Since June is National Camping Month it’s the perfect time to share these ten ways to help kids love camping! My family just returned from a ten day camping trip in Zion National Park, Utah and Carpinteria State Beach, California and we definitely used these ten tips. Thanks to Louise from TheAdventureLand.com for this great guest post on how to help kids love camping.
Camping is a great way to unplug but also a great way to make kids fall in love with the outdoors. Too many kids these days have their noses stuck on a screen. The good news is it’s never too late to get them outside.
However, if you’re not prepared, it could easily go the opposite direction. Here are some things you can do to make your kids love camping:
#1 Start Them Young
First of all, the sooner you introduce camping to your kids, the better. Adjusting to camp life will also be easier, especially if you do it often.
#2 Include Them in the Plans
Including the children in the planning stage will make them take ownership of the camping trip. Thus, they will become more enthusiastic and motivated. As you plan together, ask the kids what they expect and what activities they want to do.
Let them help you plan meals, too—meals they can help with at camp. Don’t forget to give them realistic expectations along the way.
You should let them pack their stuff – clothes, snacks, and toys or entertainment. Of course, let them do so with your supervision. Make sure they bring extra layers and to bring comfortable clothing.
#3 Kids Love Camping With Friends
Who doesn’t love being with friends? When you bring friends along, the kids will be motivated and more excited. If not, you can also try a place that might have other families with children. Having playmates around makes things more fun.
#4 Make it Comfortable
If they have any comfort blankets or toys, let them bring it as well. The more comfortable they are, the less likely they’ll dislike camping.
#5 Avoid Miserable Conditions
You always want to check the weather forecast for the days you’re camping. Make sure that it’s not too hot nor too cold.
You should also avoid rain, heavy winds, and snow. These conditions can quickly turn into a messy and uncomfortable trip for everyone.
#6 Start Somewhere Close to Home
Do you want to a broken record of “are we there yet?” playing the whole car ride? Nope.
So, as much as possible, keep it close to home, especially with young children and especially if you’re just introducing it. You want to give a good impression, and a boring car ride is not the way to it.
#7 Prepare Lots of Games and Activities
There are so many activities you can do outdoors that will make kids love camping. Even within your campsite, there are lots the kids can do.
Bring some tools/toys to play in the dirt, go on a scavenger hunt, play I Spy, etc. If there are bike trails where you’re going, bring your bikes!
There’s also so many new things you can teach them – how to build a fire, fishing, pitching a tent, and so on. Not only is the great outdoors a wonderful playground, but it also makes an excellent classroom too!
Here are some activities you can do:
- Shadow play – you’ll need a flashlight.
- Treasure hunt – this one requires extra preparation. Make a map, hide your treasure, and let the kids solve it with your supervision.
- Campfire stories and games
#8 Feed them Well
One area that is crucial for kids to like camping is food. A hungry camper is a grumpy camper.
Prepare lots of easy to eat snacks such as sandwiches, granola, their favorite chips. Try to make the meals quick and easy to make as well. Don’t give yourself a hard time – keep it simple.
If you do want to get creative, go ahead! You can prepare some of them beforehand at home, but they’re also easy to do at camp.
You can do dirt in a cup (Smashed cookies and gummy worms), ants on a log (celery sticks and raisins), and so much more.
#9 Practice at Home
Before your actual camping trip, do a trial at home. Pitch your tent in the backyard together and sleep in it for a night. That way, you can also know beforehand if there’s anything else you need to prepare for. It’s also just fun to do!
#10 Take lots of Pictures
Yup- take lots of pictures! That way, you can look at them together and remember all the fun you had. It’ll make you and your kids look forward to the next camping trip already.
There’s still hope for you and your kids. It’s never too late to go camping and to learn to love camping. Keep these tips in mind as you plan for your camping trip, whether it’s your first of your hundredth time.
If you have tips you’d like to add, we’d love to hear them. Share your experiences using the comment section below.
Louise is the founder of TheAdventureLand.com, where she and her associates blog about outdoor experiences, tips & tricks that will help you have an exciting adventure. She is also a tour guide of travel company where she learned many things about wilderness. “Let’s pack our bags and explore the world!” Follow her on Twitter @adventure_howdy