If you have been reading about our adventures for a while, you may have noticed I have a Travel M.O., but instead of people being able to quickly identify what I will do, my modus operandi is what I don’t do- camping and forests. Well at least until now. As the kids are getting older they are drawn to camping and to exploring forests. I have always been willing to go for a walk in one and quickly return to the safety of my car but this year it looks like we may take a giant leap and actually go camping.
Discover the Forest
I was recently introduced to a great website that may solve the age old question of where and how does a mother of two children, driving them 3500 Miles to Texas and back, stop to go camping. Discover the Forest is a site dedicated to getting families back into the forest this summer. It has all the information you or I will need before taking the actual step of reconnecting with nature. From what to pack and where to go to a free guide for rookie parents like myself, this site leaves no question unanswered.
What may or may not surprise you about getting outdoors is that there are significant benefits to your kids. Discover the Forest shares that kids who spend time outdoors: (1) demonstrate more creative/imaginative play; (2) are generally healthier; (3) have lower stress levels; (4) have a greater respect for themselves and others; and (5) a greater appreciation for the environment. If you are like me, you are probably reading this and thinking I should get outside more often.
The First Steps
Thanks to the Internet planning excursions like these is easier than ever before. Discover the Forest has gone even further by providing an interactive map where you can search by type of site like National Park or Wildlife Refuge and type of activity like camping, hiking or water activities. Once you have decided where to go, the site also provides great guides like the Book of Stuff to Do that you can print to bring with you. The Book of Stuff to Do is an activity guides for kids that helps them match animal footprints (lions and tigers and bears oh my!) and find directions without using a compass.
If you aren’t inspired enough, this cute Discover the Forest PSA will get you out there in no time.
So who is coming with me?