Are you looking for activities to do with your children?
Create a time capsule
Grab a glass container or a box in your recycling bin and ask your children to put in it objects that it will be interesting to rediscover in several years. For example, a drawing of their pet, a list of outdoor activities to try in the next ten years or an anecdote about their favorite camping souvenir. Also take out construction paper, glue and markers to decorate your time capsule.
Camp at home
Put up your tent in your living room or yard. “Last weekend, we set up our tent in the yard for our four-year-old child,” says Brock, an MEC employee. We took out our sleeping pads and sleeping bags and invited her cub, rabbit, owl and monster for a sleepover. We also faced imaginary storms and had tea. Then his stuffed animals fought a friendly wrestling fight.”
Learn to name the constellations
Cloudless nights are ideal for learning the names of the constellations. Use the traditional star finder method (which will also come in handy on your next camping trip) or download a free astronomy app like SkyView Lite. “What I like about this application is that it contains animations that connect the stars of the same constellation and display its name to make it easier to locate,” explains Mike, member of MEC. It can also be used to track the moon and the sun once they disappear below the horizon line. “
Prepare a picnic
Put your favorite snacks in a cooler, spread a blanket on the living room floor, on the terrace or in the courtyard and enjoy. If there is still snow, take out your sleeping bags and toques for a winter treat (in this case, hot chocolate is in order). Use camping utensils for an even more realistic picnic.
Watch a movie under the stars
If it’s warm enough, make yourself comfortable in your tent or on your patio to watch a movie on your laptop or tablet. If it’s too cold or you don’t have enough outdoor space (or if your Wi-Fi connection doesn’t work outside), recreate an “open air” atmosphere in your living room. Ask your children to help you pitch the tent, make a fort with the cushions on the couch or even pretend to go to the drive-in by making small cars out of cardboard.
“Last weekend, we made birdhouses,” says Jason, MEC employee and father of two boys. The nesting period for American robins is fast approaching; now is the perfect time to undertake this project. If you live in an apartment or don’t have the tools and materials to build a real birdhouse, make one out of cardboard. The important thing is to use creativity and to take care, and sometimes, a simple DIY is enough.
Go on safari
Are you looking for a clever way to give old toys a second life? Integrate them into a new environment. “My 21 month old boy knows a lot of animal names,” says Carolyn, an MEC employee. While he’s in another room, we have all of his stuffed animals on the tables, shelves, window sills and then find them with him. I ask him “where is your bear?” and he searches everywhere until he finds it. It’s adorable! “
Help them make a discovery every day
“Young children have an incredibly short attention span and are curious about anything they have never seen or touched,” adds Carolyn. So, a few times a week, I place a new object in a place where we can watch our boy discover it, like on the living room table. It is a real success! The most captivating objects so far: a cardboard box, a hiking backpack and a muffin plate with reusable silicone molds.”
Organize an activity hunt
Draw a map of your house (or even better: entrust this task to your children), set up activity stations according to their age and indicate their location on the map. These activities don’t have to be out of the ordinary, since going looking for them adds to the adventure. Here are some ideas. Allow time to do each activity with your child.
- Color drawings inspired by nature (download free examples here)
- Make a puppet out of an old hiking sock, buttons and fabric scraps
- Create your own hiker’s mix by combining your favorite ingredients
- Play a camping game that can be used indoors, such as pétanque
- Make a collage from old magazines
- Play bingo with a card that has things to find rather than numbers