cleanthe great outdoors

living life, making messes: a camping and crafting adventure


Our classroom has no walls, which is why I love homeschool so much.  Well, it is one of the reasons.  An important part of our homeschool curriculum is outdoor exploring and adventuring, which a huge emphasis on nature appreciation.  I really want my kiddos to not only have fun outside, but really love it, really appreciate it and spend their lives making an effort to protect it.  This week we headed north to the mountains (an escape from this desert heat) for a 3 night camping trip at Barton Flats Campground – what an amazing spot!

san bernardino national forest

Where we live in Palm Springs, it’s mostly palm trees and cacti, which are season-less.  They look the same all the live long year.  So, naturally, we love to visit places that look the opposite – mountains covered in forests, snowy peaks, spacious lakes and sprawling meadows – these are a few of our favorite places!  Barton Flats Campground in the San Bernardino National Forest was not only stunning and full of life (including encounters with a rattlesnake and a pack of coyotes!) but was also the perfect spot to play tag and hide and go seek.

camping with kids

As a small tradition, we always bring a piece of our adventures home with us.  We pick up shells at every beach; we collect smooth stones at every creek; we hunt for pretty leaves and flowers on every hillside. So, of course, before we packed up to leave today, the kids ran up into the woods behind our tent to collect fallen leaves to bring home.  They know I love a good fall leaf project!

fall leaf crafts

Packing up after an epic camping trip is bittersweet for me.  On the one hand, I’m exhausted, dirty and ready to take care of things at home.  On the other hand, I’m thinking of all the adventures we could be having instead of heading home.

barton flats

All good things must come to an end, I guess, so it was time to clean up and pack up and head out.  First step was the clean the breakfast dishes and let them dry while I moved on to tackle the tent.  I’ve got washing dishes while camping down to T at this point.  You need these things:

  • 2 wash basins, one sudsy water for washing, one fresh water for rinsing
  • a collapsible dish drying rack
  • 2 dish towels
  • biodegradable dish soap (nature-friendly)
  • 1 scrubby brush – I prefer Libman Curved Kitchen Brush

washing dishes at camp

I’ll put off packing the tent for as long as possible, but eventually it just has to happen.  Deflate the mattresses, roll up the sleeping bags, fold the blankets and then – behold the mess that is a tent floor after camping with kids and a dog.  If you’ve tried to sweep a tent floor clean, you know how frustrating it can be.  It’s like… banging your head against the wall.  I realized this trip that I was simply using the wrong (i.e. cheap) hand broom.  Put the Libman Whisk Broom with Dust Pan in your camping box – immediately.

how to sweep a tent

The funny thing about coming home after a messy adventure, like camping or a day at the beach, is that the mess will find its way into the house if you have kids.  No Matter What.  That’s just par for the course when it comes to an adventurous, playful life with kiddos.

muddy footprint floors

Luckily, I have the right tools at home to take care of the big messes made by little people.  My new BFF in my cleaning armory is the Libman Wonder Mop.

libman wonder mop

This easy-to-wring mop features microfiber GRIPSTRIPS that lift up to 20% more dirt.  They are a bit like a cross between a classic mop and a grippy microfiber cloth, which is in a word – smart.  It is incredibly easy to clean up any and all messes on a variety of floors, tile and laminate being where I use them.  It is so easy to use, in fact, that I let my son help when he wants to.


He’s a momma’s boy through and through.  I love it and I’m not ashamed!  He definitely always wants to “help” me at all times, which is a blessing and a curse depending on what I’m doing.  This mop is so easy, he really can help me clean up as seen below.

libman wonder mop review

A true definer in a good mop is how easy it wrings.  The Libman Wonder Mop has a power wringer, which is so simple, my 4 year old can do it.  It removes more water than before from the microfiber mop head, allowing your floors to dry faster after they’re clean.

libman wonder mop

So what happens after your mop head looks dingy?  Throw it in the washing machine – up to 50 times.  You can also purchase replacement mop heads when you need them.  So whatever did we do with all those fall leaves the kids collected?  We did a fun art project of course – right on the tile with all of the paint.  No worries, the kids can clean it up later with the Libman Wonder Mop!

fall leaf paint craft

fall leaf painting craft

This is one of our go-to paint techniques and it is great for kids of all ages.  All you need is a sponge or two (cut into 3 rectangles), washable paints, printer paper and fallen leaves… that’s it!  Both my 4 year old and 10 year old had fun with this craft today and it was the perfect way to wind down at home.  While the husband and I unpacked the car, they were totally preoccupied with their creations.  We all win because now I have some new wall art for fall!

fall leaf painting project for kids craft

Do you let messes get in the way of your adventures? 

Up your cleaning game this fall with the Libman Wonder Mop and other Libman Company products! 

Grab this $3 off coupon here!

libman wonder mop

pin this project for later!

easy fall leaf painting project for kids

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