Babes in the Woods
Aist shares her tried and tested advice for taking babies and toddlers into the woods at very early ages. Well-organized chapters offer functional solutions for appropriate gear, clothing, food, nature games to play, and tips on potty breaks and sleeping outdoors.
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Ah, summertime. A chance to kick back, head to favourite trails, reconnects with mother earth and all of nature’s glory. And if you think you can’t do that with small children in tow, think again. Babes in the Woods is a handy pocket-sized manual for camping with pocket-sized-children, written by an experienced Alaskan mom (not Sarah Palin) who found lots has been written on backpacking with kids, just not very small kids. After documenting her own “under-five” camping experiences, she then began teaching Babes in the Woods classes, then decided to present her know-how in this super little book. She starts with the basics: camping gear for small ones is now readily available, and she tells you what you need (and more importantly, what you don’t need) in a series of checklists, tips and tricks for clothing, food (including trail recipes) and gear. There are sections on keeping shady, hygiene (potty-training in the woods is possible) and as bug-free as possible (we aren’t just talking the 6-legged kind here either). Safety gets a chapter of its own of course – animal encounters, lightning, water are all potential hazards of which to be aware, although none of them should stop you from being awestruck at the sight of a deer, a far-off storm, or a beautifully still lake. The author has loads of suggestions for the type of outdoor adventures to have and levels of camping to suit anyone, plus family activities to enjoy once you find that ideal spot to set up camp. What I especially like about Ms. Aist’s book is there is a small section on camping with children who have disabilities or special needs (her own nephew has hereditary spastic paraplegia, but it doesn’t stop him from hiking and camping with the rest of the family at all). Finally, the author includes an extensive list of online resources on every section she touched on in the previous chapters – most of them are American (she does include MEC) so let’s hope the loonie bounces back up to par soon. Final checklists are in the very back of the book (please photocopy them!), as well as that all-important index for quick reference. This summer don’t let an electronic screen be your babysitter – take advantage of what is supposed to be a hot, dry season to introduce your young ones to nature.
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