If you love camping in the lap of nature then camping with kids can be a new experience for your young ones. A camping trip with the family can introduce your children to the joys and sensational experiences nature can provide them. On a camping trip everyone, regardless of his/her age, can find a lot of things that can mesmerize them including the working of the smallest bugs in the dirt, and sky studded with stars, etc. The natural environment on the campsite will stimulate the senses by providing you and your kids new experiences.
In this write-up, we are going to discuss the benefits of camping with kids, how to prepare for it and what activities kids can do to remain busy while camping.
The benefits of camping with kids
Camping with kids can offer several benefits not only for kids but for adults also as it allows them to spend a lot of time with each other in the lap of nature.
- Fresh air: In your routine life you may not realize the scarcity of fresh air but when you are camping with your family everyone can easily experience the flavor of the outdoors while doing any activity or cooking food in the open.
- Reduction in stress: While camping with kids you are not bound with your routine work schedule which makes you feel relaxed due to lack of any competition as well as interruptions in your life. Nature will help in reducing your stress not only until you are in its lap but even for some time after returning to your routine life.
- Physical fitness: While camping everyone has to do a lot of physical work right from pitching tents to going hiking etc. Even though most people do not any activity to keep them physically fit but on a camping trip everyone has to do something to enjoy nature. It can help in promoting their physical fitness.
- Building relationships: A camping trip provides a lot of time for everyone to spend with each other. It can help in building strong relationships with other family members who otherwise could not get a chance to talk to each other due to their other involvements.
- Unplugging electronics: On a camping trip, you get a chance to get rid of gadgets as you have a lot of other things to do on the campsite. It will keep you away from the screens of your electronic devices like TV, computers, and tablets, etc.
- Freedom from alarm clocks: While camping with kids you do not need any alarm clocks as the chirping of the birds and the rays of the rising sun are enough to wake you up in the morning. It will be a new experience for you and your kids to wake up regularly with nature instead of an alarm clock.
- Connectivity with nature: You get a chance to get connected with nature while camping as you can see stars in the sky and come across wildlife which you may not get in big cities. It also allows you to get connected with nature by exploring it during your stay.
- Great things to eat: When you prepare food outdoors then its taste can be better than that you eat at home in a routine. The food cooked at home cannot be the same as cooking at the campfire or a grill at the campsite. So before starting your camping trip you must plan what to cook at the campsite so that you can come prepared for it.
Some of the benefits for young campers
- Opportunity to learn new things: While camping, kids get an opportunity to learn several new things about nature, wildlife as well as trees and herbs, etc. They can also learn cooking, fishing, camp firing, hiking, first aid, and safety, etc. during their first camping trip.
- Development of new skills: A camping trip can also help kids to develop several new skills like tying knots, setting up tents, cooking on the campsite and start a fire, etc. They cannot get a chance to develop these skills in their routine life.
- Connection with family: The most important benefit of camping with kids is that it can help in developing strong bonding between the members of the family including parents, children as well as among siblings. All of them will return home as a strong group.
- Increase in confidence: A camping trip can gradually make kids more confident and independent as it allows them to learn a lot of new things in a controlled and safer environment. They learn several new things for the first time while camping. It makes them more confident about their capabilities to do things they have learned on their recent trip.
Tips to make camping with kids an excellent experience for everyone
While planning a trip for camping with kids certain things can improve the experience of the trip for everyone. These things may include:
- Pack food of kid’s choice: To make camping trip exciting for the kids you should allow them to set a menu of what treat they would like to get or foods to eat at the campsite. If you do not have time to cook something new for them before starting for the trip you must pack the food normally they like to eat so that you can serve them while traveling as well as on the campsite.
- Allow kids to help in packing: While packing for a camping trip you should allow kids to pack their belongings they would like to use there. You should cross-check the things they have packed so that unnecessary things may not be packed by them. It will develop a sense of responsibility among the kids along with sparing you some time to focus on other important things.
- Organize your camping gear: You should organize all the camping gear you have in bags so that it can be accessed easily after reaching the campsite. To keep tents, kitchen supplies, other equipment, and sleeping bags you must use cardboard boxes or clear plastic containers to pack them separately. It will save a lot o time while organizing things at the campsite
- Find an appropriate campsite: While finding a campsite for camping with kids you should choose one that can meet the requirements of your family. Different campgrounds can provide different facilities. Some of them can have beaches, swimming areas, ball fields, playgrounds, rivers, or streams whereas some can offer hot showers, picnic tables, and flush toilets, etc. If you are going on a camping trip with kids for the first time then you must plan a short trip and choose a campground with a lot of amenities and nearest to your home. You can gradually plan for longer and more adventurous trips with time. You should talk to your family while choosing a campsite so that they may not feel neglected and enjoy the trip.
- Predict unexpected challenges: While camping with kids you must be prepared to handle the problems they may face on the campsite as you know how your kids can respond to any unexpected situation. You should bring a travel toilet and put it outside your tent if your kids do not like to go out at night or still under training to go potty. You should also bring a toy or a book to keep your kid occupied if he wakes up early in the morning and you do not like to wake up so early. To allow your teens to sleep undisturbed you should also bring earplugs for them.
- Dress your kids in layers: While dressing up your kids for a camping trip you should research about the outdoor weather conditions. You should arrange rain jackets if it is likely to rain anytime as well as arrange dresses according to the hot or cold weather you can expect at the campsite. You should dress your kids in layers so that they can adjust them with the changes in the temperatures. You should layer grown-up kids more than infants and babies as they move around more frequently.
- Involve your kids: Even if you can cook a meal or pitch a tent at the campsite yourself, you should involve your kids also in every effort. It will allow them to learn many new things about cooking food or pitching a tent, especially when it is their first camping trip. You can assign them meaningful tasks according to their age so that they can feel satisfied with helping you whether it is rolling out the sleeping bags, or filing up water bottles. You can also involve older ids for cooking dinner or washing dishes to ensure their participation in the trip.
- Have a positive attitude: You should be excited about camping with kids so that your kids can also get excited about it. You should have a positive attitude towards your trip so that you can easily manage with inconveniences you can expect on such trips. You cannot expect the facilities you use at your home at a campsite. Your positive attitude will encourage your kids to accept all the inconveniences wholeheartedly.
- Pack a favorite toy: To keep your ids busy at the campsite you should bring one or two favorite toys and games. You should also provide them enough outdoor space to play on. You should also allow them to explore the campground to find something to play with. They should also be allowed to create something amusing for them on the campsite. You can also bring things they may like to use at the campsite, like a ball, a kite, binoculars or flying disc, etc.
- Find moments to teach kids: A camping trip provides a lot of opportunities to learn for the kids regardless of their age. You can teach them small steps to protect them while enjoying the outdoor environment. You can guide them on how to properly dispose of trash, respect wildlife, plants, and rocks, etc. on a camping trip. You and your kids should follow the best practices while going to the bathroom in the woods if you are camping at an undeveloped campsite.
- Enjoy in the dirt: While camping your kids can get dirty as they may have dirt in their hair or mud on their shoes. They can mess up the room at the campsite. You must be prepared to handle all these things and let the kids enjoy in the dirt. However, while allowing them inside your tent you should help them in washing their hands especially when there is no running water near your site. You must keep ready a small bucket of water and soap at the washing station.
- Be flexible: On a camping trip, you must be flexible to accept anything as things may not go according to your plans. You can only plan a good trip for your kids but rest you should leave on the god as what happens in the outdoors can give you a unique experience every time. Your patient and flexible attitude will allow everyone with you to enjoy every moment on the trip. If you stick to your schedule then it will upset the mood of your entire family
- Pitch an extra tent for teens: To provide some privacy to the teenagers you can think of pitching a smaller tent for them. Older kids feel a bit more confident and independent if a separate area is provided for them to sleep.
- Create a cozy environment to sleep: To provide a cozy environment for your kids to sleep you should bring their favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or pillow instead of focusing on the things important for you. Though you should also bring your favorite things to sleep with but bringing favorite things of your kids you can make them feel more relaxed and cared for away from their home.
Activities to keep kids busy while camping
While planning a trip for camping with kids you must arrange a few activities to keep them busy during the trip. But while involving kids in any of these activities you must ensure their safety throughout the time.
- Ensure safety for kids: To make the camping site safe you should avoid areas dangerous for your kids and establish boundaries clearly. You should protect your kids from the sun, poisonous plants, and bugs by using bug spray and wearing long pants and sunscreen. You should avoid to camp near streams or lakes if your kids are small. To your grown-up kids, you can provide a whistle so that they can blow it to alert you in case of any emergency like getting lost or coming across strangers or wild animals. In this way, after ensuring the safety of your kids you can involve them in some of the activities discussed here under while camping.
- Allow them to use a tablet or an iPad: Though it is not advised to bring electronic items on a camping trip still to keep your kids engaged you can bring an iPad or a tablet for them. It will allow them to watch a movie or play a video game especially when it is raining and they cannot go for outdoor activities.
- Allow your kids to know nature: Your kids can know more about the nature around the campsite by including treasure hunting in their list of outdoor activities. If you like, you can award the prizes at the end of the hunt. For hunting, you should assign them a few simple items which they can find without removing irremovable items or damaging plants, like certain rocks, leaves, or sticks found in the nearby area.
- Encourage them to create something: While camping, you can promote their creative skills and imagination by encouraging them to create something by using the natural things available there like leaves and sticks, etc. they can create several fun things like houses for little birds or a picture by using some grass and sticks, etc. without damaging any plant or tree.
- Encourage them to explore: Normally exploring while camping with kids means hiking. Children usually like to find a track to know where it will take them. Such activity of exploring the area may keep your kids busy for several hours but you will have to keep an eye on them to ensure their safety in an unknown area. You should not allow them for a hiking trip for more than 30 minutes and pack snacks, sunscreen, water, and bug spray for them.
- Try Geocaching: This outdoor activity is favorite for kids of all age groups. It allows your kids to use a GPS device to hunt for certain hidden objects. The geocaching GPS devices provided by the campgrounds can also be used for keeping your kids busy while camping with them. You must encourage them to find some hidden items like unique rock or a small toy or ornament or something hidden by you etc.
Thus by following the tips discussed in this write-up you can easily go for camping with kids and avail of its benefits. It will also allow your kids to know nature more closely as well as have some unique experiences of their life.