Camping With Children
Camping is a great way to bond with children and teach them to have an appreciation for nature. Yet, you may not want to try it because you think it’s difficult. This is not true if you have the information you need. Read the following article for tips in camping with kids.
Before You Leave
Even before you leave for your trip, there are some things to do to prepare them. Take some time to talk about camping dangers by showing photos online of things like poison ivy. Explain what it will do and how to avoid it.
If you are camping in an area with bears, explain why no food or food preparation items, dirty diapers, etc. and no scented products can be close to your tent or can be left lying around, but all must be put in the vehicle or a bear box.
Talk about stranger danger. How do you want your children to act around strangers? Be friendly with or without you there or not chat with people they do not know? Go over some scenarios such as someone says they want to show them their puppy or give them some candy, but they have to go with the stranger to do it.
Set some boundaries about how far they can wander away from camp by themselves and if they need someone to accompany them to the bathroom.
I don’t mean to alarm you, but every parent needs to think about these things and be sure your kids are always supervised.
Bring Pictures Of The Kids
If you lose a child, such as them wandering off, you are going to need a picture to show rescuers. It makes things so much easier. Be sure it is current and be aware of what the child is wearing for the day.
Set Up The Tent Ahead Of Time
Consider setting up your tent ahead of time. If new, it allows it to air out a bit, so everyone is not coughing the first couple days because of chemical fumes. If there is a problem with the tent, you can catch it then, rather than ruining your camping trip.
In addition it allows you to create anticipation for this fun adventure and helps children understand how to set up a tent, learning skills they can use later in life.
My brother was going camping and fishing and lived in an apartment complex. He set up his two tents on the grass in front of his apartment and checked them over.
What he did not anticipate was that all the children in the neighborhood got involved. They all came milling around, were excited about the idea of camping, tried to help him set up the tents and all of them wanted inside the tents for a bit. Interestingly, the tough kids were just as excited, it was like they set aside their issues for a bit and got into the moment of enjoyment.
He had to designate a tent for the girls and a tent for the boys. He ended up leaving them up for hours, for the neighborhood children to enjoy. I heard some of them talk about camping trips and that they were going to ask their parents if they could go camping sometime.
Bring Enough Clothes
Camping with children can be messy and dirty, so make sure to pack additional clothes beyond the few basic changes. Kids will get dirty and they will wipe their hands on their clothes! Don’t stress them or yourself because of some extra dirt and mess. You can bring along extra clothes to be prepared.
Bring Their Must Haves
When kids are little, some have their favorite blanket or stuffed animal or even a certain pair of pajamas or outfit. They have a hard time going anywhere without it. It brings emotional comfort. So bring it on the trip. Just let them know it has to be used just in certain places, if it is drug around camp, it is going to get very dirty and torn. This saves the child from separation anxiety, while allowing them to enjoy things and then to come back to their thing of comfort.
If you have a baby that sits up or a toddler, bring a big laundry basket and some toys that you can put in, along with the little one. This gives them play time without crawling around in the dirt. It keeps them right by you, where you can watch, but do other things while they play.
Now let’s talk about keeping things fun for the kids. You can check online for camping food ideas. Pinterest has some great ones. Don’t throw nutrition out the window though, everyone still needs their fruit and vegetables to get the vitamins, minerals and fiber they need each day. Otherwise, you all may come back home constipated and not feeling well.
Besides the natural activities you may be doing such as walking, sight seeing, watching the animals, listening to the birds and identifying bird calls, fishing, etc it is important to bring some activities as well. Kids get bored easily and some just want the familiar.
Kids Camp Games
How about bringing some coloring books, cards, a board game and some reading material. There are even interactive books that tell a story, but you fill in the blanks. One example people have a lot of fun with is Camp Daze Mad Libs for ages 8 through 12.
At the end of your camping adventure, leave the site cleaner than you might have found it. Show the kids how to clear away trash, pack up and take down the tents. This helps them learn new skills that can last them a lifetime and help them see that all they want to leave behind when breaking down a campsite is their footprints, showing respect for the next set of people and for the land.