Camping with the Kids
How to make it a roaring success
Camping with the kids is one of the best outdoor experiences you can ever have as a parent. It doesn't matter what the location is, camping trips can provide your family with memories you will cherish forever. However, successful trips are not only about buying the best camping equipment, or even getting the right site. There is much more that goes into the sense that you have had a well-planned yet exciting adventure in the great outdoors. Here are some important things you should keep in mind as you set about organising your trip.
Always setup during the day
Depending on the mood of your children, setting up camp can either be a nice experience or a couple of hours of intense frustration. This is why you should make sure you don't setup in the dark. By setting up during the day, you'll still be able to see where you are putting your poles, and whether there is an ants nest or rodent hole (could be anything in there!) in the midst of your camp. The kids will also likely be fresher too, meaning they are less likely to be in a "challenging phase" of the day.
This means planning your arrival time so that you can get set up and enjoy the rest of the day. It is always exciting arriving earlier in the day, and building the anticipation towards that campfire later in the evening.
Have a list of things you need
There is nothing worse than arriving at your camp site to find out that you have forgotten something vital back at home. Of course, this may not be a problem if you can easily buy what you forgot and if you have enough money for the double expenditure; but then it wouldn't be something vital you had forgotten then.
What if you forgot the kids' medicine? What about the very specific camping gas canister for your caravan? Your camping trip may be disrupted from the outset. This is a handy family camping checklist .
We all know that we should do lists. When it comes to a holiday especially so. Make sure you do!
Cook only simple meals
Everyone on a camping trip will be hungry after a long drive, long walks and outdoor fun, including your children. The kids will have less patience to wait for the elaborate meals you cook at home; and they'll take longer to cook than at home too. Therefore, you need to make simple, tasty, wholesome meals, and avoid the lavish. Simple meals also mean you spend more time on camping activities instead of cleaning up! Here is more on family friendly camping meals for you and your family to enjoy.
Keep everyone warm
Even on a summer camp, the weather can get very cold at night. Therefore, to be sure everyone gets a good night's rest, emphasis must be placed on staying warm. A good tip is to use sleeping bags meant for sub-zero temperatures. The weather doesn't have to be that cold for you to use them. During warmer nights, you can simply unzip the bottom of the bags. It is also a great idea to bring camping mats for everyone. This will prevent bumpy hard ground from affecting everyone's comfort, and will also mean there is an extra barrier between their bodies and the potentially cold floor. Don't compromise on warmth and comfort. Sleeping conditions can have a dramatic impact on whether the trip ends up being a success or not.
Make sure the kids are involved
Children eagerly anticipate a camping trip, and you can help get them get even more excited by making sure they are actively involved throughout the process. From preparation of the trip to actual setup of camp, you should make sure the kids are not left to the side; unless you are doing something dangerous (We don't suggest your four year old lights the camp fire). Involvement and engagement not only cultivates a sense of achievement but it will also encourages them to behave better; call it family building. Children learn through doing, so plan outdoor activities where they are engaged rather than passive. A few ideas include orienteering, treasure hunts, Frisbee sessions, horse rides, and family games of rounders.
Put away the toys and gadgets
The camping period should be a time for family bonding. Therefore, you need to make your children see reasons to drop the toys and gadgets. For the younger ones, this will also lead to independence and creativity, as they will find other things to play with. The older ones may be more resistant, but help them see the fun in where they are.
A lot of planning a successful camping trip is common sense. You need to make it about the family and active pursuits. Teach the kids new skills and get them involved in everything you can. Plan activities for when the weather is bad, and try and get the kids worn out so they drift off to a natural sleep soon after the campfire songs.