By: Vickie | Updated: 4th September 2022
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Camping is a phenomenal family activity, and can really help bring you as a family closer together through quality bonding time. That being said, sometimes kids and camping don’t agree with each other.
After all, we are asking kids to give up a lot for a weekend of fun, and sometimes kids can have a hard time adjusting even to the most temporary camping events.
As such, it is good to prepare in advance so you and your family can be comfortable and get the most out of your camping trip. Following are some simple tips to help you have a fun outdoor adventure with your kids.
Ease Kids Into It
If you think about it, camping can be weird from the perspective of a child, especially if they are not outdoor inclined. They have to give up their bed, plumbing, and their toys and games for a weekend.
This shift can be rather radical, so it is important to explain to your kids what camping means and ease them into it.
You can try backyard camping, or getting them used to cooking over a fire. You can have them throw their sleeping bags in the living room and sleep with the lights out, or take a hike through the woods.
There are plenty of ways to introduce your kids to the outdoors so that when the time comes to go on a trip, they will be better adjusted.
Get Your Kids In On The Planning Stages
When planning larger trips, a lot of times your child might get upset that their opinion isn’t being valued. Consider having your child help with some of the planning for the trip.
For instance, they can help plan the menu so that there is food there that they will enjoy.
Help them pack their favorite appropriate clothes for the trip or let them take a favored toy or stuffed animal. Letting your child get in on the planning process helps them to feel like an active participant in the trip and can help get them excited for it as well.
Choose Child-Friendly Campsites
There are plenty of campsites that are very welcoming for families with kids. Some campsites have playgrounds or fun play areas such as beaches. If you plan on hiking, try to start with a campsite that has easier or shorter paths.
If there is a lot of space and it won’t cause any problems, try to pack some toys and games for your kids to play with outside.
Bring Plenty Of Snacks
Camping can be physically rigorous for kids, and oftentimes meals take longer to prepare. You can help prevent some major meltdowns by packing plenty of snacks and drinks for your child.
There are plenty of healthy and nutritious snacks that your kids will love. Granola bars, certain crackers, juices, and sports drinks, are all some great camping treats that your child can have throughout the day.
Plus, it is always important to ensure that your child is hydrated, especially if you are camping in warmer climates.
Allot Time For Rest And Play
If you are the type of camper to plan an itinerary of activities, then good on you, but be prepared to move some activities around. Rest and dedicated free play time are incredibly important for your child.
Always try to leave some space so that your children can take a break or run around on their own accord. Trying to plan rest breaks is fine too, but chances are your children will be energetic during rest time and tired when it’s time to go for a hike.
Make Your Child’s Tent Comfortable
Sleeping in a tent can be the hardest part of camping for many children. Most children feel uncomfortable sleeping somewhere other than their bed, and a tent can make them feel exposed at times.
As such, making your child’s tent as comfortable as possible can be really helpful. I recommend letting your child bring their own pillows and blankets if they prefer that to a sleeping bag and if the weather permits.
If you have them, cots are nice ways to get up and off the ground, which can be comfortable in particularly warm or cold climates.
I also recommend laying down some protective padding, such as foam squares, to protect against spills. You should also try to encourage your children to keep their tent as clean as possible so when bedtime comes it isn’t a hassle.
If your child or children have their own tent, I recommend tucking them in and ensuring that they are comfortable and have water and snacks in case they get hungry in the middle of the night. This way you do not have to worry about them leaving their tent and wandering around in the dark.
Always Utilize Teaching Moments
Even if they don’t always act like it, children are constantly listening. As such, it can be incredibly beneficial to turn camping trips into educational experiences.
Kids remember a lot more than they are given credit for, and even the most mundane of interactions can have a lasting impact.
Plus, sometimes it is just nice for a child to feel like they contributed, so teaching them or letting them help cook dinner, collect firewood, set up tents, and do other camping chores can be nice in the long term.
Granted, getting the kids involved might mean that some important tasks take a while longer, but as long as you prepare in advance camping can be a great way for your kids to develop valuable skills that they will carry through life.
Camping with your family is a fantastic way to come together and bond, but with kids, it is not always easy. However, there are plenty of ways to help your kids get more comfortable with camping in general.
Getting them involved, keeping up with their needs, and giving them time to just be kids are all essential to a great camping trip. With the tips on this list, you are well on your way to an unforgettable family camping adventure.