Camping with your family is a surefire way to make lifelong memories, and you can make it an amazing experience with just a few key tips.
Kids are naturally curious and adventurous, and typical modern life doesn’t always offer lots of opportunity for fun and exploration. Between hours of quiet study in school followed by dinner, bath, and bed, most kids get only a few hours of playtime in an average day.
That’s why camping can be such an amazing experience for kids – the chance to roam freely and explore new sights is unlike any other.
If you’re ready to get out of dodge and enjoy the great outdoors with your children, there are a few things to consider before heading out. While camping with kids is fun and exciting, it’s definitely a good idea to make a few key plans before setting out.
When camping alone, you might be fine with minimal preparation. But, camping with kids requires a bit more thought. Take some time before the trip to jot down a plan of action. You don’t have to schedule every minute of your itinerary – after all, the spontaneity of camping is half the fun! But things will be a lot easier if you plan out the important points:
- Where you’ll stay
- Plans for meals
- Special hikes or sights you want to see
- Important phone numbers, safety information, and any other relevant contact information
Kids thrive on routine and structure, and even though camping gives them a welcome break from their strict everyday routine, they will still feel better if you have some kind of plan in place.
Living and sleeping in a new place is already a little scary, so it puts kids at ease if they feel like you’ve got things under control. Even on a campsite, you should have regular mealtimes, a bedtime routine, and a plan for the day’s activity.
Kids will feel at ease if they know that after dinner, campfire songs are followed by bed. In the morning, they will get excited when you tell them the days plan – like a fishing trip or special hike.
Making this basic will make a world of difference in your kids comfort and confidence. Give it a try!
Don’t rough it
As tempted as you might be to let loose and give your kids the “true” camping experience, think carefully before you try the minimalist approach. Very young children or children who are unaccustomed to camping usually need to be eased into it – so this isn’t the time to forgo the basic necessities.
Things like good food, warmth, and safety equipment should be accessible. When your kids get a little experience under their belt, you can try taking them on some more adventurous camping trips. If you’re just starting out, give them the chance to enjoy the little luxuries like s’mores and showers.
Arrive and set up in daylight
Plan your arrival time around daylight. Setting up a campsite in the dark is hard enough for adults. With kids in tow, it’s a recipe for anxiety and nerves.
When you arrive and set up camp in the daylight hours, it gives kids a chance to see their surroundings and get to know the space a little bit – a good way to beat the nighttime nerves and spooks. It puts everyone at ease. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to unload and set up in the dark!
Arrive in plenty of time, and assign each member of the family a set-up chore – like finding kindling. Next, set up your fire and cooking supplies. Let everything be in place before the sun sets so that you can enjoy the twilight in comfort.
Ditch the devices
For most families, screens are a necessary part of daily life. From school activities to Saturday morning cartoons, electronic devices are as ubiquitous today as pen and paper.
When camping, it’s a good idea to leave the screens at home and get grounded. Parents and kids alike should set the electronics down and enjoy uninterrupted time together.
If you need to keep a cell phone for safety purposes, keep it in your car so you won’t give in to the temptation to fiddle with your phone during the trip.
Camping memories last forever
For many of us, the time spent camping with our families is precious. The memories you create together will bring you closer, and hopefully, give your children their own love of nature and the great outdoors.
Are you interested in joining the RV Advisor? Membership gives you an all-access pass to everything our community has to offer. Visit RV Advisor today to learn more!