Enjoying the great outdoors with children can be very rewarding. Here are a few tips to help ensure a positive experience for the whole family.
- Dress for success. Dress in lightweight layers to accommodate weather changes and make certain everyone wears sturdy comfortable shoes.
- Be prepared! Slather on the sunscreen (at least SPF 40) and bring the bottle along with you. It’s also a good idea to carry a small first aid kit including moleskin for blisters, Band-Aids, Benadryl and an Epipen if your child is allergic.
- Fuel up. Bring plenty of water and high-protein snacks and stop frequently along the trail to help energize little bodies.
- Let your child be your guide. Remember it takes little legs extra steps to keep up with you. Slow down and enjoy nature. Encourage discovery, sing songs and talk about what you are seeing. Consider bringing a magnifying glass or binoculars for further investigation and take lots of pictures. Be creative and enjoy this special time with your children.
— Heather Caro
from Laura Larson, Cubmaster for Cub Scouts Pack 266
1 package Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup mix
1 cup instant rice
1 can chicken meat
1 cup water
In a pot, bring water to boil. Add soup mix. Then add rice. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until rice has cooked through. Add drained chicken meat. Heat through and serve.
from the cabin of Janet Gallant
1 lg can sliced peaches
1 pkg white or yellow cake mix
1/4 lb butter (1 stick)
Prepare charcoal (abt 35 pieces) for dutch oven cooking. Rub inside of the dutch oven with cooking oil, place 8 pieces of hot coals under the dutch oven, and 20 pieces on the lid.
When the oven is hot, pour peaches and juice into the oven. Add the dry cake mix on top of the peaches. Cut the butter into pats (small chucks) and place on top of the cake mix. Lightly dust everything with cinnamon. Place the lid back on the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Check cake with a clean straw or knife: Sticking the straw into the cake mix. If the straw comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, add charcoal to the oven and bake another 10 minutes. Check again.
Does the idea of sharing a tent with your toddler scare you more than noises in the woods? To camp with the comfort of knowing you could bail out anytime, consider these campgrounds in Yakima’s backyard. (Of course, your own backyard is an option, too.)
• Pedal a boat around the pond at the Yakima KOA, which offers cabin rentals as well as tent and RV spaces. With a store, heated pool, laundry facilities and even Internet access, the comforts of home are never far away.
For reservations, call 248-5882. The KOA Kampground is on the Yakima River at 1500 Keys Road.
• Catch a fish and a campfire program at Yakima Sportsman State Park, which offers a fishing pond for anglers under 15 and river fishing for adults. The park has a stroller-accessible wetlands trail. Saturday evening campfire programs run through Labor Day. Tent and RV sites are available.
For information, call 360-902-8844; for reservations, call 888-226-7688. The park is located at 904 S. 33rd Street.
• Sleep in a tepee at the Yakama Nation Resort RV Park in Toppenish. The park offers 14 tepees as well as sites for tents and RVs. There’s also a swimming pool and hot tub. No need to rough it: Catch a movie at the next-door Heritage Theater, or splurge for a slice of huckleberry pie at the adjacent restaurant.
For reservations, call 509-865-2000. The Resort RV Park is located at 280 Buster Road, Toppenish; it’s about 20 miles south of Yakima.
By Janet Gallant
As a Grammy with a cabin in the woods, coming up with fun things to do isn’t always easy. But also being involved with Cub Scouts has helped me come up with a few fun and age-appropriate things.
For younger kids…
1. Make a bird feeder: Gather a few pinecones and tie a string on the top of each cone. Cover the cones with peanut butter. Place wild bird seed in a small lunch bag, place the peanut-buttered cone in the bag and shake the bag to cover the cone with seeds. Hang from the tree branches for the birds and squirrels to enjoy. We’ve even had elk and deer eat our cones.
2. Go on a nature hike and gather some natural materials such as leaves, cones, moss, grass, bark, etc. Using paper plates or paper lunch bags, glue these items on a lunch bag to make a hand puppet, or decorate a paper plate with them.
3. Lay on the ground and watch the sky. See how many shapes you can find in the clouds.
4. Close your eyes and tell what you can smell, feel and hear. Can you smell weather? Can you hear weather? Etc.
5. Gather medium-sized rocks and let the kids paint them for pet rocks, door stops, etc. We spray-painted them white, then had the children paint them with water colors as gifts for Daddy for Father’s Day.
For older kids…
6. Make a water scope using a small peanut butter jar and two tin cans (such as soup cans). First, remove the top and bottom ends of the tin cans and cover any sharp edges with 1000 mile tape (duct tape). Tape the cans together end-to-end, then tape the cans to bottom of the jar, creating a long scope. Go to a shallow place in the river, put the jar in the water and see what kind of parasites and water bugs you can find. You can also scoop water out of the lake or river with a bucket and look in the bucket with your water scope.
7. Go on a hike and see how many trees, birds and plants you can identify. Teach the kids what each of these are in your neighborhood. Look for ant hills and watch the ants work.
8. Play shadow tag: Chase each other around stepping on shadows until everyone has been caught.
For more than 40 years, Janet Gallant has never lacked for something to do with her daughter, niece and nephews while camping or staying at the family cabin. Now she is “Grammy” to Couper, age 5, and Chase, 2.
from the cabin of Janet Gallant
1/2 cup milk (doesn’t matter what kind; chocolate milk makes chocolate ice cream)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla (try other flavors)
zip-lock freezer bags (pint and quart sized)
Add these to a pint-size zip-lock freezer bag; zip closed. Place that bag in a larger (quart or bigger) zip-lock bag. Add ice to fill larger bag 1/2 way, plus 6 tablespoons salt (rock or regular). Zip that one closed and shake, turn, toss and mix the bag. In about 5-10 minutes you will have cold hands and yummy ice cream!
Janet’s Tips: Don’t try to double this recipe, as it doesn’t seem to work. Rinse all of the salt off of the small bag before you open it. BE SURE TO USE FREEZER BAGS; the others are too thin. Hold onto the zipper part of the bag at all times. The bag does get cold, so gloves are recommended. Kids will have jumping around and shaking the bags. The ice cream thickens and you’ll need to eat it with a spoon. Melts very fast.