Guest post on behalf of Paul Watson
Taking your kids out in the woods to camp is indeed, a great experience for them. This is because it allows them to be more in-touch with mother nature, and is a great way to bond with one another. There’s always something about new environments and nature that we adults love, and as parents, this is one of the things we’d like our kids to appreciate as well.
Unlike us grownups, however, kids have special needs to be attended to. And we always have to keep an eye on them because as beautiful as the woods are, there are quite a lot of hazards we have to look out for. If you want to take your kids camping, here are some tips that may come in handy to help you make the most out of the experience.
1) DO A TRIAL CAMP
Kids need more prepping and adjusting to a new environment than adults. To make the new, outdoor environment less overwhelming for them, try camping in your own backyard first. As a parent, this also allows you to prepare yourself and have an idea on the things you have to bring during the actual camping trip. It also lets you see what outdoor conditions your kid is most comfortable in, and whether or not they are ready for a true camping experience.
2) KEEP YOUR KIDS SCHEDULES THE SAME
Too many new things could end up overwhelming your young ones. If you’re going to spend more than just one night at the campsite, make it a point to keep your children’s schedules for daily activities as similar as possible to their schedules at home. This includes the time of the day you wake them up, the time of day they eat they meals, and the time you read their bed-time stories or do other night-time rituals etc. For the rest of the time, however, make sure that they are as exposed to the outdoors and near new surroundings at the camp ground as much as possible. Allow them to have fun, explore and become more connected with nature.
3) GET RIDE OF ELECTRONIC GADGETS
Don’t allow your children to bring their tablets and portable gaming consoles with them. This is supposed to be a time for them to get in touch and appreciate nature, and bringing all their electronic entertainment robs them of this opportunity. Letting your kids bring their gaming consoles and electronic entertainment defeats the whole purpose of the trip. Be sure to also lead by example here. Bring your phones with you of course, but keep them in the car only for emergency use or for work reasons (if you must). But try hard to make this an electronics free trip. Ditch your phone and show your kids how fun and cool it is to connect with nature and each other by disconnecting.
4) BRING GAMES & OUTDOOR TOYS
While a lot of kids can be kept occupied with leaves, stones, sticks, and the like for sometime, chances are, they will get bored with all this at some point. To keep them entertained while camping, bring some small, travel-sized board games, a few toys, and playing cards. Don’t bring too much though, and make it a point to bring games that are not electronic. Toy ideas to bring along camping with you include ropes, bubbles, sand toys, as well as kid books that are camp-themed. Any games that the whole family can play together, like board games, are great for bonding while camping.
5) BRING A KID’S PORTA POTTI
If your kid is still potty training, don’t forget to bring their potty trainers and a kid’s porta potti on your camping trip. It would be difficult for kids who have not yet moved on from this phase to use a big porta potti. To make each potty session easier for your little one, bring along a small kid’s porta potti and set it up next to the tent. And before you go camping make sure to show them the porta potti and even test it out at home in your backyard so they know what to expect and aren’t afraid when it comes time to use it on your camping trip.
6) DON’T BRING TOO MANY THINGS
Regardless of whether you are camping with your kids or not, it always pays to travel lightly. It leaves you with a lot fewer things to worry about and lug around. Bring travel packs for soaps and shampoos, instead of the large bottles that you would use at home. For kitchen utensils and cookware, just bring one set for each member of your family. Even if you aren’t able to bring much though, don’t forget your kid’s essentials, and regarding clothing, explain to them that certain apparel can be re-worn, as much of the bulk of packing comes from bringing too many clothes. Check out this handy camping checklist here.
7) PICK THE RIGHT CAMPING VENUE
Most popular camping sites get very crowded during peak seasons like the summer. Other sites that are more remote and less crowded, on the other hand, might require too much tedious planning to attempt with children. If possible visit the venue first and see it firsthand to determine if it will work for your family camping trip. If it’s a popular camping site ask about things such as advanced bookings, reservations, and volume of people on the week you wish to do your camping trip. If you are visiting a remote site try to speak with someone who has camped there before and get their tips before you attempt camping their with your kids.
8) LET THEM BRING THEIR FRIENDS
While camping can be a great bonding activity for the family, it can also be a good way for your kids to bond with their friends as well. Letting your child bring a friend or two will help keep them entertained better than games and toys. Kids also seem to enjoy the outdoors more with friends because they can build forts, play hide-and-seek and adventure around together. For big kids, this also allows for more fun and dynamic conversations with each other. If the parents of your kid’s friends are campers as well, then you can even consider inviting their whole family to join your camping trip!
9) SAFETY FIRST
The great outdoors, while beautiful and serene, can be a place where injuries happen more often. From small, shattered pieces of glass that previous campers may have left behind, to chips of wood and stone that can be easily stepped on, there are a lot of hazards out in the woods that you have to be extra careful of. As careful as we are though, kids love to jump, run and move around a lot and are, therefore, at constant risk of being injured, with splinters being the most common injury. Should the unthinkable happen, always have a well-stocked first-aid kit ready for use. There are a lot of pre-stocked first-aid kits you can get in the drug stores nowadays, and make sure the essentials, including Band-Aids, balms, and ointments for bug bites, as well as ibuprofen, is stashed inside.
10) BRING DUCT TAPE
Last but not the least, bring some Duct tape with you! There are just so many uses for it that you might not even realize initially. From mending torn fabrics on the tent to fixing a broken pole to basic and temporary repair for damaged footwear, or simply waterproofing the things that need to be waterproofed, duct tape would always come in handy for you. Never underestimate how useful Duct tape can be for you and your kids while camping!
Have you been camping with kids? Do you have other family travel tips? I’d love to hear your stories, tips or questions in the comments below! To receive my articles and reviews straight to your inbox SUBSCRIBE HERE.
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Guest post on behalf of Paul Watson
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