I was shocked to read that less and less kids these days have an interest in going camping! To me, that is nuts as camping was something that I loved to do when I was a kid. Going into the woods or actually where I grew up we had a large quarry which was much better for camping.
Anyway, camping was something that I really wanted to do as soon as I knew I was going to be a parent. I waited for my kids to bring it up, but they never did. One day I tried to plant the seeds by getting them to watch an episode of Ducktales that was about camping. Well, they never took the hint so I had to just come out and say “doesn’t camping look like fun?” The kids got excited and they were all for it. Since our first camping “adventure” we have been many, many times and in all honesty, as the kids have gotten older I would say that camping has gotten better and better.
Today though I am sharing with you a few ideas and tips to make sure you know what you need to know when you take the kids camping.
Start Close To Home….. Real Close
The first time I camped out with the kids happened in our backyard! I know that does not sound like the ultimate adventure, but it was a good way to see how they would react to sleeping outdoors and in a tent. It went great and it was the perfect way to ease them into camping. I was more worried that my youngest son would not like it so that was why I decided camping in the backyard was the right thing to do. I highly recommend if you are unsure if your kids will like it and do not want to risk driving somewhere for your kids to decide they do not like it and then have to drive back home in the middle of the night.
Do Not Cheap Out On Your Tent!
Do I really need a big tent? Is what you might be asking, but I would advise that you go for the largest one that your budget allows for. Things can get cramped in the tent and you have to factor in that you have multiple people as well as all your stuff so while you may think a two-man tent is more than enough, I would suggest it is not. We like to camp, but we do not want to be sleeping on top of each other!
Pack For A Month
Ok so maybe not a month, but be sure to take more food than you think you will need. You do not want to run out of food and have the kids complaining that they are hungry. I have found that things like burgers and hot dogs are the perfect camping food for your main meal. Having candy, buns, crisps and so on that they can snack on is great too.
Before you leave on your camping trip make sure you do a check on what you need and what you have. It may sound obsessive, but I literally have a notepad and check what I have before we leave. I am talking about things like your water, toothbrushes, baby wipes, of for the love of god do not forget baby wipes. What did parents do before baby wipes? My eldest is now in high school and I still need to use baby wipes to clean up messes. Bottom line is think of what you need, get it and then check it is packed in your car.
Let Them Take Entertainment
Ok so you are going camping to get away from technology, but there is nothing wrong with letting them take their phone or tablet. This way when they are winding down at night and in the tent, they can relax and watch something or play something. Just make sure that they each have headphones! When we go camping they are allowed to play on their devices on the way there, back and also when we are in the tent just before bed. However, when we are eating, hiking, playing football or whatever all the technology is left in the tent. One other thing I want to mention here is to look into buying some power banks. We have a couple of these and they allow you to charge your devices.
Keep At It
We go camping at least once a year, which is a bit sad when I think about it as we used to go multiple times per year. My kids as they have gotten older still like to do the family camping trips and them being of an age where they can do things like help setting up the tent, haul some bags and even make the burgers is awesome. However, the flip side of this is that as they get older, they will have “plans” and not be able to or want to go camping with you as much as they used to. So take every chance you can get to go camping with them as much as possible as there will come a time where they will want to go camping with their buddies instead of you!
I love going camping and probably always will. My eldest is just getting to an age where he would rather “go camping with the guys” than his family. However, we do manage to get him to come sometimes and he always has a blast. If you have never gone camping as a family, well it is never really too late, so give it a go and I bet you have a blast.