Camping (A Guide for Those Who Can’t Stand the Outdoors)
When it comes to summertime and me, I spend a lot of time inside when I’m not out shooting, selling, sight-seeing or shopping. And although I love my fair share of picnics in the park or delicious grill outs and generally just getting fresh air, three things prevent me from desiring the outside in the summer:
Sure I love all creatures great, and especially bugs because they’re so fascinating, but I hate when they decide to act all dumb and treat me like I’m a pollenating flower or a bloody steak, I hate getting stung and thus I hate being outside in the summer. So it would make sense that I might not like camping, but strangely enough, I do. It’s pretty much the only reason I ever desired being a girl scout, aside from selling Thin Mints. A buring flame, smores, bonding with your best friends, and connecting to nature! It sounded like so much fun! But how can a person who with the fear of being attacked ravenously by nature, enjoy camping? By having a CampIn’ Party!
I did this a few years ago with my sisters when I was thirteen, inspired by an American Girl magazine idea, but I definitely suggest inviting a few guys since they’ll probably like the food and scary stories! American Girl’s suggestions were more food and girl centered, so I added some of my own little activities that I thought’d be fun for all! Also I have a tendency to want to include boys in everything since I have three little brothers, but you can just make it a girls thing if you like :)
Smores, You can either have a parent, unless you’re a priviledged young adult yourself, toast the marshmallows over a gas stove flame with skewers(that have been soaked in cold water for at least an hour), and then put them between a graham cracker with a chocolate bar. Or you can skip the open flames and just eat the ingredients together as they are in your room. Or you can make smore parfaits!
Makes enough for 4 greedy people or 8 normal people
12 oz bag of milk chocolate chips
32 oz bag of mini marsh mallows
2 packets of graham crackers
20 oz container of plain or vanilla yogurt
1. Crumble up the graham crackers and put them in a bowl. Put each of the rest of your layers into separate serving bowls.
2. Set out your clear cups or glasses on a tray.
3. When it’s party time let each of your campers put together their parfait layering the graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows and chocolate chips between layers of the yogurt in the glasses.
Popcorn, Another fun snack is popcorn, you can buy microwave kind, or you can go au naturale and pop some kernels in a tall stainless steel pot. My family has gone with this option since I was very little, mostly because we don’t have a microwave and it’s less expensive, but either one is great! Just make a lot so you have something to nibble on during the “camping trip”.
You can’t have a camping trip without some sort of flame (I’m beginning to sound like an arsonist), and since I wouldn’t advocate having a fire pit in your room, although that’d be pretty awesome, I suggest to get that same warm vibe building a fake flame! Just take a bunch of bright flashlights and tepee them. Yeah, it’s that easy, flame on!
Nature is probably the coolest thing about camping, and if you’ve ever lived in the county you’re surrounded by it even in your backyard! Deer, bugs, bunnies, ducks, frogs! However this is a camping in party so here are a few clever ways to have some nature without actually being around it. Because nature is pretty much what camping is all about so you’ve gotta squeeze it in somewhere. So here are a few suggestions:
- Turn on PBS, Discovery Channel, or Animal Planet: These stations often have something interesting on about animals, environments and the sort. I love learning about and seeing the beautiful shots of lions, wolves, birds, frogs, bears, and just about any creature(even bugs). Plus you’ll find the commentators hilarious as they turn just about any animal’s activities into thee most intriguing thing ever if the animals don’t do so themselves. So tune in and add a little nature to your night in, you’ll probably learn a lot of interesting and fun facts while your at it.
- Listen to a nature soundtrack, if you don’t have a baby brother who likes to hoot and make screeching sounds 24/7 this is a great alternative, you can find cd’s with the sounds of animals crunching on leaves, hooting, birds tweeting and the like at bookstores and sometimes dollar stores(for some strange reason …) and if that’s a little too much out of your way just skip it, the sounds of nature are annoying anyways (jk, jk).
- Invite some of your cute stuffed animals and place them around your campsite, bears, wolves, raccoons, you know all of the critters you’ll be avoiding tonight ;)
- Another fun activity to squeeze in some nature is to do some stargazing! It’s a great idea to plan your CampIn Party on a day that there’s a full moon, or when you can see certain constellations or planets. You can get information for these sorts of things on websites like the weather channel or in the newspaper, sometimes it’s even on calenders.
Build a Tent
I’ve been building make shift tents since I can remember, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a tent making connesiuer since I’ve yet to tackle actually taking a tent making kit and assembling it. So alas I don’t have any tips to provide you with in that area, although if you do have a tent and have someone who knows how to assemble it, if you don’t already, set one up. If you’re like me and your family has never been on a camping trip (thank you lord!), and thus you have no tent, you can go with option number two and make a makeshift one, yey!
Okay you’ll need:
- Chairs, heavy books, thin sheets(unless it’s winter and you want to be warm), and broom(s), you may also need thumbtacks.
You’ll want to set up your campfire and sitting area(pillows, blankets) or arrange your sleeping bags before you build your tent so you can have an idea of how much space you’ll need. Then arrange take your chairs and arrange them in a square making sure their backs are turned inside. Take your sheet and spread it over the chairs, using your heavy books sit them up against the fabric so it stays put, also remember to leave lots of fabric to fall in the center of the chairs for your broom set up. Then arrange your brooms in a square so that they hold up the tent in the center. Or you can skip the brooms and just tack the sheet to the walls, high enough so you and your friends can at least sit up. (Possible camp set up below)
Scary Campfire Stories
This part of the camping trip often results in everyone cracking up, since me and my siblings are terrible at telling scary stories and it’s so corny we usually end up making fun of one another and having a cackling session. Although sometimes if we remember to borrow a few scary books from the library we manage to tell some pretty awesome haunting tales. My favorite authors were R.L. Stine when I was little but I eventually grew out of them, but I do suggest books that have collections of short scary stories, they’re usually really good. However, since your inside you can kind of skip the scary stories and just watch a scary movie instead. My favorites are The Mist, The Darkness and The Shining (although for me, The Shining is more of a comedy, but I have a sometimes dark sense of humor). Although if you’re not a fan of scary movies and want a good camping movie The Sasquatch Gang is really fun!
If you’re good at telling scary stories then go for it!
So with all of these tips I hope you try to have your own CampIn’ Trip, because it can be really fun! And if you have any further ideas for campin’ trip activities or recipes just leave a note! :) <3 Maya M.