Today, most kids prefer watching TV, playing video games, or being online than participating in outdoor activities. The excitement of chasing a butterfly, taking a hike, or exploring the woods can barely be found in kids today. Despite the current Covid pandemic, kids can still be safely outside exploring and creating adventures. One way to raise adventurous, outdoorsy kids, is by taking them on camping trips. Camping is a fun family activity that’s relatively cheap and can be done even in your backyard! Here are five easy ways to get out there and start camping with kids.
The first thing step to going camping with kids is to find a place that’s suitable for your children. Once you pick the perfect location, look for a family friendly campground. Check to see if the campgrounds have playgrounds, diaper changing stations, a pool, and perhaps a camp store.
You’ll need to decide if you want a campsite that’s close to the bathrooms and wash areas. It’s good to be close to the bathrooms if you have young children, but if you have kids that are light sleepers, the increase in foot traffic in the area may easily wake them.
You want to find a place that is safe for children to play, wander, and explore. You don’t want to settle in an area that is too rocky, or close to a high ridge or fast-flowing river.
Camping out in the backcountry with kids isn’t the best idea, as most children aren’t comfortable with going to the bathroom outdoors. Being in backcountry woods, with minimal amenities and more risks, isn’t a good idea with kids. Always be sure to choose your location based on the safety of the campsite/area and the activities that your family wants to participate in.
It is highly recommended that you drive to your intended campsite than hike there with your kids. You don’t want to start a fun family vacation with an exhausting hike. Find a campground that’s easy to get to by car. If you do have to walk a bit to the campground, make sure the hike is short, with minimal elevation change. Car camping is the best introductory camping for kids since you drive right to your campsite.
When you are camping and living outdoors, it’s imperative to be prepared for any weather. Weather conditions can be unpredictable and you should prepare by packing sunscreen, hats, rain gear/umbrellas, blankets, coats, as well as clothes for varying temperatures. You can also get protective fabric, like those sold from Rockywoods, that protect from sunlight and cold temperatures.
Remember to bring a favorite blanket or stuffed animal for small children, food and drink, and games/tools for outdoor fun and exploration. Also, be sure to pack a first aid kit of bandages, allergy and pain medication, gauze, and other first-aid equipment in case of an accident.
Even if you want your kids to experience the joy of catching their own fish for dinner, you should remember that they are just kids. They may not even enjoy fishing, so be sure to communicate with them before the camping trip so you know what they’re interested in doing.
It is advisable to pack a lot of snacks and beverages that your kids enjoy. Plan your family meals ahead of the camping trip so you can pack the necessary ingredients. Invest in a good cooler for all of your perishable foods. A good way to get the kids involved is to allow them to help plan and make the camping meals. And of course, don’t forget the ingredients for s’mores!
The main point of camping with kids is to give them some time away from their gadgets, and bringing them along would defeat the purpose. This is not to say you should not pack any, as you obviously need your own smartphones for an emergency. If you leave the tablets and phones at home, you’ll force the kids to find other ways to entertain themselves. Of course, pack a few outdoor type toys like balls, nets, or binoculars, and be ready to teach your children all about what nature has to offer.
There are a lot of camping sites online that can help you plan for your family outing. Hopefully with the five tips listed above, your child’s camping experience will be a fun and educational adventure.
What’s your favorite camping activity with your kids? Let me know in the comments!