I am thinking of trying to have a camping adventure with my guys, hopefully before school starts. Oobi has a camping episode, and Little Bear goes camping with Father Bear, and one of our Signing Time videos mentions camping, so there has been some interest in tents and things.
The question is how to do it. Camping even with non-autistic young children requires planning. First- inside or really outisde? To have this adventure inside requires clearing floorspace for the tent, but the plus is controlling the temperature and immediate access to such things as bathrooms, comfort objects, and the television. Not exactly camping, is it.
What is the point of this adventure? Exposure to new things, discussing the night-time, learning about nature. Ideally, we'd go out to Grandma's and camp in the woods, with a real campfire, seeing if Joey could deal with roasting marshmallows. Ther would be owls and wood ducks and deer and wild turkeys, as well as rabbits, squirrels, and plenty of trees and bushes.We could wade inteh river and look for crawdads and mussels and minnows. However, what about Joey wandering? If he got really uncomfortable, would Grandma's house be enough of a comfort? Or would he wander into the trees? What if he heard something that interested him? How would I find him? What if the river was a draw?
An alternative plan would be our own back yard. The yard is fenced. i'd need to get a chain and lock for the gate. But we'd be in the town. I suppose that's OK for a first adventure. Backyard it is.
I actually have a tent. Amazon had them cheap for a while. We could use the BBQ as a firepit for marshmallows. It would be kinda Oobi-ish. Now, what activities to keep the attention of small children until they pass out?
telling stories isn't really advisable, as they don't hold attention. Joey's tenuous grasp of narrative, sequencing, and language means he has a very difficult time following stories. Maybe soem kind of craft would be good early on, then marshmallows, and see if we can entice them with songs.
How would they deal with discovering that we are actually sleeping outside all night? That the bedtime routine will be altered? Willthis lead to meltdown, or controllable excitement? Do I have enough ASL to keep Joey focused and able to understand? Should I try to dig out the Oobi episode and talk about this? How far ahead?
It's not really the questions that are out of the ordinary- it's the answers. But we have to prepare, just like everybody else.