I owe this tip to Catherine Newman of Disney Family Fun magazine. In a recent family camping tips story, she suggested bringing along craft glue and a bag of googly eyes to let kids make “rock pets, stick snakes, nutty friends and more.” I decided to test the theory when venturing out to Gold Creek Lake in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area as Solo Dad with four girls, ages 7-11 ….
Expectedly, the googly eyes crafts campaign didn’t usurp the need to cannonball into the cool, refreshing waters of the lake. We had just hiked two hours in — everyone carrying their own packs, and me bearing the extra burden of two sizes of googly eyes – and before even finding camp all four girls were in the drink.
Once at camp, however, and we were sitting around the fire at dusk, I broke out the bags and it was craft time. The kids ran in all directions gathering rocks with fissures and quartzite veins resembling various facial parts and the creativity began. Sticks turned into mono-brows and mouths, pebbles into noses and pine cones into ears. Soon the boulder near our tent doubled as a shelf showcasing all sorts of googly-eyed friends. Better even than the art: the hour or so it absorbed, keeping them quiet and at bay.
In the morning, they added a few more to the throng, with the best ones earning a coveted ride in the backpack pockets for a perch on the mantle back home and the rest returned to their natural states and scattered, after briefly enjoying their visit with animation.