Camping with your children can be a wonderful adventure that brings everyone back to the simplicity of nature. The key to a successful trip is to be prepared, there's nothing worse than arriving to your campsite only to realize you forgot to fill up on fuel for the gas stove, or forgot the rain gear as a storm strikes. Some important things to do before you go are:
- Check the weather forecast so you know what to expect (and plan accordingly)
- When it comes time to pack, create a camping checklist, and check it twice!
- Test your gear, especially the air mattress
- If able, set up camp in your backyard prior to your first trip that year to make sure everything is in working order, plus it can help get the kids excited!
Once you're there, be sure to get the kids involved every step of the way so that they learn and become comfortable with camping and the outdoors. Camp chores can actually be a lot of fun for them; have them help you set up the tent, cook a meal, collect firewood, etc.
Try to experience the outdoor activities with your kids and teach them about safety and respect for nature. Some fun things to do are taking small hikes, going fishing, flashlight walks, stargazing, packing a picnic for the beach, or talking about the wildlife and plants in the area.
Although kids are pretty good self-entertainers, make sure you're armed with games and craft ideas in case the kids get restless and boredom strikes. This is especially important if rain is in the forecast.
For a few ideas:
Scavenger hunt- hand your kids a little bag and a list of objects to find throughout your time camping (moss, red leaf, shell, bark, etc.).
Pet rocks- bring markers or paint so you can gather rocks at the beach and turn them into a wild creature
Board games, books, puzzles, and cards- the more the merrier
A scrapbook & glue stick- to make a collage with the natural objects found around the campground
Last but not least- make sure you utilize the campfire for some authentic (and delicious) meals, that's what camping is all about!
Campfire Pizza: Using pita bread, cover with your pizza sauce base, then have a pizza party where everyone designs their own! Place the pizza on foil and wrap around to cover the top and create a tent. Cook over top of coals for approximately 10-15 minutes. Voila!
Campfire Banana Boat: Leaving the skin on, slit each banana lengthwise but not all the way through. Line the slit with mini marshmallows and your favorite chocolate chips, then sprinkle lightly with brown sugar. Wrap it up tightly in foil (sealed on both ends) and place on a grill over the campfire. Wait approximately 7 minutes, remove to let cool, and then indulge in this campfire delicacy!