where to start and where to stop writing. i don’t consider myself as a writer and i don’t have a clue, but still i’m giving it a try. i just write. trying to let it come. something will develop, something will come, like it always does.
just like it is with that writing here, thats (or similar like that) how it is with the life of our little ones outdoor. outside in nature. they just need to get out there and they will start playing automatically. you don’t need to plan or prepare big things, just give them the opportunity to get outside.
thats how pretty much every day of our almost 4 weeks in scandinavia looked like. at one point in the morning we woke up in our vw bus. sometimes we had freezing temperatures during the night and we woke up in a cold bus. the four of us. in the back, on a wooden board with one big mattress. not a lot of space for us all to stay there forever. our girls always wanted to get outside first. no matter if we had clear blue skies or rain. well, don’t ask me about my motivation to get outside all the time. i think the girls were my big prompting. and because we were staying at wild campingspots or campsites, we had to get outside for everything. to prepare, cook and eat on the fresh air. while we were busy doing so, the girls started to look what we did and often imitated our actions with whatever they found (empty tomato cans served as pots and grass as food and little woodensticks as stirringspoons). when papa went out to fish, they’d use long woodensticks as a fishing rod. sometimes they just left, took their buckets and collected stuff like moss, stones, soil,….often they ran to their papa, who chopped firewood and prepared another warm fire on the river. they carried firewood from one place to another, helped him collecting more in the woods and always arrived with something in their hands they found. and they always found something, discovered something, things i’d never would have detected in its details. also, because the first thing they did, when we arrived at a new campingspot, was running around there and exploring the area where we stopped while we were busy with preparing the next meal or packing together stuff that slowly got hoarded in the bus. we were immediatly informed if there where blueberries or cranberries at the place we would camp that night. but you need to know that there were also times, where i encouraged them to go and to look. maybe they’d discover moose or reindeer poo-poo or their traces/tracks. maybe the would spot some fungi. i got them excited and often went with them in the beginning to then leave, when they found something that kept them busy, e.g. a climbing rock. the girls had to be in sight/eye distance and everything was ok for me and for them.
our experience while camping and travelling with a bus in southamerica and croatia showed me, that its not necessary to take a lot of toys with us, `cause the girls hardly looked at them or played with them. so this time i just took their waldorf dolls(who also have a comforting purpose), a few small pixie books(highly loved while driving), 2 big enamel buckets and shovels. i also prepared a sac/bag full with craft stuff(felting, wool, woodenbeads, leather straps, brasswire, scissors, glue, sidewalk chalk, crayons and a sketch block,). with the craft stuff i mainly wanted to be geared and ready so we can do something creative with all the nature treasures the girls collected in the woods, at the river or at the fjäll. also to have something in case boredom would take over. i honestly thought we would use all that precious craft stuff more often, but i only opened the bag three times during our whole trip. we made the woodenstick-wool-weaving frame, where we collected and put in all our nature treasures. the girls started with one thing and that was totally enough for them. they proudly walked around with it. later on they collected more little sticks, feathers, pines,…which i slowly added in their individual weaving-frame. Later on our trip, our little `fjäll`baby was made. made out of a woodenstick, a woodenbead(where i drew on a little face) and reindeer moss/lichen. the fjäll baby travelled with us and mainly told the girls good night stories in the evening. stories about the woods of sweden. it now lives with us in the bavarian alps. little woodensticks with small felt ribbons and woodenbeads arose and served to make music when they were hit against empty tomato cans. i remember one evening when we prepared dinner. the girls played nonstop with their empty tomato cans and 5 tiny wooden beads they had put inside them. they walked around with them and made music and sang along to it. later they took the beads out, carefully put them in-line, counted them(one five seven), put them in the can again, took them out again and so on and so forth.
my personal conclusion: if you’re planning a camping or nature based vacation with your small children, where life takes place outside/outdoor, don’t bring all the toys of your kids along. leave them at home. let your kids explore and keep themselfes busy. encourage them, go with them the first little steps and trust that your kids can discover, explore and play with whatever they find in their surrounding. they can. well, thats at least my experience of the last 2,5 years we travelled with our little ones.