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#214415 - 01/06/11 02:48 PM Winter Camping for Kids
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Happy New Year, fellow ETSers!

I'm currently planning a winter camp for our Scout group. Our theme is "Winter Fun!" We've got leaders taking care of the older kids, who will be practicing their survival skills, building and sleeping in quinzees, etc. My assignment is the younger youth, 5-8 years old.

Each of my kids will have a parent or guardian with them, and except for the leaders and our kids, none are really outdoors people. For many it will be their first winter "camping" experience. Our goal is to get both the kids and their parents to love it! We had a wood stove barracks-style cabin at our fall camp, but some were turned off, particularly by the outhouses, which was pretty chilly. This time we'll be in a more modern cabin with indoor plumming, so we've got the "ick" and "brrr" factors covered.

We're planning campfires and a hike and the trailer is already loaded with GT Snowracers and snowshoes. The little ones aways help pile snow on the mounds for the quinzees too. They love hanging out with the big kids but they aren't blessed with stamina, patience or attention to make a weekend of that.

I need some ideas about activities and crafts we can do to keep everyone's enthusiasm high, and maybe even teach a lesson or two along the way. Ideas? Suggestions? Warnings?
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#214436 - 01/06/11 08:26 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: bacpacjac]
plsander Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 38
In terms of the fun activities -

- Ice fishing (assuming safe ice)

- Ice golf (half drilled holes in the ice, we used tennis balls at our last cub event)

- Curling / ice bowling - used frozen water bottles for pins. One year frozen turkeys were used as the stone / ball.

- Sledding

- Snow shoeing

- Cross country (nordic) skiing

- Snow snakes (http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/activity/activity-810.asp)

- Broom ball - hockey like game with brooms as sticks and a smallish ball as the puck. Play on ice, packed snow, or ground.


We also planned activities for in the cabin, so that there was fun and distractions for those who needed to warm up.
- Storytelling
- indoor 'putt-putt' course

I recommend lots of food - energy to burn to keep warm. Hot coffee and hot chocolate... We usually used soup / stew / chili for the lunch, it is easy to cook, easy to keep warm and serve and was usually a hit with both the cubs and their parents.

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#214444 - 01/06/11 09:25 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: plsander]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Lots of good suggestions right there!

As long as the snow is not ice hard I would add ski jumping or sledge jumping to that list. It takes less than 5 minutes to make a small jump and arrange a competition.

And of course downhill skiing (using nordic skiis). But that may be beyond their skill set. If they can plow (or learn to plow right there) then they can do an easy slalom piste.


With snow shoes, make a competition out of balancing a tennis ball on a spoon. Harder than it sounds (you wiggle a lot with each step) - in particular if you have two teams racing each other.

Snowball throwing target practice / competition.


Make a snow castle. Bring an old saw, it makes construction a lot easier.


Make snow lamps that they light up when it's dark. Stack snow balls together around an empty space and put a candle in there. The effect is really cozy in the dark.


Most kids love to just play and muck about in the snow. If the parking lot is plowed you may have huge stacks of snow just waiting to be invaded by the hordes of cubs... Of course, some kids needs to "get started" and it is by no means guaranteed that a whole bunch of kids that really don't know each other that well will spontaneously engage in physically active play with each other.


There are some physical challenges, however: The main challenge is that most of these kids won't have clothing or shoes that work reliably and consistently. The weakest spot is between the shoes and the pants. The shoes are probably OK, the pants/suit/bib is probably OK, but the overlap between those two is hard to seal. Actually, it would be a great idea to bring gaiters for the whole lot, but that is probably beyond your job description.

Second weakest spot is water proofness: The kids will get wet. In particular on the knees and their bum, kneeling or sitting in the snow, as well as their hands.

Hot drinks and hot food and lots of it is an excellent way to keep them warm and active. And having an indoors location to warm them and dry them is excellent.


Edited by MostlyHarmless (01/06/11 09:31 PM)

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#214507 - 01/07/11 04:16 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: bacpacjac]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
Lots of good ideas here! Add frisby on snowshoes after they learn to walk on them.

The best,

Jerry

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#214515 - 01/07/11 05:48 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: JerryFountain]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6532
Loc: southern Cal
I suggest following the traditional Navajo practice - have them rise at dawn and run for a couple of miles, barefoot, in the snow.

Toughens them up....
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#214556 - 01/08/11 01:10 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: hikermor]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: hikermor
I suggest following the traditional Navajo practice - have them rise at dawn and run for a couple of miles, barefoot, in the snow.

Toughens them up....


LOL @ hikermor. thanks everyone! these are all great ideas. the kids are going to have a blast for sure! let's hope we can convert some of the parents so we can get them camping again! i can't imagine not wanting to camp with my kids but i'm in the minority in our group.
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#214558 - 01/08/11 01:17 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: bacpacjac]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
plsander, you're spot on. we needs lots of inside stuff to do too. it's a tricky age. my 7 year old would stay outside all day every day BUT:

-kids get cold and dehydrated quickly and need forced water and warm-ups
-my son is in the minority in this group of video, tv and junk food junkies

We've planned lots of songs and stories, and I'm working now on crafts and games.
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#216091 - 01/31/11 08:23 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: bacpacjac]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Thank you everyone! Our Winter Camp was a success!!

The kids were mostly interested in taking the GT Snow Racers down the old ski hill so we let them loose on that as much as possible. When they weren't sledding they were mostly happy to just play in the snow. We had to drag most of them inside to warm up. We did take the younger ones out for a hike, and did a little track and plant identifying along the way. The trail that's usually frequented by snowmobiles wasn't, so we didn't go to far with the little legs. The Scouts took a pretty long hike, made Quinzees and worked on their fire skills, while we pulled out the old rescue sled and snow shoes and had some relay races with the younger ones. We also spent some time inside doing some leather craft, making new woggles for their neckars, (Neckars are the bandanas they wear around their necks, for the unitiated) and reviewing the Cub Scouts First Aid Kits and PSKs, which the Beaver Scouts found very interesting.

We had a campfire on Saturday night too. The Scouts enjoyed it, the Beaver Scouts were too pooped to stay up very long, and the Cub Scouts learned an important lesson about listening to your leaders and wearing your snowpants even if you have your campfire blanket. wink

Sorry Hikermor, the other leaders vetoed letting run barefoot through the snow. wink
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#216093 - 01/31/11 08:45 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: bacpacjac]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6532
Loc: southern Cal
Sounds like you run a group a lot more active and interesting than the on I was in (way back in the Pleistocene).....
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#216095 - 01/31/11 09:41 PM Re: Winter Camping for Kids [Re: hikermor]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
LOL@hikermor! We do have a lot of fun. My son and I were fortunate to join a great group, with a wealth of experience and who hold dear the ideals of Scouting!
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