Of course, camping requires a lot of planning, and when you have children, that isn’t always easy. Don’t despair, though; camping with children can be done (and many say it should be done), and the following tips should help you get ready and have a wonderful time away together.
Going on vacation as a family is a great way to spend some time together (which is often lacking in our busy modern lives) and get to know your little ones better. Yet if the idea of lying on a beach and making sandcastles or wandering around a theme park is not something that inspires much joy in you, you could consider camping as an alternative.
The great thing about camping is that it will appeal to all ages, so everyone in the family can enjoy it. It’s also much less expensive than a ‘traditional’ family vacation. Plus, it’s the perfect time to get away from screens and devices and enjoy nature, which is healthy for both the body and mind.
Choose The Right Location
There are so many different places you can choose to go camping, and each one will have its own pros and cons. This is why you can’t just hope for the best and arrive at a campsite – you need to plan in advance and ensure you choose the right location.
To start with, did you know that some campsites don’t allow children? It’s true, so at the very least, you’ll need to know this before you book a pitch somewhere. You should also determine what there is nearby. It might be that you’re in the middle of nowhere, and if that’s the case, you’ll need to pack enough snacks, food, and drinks to keep everyone happy. You’ll also need a portable power station because you won’t be able to rely on the shared power from a more centrally located camping area, for example.
Knowing what facilities are going to be in the place you’re staying means you can pack appropriately and ensure that the kids have everything they need so they can enjoy their time away without any issues or worries. You’ll also know whether you should take a tent or hire an RV – different places will need different types of camping.
Plan Things To Do
If you go camping by yourself or with friends, you might not want or need to plan any activities. You’ll be happy sitting around the campfire all day or just exploring and seeing where things (and the path) take you. When you have children this isn’t always the best option to take. If you don’t have an itinerary planned, they’ll get bored, and they might start acting up, which will make your camping vacation more difficult to enjoy. Plus, it’s just not very fair to take your children somewhere and not entertain them; they won’t have fun, and they certainly won’t develop a love of camping, which they might do otherwise.
Try to come up with an itinerary that suits everyone. If you want some quiet time around the fire, schedule that in – perhaps the kids can play some games or read a book. However, you also need to think of what the little ones want, so talk to them about the options before you go. See if they want to go hiking or fishing. See if a nature trail would interest them. You can also check out activities to do in the local area; it might mean having to leave the forest or campsite once in a while, but if it makes them happy and means you can have a wonderful and memorable family vacation, it’s worth at least considering.
Keep Them Safe
Children and camping can go together very well, but there are safety concerns you’ll need to think about as well. Remember, you’re out in the wilderness, and there are potential hazards close by at all times. This is true even on a regulated campsite simply because you are outdoors, and that is always more dangerous that being inside.
To begin with, have a good first aid kit with you and know how to use every item within it. You should also ensure you pack a portable radio so that you can call for help even if you have no phone signal. You can also tie bells to the outside of the tent so that you can hear if any child leaves in the night, for example.
One of the best things you can do is talk to your children about how to stay safe when camping. This is information they will need to know if they are going to continue camping in later life, and teaching them when they are young is no bad thing. Give them rules to follow and reasons why those rules are important.
Do A Test Run
Camping is a big commitment, and once you’re away from home, it might not always be easy to leave your site early should you find you – or another member of your party – is not having a good time. This might be why some people bypass the idea altogether, which is a shame because despite this, it can be wonderful for families, and it can give children a sense of adventure, joy, and even responsibility.
So what can be done? Should you risk it and go and hope for the best? Should you do something else instead even though camping actually ticks all the boxes? Why not do something in between and do a test run? Take your test and sleeping bags and all the other equipment you’ll need and set everything up in your backyard (or borrow a friend or family member’s yard if you don’t have one yourself).
By doing this, you’ll get the experience of camping with your kids, but you won’t have the commitment of actually being away from home. This can be a great way to introduce camping to the little ones and show them the kinds of things they would need to do if you went away for real. It might spark their excitement, and at the very least, it will help you decide whether this is something you want to do.