If you adopt the right steps, camping with kids can be huge fun. Even the younger kids should be part of your camping – it is never too early for them. Nature offers a complete-sensory experience.
And, making family camping one of your family fun activities is a wonderful way to introduce the beauty of nature to the younger generation. It’s also another way to bond more as a family.
There are many things that will thrill kids of all ages --- pre-school kids, teens, toddlers and babies --- the call of owls, star-dotted skies, cute butterflies and bugs, and of course digging in the sand as they play. These experiences would surely make kids want to go camping over and again.
However, to make a camping adventure with kids really interesting and ultimately successful, here are top tips you should pay attention to;
#1: Do it at Home First
Especially if it is your first camping trip as a family, you should start practicing camping at home. You can start with tent pitching first, either at the backyard or right inside the home. Allow the kids to sleep and hang out in the tent so that they can start getting used to a different sleeping environment.
Another way to practice camping is to take time out to spend all day at a nearby park. Watch out for your kids’ reactions in these two occasions of hanging out/sleeping in tents and spending nearly all day at the park. Your observation will help you gain insight on how to plan your camping trip as a family.
#2: Research a Suitable Camp Location
When you research campsites, pay attention to the sites with family/kid-friendly amenities. A number of campsites feature playgrounds for kids, streams, swimming areas/beaches, and ball fields. Other sites would include picnic areas and other comfy amenities such as hot showers.
Here’s what you should do if you are just getting started with family camping; you should not go far from home. Also, since the kids are with you, you should choose campgrounds with more developed amenities, so that your kids can be comfortable while out camping. You can also ask your family friends to recommend a family-friendly campsite for you.
#3: Find Out Suitable Camping Activities for the Family
Also, you should research fun activities and choose kids-friendly options when planning camping with kids. In fact, this is a good time to involve the kids and ask them what they would love to do while out camping. Do not take their inputs leniently or you will be the one to get weary when they start complaining about boredom.
So, search for things that kids or a family can do while out camping --- examples would include fishing, berry picking, boating, swimming, visiting nature reserves and more. It’s also important to find out the days that your selected fun activities take place in your camping location. Also, easy nature trails mapped out by bulletin boards in more developed campsites is a great activity idea for the entire family.
#4: Involve the Kids in Packing
This is where the excitement all starts. The kids will be so happy to do their own packing in preparing for a family camping trip. But first, you should make a packing list for the camping gear they need to include.
However, ensure you check what they have packed prior to leaving home. Organisation is important when packing for a camp trip. For instance, ask the kids to use a duffel bag for packing their personal items, and instruct them to put an item back in its correct duffel bag after use, while at the campsite. You can use different colors of duffel bags to differentiate each kid’s items.
#5: Bring Kids’ Favorite Foods
Sharing meals as a family while seated around the fire is one of the most interesting aspects of a family camping adventure. The fun gets even higher when you include grilling into your meal/cooking plans.
Grilling can be a super-fun activity for kids while camping.
However, to make it fun as well as safe experience for the entire family, you should pay attention to these tips for outdoor grilling with kids;
Teach the kids safety measures – you should enforce a child-free safety area (about 3-foot) when grilling outdoors with kids.
Assign safer grilling tasks to kids – typical examples of such tasks include husking corn, rinsing vegetables, and assembling grilling ingredients. Bigger kids can do more --- season burgers, spice the steak or chicken, and mix salads.
And, don’t forget to purchase a portable grill if you plan to grill while on a family camping.
#6: Convert Some Moments to a Time of Teaching
Make most of every possible moment during your family camping to teach kids. The teaching should include best and safety practices while hanging out outdoors. When you visit nature reserves, seize the opportunity to teach them about animals, plants and the importance of caring for and appreciating nature.
#7: Safety is Key
Set rules on how far the kids can go, and precise things they should or should not do when you are at the campsite. You should also teach them what to do if they wander far away from your camping spot and can’t find their way back. Teaching them whistleblowing will also help you find them when they are out of the safety zone.
Finally, when camping with kids, ensure they have a comfortable sleep environment.
About the author: Annabelle Carter Short is a professional seamstress based in Perth. In her free time, she likes to make DIY projects with her kids. She homeschools her son with autism. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. You can check out her website here