, we are only in our kindergarten year. We do use camping as being educational. You can study the things you see, the bugs and animals you come across while camping, comparing day-to-day life to camping for a day, etc. There is endless possibilities. Not to mention, its a physical activity.
     
  12. scrapper

    scrapper Novice Camper

    What about boy scouts organizations? I always wanted as a child to join one. But never had the opportunity to become a permanent member of a youth organization, only to be part of a typical child vacation's plan financed by my father's company. I always wanted to know how to handle and throw a tomahawk like those olde woodrunners and then wield a blade as skillfully well as some badass marine.
     
  13. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Pathfinder

    I was a boy scout in grade school and camping trips taught me a lot. Not only with survival in the camp but also how to handle emotional issues. Some of my co-scouts were crying at night due to homesickness. A Scout should be able to thrive anywhere regardless of the distance, the terrain, and the companions. When I was 18, the scout master appointed me to be his assistant. I'd say that scouting helped in molding my personality.
     
  14. rz3300

    rz3300 Explorer

    I think that we could all stand to benefit from something like this. Even just simple survival skills I would think would be something that would be more relevant or available, but it really is not.
     
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