Camping is one of the coolest things friends and families can do together. It brings people close and provides a backdrop for unforgettable memories. Camping with children is almost always more fun. (Ed. note/ almost)
Passing it on. Teaching a child to camp is a fantastic and rewarding privilege. Kids who think of themselves as campers hopefully have a more environmentally sound outlook. With some time and preparation, these ten suggestions, you can help create an environment of fun and discovery.
What To Take Camping With Children
Why not bring some of their toys with them? The adults certainly are. From golf carts to laser pointers, their toys just cost more. Consider these ideas that keep kids moving:
- hula hoops
- frisbees, footballs, playground balls
- skateboards, roller skates, roller blades
Note: If skateboard or stilts are used, review family insurance policy first.
Books are a great idea for down time in the shade and they can also be used as a transition to bed. There is nothing more relaxing than some private reading time while camping. For students, it’s always a good idea. Parents never mind watching their children read for pleasure. Joy.
Board games are a great idea for family time and they also can be used as a transition that brings energy levels down. Pro Tip #34: Never let your children win at strategy games, merely give advice. They will be rightfully winning soon enough.
Many campsites allow leashed dogs and bringing the family pet is just friendly. If you have a python or scarlet makaw, then you are likely aware of the issues regarding those unique choices. Give children the job of pet caretaker. This gives them responsibility and and allows you to focus on making mimosas.
- Indentured Servitude
There are thankfully no laws that exempt children from manual labor. It, again, teaches responsibility and help serve many important needs. Here are some suggested duties for your young person:
- wood. Obvious. Lots. Tear down a shed but do not come back without dry wood. And don’t lose your sister. Yes, she’s coming. Don’t give me that face. Wood. Go. Now.
- trash duty. Children need to be on constant garbage patrol. The perimeter around the site should be free of all litter. Foodstuffs need to be high priority so not to attract ants.
- assistant to keeper of the flame. Let the child serve as an apprentice or yeoman to the person keeping the fire going. Kids love to play in fire. If you find ways to allow that with supervision, they may not feel the need to do it in your absence.
One of the greatest things about camping is that everyone gets to do just what they want. Someone may be fishing at the lake while someone else is chasing lizards. And of course my daughter is in the kitchen tent, elbow deep in a bag of cheetos. It’s alright to have some plans, but allow for individual freedoms. Pro Tip #71: It’s not always fun to fish with your grandfather in the rain.
Learn something while you are sitting outside. Find out children’s interests or what they are learning in school. Create some new interests. Bring identification books and learn more about some of these topics:
- birds (There are some great bird guides available on Ebay)
- trees and flowers (By understanding our environment, we learn to appreciate it)
- stars and constellations (This gives you an excuse to buy a laser pointer)