Family Camping: Why You Should Go
By: Lori Thayer
I recently went camping with my husband and stepsons in Yellowstone. We saw Buffalo, Elk, Deer, Moose and even a Bear(far away thank goodness). We told stories around the campfire and had s'mores at night while spending our days exploring the park. We learned about volcanoes and thermophiles. We also did some fishing and hiking.
Let me tell you, taking two teenagers camping for 5 nights was not easy and I don't recommend it. One or two nights is much better unless your kids are into camping. Still, the experience was a great one that I am sure they will remember it their entire life.
I don't recommend you start your family out with a long camping trip if you've never or rarely been camping. There are many reasons why you should try a family camping trip for your next vacation.
Why go camping (and take the kids)
Relax. Camping is a great way to disconnect from our hectic lives, turn off the electronics and enjoy nature. Most of us have very busy schedules and the kids are involved in many activities. When you camp you can take a break from all of that and just enjoy each others company.
Exposure To Outdoors. You may find that being in nature is very therapeutic for you. I am definitely refreshed and recharged when I spend time in nature. Exposing your children to the outdoors is a great opportunity for them to learn.
Learn About Nature & Animals. Kids know a lot about the city these days but not so much about really being in nature and some basic survival skills. Camping is a great way to teach kids about nature and how to respect their surroundings.
- Trees and plants – Have a contest to see who can identify the most species. Bring a few books from the library to use in the identification. Be sure the kids know not to pull off leaves and flowers.
- Birds – Can you identify any birds by their song? It's fun to see what kinds of birds are in the area. We spotted an Osprey with a fish in its mouth flying above us in Yellowstone. It was pretty cool.
- Insects – Kids love checking out the bugs, spiders, grasshoppers and other insects. Bring some glass jars so they can collect and identify them before releasing them back to the wild.
- As you see animals they can also learn about them and how to interact with them. Safety around wild animals is very important. Note – you may need to learn about this yourself first or bring a book so everyone can learn together.
Learn Important Skills. Camping is the perfect time for kids to learn some outdoor skills. Teach them how to:
- build a fire – hopefully without the aid of lighter fluid
- tie knots – they could rig up a tarp as a rain/wind/sun cover over the camp. (A boyscout manual could be very handy here)
- set up a tent
- cook over a campfire
- try whittling – find a stick on the ground. This could potentially keep them busy for hours!
- tracking – use another book from the library on how to identify animal tracks and comb the surrounding area for tracks to identify. See if you can follow them for a ways.
Connect. While camping and away from the distractions of activities, TV, and electronics you will find time to really talk to your kids and family. Talk to your kids about how things are going for them. Which activities and school subjects to they really like and why. How do they think about certain topics. Learn who they are. So often we are caught up in the day to day living that we don't take the time for these in depth conversations. Around the campfire or over a game of cards in the afternoon is the perfect time to really get to know each other.
Note: Leave the video games in the car! If you bring your smartphone or computer along on the trip, leave it along with the video games in the car. Everyone should be on equal footing and take some time away from the electronics. You can't really connect with your family on this trip if you check your phone every 10 minutes. Your kids will know they don't have your attention and won't be willing to talk.
Stop back for upcoming articles on where to stay, what to bring and more tips for having fun while camping.
Love camping or never tried it? Share your thoughts on why you should or shouldn't take your family camping in the comments below or on Facebook.
|I seek to love and enjoy life, not just for a moment but the whole journey. My mission is to help you love and enjoy life too.|
I’ve been stressed out, burned out, and hopeless and I clawed my way out of that place and now have the life I always wanted.
I see other busy women (like you) living the same busy pattern and my goal is to guide you on the path to enjoying and loving life.
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