Camping with kids.

Dec 8, 2021 | 0 comments

By Theresa “Resa” Leppert

So many memories of camping with kids! Our children, our nieces, nephews, family friends. You might have read my previous “local picks” blog post about Yellow River State Forest.  My husband’s family has been camping there for more than 50 years – and I’ve been camping there for at least 20.  My daughter was pretty much raised there!  She learned to ride without training wheels and all about polliwogs and bugs and snakes and tent camping.

Nothin like camping with kids!

We always camped at YRSF with my husband’s family back in the day – as many as 40 people all camping together. 

Little Paint Creek pedestrian bridge

YRSF is off grid.  No electric, no flush toilets, no running water (other than the stream), though there is a community well with potable water available. 

Family rules about using electronics

Because YRSF has no electric available, our family rule with all the kids has always been you can have your electronics until the battery dies, and then you’re done. You have to go play OUTSIDE.  One time, our daughter Amelia broke that rule. Her GameBoy went dead, and she snuck it into the truck and plugged it in to charge…… and I caught it. 

Oh boy.  Amelia’s punishment for the infraction was that she was not allowed to use anything with a battery for the rest of the day.  Here’s how that conversation went:

Amelia, age 10, eyes huge and face shocked.  “What?  I can’t use anything with a battery?  What about after dark?  I can’t use my headlamp or a flashlight?  C’mon, Mom!”

Me:  “Nope.  You broke the rules, so no headlamp, no regular flashlight.”

Amelia, frowning:  “But how can I play flashlight tag with everyone tonight?  How am I gonna get over to the bathroom in the dark?”

Me:  “Well, you’ll have to have someone else walk you over.”

I pretend to think it over. “Hmmm, well, I am willing to let you use the emergency flashlight from the emergency bin.”

Amelia, grinning, thinking she’s in the clear:  “Ok, cool, I can deal with that.”

Me:  “Well, don’t get so excited yet……. It’s a crank flashlight.”

Amelia, mouth open, shocked look on her face:  “Huh?  Crank?”

Hours of entertainment for us adults….

Priceless.  All us adults sat around the fire and listened to the kids in the dark playing flashlight tag – and you’d hear running, then the steps would stop, and you’d hear muttered curses and frantic cranking, then she’d take off again.  OMG, classic.  Hours of entertainment for us, and hours of frustration for Amelia. 

She never broke that rule again, though….  Fun times! She laughs about it now.  What kind of rules or expectations did you have for your kids – or yourself – when camping?

Everyone needs a backup flashlight in their emergency kit!

All kidding aside – it is really important to have a backup flashlight in your emergency kit. And honestly – it’s a good idea to have a crank one as batteries degrade over time and might not work when you need it most!

The link below will take you to something that is similar to what we had at the time.  I would recommend everyone have something like this in an emergency stash – maybe one of the fancier ones that has solar charging on it!  (That wasn’t available 15 years ago – at least not within my budget!)

Connect with me!

Theresa “Resa” Leppert

Guide Manager

Guide, Iowa & Wisconsin


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