It’s time to pull out the camping equipment and dust it off! Get ready for an awesome outdoor adventure that you and your kids are sure to remember for years to come!
I’m not one to go camping on a regular basis but went quite a few times when I was younger. My husband, about the same. So, for my big kid’s first camping trip, I naturally let my husband take them on a Dad and Kids camping event with our church. I figured this was best for all of us involved. haha!
They had a good but interesting time to say the least and loved it! So, now they’re ready for the whole family to go! This sounds a little daunting to me, but with a few guidelines I’ve found, you can instill in your kids a love for the outdoors that will last them their whole lives and have a great time! These 7 Do’s and Don’ts for Camping with Kids will have you ready in no time!
Do: Teach the basics. It’s never too early to teach your kids how to properly approach the outdoors. From simple stuff like setting up a tent and campfire protocols, to more important concerns like how to interact with animals you may encounter (don’t), and what your kids should do if they get lost (making sure your kids have a whistle and their own light is a priority). Obviously, it’s your responsibility to keep your kids safe, but teaching them the skills they need can begin right away. Simpler stuff, like helping your kids pack their own camping equipment can be pretty rewarding by itself (as can shopping for some new discount camping gear of your own).
Don’t: Expect too much. “Fun nature hike” can turn into “misery march” pretty quick when you’re a kid. Know your child’s limitations, both physical and emotional. Fishing is another outdoor activity best saved until the kids are a little older. Most kids younger than ten aren’t too psyched to get up at dark-o’-clock and sit still in perfect silence for an extended period. This leads to our next “do:”
Do: Get on your kids level. Kids are natural outdoor enthusiasts. They love digging up bugs, looking at animals, throwing rocks in water, peeling bark off of dead wood, and literally exploring the outdoors. Help facilitate that impulse. If your child is enjoying using a stick to dig through leaf litter, looking for millipedes, there’s no reason to cut that short to move on to something more structured.
Don’t: Over-complicate. You’ll be tempted to bring along the array of child-entertaining electronic devices for those moments when things are quiet on the wee one is irritable. Resist that urge. Even a campout in the backyard can be a magical experience, but not if all the same “inside” stimulus is available. However…
Do: Be prepared to address boredom. Some structure is necessary. impromptu games like Frisbee golf, classic campfire stories, even more complex activities like geocaching are all child-friendly outdoor activities. Having a pack of cards or a sack of old comic books is good in case of rain, too.
Don’t: Become a drill sergeant. While you may want to fill every waking moment with lessons, quizzes, and character-building exertions of all kinds (perhaps because that’s the way you were introduced to camping), remember that the structure is there to enable the fun, not the other way around. And that’s really the most important “do.”
Do: Have fun! Having fun with your kids is the ultimate coal of camping! Enjoy yourself and have fun and you’re all sure to make memories that will last a lifetime!
With a little planing, these 7 do’s and don’ts for camping with your kids will help you out on your maiden voyage camping trip!