Tag Archives: sunscreen

Camping with 3-5 year olds

I’m getting ready to take the kids camping next weekend, so I’m compiling lists of stuff and activities and food. Thought I’d share what I found good last year camping with Jen and Alex, and what I learnt hiking and mountain climbing in New Zealand before I grew up 😉 Here is us camping last year with my excellent mountaineering tent. For this year I decided to downgrade to a car camping tent. I’ll report in a couple of weeks on how that goes.


I like to go minimalist, but be comfortable, so here is my list with links to the actual items I own and use. This is my summer camping list, and does not include warm clothing, nor snow shovels…



  • Stove
  • Pots
  • Matches in a ziplock bag
  • Stove fuel
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Spatula/Wooden Spoon
  • Plates (generic plastic plates)
  • Cutlery (from home)
  • Cups (generic platic cups)
  • Water Bottles
  • Water Containers (clean milk containers)
  • Campsuds
  • Scrubber
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Paper Towels
  • Baby Wipes
  • Plastic Bags for Garbage
  • Rope

Cleaning and Fixing:


  • Rain jacket
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Fleece sweater
  • Bathing suit
  • Sun hat
  • Pajamas
  • Laundry bag
  • Water Sandals


Lastly, bring confidence, happiness, and a sense of adventure. There are several excellent articles online on camping with kids. One article on the REI website (http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/camping-kids.html) has lots of good advice:

When Outdoors, Be Outdoors

  • Make the most of nature: Look for wildlife. Check out bugs. Examine rocks. Identify birds, flowers, clouds, constellations. Lead kids on a rock scramble. Show interest in things that interest them. Bring a field guide to help you identify and learn about the things they find.
  • Be active, stay loose: Try to keep your kids active without following a regimented schedule. If they’re entertained by skipping rocks on the water, give them time to perfect the multiple-skip fling.
  • Attend ranger talks: If you’re camping at a state or national park, attend the ranger’s evening talk. Ask staff if the park offers a junior-naturalist program or other kid-focused activities.
  • Geocaching: A GPS-guided treasure hunt engages kids physically and mentally. Check our link to geocaching to see if any caches are hidden in the area you’ll be visiting.
  • Share time together: “Hey, mom, remember when we saw that deer?” Great memories are one of the great payoffs of a camping trip. Come home with the sort of stories that can only be created outdoors. Shakespeare must have been camping when he wrote, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

Playground Hunt offspring at Springs Brook Park

Bedford Water Park – Springs Brook Park

Since the couple of photos I posted on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PlaygroundHunt) got so many questions about the where, what, and when, I figured I better write a slightly longer post about the awesomeness that is Springs Brook Park, or possibly Spring Brooks Park. Who knows? The GPS address is 171 Springs Rd, Bedford MA 01730

Ignoring various spelling on various locations, all I can say is that Alex, Jen and I have thoroughly enjoyed this place for the last three summers.

It is a public, man-made beach with sprinkler park, lake, playground, and a very reasonable concession stand. It costs money to get in, but the maximum per day per family is $25. Bedford residents can get a season pass cheaply. They only take cash.

The staff are superb, there are lots of very attentive lifesavers, the place is clean, the people are friendly.

We bring a picnic blanket, snacks, lots of sunscreen, and swim stuff. I’m looking into buying a beach shelter thing, just because the trees shade the side of the lake away from the sprinkler park, and I like to plop down in between.

Springs Brook Park

Springs Brook Park is HERE on the map and very, very nice 🙂




I’m a science nerd, and old habits die hard. Can I leave it at just putting up the Sunscreen Song? NO!!! I have to go ahead and actually find out more about sun protections…

So, what’s the scoop. Anything noteworthy to pass on other than to fuel the sunblock vs sunscreen debate?

The Wikipedia article on Sunscreen suggests (with scientific backing) that adults should put about 1oz of sunscreen on to reach the protection claimed by the bottle. There are a few studies on how often sunscreen should be applied, and some discussion on protection against different spectra (UVA and UVB having the most potential to do harm).

And just in case anyone missed it – did you know there is a big debate about THE sunscreen controversy (I got the impression that this was sooooo tremendously important that the “the” needed to be all capitalized.) From the Wikipedia article:

Sunscreen protects against two common forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and several sunscreen ingredients protect against tumor development in photocarcinogenicity tests in mice. However, there is some evidence, largely arising from correlational studies and in vitro experiments, that particular sunscreen ingredients (such as oxybenzone, benzophenone, octocrylene, or octyl methoxycinnamate) may be linked to increased risks of malignant melanoma, a rarer but more deadly form of skin cancer. It has also been linked to Vitamin D deficiency.[1] The broad areas of concern are:

  • potentially carcinogenic properties of some sunscreen ingredients
  • Vitamin D deficiency caused by reduced exposure to ultraviolet light
  • incomplete protection against the full ultraviolet spectrum combined with increased time spent in the sun

This has led to a sunscreen controversy within the academic community. It is known that some sunscreens only protect against UVB radiation, and not against the more dangerous UVA component of the spectrum. In 2006, a number of class-action lawsuits alleged that sunscreen manufacturers misled consumers into believing that these products provided full sun protection. The lawsuits were settled in 2009 [2]. The vitamin D hypothesis is not as widely accepted but continues to generate scholarly debate. Most health authorities and medical associations have concluded that on the whole, sunscreen use is beneficial, but there is not yet a thorough consensus.

The full article is worth reading and it’s not too science-y. And as a parting shot, here’s some historical background of sunscreen to complete this fun-fact-Monday post.

The first effective sunscreen may have been developed by chemist Will Baltzer in 1938. The product, called Gletscher Crème (Glacier Cream), subsequently became the basis for the company Piz Buin (named in honor of the place Baltzer allegedly obtained the sunburn that inspired his concoction), which is still today a marketer of sunscreen products.[7] It has been estimated that Gletscher Crème had a sun protection factor of 2. Glacier Creme® lives on as a trademark for a brand name of a widely marketed premium sunscreen.[8]