KidsOutAndAbout.com Reviews Let's Go, Chipper!
by Anne Siller
It happened just like that: The kids were playing, the 3-year-old at my feet, the 4-year-old in the yard. The 5-year-old, as usual, was on the computer; from the kitchen, I could hear him pounding away on the keys. Suddenly, the door burst open, and in raced my middle child, Duncan, holding a stick with a big, fat, juicy green caterpillar on the end. He ran to his big brother to show him this... this... MONSTER from the garden.
What did Computer Boy say?
I'm sorry, did you just say, "So what"? In the face of that electric green, creeping, 100-legged miracle, did you say, "So what"??? Well you know what, Buddy? We are not "So what" kind of people! WE are "Hey! WOW!" kind of people.
Clearly, we needed to get the Hey-WOW back. And so, just like that, we were planning a camping trip.
The only glitch in the plan is that we are not campers.
My husband Ed has some memories, good ones, of camping with his family when he was young. On the other hand, I come from people who would start laughing if someone suggested sleeping in a bag under some nylon cloth on the cold, hard ground.
And then there is all the work! What do we need? What do we bring? And how do we get the kids involved? So I put Ed in charge of the big stuff and I consulted Chipper the Squirrel for the rest.
A dear friend introduced me to Chipper, but you can find him on www.LetsGoChipper.com.
Let's Go Chipper
Let's Go Chipper is a concept created by Stephanie Rach-Wilson, a writer and producer and lover of the great outdoors. Through the spokes-squirrel, Chipper, the website encourages children to explore nature with wonder but also safely and respectfully. It promotes good ethics while traveling through the natural world, with an emphasis on less waste and more recycling.
The “Let's Go Chipper” series offers books and a CD that follow Chipper on his travels as he introduces us to the friends he meets on his way. The CD tells the tale of city squirrel Chipper's first foray into camping. His parents want to get him in touch with nature, but they don't know much about camping (sound familiar?). The story follows their vacation from the beginning and offers many helpful tips:
Make a checklist of all the things needed on the trip
Give the kids a checklist and a bag of their own so they get involved
Don't let the preparation for the trip make you crazy (my personal fave)
The exact list we needed!
Chipper: Into the Great Outdoors
The CD follows Chipper through the forest once he gets to the Great Outdoors. He goes astray, literally, and while he tries to make his way back to the campsite, we all learn things about staying safe in the woods. It is well animated, with a beautiful song to accompany the story at the end. And as a bonus for my kids, Chipper says the word hiney...as in: "Leaves of three, let it be....if it's shiny, watch your hiney!" It gets them every time.
Chipper's "Let's Get Ready to Fly!" activity set includes several books, the CD, a bag, sunscreen, and a plush pillow/backpack. This set is available on the Let's Go Chipper web site and is very reasonably priced.
It's also nice that Rach-Wilson practices what she preaches: The items are sent with a minimum of packaging, and the books are printed with environmentally-friendly paper and ink.
To be honest, we are not quite ready to fly yet. But we are ready to camp!
Now, have you ever started a week of family fun with three whimpering kids in the back seat because you yelled at them for forgetting their favorite pillow? Or their water shoes? Or whatever? Yeah. Me, too. We're not going to do that this time. Chipper is going to keep me focused on what's important about the camping experience.
So the tent has been purchased, the checklists drawn up, the expectations raised. We're going to be just like Chipper. In a few days, the computer will be off, and so will we. Out there in the Great Outdoors, I will be listening, among the noise of the crickets and the frogs, and I am certain I will hear: "Hey! WOW!"
I just hope it's not part of "Hey! WOW! I think we lost Duncan!"
© 2012, KidsOutAndAbout.com Anne Siller, mother of four, is editor of KidsOutAndAbout.com's Hudson Valley site.