Although many parts of the country are still covered in a blanket of snow, it isn’t too early to start making summer plans. There are so many fun activities you can this summer. For many people, camping with their family is a high priority. In fact, for many families their camping trip is the highlight of their summer. If you are not a seasoned camper, don’t be discouraged! There are lots of easy ways to get started. One of the biggest obstacles when you want to start is getting your kids on board. Especially if they have never been camping before. It can be difficult to convince them to unplug from their smart devices and leave the comforts of home for a week in the wilderness. If you are nervous your children won’t willingly go camping, here are a few tips to help get them excited.
Involve Them in the Planning
The first tip is to involve your kids as much as possible. Especially in the planning phase. Give your kids a few reasonable options to choose between. Involve them in your research of the campsites and surrounding areas. Seeing the beautiful scenery of the campsites is sure to get them excited for an upcoming camping trip. Once they have helped you decide on their favorite camping location, don’t forget to let them help plan a potential itinerary. Look for family friendly hikes, nearby landmarks, and other outdoor recreation activities. You could also let them help plan the meals they want to eat. Let them choose lots of desserts to roast over the fire! It is important to take their input seriously. If your kids feel like they have a voice in the planning of the camping trip they will be more excited to participate.
Have a Practice Run
If you are a novice camper, have a practice camp out in your backyard a week or two before your camping trip. This will give you time to learn how to set up the tent properly without any added stress. Trust me, you don’t want your first time setting up a tent to be hundreds of miles away from home and in the dark. This will also be helpful for kids who have a strict bedtime routine. Sleeping on the floor of a tent takes a little bit of time to get used to. Sleeping in your backyard is a great way to ease kids out of their typical bedtime routine, while still staying in the comfort of a familiar place. Most importantly, a practice run lets you figure out major mistakes early enough so you can make notes and fix them by the camping trip, like “Replace flashlight batteries!”
When you’re camping with young kids it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. Make a packing list in advance so you can double and triple check you have everything. You will want to pack extra layers for daytime and nighttime. If kids are cold while camping they will be pretty grumpy. Let your kids pick out the clothes they bring. You could also let them pick out one or two of their favorite toys to bring to keep themselves busy around the campground. If your family camping trip is near water don’t forget swimsuits and water shoes! Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent. You may also want to pack children's Tylenol and Benadryl. Hopefully you won’t need to use any medicine on your camping trip, but it is always better to be prepared.
Have Plenty of Planned Activities
It is important to have lots of activities planned for your camping trip. You don’t want to hear the dreaded, “I'm bored!”. Have a few hikes, or day activities planned in advance. You could also check out the local ranger stations and see if they have a Jr. Ranger Program available. Bring a few card games and coloring books to keep kids occupied and busy around the campground. It is also a good idea to have some toys, games, and snacks for the long car rides.
Camping is a fun and easy way to spend some quality time with your family. When you keep the kids involved and are adequately prepared, your family camping trip will be a breeze. Your trip will be filled with happy kids excited to spend a little time outdoors!