Camping with kids creates the kind of memories that last a lifetime for you and for them. Bring along the kids rain boots, kids rain gear, your favourite camp recipes and sleep under the stars in the best family tent.
Camping brings back the simplicity in life, slows down the pace and almost forces you to stop and take notice of all the natural wonders around you.
One of the many aspects of camping with our kids that I love is the freedom our kids have. They can explore, hop on their bikes, go for a short walk, head over to the amphitheatre (if the campground has one), make new friends and hang out exploring with them or any number of activities without needing a lot of parent supervision. (Depending on the child, their age etc.).
Our kids seem to make friends very quickly with local campers and it’s so wonderful to watch them having the time of their lives just from playing around in nature. They are always discovering new things, making up games out of whatever they find on the ground which is usually a combination of pinecones, rocks, leaves, flowers and anything else they find.
I find that camping with kids creates stronger bonds between us, it’s almost like we get to know each other a little bit better because we’re there together, outside with no set schedule to keep us super busy.
Nobody needs to do homework, nobody needs to be driven to a dance class, or the soccer field and there is no TV or video games to tune everyone else out. We also need to rely on each other to make some things happen like collecting firewood, washing the dishes, prepping the fishing lines and setting up camp.
When we ask our kids what they liked about each trip we go on they always give us different answers. Sometimes it’s that they loved the burgers or the hotdogs cooked over the fire. One of them always tells us they loved exploring new places and swimming in the lake.
We also hear that making new friends and seeing the wildlife near our campground (that could mean the lizards and birds) was the best part.
Whether you are seasoned campers or new to the idea, camping with kids takes on a life of its own. We’ve got some tips for camping with your kids taken from our own experiences, both successful and not so much!
Let the kids help plan your camping trip, decide where to go, let your kids help plan your meals, let your kids be responsible for some parts of the packing depending on their age. Deciding which outdoor toys for kids to bring, what books they want and what games they want to play
Try things out in your backyard before your first camping trip, and teach your kids how to set up a tent, try out the sleeping bags, try some cooking if you can in your backyard – these tips will make camping with kids a lot easier, especially if this is your first time.
Have lots of fun and create lasting memories. Let the kids have their own cameras – this is a great one for our kids and we love letting them use small, inexpensive digital cameras so they can take as many pictures as they want and we can delete the hundreds of duplicate pictures they take!
Bring along craft supplies like glue, paper, scissors, markers, crayons etc. to create nature crafts, collages and everything else your children’s imaginations come up with. watch the stars in the sky at night and try to identify the constellations bring along bugs, birds and other identifying books that your kids can use to look up things they find–our kids really love doing this, we now have a nice collection of bug and bird books!
Be quiet at night and listen to the sounds around you. What made that sound? is a fun bedtime game for kids. I’m not a singer by a long shot however somehow being out in nature, sitting by a campfire brings out the singer in all of us and nobody cares how out of tune we all are!
Ask your kids what they loved and didn’t love about each camping trip you take and journal it if you can. Glow sticks I highly recommend. At nighttime, the kids love playing around camp with their glow sticks. We always bring a box full and share them with other kids nearby and they all have a blast each night between marshmallows and bedtime.
Make sure everybody has his or her own flashlight, bring extra clothes for warmth and wet weather and a clothesline to hang the wet stuff. Enjoy the slower pace and appreciate the little things that surround you.
Leave your day open to whatever the family feels like doing, plan a little however don’t over schedule your days.
Camping with kids is such a great way to bond with them, especially if you’re like us and have spent a school year being super busy with day to day life and running to one activity or another, making sure homework is done and all your families needs are taken care of. It’s so nice to head outdoors, set up camp together and relax. It encourages better health and a longer life too!
Forcing us to slow down takes a day or two to adjust to, however with our hammock, craft supplies, family games and fresh air we find an abundance of activities to get involved with and usually our kids are sad to pack up and leave on our last day of camping.
That’s when we know that our family camping trip was a big success and we’re ready to plan the next trip just as soon as we get back home.
Camping with kids is an excellent way to bring the kids out in you and create special bonds between each family member to last a lifetime!