Camping and a Lapbook

Last year we took the kids to Deerfield Fair in New Hampshire.  Phil grew up going there and camping with his family, so it was a momentous occasion taking his own children.  That, and it was our First Official Camping Trip.  His parents gave us their slide-in camper and we stayed overnight on the fairgrounds.  It was pretty handy, being able to go back to make our own meals rather than buying expensive, greasy fair food.  We were able to get up early the next day, walk around and see the animals before they went to their respective shows – it was a lot of fun, and we plan to go again this year. 

Despite the comfort and convenience factor, the slide-in was very tiny, and we decided to casually look around at secondhand campers.  We didn’t want to make any hasty, irresponsible decisions, but we lucked out big time when we found a nice fifth wheel.  It has always been a dream of Phil’s to own a fifth wheel, and he was psyched at the find. 

We took our next First Official Camping Trip with the new camper last month for Father’s Day weekend.  We almost always head up north, and I told Phil I wanted to try a different direction – so we chose Connecticut!  I told Phil the Essex Steam Train looked like fun (apparently, my mom took us when we were little but I don’t remember), so we picked a campground not far from there. 

We chose Wolf’s Den Family Campground, and while the playground right next to our campsite came in handy, we weren’t too thrilled overall.  Nonetheless, we had a fabulous time in our home-away-from-home, and we had a blast riding the train and visiting the impressive Gillette Castle State Park.

We’ve been trying to use the camper at least once a month.  It’s a bit tricky with Phil’s new work schedule (24 hours on, 48 hours off), but we’ve been taking weekend trips when he has a Saturday/Sunday off together.  This past weekend we went back to Connecticut, and were much happier with Ross Hill Park Family Campground – the grounds were lovely, the people friendly (and didn’t stare at us like we were invading their turf), it was right on the water, and there was a nice little pond where we spent much of our time (and we’ve got sunburns to show for it).  

We’ve been to the area before and found a little ice cream shop that is becoming a family favorite.  This was our first time there with Gwendolyn in 2008:

We found out that Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream has a Sunflowers for Wishes fundraiser every year so I was excited that we’d be going at the right time.  The hayride in the field was fun, and the sunflowers were gorgeous – I couldn’t stop taking pictures!  We got ice cream (of course), walked in the flower fields, and then got a couple bouquets of sunflowers before heading back to the campsite.

The day before we left for camping I was packing it full of food and supplies, trying to figure out what to pack for the kiddos.  I’m always aware of trying to make something fun, maybe turn it into something educational for Gwendolyn, so I stayed up late making another lapbook for her.  I was pleasantly surprised that she spent a fair amount of time on it each day of the trip, finished almost all of the activities inside, and especially loved the velcro pieces I added.  That’s it – I’ll have to add velcro to all my lapbooks!

I found most of the lapbook elements from Homeschool Creation’s Camping Preschool Pack and used some of the ideas at Homeschool Share’s Camping Adventure Lapbook

Any suggestions for a camping trip?  We’re trying to stay close to home due to fuel costs and time constraints.  We had planned on going to Hidden Acres Family Campground, but by the time we called to make a reservation they were all booked – maybe next time.