Contributed by Chris Cole
It can feel like an ordeal when you decide to take your kid’s camping yet it does not have to be this way at all. It can be a great bonding exercise, and with a little forethought, your kids will come to enjoy it just as much as you.
If anything it is the best way to get them to get back to nature and become less obsessed with their gadgets for a few days.
Here are 6 ways that you can bypass all the pitfalls and make sure you have a fun family time together:
Long car journeys and children don’t mix very well. For the first time or the first couple, make sure to choose a campsite that is not too far away from your home. Many people start with camping trips that are only overnight as not to alienate kids from the real world.
The car journey can also be broken by having stops along the way to the bathroom, and the ice-cream and snacks that will keep them happy for a while longer.
The Right Tent
If you are new to camping choosing a tent can be daunting. It is better to pick one that is larger than you think you will need. Kids love to roam around, and the extra space will also make sure you don’t stand on any of their favorite toys. A tent double the size of your family is a useful guide, and if they do, you can choose one that has separate sleeping quarters.
Many families often purchase a smaller tent just for their kid’s playroom and toy storage; this can save many headaches.
Packing the Fun
Although camping is all about getting out there and doing it. Kids have a different mentality, and although they will become involved, they won’t appreciate that is all they have to do. Packing some games and toys can keep them occupied in between or if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
There are also things you can take along that will keep them busy outside. Frisbee’s, balls as well as coloring books also make a welcome addition.
You then have the fun that nature can bring, a spot of birdwatching or it might be the ideal time to introduce them to a bit of fishing as well as the option of canoeing or kayaking if you are close to a lake or a quiet river. Just make sure you don’t forget the swimming sessions.
Chores at home with kids are a no-no, while camping they might not see them the same. Get them involved with as much as you can, from banging in those tent pegs to the gathering of wood for the campfire.
You might even see they have some enthusiasm to help with the dishes after dinner. Take advantage as soon as you get home this will quickly vanish.
As Night Falls
This can be the time of day that your kids enjoy the most. From the early evening, glow sticks to the campfire that is roaring away. The grilled bananas and the marshmallows. What kid won’t enjoy the chance of toasted marshmallows?
Night time safaris with the flashlights can also be good fun, but most of all you have to make sure your kids sleeping arrangements are comfortable.
Kids and sleeping on the ground will not lead to a good night’s sleep. If they are young, they should have a small lantern so they won’t be entirely in the dark and their favorite blanket won’t go amiss.
It might be wise to throw in an airbed or a good camping mattress to make sure they are not tossing and turning all night and keeping you awake.
What do you need to go camping that should never be forgotten? The above things are to make things easier yet there are things you must make sure you don’t forget.
Don’t venture away from home without the following:
- Sunscreen – even overcast days can give overexposure to the sun.
- Insect Repellant – without seeing them, you can all become bitten, and your kids won’t take kindly to a bit that annoys them all day.
- Rain Clothes – These come in handy, yet as long as you have dry, warm clothes, a good rain shower is a bundle of laughs.
- A good first aid kit – Kids have a habit of falling over and grazing their knees. A bag full of TLC will keep them happy.
To be successful when camping with kids is all about being organized and having the right equipment so you can all have the best fun on your family camping trip. It isn’t difficult, yet you only have to make sure you are prepared.
Chris Cole writes for Nature Sport Central and is an outdoor activity specialist having spent the majority of his years either hiking on the land or kayaking and fishing on the water.