Should you take your children camping? I am a strong advocate for being outdoors, so with a little preplanning, a camping trip with the whole family is a must. Don’t get me wrong, I love my technological gadgets. But there are just times when you need to unplug and be with nature. The same goes for children. So leave the technological gadget behind except for a cell phone for emergencies, a camera and get outdoors.
To make certain that the kids understand what camping involves, set up a practice run in your backyard or at a friend’s house. I have had friends who set up in my yard. Of course, when I came downstairs in the morning, I found them all in my living room. The kids got cold in the night so they retreated to the house. The trial run is a great way to determine what items you may need to pack especially since kids like to be warm and dry.
The practice run is a success and now comes the actually trip. Planning the trip should involve the whole family. Sit down at a meal and discuss the camping adventure to make the kids excited. If possible, have the kids bring a friend. Or ask another family to join on your camping adventure. The idea is to keep the kids active at the campground; a friend can help in this area. Having a friend around will help keep the kids occupied as well as give them a chance to explore.
The Camping Site
Once at the camping site, get organized and set up for your adventure. Have a family meeting to go over the rules of the camp site. Each site is different, the rules are important to follow for your own safety. Get the layout of the campground by taking a walk. Walk around to find out where the bathrooms are located or where the main office is located in case of an emergency. Talk about safety procedures for swimming and hiking. Remind kids that the animals are wild and not to try to pick them up for their own safety as well as the animals.
Now that you have gone over all the rules, have fun and explore. Go on the hiking and nature trails. Spend time in the water. At night, have a camp fire, tell stories or just share your experiences from the day.