Category : Biology

Five ways camping benefits kids

There’s something magical about camping. Being away from it all in a remote location, with no TV, no Internet, no modern conveniences. Of course, some of the reasons camping is appealing are also reasons that it can be difficult… sometimes the romance of camping is more fun than the reality of mosquitos, lumpy tent floors, and lack of a toilet!

Still, camping is not without its benefits, especially for kids! Here are some of them:

Paudash Lake sunset

1. Kids learn about nature by being surrounded by it

It’s one thing to learn about nature in a school classroom. But it’s quite another thing to be surrounded by nature in a beautiful setting. Lots of different types of lessons can be taught outdoors – biology, botany, geology, meteorology – the list goes on. And lessons taught in such a session are likely to be better retained.

2. Kids learn to care for themselves outdoors

When there’s no fridge, microwave, or even running water on hand, kids will have to learn other ways to eat, drink, and take care of themselves. They will likely have to be taught, of course – but adults can certainly show kids how to cook food over an open fire or treat or boil water to make it safe for consumption. Such lessons are fun to learn, and might come in handy in the future – especially if there is a zombie apocalypse.

3. Kids learn to respect life

There is lots of life outdoors – plants, animals, insects, birds. By being outdoors, kids are having a sleepover in the homes of more of nature’s creatures. Children will learn to respect the environment and the various ecosystems they are exploring. Parents and teachers should of course encourage this by showing how to make a minimal impact on the areas they are camping in.

4. Kids learn outdoor safety

Outdoor safety is a useful skill even when you are not camping in remote locations. It’s good to know that you shouldn’t eat those berries or those mushrooms, that you shouldn’t touch that spider, that you shouldn’t dive into a strange lake or pond. Kids can learn that while the outdoors is your friend, it is also a wild and potentially dangerous place. Respect should be given.

5. Kids learn cooperation

If you’ve ever tried to pitch a tent by yourself, you know how difficult that can be! It’s much easier to work together to get things accomplished outdoors. Cooperation while camping is very important when it comes to setting up, searching for food, cooking, playing, or cleaning up after an outdoor adventure. Children can learn how important cooperation is outdoors and take these lessons back home or to the school classroom.

And here’s a bonus reason… it is beautiful out there! And there are plenty of amazing places outdoors all over the world where you can take children to experience the beauty of nature.

If you’re going camping this summer, have fun and stay safe!

Indoor gardening with an AeroGarden

AeroGarden BountyThis past Christmas, our son received an AeroGarden system. He is big into plants in general, though he favors edible plants (fruits, vegetables, and herbs) and of course, carnivorous plants.

The AeroGarden system, by Miracle-Gro, is not exactly a full hydroponic system, but it is pretty close. Plant seeds come in small pre-packaged pods that do contain some dirt. These pods then rest in a basin of circulating water, with plant food added. In the AeroGarden Bounty system our son received, there is a little touch screen that will display when water or plant food needs to be added, and the status of the system in general.

AeroGarden Bounty

So far, the system has been working well. Every pod in the starter package of different types of herbs has sprouted successfully. And the system is extremely simple to use – the Bounty system automatically turns the LED lights off at midnight every night, and back on again at eight in the morning. Since the system is already filled with water, you don’t actually have to do anything to care for your plants. The only work involved is adding plant food and water when necessary, and trimming the plants as required.

The ease of this system made me think that it might be useful to put into classrooms. Nobody will have to care for the plants, and it is likely they will grow successfully (at least to begin with – we’ve only had the system for a few weeks, so I can’t vouch for any long-term results). Of course, having your kids take care of the plants in your classroom is part of the benefit of keeping plants at school – but if you’re too busy for that, one of the smaller AeroGarden systems might suffice. And if you get a starter kit with herbs or vegetables, you can even produce your own food for your kids to eat.

Herbs in the AeroGarden

The AeroGarden Bounty system earned generally good reviews on Amazon, though according to customer feedback, there may be a few quality issues with the water pump that circulates the water inside the machine. Time will tell if that is the case for our system in particular.

I’m looking forward to seeing the plants in the system getting bigger and bushier!