Camping with Children

Kid campingSo your kids are finally old enough to go camping. Great! Now what? You can’t just grab a tarp and a few blankets and head for the backcountry for a few a week. Why, you ask? Because children will find this boring and miserable, and they may never learn to appreciate how wonderful camping can be.

There are plenty of kid camping guides out there that will tell you to bring buckets of toys, all the electronics you own with backup batteries, mountains of candy and snacks that can be thrown into a fire, glue and glitter, and a disco ball. If that’s the approach you want to take, take it. However, none of that stuff is necessary to enjoy a camping trip with your kids.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when camping with your children is that you can’t treat it like a camping trip you would take by yourself. You may love to sit in silence and stare at a fire for hours on end, but your children probably won’t. As an adult, you learn to appreciate camping for different reasons than you did as a child.

Adults camp to escape distractions and get close to nature. Children don’t necessarily share the same sentiment towards camping. They want fun and excitement. You have to keep that in mind and make camping enjoyable for your kids. That being said, you don’t have to turn your camping trip into a carnival with games, pies, and prizes. There’s a way to find a balance.

  • Start with an overnight trip. Instead of going all out and camping in the woods for a week straight, plan on making your trip last a day and a night, or two days and a night.
  • Stick to car camping. Maintained car camping sites are the best place to start camping with kids. It’s nice to have utilities, and being close to other families, instead of alone in the spooky woods, can make kids feel safer.
  • Make it fun. Give kids something to do. This doesn’t mean toss them your phone so they can play games. Have them gather fire wood, set up a rock ring, clear a space for the tent. Set up camp. This can be fun for children and they will enjoy being helpful around the campsite.
  • Go for classic camp foods. Roasting s’mores and hot dogs over a campfire is much more fun than watching mom or dad labor over a camp stove.
  • Tell stories. Funny stories, silly stories, scary stories, whatever. A campfire is the perfect place for storytelling.
  • Sing around the campfire. This will become a treasured memory for your children, no matter how bad or good you are at it. Dancing is optional.
  • Hand out whistles. Some kids are roamers, and nothing can be more traumatic than getting lost in the woods. Give your kids a whistle that they can use in case they wander off.

Really, there’s not a whole lot to consider when it comes to camping with kids. Just pay attention to them and make them feel like they’re a part of it rather than just there. Keep the kids in mind and have fun, and your camping trip will be a success!

One Comment

  1. […] furriest family member, is on par with leaving the kids at home. But camping with a dog – like camping with children – is much different than going camping on your own. There are things that you have to […]

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