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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Wilderness Boys

This weekend the Helfrich Family went CAMPING. Yes, I took the plunge in honor of Sid and his campout. Some of you might remember that I am a reticent camper; I much prefer a nice hotel. Or at least I thought I did, until this weekend. We chose a spot under an hour from home and decided to rent a teepee instead of investing in a tent. I know, I know, it isn’t “real” camping without a tent, but give me a little leeway. Although the teepee had beds and a comfortable living space, it didn’t have running water, electricity, or a bathroom. (All things I can count on in a hotel, by the way.) Here is a picture of our site.
The campground was set in a pretty spot with views of the mountains on one side and a swimming creek on the other. There were tons of activities for the kids and it felt great to be outdoors for days on end. And the smores…ah, how we all love smores!
I had no idea how wonderful this experience would be for Henry and Leo. Everyone told me they would love it, but I was amazed to see it for myself. Henry and Leo were in their element. They turned into wilderness boys! The safety and size of the campground allowed them an unprecedented amount of freedom. They ran wild for three days (under parental supervision, of course.) They became wilderness boys. And in the wilderness, science finds you.
Within minutes of our setting up camp a flock strange and exotic birds wandered in. Peacocks! A mommy peacock was walking around with three baby peacocks. What do you call a baby peacock anyway? Chicks? We were all stunned and mesmerized. We warned the boys to give the birds a lot of space and the family moved on. Henry immediately went looking for a science tool in order to study the bird family.
Henry was so engaged with watching the birds and speculating about how they got there and where they nested. We observed them all weekend. They make a honking sound and nest in the trees. Gerry even saw one fly out of a tree and said it looked prehistoric with an 8ft wingspan! We also saw lots of signs and warnings about Bigfoot sightings. I am not sure that counts as science, but it made for great campfire stories.
Leo and Henry spent a lot of the weekend conquering the rock climbing wall. For a small fee they got a wristband that allowed them to climb the wall and bounce on the huge jump pad for hours on end. The wristband also allowed me to read a book in the shade! Both boys were determined to reach the top. It took a lot of work and a lot of strength. They didn’t give up! By Saturday night they had both made it up.
The best part of the campground was the creek. It was deep enough for swimming but shallow enough for walking. The boys had a blast! There were rocks to climb over and pools to swim in. We found little fish, tadpoles, and frogs. Leo and I examined moss and other plants that grew in the water. It was lovely. Aren’t these the kind of days that all little kids should have? We should all spend days catching frogs and chasing dragonflies. It is almost too good to be true.
In the evenings Dad taught the boys how to make a proper campfire. Once the fire was steady enough to leave with me (the novice) Gerry led the boys on a flashlight hike through the nature trail to see stars and the almost moon. When they got back we all ate smores. I sang show tunes and Leo fell asleep in my lap. It was heaven and I never once wished I was in a hotel.
Tell me about your favorite camping adventures! Did you find any science along the way?

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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