Our family loves games...when I say love I mean LOVE and I want to share some our favorite games with you. We have a wide range in ages of our children and the ones I have decided to share we are able to ALL play and enjoy.
On 4th of July we had a hilariously good time playing this game:
This is kind of like bocce ball with hilarious twists and turns along the way like throwing your ball with one elbow on the ground!
Your children will be amazed and in awe around your next campfire with the addition of a few pinecones.Well okay not just any pincones, magic pinecones.
Small paint brush
¼ C Table Salt-yellow flames
¼ C Powdered borax-yellow/green flames
¼ C Salt substitute-violet flames
¼ C Epsom Salt-white flames
4 aluminum pie pans
Measure out each of the 1/4 Cup chemicals into seperate bowls.
With the paint brush paint glue on the tips of the pinecones.Holding the pincone over the aluminum pan spoon first chemical over the pinecone until glue is coated. Place on wax paper to dry completely. Repeat with remaining chemical. Repeat with each kind of chemical.
Now that you have made your 4 different kinds of pincones the magic begins at your next campfire. Just throw one of the pinecones on the fire and watch the flames change color. Children love magic pinecones!!!!
I can’t remember camping when I was young even though I know I went so when I started to take my children camping I soon realized the importance of having some planned activities.For us we are fortunate enough to have found a state park that has activities for the children every day.The park rangers go around and show the kids something (like a lion ant) and tell them about this fabulous thing they are going to learn about and do. Who has ever went hunting for a lion ant or even thought of going for a hunt for one?My children loved it!!!This however is only about a ½ to an hour of the day.Going to the beach is a large portion of our days too and of course dinner over the fire.It is the other portion of time that needs to be filled and so we have come up with some fun and easy ways in that down time of the day for the children to have some fun.
Pick Up Sticks (literally)
Have your children collect small sticks all about the same size and have an adult cut them to the same length.Now you have yourself a set of sticks to play pick up sticks.
Sticks and Stones
Before you leave program index cards with simple objects like cat, car, ball (laminate them if you would like)
Again have your children collect sticks and stones.Have an adult cut the sticks into three different lengths.
To play: have your children take turns drawing a card and use the sticks and stones to make a picture while the other children guess.
Find 1 large stick and use the same cards from the above game.Have each child take a turn drawing while the others guess.
Hang a white sheet over your clothes line and then take a lantern and place it behind the sheet.The bugs will swarm to the sheet and it is great viewing of the bugs.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Make lists of things you might find out in nature before you leave and make several copies.Send them out to find the items on the lists.If you have lots of children you can divide them into teams. Here is an example of one of our scavenger hunt lists:
NATURE SCAVENGER HUNT
oa stick the length of your arm
oa perfect leaf
oa rock the size of your thumb
oa piece of bark
oa smooth rock
oa blade of grass
oa Y shaped twig
oa rough rock
oa baggie full of sand
Glo Stick Hide and Seek
Take a glo stick and break.Have one person hide the glo stick while the rest cover their eyes.Then play like hot and cold or you can have one glo stick per child and have an adult hide them and play like an easter egg hunt but you can only find one glo stick per child.This is great to play at dusk or with older children at dark.
This is our big production of the day because kids LOVE campfires, at least ours do so we might as well make the most of it and when we are camping we make all of our dinners over the fire. I want to talk about gear or cooking methods first. There are a few things we use for cooking every camping trip( I will let you know if 2(tin can stove and a box oven) new cooking methods we are going to try this time work or not) hot dog sticks(sticks you find or store bought ones), pie irons, dutch oven, foil, and a grill that goes over the fire(at the end of the post I will share some recipes to be used with some of the cooking methods). I love cooking with the different methods for a couple of reasons it keeps things different with lots of variety and 2 my children learn how to cook in different ways that they just can't learn as easily at home.
Hot dog sticks are self explanitory and we really don't camp without having hot dogs at least once. Did you know though you can shape hamburger(just add some egg to your regular hamburger mixture) like a hot dog and cook it over the fire YUMMY!!!
Cooking with Pie Irons my childrens favorites by far. They love cooking those pizzas over the fire but it doesn't just have to be pizzas. I found this wonderful site here with fabulous recipes to use withyour pie maker. We also make pies with them too our favorite is apple!
Dutch Oven cooking to be honest scared me to death when I first tried it. I was sure I was going to burn everything and so I did some research and bar none this is the best website for how to's and recipes for your dutch oven. I could not even compete with it so why bother I will just send you to the pros.
Who doesn't love a Foil Dinner? They are easy and the possibilities are endless. If you have never cooked a foil dinner before there is an easy tutorial here at Outdoor Cooking Magic. Our favorite is foil pouching veggies with a bit of butter, salt and pepper and kabobs on the Grill which leads me to the next piece of gear a grill that is placed over the fire. We use this to heat water at night in a tea pot and we have even cooked nachos and pancakes(using a griddle pan on top) on it.
Now for the recipes:
Hamburger Hot Dogs
Take 1lb hamburger(you know the bowl I keep fruit in on the table, I use that bowl) and place in bowl with 1 egg, some onion, salt and pepper. Mix together.
Have your hot dog sticks available (I have the children hold them for me) then take some hamburger and shape it like a hotdog and slide it onto the stick. Have the child walk over to the fire where dad is a waitng to help with the cooking. Serve in a hotdog bun with your favorite burger toppings!
Pie Iron Apple Pie
Butter 2 slices of bread and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Place on slice into pie iron add diced and peeled apples sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar(you can also use canned pie filling) add other bread and close pie iron. Cook over fire until golden.
1/2 lb ground beef(the leaner the better when camping) 1/4 tsp pepper
1 medium onion 1/2 tsp basil
1 4oz can mushrooms drained 1 tsp dried oregano
1 14 oz can chicken broth 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 60z can tomato paste 1 6oz package spaghetti broken
1 3/4 C water
Build a campfire using briquettes and dig a hole int he coals for the Dutch Oven. P;ace ground beef and chopped onion in oven and set in whole. Cook ground beef until evenly browned(I cook an extra pound of meat and extra onion to save for walking tacos, I just remove, place in a baggie and when cool store in cooler)Add mushrooms, chicken broth, tomato paste, water, seasonings. Bring mixture to a boil and add spaghetti. Cook stirring frequently until spaghettie is ttender about 20 minutes.
***quick tip when you make your meal plan look at what seasonings you will need and make little snack size baggies labeled with what meal they are for and store alll the baggies in a gallon size bag.
and now for DESSERTS!!!
I shared one dessert above with the apple pie but it doesn't have to be apple it can be blueberry or cherry too. We don't eat dessert at home except once a week or when we go to grandmas so it is an extra special treat to have dessert every night when camping. Here are some of our favorites:
Smores everyone loves a good smore and we have this more than once!
Fudge Strip Cookie Smore (which is fabulous because the on the cookie doesn't melt hanging around the campsite) Cook your marshmallow over the fire and place between 2 cookies enjoy!!!
Worms and Grasshoppers!!! This was my best prank ever and luckily for me I have a son who loves Man vs Wild which really help pulling off the gag. He ate a real live grasshopper as his younger siblings were gaging and shedding some tears that this was going to be their dessert and we were going to go catch it and then I whipped out gummi worms and grasshopper cookies(by Keebler) and smiles and laughter did abound!
We go out for ice cream one night. For some reason their is always a mom and pop ice cream shop near a campground!
There you have it dinner and dessert my next and last post is about activities to do while camping until then enjoy coming up with an awesome and fun Dinner menu.