Guide to Camping with Kids
Introducing your kids to camping at an early age is a great way to open their eyes, minds and awaken their senses to their environment. A family camping trip is the best way to enjoy the outdoors while the kids are learning more about nature. It is also a great way to bond and do lots of activities together, like, hiking, swimming at the lake, kayaking, and fishing.
If you are a regular camper, you already know what camping gear to bring, but camping with kids needs a few extra items and lots of patience. Here are some tips to make your camping with kids a good and fun experience for everybody.
Find the Perfect Location
Ask your kids if they have any suggestions where they want to go or what sightseeing they would love to visit. Do this to get an idea of where is the perfect location for your camping trip. Take them very seriously so that they will know that you heard them. If it is your first camping trip with them, start with a place close to home and then work your way up to a more remote campsite once they are not new to camping anymore. In that way, your kids will not be feeling overwhelmed because of the new environment, and you already familiar with the place. Always pick a campsite that will suit your family’s needs, some camping site is near the river or lake so you can enjoy swimming or fishing.
Practice Camping at Home
Once you decided about the location, it is a great idea to do a practice camp in your backyard. Let the kids stay, hang out and sleep there until they become comfortable with the new environment. Behave like you are on real camping, and see how your kids react to the experience. Do it to know how it will be on your actual trip.
Let Them Help Pack
Make a camping list and let your kids pack their camping gear. Allow them to be responsible and ask them to pack their personal belongings and double-check them before your trip. Each child should have their duffel bag and it should be in a different color for easier identification. Teach your kids to be organized and encourage them to return their items in their bags.
Pack foods your kids like
In menu planning, ask them what food they like to have and what snacks do they want. Allow your kids to help in meal preparation so they get excited about your camping trip. Pack foods that your kids will love, like hotdogs, marshmallows, bread, fruits, etc. Always bring ready-to-eat snacks and always have them on hand while you are traveling.
Plan your Activities
Research what kinds of activities you can do around the campsite. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, and hiking are the most popular activities you can do during your camping trip. Planning your activities will help the kids to get excited and to avoid them feeling overwhelmed with so many activities in just one day. Plan one or two activities per day, and on the last day, let them rest before you go home the next day.
Set ground rules
For their safety, set ground rules once you get to the campsite. The do’s and don’ts, the drill just in case they get lost, the boundaries. What part of the camp they can roam around alone? Are they allowed to go to the bathroom by themselves? Before your trip, give your kids a whistle and teach them to blow it repeatedly until you find them. Just in case they get lost or separated from you, you know where they are. Be aware and familiarize yourself with the campsite. Find out if there is a fast stream, a highway, or a cliff nearby, all of the things that could put your kids in danger once you let your eyes off of them.
Sometimes things will not go the way you planned them because of some unexpected things like weather or your children’s mood. If your kids are not in their best mood to go hiking, don’t push it, or else everyone in the family will not enjoy it and will be just upset. Don’t just stick to your schedule, you can still enjoy your day even if you will just stay at your tent and play games, remember that you go on a trip to relaxed and spend some time with your family.
Involve your kids
In everything you do, always involve your kids, from pitching the tent, cooking meals, and cleaning up. Let your kids do camp chores as much as possible. Make a schedule for all the tasks that your kids can do, older kids can wash the dishes or help you cook dinner, while the younger kids can help pick up some twigs and branches for the campfire or fill up water bottles. Teach them how to be responsible kids.
Create a comfortable sleep environment
Make a cozy sleeping arrangement for your kids, so that they can have a good sleep. If they have a good sleep they’ll be in a good mood for your activities the next day. Bring your kid’s favorite pillow and blanket to feel that they’re at home. The more you go camping, the more you will be familiar with the things you need to bring always.
Do your bedtime routine
If you have a bedtime routine, stick with it, consistency is important in a kid’s schedule. Freshen them up, put them in their pajamas, brush their teeth, and read them a bedtime story. Never skip any routine that you have with your kids, especially if they are already used to that routine.
No matter where you go on your camping trip, your goal is to take your kids on an adventure and let them have fun and enjoy the outdoors. It might be challenging especially since a kid’s behavior is very unpredictable. But following these tips will help you have a great and fun-filled camping experience.