Wednesday, April 9, 2008


You can give your kids a traditional "sleepover" camp experience, without shelling out the big bucks, by taking them "camping" at your local state park. We have a state park, which is about fifteen minutes away from our home, that rents modern cabins, complete with kitchen, bath, 2 bedrooms, and a cathedral ceiling living room for under $400 for the entire week! This is less than it would cost to send one kid to camp for a week, and you can bring the whole bunch. If you stay locally, as we plan to do, Dad can come and go as he pleases without eating up vacation days at work! If you have a friend with kids that are roughly the same age as your own kids, maybe you could convince her to join you and rent a cabin herself-or if you really want to rough it- you could all share one cabin!

To find out if your local state park has cabin accomodations available, simply check your state park website. If you have never been to your state park, or have no idea where the closest one to you is, you should be able to find out simply by entering your state and the phrase "state park" on a google search engine to find the website, and ultimately your nearest park. The website should also have information about activities that are available at the park.

Our state park has a swimming pool, a playground, frisbee golf, boat rentals, and of course, tons of trails. They also have nature programs offered at specific times. Much of our camp experience will focus on participating in these activities, just as the kids would do at a regular camp. Additionally, I will bring arts and crafts supplies, books and movies. There is no t.v. in the cabin, but we have a small set with a built in DVD that we can plug in just to watch movies. We will definitely watch "The Parent Trap", new and old versions. I will look at the library for a book of ghost stories to read around the campfire for the older kids, and the younger kids can listen to a chapter book, probably a classic. We will leave behind the computer, the video games;etc. , just as they would have to do if they were going to an "actual" camp. Board Games that we rarely play at home, will see some action at camp.

Most campsites have grills available. Each cabin at our local park comes with its own charcoal pit, so we will do a lot of outdoor cooking. Smores are a must for this type of camp- hot dogs too!
I will keep all meals simple, camp cuisine. Since we won't be in a rush, the kids can prep dinner and desert.

Hope this inspires you! Don't deprive the kids of a camp experience simply because of cost!

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