Camping is not only for adults. Kids like it too, and it can be both a fun and educational experience for them. And as with adults that are new to camping, kids must also have an idea of the basics first before they face the wilderness.
Here are some things to keep in mind when bringing your children to your first outdoor adventure.
As with any first-time camper, it's always a good idea to get the hang of it first. Kids will most likely have little or no camping experience. Thus, organizing a “mock camp” in your backyard should get them in the groove of things.
This would be a great opportunity for the kids to learn the basics, like pitching a tent, what they need to pack in their bags, and keeping safe when outdoors. They will also have a feel of what it's like to sleep in a tent. And that’s a good thing, so when you get to the actual campsite they won’t be surprised or shocked at how different sleeping in a tent is.
To further expose the kids to an outdoor experience, do a trial run at a nearby park. Watch how they behave, so you can prepare accordingly. Also, this will give you some clues as to what the kids like to do outdoors.
Camping isn’t just for play and fun. it's about the overall experience, from packing and organizing gear to setting up camp. Get the kids to participate in the more serious stuff like these. With such an experience, they’ll gain valuable life skills as well, like cooperation, teamwork, and good communication. it's also a nice parenting skill you can develop – getting the kids to be disciplined, alert, and responsible.
Of course, the kids should also be afforded their own freedom. Let them play around the campsite, explore the area on their own, and marvel at the beauty of nature. Just make sure they don’t stray away too far.
One good thing to do before letting the kids loose is orienting them with the campground. Locate landmarks, prepared trails, and other areas where they can play around. Make sure the kids know how to get back to the campsite. If they’re using Google Maps, it's a lot easier, but sometimes that’s not possible. In these cases, kids have no choice but to do it old-school, you can teach them how to use a map and compass first. That would also be a wonderful learning experience for kids – discovering this important survival skill.
Kids, as they are, will always be kids. They will look for something fun to do wherever they go. Going on an outdoor adventure is no exception, and because it is an adventure, children will seek to have fun in the wilderness.
Have them bring their favorite toys, but not too many. One toy per child is good enough; otherwise you’ll flood your trunk with things that are not really needed for camping. Another good idea to follow is that the toy each kid brings is something that fits neatly into their bags. Avoid big toys, as they’ll take up valuable space that can be used to pack more useful things.
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