There are many people who enjoyed camping as they grew up and got married, but the camping stopped when children arrived. Having children should not mean that your outdoor adventures must stop. On the contrary, you now have another person to teach and explore with. For those that are a little apprehensive, here are some tips to help continue camping with your children. Choose your camping location wisely – Find a campground that caters to families. State and National Parks are usually good for this. There are also campgrounds that have organized activities like movie night, arts and crafts, and ice cream socials. Some other child friendly amenities to look for are bathrooms with running water, swimming pools or lakes, bike paths and nature centers.
Use a checklist when packing – There is enough gear to take when camping without children. You don’t want to forget some of the vital gear needed for your kids like diapers, medicine, clothes, and shoes. If your children are old enough to pack for themselves, always double check their bag for weather appropriate clothing and shoes. If you are bringing bikes, don’t forget the helmets and bike locks. Do you want to learn more? Visit tips on vacationing with kids
Plan your food selections – Make sure you have food that your kids like and will eat. Out in the woods, there is no refrigerator if they don’t like the dinner you cook. Keep your meals simple. If your children are old enough, have them help with the preparation and clean up. Bring snacks like granola bars or small baggies of your favorite chips and crackers. If they are active all day they will get hungry.
Assign tasks to your children – This is a great way to teach as well as get some help keeping your campsite clean and organized. Meal preparation, washing dishes, garbage duty, and tent cleaning are just a few.
Plan some activities – You cannot expect a child to sit at a campsite for 12 hours with nothing to do. Swimming, hiking, and biking are three great outdoor activities but the list is endless. Point things out to your kids along the way like unusual rock formations and wildlife. Try to do activities that they would not normally do at home like shoot a bow and arrow or BB gun, skip rocks across a lake, or climb up some rocks. Teach them how to camp – Let your children help with putting up the tent or splitting some wood for a camp fire. Teach them where and when and how to build a fire, and respect its power. Show them how cook a marshmallow over the fire and make a smore. Camping with children can be a challenge, but when you make the effort to include them, everyone will have a fun and memorable time. Many years later when they have their own children, they will sit around a campfire and start to tell a story with “I remember when my Dad taught me to build a fire…”